SASKATOON - Enjoy, skate, and don’t be intimidated. These were the words that long-time skateboarder Sarah Kelly would like to tell youngsters who want to get into skateboarding.
Kelly said she knows the feeling of some kids who might be afraid and intimidated when they watch more experienced skateboarders doing tricks in a skate park, like the Lions Skate Park in Victoria Park at Spadina Crescent.
“I started skateboarding when I was a kid. I was a bit intimidated to the skate park until maybe five or six years ago. But I found out it’s really not that scary and I met a lot of new people that later on became my best friends,” Kelly told SASKTODAY during Saturday’s Fall Freestyle event hosted by the City in cooperation with Right to Skate.
“Just don't be afraid. You can ask people for help and everybody is excited to see beginners in the skate park. Nobody is going to judge you. Experienced skateboarders are just so happy to see people getting into it.”
Saskatoon’s RoS Directing Manager, who’s been skateboarding for 15 years now, said their group and other skaters in the city are glad that more youngsters are trying out and learning how to use a skateboard.
“First and foremost, for beginners you must practice safety. You need to have the right safety gear like a helmet, elbow pads, and wrist guards. The usual injury that we see the most are broken wrists.”
RoS members along with other experienced skateboarders were helpful in giving tips and teaching hundreds of kids who joined Saturday’s event. This is the first year that RoS partnered with the city, but they have been hired as individual instructors during camps.
Kelly, however, is hoping that someday a public indoor skate park could be built in Saskatoon. A place where skaters like her could still enjoy flipping and gliding even during winter. RoS used to operate an indoor skate park for three years but the cost of keeping it operational was too much.
“I think it was operational from 2016 to 2019. [RoS] operated it. We offer lessons, had some bands, and other stuff. Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to keep it open. We ran out of money. It's hard to keep an indoor skate park open in general,” said Kelly.
“The city used to have one maybe at least 15 years ago. We did ask them for help several times unfortunately they weren't able to provide the funding for us so then. It didn't last long, and we would like to try and open a new one again.”
She said that the Saskatoon Skateboard Foundation even tried to have the city open up a public indoor skate park.
“Unfortunately, it just didn't pan out at the time but there is enough interest now so maybe things will be different in the future, we'll keep trying.”