|(Posted 5/14/2006) |
By Josh Rabinowitz for SkateboardDirectory.com
Oakland, California * — Dozens of skateboarders, from beginners to seasoned pros, were on hand May 13th, 2006 on Franklin Street for the Hood Games 4, which supplied a steady stream of skateboarding, tunes and games.
The whole block from 14th to 15th streets was closed, and the street was fittingly filled with a 'street course' of launch and jump ramps *, a quarter pipe *, and lips and ledges to grind and ollie.
Bigger cities like Los Angeles * and Oakland's neighbor San Francisco * get the X-Games *, said Oakland High Visual Art Academy director Keith "K-Dub *" Williams. But what about the 'hood?"
Apparently the idea was cooked up a few years ago at the X-Games in Los Angeles a couple of years ago when Williams and Karl Watson * looked at each other and agreed: "We ought to do something like this in Oakland."
As the idea developed, one of them suggested "we'll call it the 'hood games.'"
The idea was to encourage Oakland's skateboarders of every walk of life and ethnicity to come out, have a good time, and help raise money for a planned skateboard park at Seventh and Jefferson streets in Oakland.
Oakland-originating Comet Skateboards * signed on as a sponsor other companies followed, and the Hood Games were born. The first edition was held May 2005 * at the East Oakland Youth Development Center. The second was held in South/Central Los Angeles and a third was held at the Youth Development Center.
At Saturday's event, several skateboard company * booths were in attendance, and there was live music, and a disc jockey. Williams' Oakland High students had their skateboard art on display. But as usual, it was the skateboarders that attracted the crowds.
"This is chillin'," said one young skater at the vent.
Apparently the Oakland Downtown is usually quiet on weekends, but the area was reportedly hopping on Saturday. Kara Fortune, an Oakland teacher and skateboarder, said, "This is great. We don't have that many events in Oakland for young people. And the energy here is all good."
Admission to the event Saturday was free, but money from concessions and a series of raffles of donated skateboard equipment will go towards the park.
Many of the skaters in attendance at Saturday's event had stories of starting out as kids with no money.
D'Oatae Smith, 16, of Oakland said "I found my first skateboard in a garbage can when I was 9." He continued: "It's fun. It's interesting. Anyone can skate."
Ron Allen, 43, founder of Energy Skateboards of Oakland, was one of the older skateboarders competing. "Last year, I was the oldest at Vancouver * and I was 42 then," he said.
He placed fourth in the contest. "I love it," Allen said. It's an individual sport. You can get within yourself."
Allen's company focuses on making environmentally friendly boards. The wood comes from ecologically harvested trees and the paint is non-polluting.
Allen say he hopes to keep skateboarding for many years.
One of the women taking part in the event was Allen's friend Magdazena Zaviezo, 31. "It just looked like so much fun," she said, after making a run down the course. "Once I tried it, I got the bug."
This article was based on the article "Skateboarders show Oakland the flipside", by William Brand found at http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_3822486
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