|Kiko Francisco at Venice with full equipment gear. Photo Ray Rae.|
For the first time ever, skateboarders were fined today at Venice skatepark for not wearing the required pads. Sources close to I Skate Therefore I Am reported that they were fined not only for not wearing a helmet but the full security gear: helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. The amount of the fine is still unknown.
Venice skatepark was open in September 2009 and at first there were tension between city officials and the Venice Skatepark Association that wanted to internally monitor and police the skatepark. From day one, the full gear equipment was mandatory but that law was fight by the Venice Skatepark Association. We are not sure if there was a moratorium or if the law was cancelled but one thing for sure is that it was never enforced. A good 60% of skaters were wearing pads in the pool but the street course had all the skaters running without any kind of protection.
Although everybody is against a mandatory requirement to wear pads, most pools and bowl riders always wear at least knee pads and most of the time they also wear a helmet. Some of them also wear elbow pads and wrist guards. Not only they consider that it’s part of the fun, but ProTec, the most recognized pads brand, is sponsoring the biggest bowl contest in the world: the Combo Pool Party. Several other brands are available: 187, Triple 8…
Although knee pads and helmets are considered cool by bowl riders, street skaters consider pads desuet and has-been. They argue that they can’t skate and can’t shred with protection gear. The blame for this trend has been on the skate magazines who refuse to show skaters with pads. Because skaters don’t wear pads in the mags, the kids take this as at face value and think it’s cool like this. The magazines defend themselves by saying that they only show what the kids wants to see: padless skaters.
It seems the decision for the cops to descend on the skatepark was motivated by a kid who fall without protection and whose parents are now suing the city of Venice. Whoever the kid is, he will now be persona non-grata in the world of skateboarding. Because of the stupidity of one kid, hundreds of others will be barred to do freely the sport they love.
We are for skaters to wear pads in skatepark, provided it’s not mandatory. Everybody should be free to do whatever they want, but suing the city because you are a lame skater not only is not the way to go but is considered like a high betrayal to skateboarding.
And that’s not cool…