Promoting TBay’s Skateboarding Community
Story by Michelle Kolobutin, Photos by Laura Paxton
Go Skateboarding Day is an official celebration to promote skateboarding held annually on June 21. Since its inception in 2004, Go Skateboarding Day events have been held in over 40 countries Including Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South America.
Skateboarding is certainly not a fad, and continues to grow as a sport. The Marina Park Skateboarding Plaza, which was completed in 2008, has become the highest used recreation facility in Thunder Bay. The Skate Plaza is also home to the Eclectic Skateboard Shop, which is a non-profit skateboard shop with boards, free repairs, board maintenance, and skateboard lessons. Local youth have a big part in keeping the shop running and helping out new skaters.
“It doesn’t matter how good, bad, or old you are; the skateboarding community is very welcoming,” says John Kelly, lead of Eclectic Skate Shop and chair of the Thunder Bay Skateboarding Coalition. “Once a skateboarder, always a skateboarder. It’s not unusual to see guys into their thirties or forties skating.” To celebrate this, the coalition even hosts a weekly skate night for folks 30 years and better.
Skateboarding is a fairly accessible and low-cost sport with the biggest investment being time spent practicing. And while the plaza has become a hub for most skaters, there are numerous skateparks around the city where skateboarders are practicing and trying new tricks every day. One of the goals of the Skateboarding Coalition is to get those smaller neighbourhood asphalt skateparks resurfaced and reconditioned so that high quality skateparks exist across the city.
The Thunder Bay Skateboarding Coalition hosts its own Go Skateboarding Day event each June to encourage the sport here in the city. It’s a day of prizes, competitions, fun, music, and showcasing local talent while welcoming new skateboarders to the sport. Festivities start at noon and continue until dark (it’s the longest day of the year—how else would you rather spend those extra hours of light!?)
If you aren’t ready to hop on a board yourself, but love to watch these athletes show off their stuff, you will have a couple chances to do that. Best trick contests as well as other competitions will be taking place at the Skate Plaza on June 21 and Canada Day. For more information about events and lessons, check out Eclectic Skateboard Shop or The Thunder Bay Skateboarding Coalition on Facebook.
Go Skateboarding Day takes place at the Marina Park Skateboarding Plaza, June 21, 12 pm. For details, find the Thunder Bay Skateboarding Coalition on Facebook.
- Skateboarding has been around since the late 1940s
- Once a skateboarder, always a skateboarder
- Skateboarding is physically demanding and increases riders’ balance, muscle, and bone strength
- Skateboarding will be part of the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo
- Adam Hopkins, born and raised in Thunder Bay, will represent Canada in skateboarding at the Olympics