Goa isn’t a new player to the growing skateboarding scene in India; in fact, if anything, Goa’s scenic bylanes and secret skateparks make it one of India’s favourite skateboarding destinations. It all started with the Jungle Bowl in Assagao, followed by another in Morjim and the Anjuna-Vagator junction — giving Goa’s skating community a solid ground to meet at — until the Jungle Bowl switched ownership, making it a private spot, rather than an open space for the community. Plus, it wasn’t always easy for those from the main city area to head towards the above spots daily due to the distance, leading to them skating around Youth Hostel, Don Bosco, Goa University’s many dwindling roads, and more.
“We always wanted to build something in Panjim, but didn’t quite find the space. Then we came across Youth Hostel’s rollerblading rink. Eventually, after spending some time there, once the guy was familiar with us, we asked if we could move a seven-foot ramp that we had built in a garage to the rink,” explains Anveer Mehta, one of the pioneering forces behind Goa’s latest skate park. Two monsoons in, and the wooden ramp began to give way — which only confirmed that they were going to need something more concrete (literally) in the city. Anveer continues, “Once the ramp caved in, the owner gave us the freedom of building whatever we wanted within the space. So we obtained the necessary permission, put together a design and estimated a rough budget.” At first, it was decided that the cost would be split between those who were truly invested in the skatepark, until Vaibhav Rasam, another member from the community, went to Vans with their proposal.
Two weeks before they got it all together, Vans came back to them, agreeing to sponsor the skatepark. Within a week, they had the money to build it, and they started work on January 1, 2018. By January 7, the ramps were up, but due to them being built out of cement, they needed to be cured constantly for a while. Here’s where they really came together — an aspect Anveer credits to the skateboarding community’s natural mannerisms, “In general, we’re always doing things together; we skate together, we decided to do this park together and even in the midst of building it, we were here — together.” Anant Shirodkar, Samuel Ferreira, and several other members stuck around to help while the park began to be decked out. In fact, a fellow skateboarder from the UK (Tim Storey) who heard about the build while travelling in India, also came down to help.
With a three and a half foot high quarter with a pocket and a seven foot extension on the other side that goes into a wall ride, along with a four and a half meter long ledge by the seaside, Youth Hostel’s rink is a proper skate park, fit for the budding community. Another interesting aspect of their small but close-knit community, is their diversity. A friendly bunch at heart, the group welcomed Samuel (who’s been skating for years, from Brazil), Ajey (an older diver who skates with his kids), Andy (who features regularly on their Instagram page for his sick tricks, from Russia), and their constant skater-girl, Zhen.
“We set up a Sunday Skate Jam on January 21 and even invited skaters from Mumbai and Bangalore. There was music, a slackline, hula hoops, and quite a crowd! We even had old uncles on skateboards, little kids, aunties too — in fact, no one even had their phones out at the event, including us, to take images as we were all just having fun,” laughs Anveer. Even though they didn’t quite get the chance to update their page on Facebook, new kids turned up the next day, to skate. Considering the Skateboarding Community started off with only a few guys skating in 2014, they’re pleased with the new interest. If you’re around the area, give the park a little visit — they’ve got a great view of Goa’s famed sunsets!
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