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Local skateboard enthusiasts clamor for public skatepark

June 22,2016 - 10:22 AM

A signature campaign calling for the Cebu City government to build a public skatepark highlighted the Cebu leg of Go Skate Day (GSD) 2016 yesterday.

At least 1,000 skateboard enthusiasts gathered yesterday at SM City Cebu parking area to join the celebration of World Skate Day, an annual event founded by the International Association of Skateboarding Companies to promote the presence of skateboarding.

Interest-based groups such as the Visionary and Cebu Skateboarding Community (CSC) organized the Cebu GSD 2016, with the support of DC and GRIND, international brands of sports shoes and apparel.

Ian Bacalla, a member of CSC and head organizer of Cebu GSD 2016, said their representative has already consulted Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña about the possibility of building a public skatepark in the city.

“Mayor Osmeña asked for our written proposal, and once approved, this public skateboarding park will be the first in the country,” said Bacalla.

When asked how many signatures they needed for the park’s approval, Bacalla said he does not have the authority to mention the exact number. “But I think 5,000 is enough,” he added.

Bacalla said the group has already identified places where they can build the open skateboard park, such as in Barangays Mabolo, Lahug, Apas and Talamban.

Richard Durante, a 62-year-old Filipino-American skateboarder who grew up in San Francisco, California, was among the judges of the competition and challenges of Cebu GSD 2016.

Durante returned to the country to teach skateboarding to young people. He donated two half-pipe ramps to Cebu Skateboarding Community that were used during the skateboarding contests yesterday.

“I don’t have absolute financial capacity to raise the presence of skateboarding here in the Philippines but I have lots of connections. I invited my friends in California who have mastered skateboarding to teach Filipinos who are eager to learn and enjoy skateboarding,” said Durante.

He said the skateboarding community in Cebu is very promising, with an increasing number of participants to the GSD each year.

Grace, one of the youngest skateboarders who joined the GSD 2016, found the open skateboarding park exciting. The 16-year-old high school student of Gothong Memorial High School said the park, if ever approved by the city government, will give her newfound love for skateboarding a boost.

“My older brother, PJ, already taught me the basics of skateboarding. And I think it would be more fun if we’re given free access to skateboarding ramps,” she said in Cebuano.

The GSD began in 2009 with less than 200 participants and was traditionally held at Fuente Osmeña Circle.

Yesterday’s festivity also featured a skateboarding parade that was participated by more than 500 skateboarders.

The parade for this year’s GSD was sent to the Guinness Book of World Records to serve as an entry for the Largest Skateboard Parade. The present record holder of the Largest Skateboard Parade is Venice High School Alumni Association Centennial Celebration Committee in Los Angeles, California. A total of 498 skateboarders participated in that parade.

Bacalla said he was confident that this year’s Cebu GSD parade head count will beat the mentioned record holder.

“But the process of filing for a Guinness record is really complicated and tedious. It could take up to at least three months. We’re still waiting for feedback from the people in Guinness,” he added.

Cebu GSD 2016 held contests and segments – such as push races, showcasing of original tricks – which are designed to discover talented local skateboarders who can compete in the international arena.

DC brand manager Bianca Tan affirmed that the company will not only help in organizing events like GSD but will also sponsor promising skateboarders and athletes to compete in international contests and tours.

“We will provide them all the support they need – be it financial, logistical and others,” said Tan. She also mentioned that the brand will support the skateboarders’ call for a public skateboarding park. /UP Cebu Intern Morexette Marie Erram

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TAGS: Apas, Cebu, Cebu city government, CSC, DC, Fuente, Fuente Osmeña, Lahug, Mabolo, skate, skateboard, skateboarder, skateboarding, SM, SM City Cebu, Talamban

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