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Skateboarding News

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Laguna Beach's Skatepark About to Open

I Skate, Therefore I Am -Home- Yes! isTia skateboard blog talks about skateboarders, skaters, vert, ramp, skateparks, pool, backyard pools, kidney pool, pink motel, supreme skateboard, copying, skateboarding photography, skate rock, concrete disciples, daily skate news, Vans, Venice skatepark, skate spots  and skateboard news. There are plenty of other skate websites that publish skateboard news faster than me, and better than me (Transworld, The Berrics, Thrasher, Slap magazine, skatedaily, crailtap, juice magazine, skate and annoy,…), so I won’t just give the skate news, I’ll also tell you what I think about it even if I’m wrong. Then you can conform and think like me too and impress your friends with your profound knowledge of the skateboarding industry. LOLIt's amazing that, when people think about skateboarding, they think that California is the Mecca of the sport. Well, not that much. In a state that have witnessed the birth of the sport, Californian skaters continually have to deal with new laws, police invading skate parks and citizens with personal vendettas against skateboarders. Next month Laguna's first formal skatepark opens and after six months of discussions on how to regulate skateboarding in Laguna Beach, little agreement has been reached on how skaters should fit into traffic on hillside streets: the town is at war against skateboarders and almost wants to ban skateboarding.
The City Council is currently looking at two different sets of recommendations, plus a report from police and a proposal from a group of neighbors asking for a skating ban on hillside streets. At the next meeting, council members will vote on an ordinance to clarify local safety rules and which traffic regulations apply to skateboarders.

True, a lot a people in Laguna are upset with downhill skaters

They fear for they own security and the security of the skaters. Many are saying that the downhill skaters are an accident waiting to happen, that the groups of teens amount to a public nuisance and are hoping that the skatepark will remove the traffic from the street. Since when downhill skateboarders will retreat from a hill to a flat skatepark? "It's not going to curtail the kids' flavor for downhill but it will be a diversion. Anything to alleviate stress on the roadways," predicted Chad Gibbs. Gibbs is the father of a downhill skater named Wyatt. He says that last Wednesday he watched a driver actually swerve, intentionally, to push his son and his friends to the side of the road on Skyline Drive. Downhill skateboarding uses longer boards and specialized equipment to maneuver turns and reach high speeds. Skaters acknowledge they seek an adrenaline rush with their sport, but add that they remain in control while skating. Initial proposals looked at banning skateboarding on the steepest hills in the city, but large numbers of skateboarders and parents spoke out in favor of instead creating safety regulations.

"It was really shocking. We go to other cities and skateboard and we're viewed as a novelty act. People clap and wave and think it's great, but in Laguna there are so many bad feelings," Gibbs said.

Read the rest of the article on the Laguna Beach Independent website or on the OC register.

For years now, skaters in California have been dealing with persecution like this. Some think that just changing skateboarding into an "at your own risk" activity would solve the problem, but who knows? Decades of bad feelings on both sides just won't go away easily. Thank God for open minded people like Pam Estes, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club in Laguna. "We saw a need in the community and went to work to meet that need." If you live in the area, be sure to support the Club, and encourage skaters to use it.

More from: Laguna Beach Independent

The town’s ’ first formal skateboarding venue opens at the Boys and Girls Club next month even as controversy over downhill skateboarding reignites prior to an upcoming hearing to consider regulating skating on city streets.

“We saw a need in the community and went to work to meet that need,” said Pam Estes, executive director of the club, which provides after-school and summer programs to young teens and elementary-aged kids.

While the mini skate park will provide a venue for – at ground trick skating and lessons, some are skeptical it will reduce the number of skaters on Laguna’s hills or dampen acrimony elicited by pressure to curb skaters.

Police were called to investigate the the•ft of five anti-skateboarding posters on Morningside and Bluebird Canyon Drives, curving, steep streets favored by skateboarders.

“Everyone suspects that a few speedboarders or their parents are stealing the signs,” said a statement from Alan Bernstein, who leads Speedboarders Neighborhood Action Group and reported the theft. “This reflects very poorly on all skateboarders. These ‘bad apples’ are giving all skateboarders a bad name.

“Most residents have had run-ins with speed boarders over the years, being given the finger, cursed at or even threatened. These thefts do nothing to repair that reputation,” he said. Recently, a SNAG flyer was taped to mail boxes in the same area. The flyer cites, “inevitable deaths,” from downhill skateboarding, and says, “One skateboarding brain injury easily costs over $1,000,000.”

The flyer contains the names of 47 supporters, however Bernstein would not comment on who created the fliers or posted them, citing a perceived threat if he or others were identified publicly.

Both sides of the skate debate are mobilizing for a Feb. 1 meeting where the City Council is to consider regulatory recommendations of its Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee. In November, Police Chief Paul Workman told the Indy the committee’s proposal to treat skateboarders like bicyclists in an attempt to rein in fast-charging downhillers conflicts with state laws and should be revised.

Council members Jane Egly and Kelly Boyd said the issue has elicited more feedback than most topics, with most constituents against the gravity-induced pursuit. They are reserving judgment until they have read the committee’s reports and proposals and hear public testimony next month.

Other council members did not return calls and could not be reached for comment.

The Boys and Girls Club will hold a skate demo Wednesday and Saturday of next week before opening Feb 5. Matt Sheridan, owner of Basics of Skateboarding Skate Camps, will provide instructors and ramps for the camps, doubling the existing two quarter pipes and fun box. The club held a well attended Saturday skate session earlier, but attendance has since dropped off.

“No one came after the first event. I told them if they have camps here and are investing time into the kids, they will want to come back,” said Sheridan, who lives in Laguna.

The skate camp will consist of a two hour session every Saturday and cost $50, with a student-teacher ratio of no more than seven to one. The skate park will also be open for free skating at other times.

Attendance will dictate whether the camp expands to several days per week during summer months, and Sheridan is optimistic.

“I would imagine attendance will be strong. There is no park in Dana Point. The closest one is Laguna Niguel. It’s a really good way to teach your kid how to skate safely and know how to fall and do kick turns and be safe in general, as opposed to just sending them out down the driveway and into the street.”

Estes reiterated the sentiment. “We’d rather have the kids here than out on the street.” The ramps cost the club $2,500, a slight increase in insurance costs, and an increase in staffing, but Estes said it has three staffers who already skate, and all staffers are already Red Cross certified in first aid.

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Thursday, January 27, 2011 


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