BY RON ELAND
North Hawaii News
Roots Skatepark in Kapaau has come a long ways in four years.
What was once just a plot of land and a dream of founder Richey Riggs — not to mention dozens of skateboarders in the area — has become a popular spot for lovers of the sport.
The park saw its official opening last year and as a way to celebrate the first anniversary, Roots will be hosting its third annual Skate Day parade at 10:30 a.m. on June 18. The parade will be held in conjunction with International Go Skateboarding Day which is always held the first day of summer. It begins at Aloha Gas and travels to King Kamehameha Park, the site of Roots Skatepark.
“We’re really excited about this year’s parade,” Riggs said. “We think we’ll have another great turnout.”
Riggs said the first Skate Day was held while the park was still in the works. Following the parade the day featured an array of demonstrations on homemade ramps. Last year’s event was the unveiling of Phase I of the skate park while this year will act as a fundraiser for the second phase of the project.
From 1-4 p.m. there will be live music, a steak fry with all the sides for $9 at the Kohala Intergenerational Center and possibly a silent auction (which had yet to be finalized by press time). The first 100 skaters that morning will receive a free T-shirt.
“The first two years we had a much better turnout than expected and we are hoping for the same this year,” he said. “There’s nothing like having tons of people turn out the day of an event and show their support. We’re really excited about it.”
The event is being co-sponsored by Oasis Skate Shop of Hilo.
In addition to demonstrations, skaters can take part in SKATE which is like basketball’s HORSE. Obstacles and ramps will be set up and one skater can attempt a skill. If successful, his/her opponent must complete the same skill — if not they get an S and so on. The first to spell SKATE loses.
“Kids who aren’t real familiar with skating can see how it’s done,” he said.
They currently have 3,000 square feet of skating area but the second phase (estimated at $150,000) will add an additional 10,000 square feet. The non-profit Roots Advocates for Youth recently received a $15,000 grant from the Atherton Family Foundation to help fund the construction of Roots Skatepark. But, they’re still far from their goal.
“Funding is real right now but the community has been very supportive,” said Riggs who added that at almost any given time on weekends, there are at least 10-20 skateboarders at the park. “I’ve been a skater since I was a kid so this project is near and dead to my heart.”
For more information, call Riggs at 889-0503.