25 Jan 2023  |   05:27am IST

The new mini wheels of Goa

Skateboarding debuted at the 2020 Olympics as an Olympic sport. This individualistic sport engages the skateboarder in rigorous physical exercise resulting in a peaceful mental space. This sport has prominently been a part of multiple cities in India. Goan youth are ensuring that this skate culture is bought into the spotlight considering the increase in budding and aspiring skateboarders
The new mini wheels of Goa

Aalokshi Awade

Life on wheels has always been an emotional bonding between its rider and the wheels. Be that a car or skates. From roller skates to ice skating, and skiing, skateboarding has notably been the most challenging sport on wheels. Skateboarding was one of the five sports to debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It featured two disciplines, street, and park while having separate competitions for men and women. Narrowing down the types of skateboarding,- Park skateboarding, Street skateboarding, Vert skating, and Freestyle skating, skateboarding involves developing a healthy rhythm between mind and body. Skateboarding was first invented in California in the 1950s. It was created by the surfers, trying to figure out a way when the tidal waves were low.

Skateboarding has existed among Indian sports for quite some time in the early 2000s, UK’s Pro Skater Nick Smith built India’s first skatepark in Goa, which was eventually shut down. Goa has been now trying to get back in the skateboarding forum creating platforms for aspiring and budding skateboarders, putting them in the spotlight so that their talent can be recognized.

Skateboarding is great for burning calories and staying in great physical shape. It does wear the individual out but strengthens one’s physical endurance. Skateboarding involves a lot of coordination between your eyes, legs, feet, and arms. Small injuries, bruises, and scars eventually heal and fade away but the first kickflips, first drop-ins, and first handrails are never forgotten. Landing tricks also bring a sense of accomplishment and confidence.

Skate culture in Goa has been flourishing, since a small skate park emerged a few years ago, and has now been in the highlights, having rookies, and pro skateboarders creating bonds with the skateboarding community and indulging in multiple skateboarding-oriented activities. The community which started with a small group is now becoming a family for the skateboarders welcoming participation as well as addressing curiosity developed among the locals as well as the foreigners visiting Goa. The Panjim-based skatepark is located in Miramar, near the Youth hostel. The small park has been converted into a small skatepark with obstacles and transitions, which have been built by the skateboarders themselves.

Manish Sidhhu has been a skateboarder for approximately eight years and has skated in different regions of India including Haryana, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore, and Delhi. He recently released India’s first skate, ‘Sauce’ magazine as a hardcover publication on January 13. The magazine features everything a skateboarder needs to know along with one kg the most loved skateboarder in India, Amit Subba, along with the basic warm-ups and the easy steps involved in building a quarter pipe. The skateboarder, currently based in Goa says, “Whenever you’re on the skate, there are no limitations. It’s just you competing with yourself, maintaining the balance.” He also adds, “Skate culture in India should be considered ambiguous, than stereotyping it to a bohemian culture, considering the wonders it does to our physical and mental health. “

Skateboarding at this skatepark has also been encouraged by parents. Keity Garson, a mother to a nine-year-old Daniella states, “If you’re going to fall, might as well learn to get back on your feet while you learn skating.” Keity also describes the overall health benefits, and its effect on her daughter considering Daniella has been roll-skating as well as learning skateboarding for five months. Since the nine-year-old has always been an athlete and constantly exploring different sports activities like horse riding and skiing, the mother says, “It is important for the younger kids to have a nutritionally balanced diet, and stay hydrated while skating than with other sports as the sport makes you perspire more.”

The skatepark has people experimenting with skateboarding with their ages ranging from a five-year-old kid to a person in their late 40s. Vellister Rodriguez, an exceptionally good Goan skater, who has discovered himself through skating describes his journey as ‘an introvert who discovered confidence and social skills to approach and have a hearty conversation with people’. The twenty-one-year-old also started taking classes to engage kids in skateboarding and says, “I want to improve myself in the upcoming years, and want to see people engaging in skate culture. I just want them to take the skateboard, and want each one of them to personally try and experience it.”

Konstantin Naumenko, a seventeen-year-old Russian skateboarder for almost four years has been practicing skateboarding in this skatepark, and describes the skate culture of Goa as pretty decent, considering the roads are crusty and rough, which also gives another aspect towards improvement.

The skate culture in Goa, hence, is flourishing considering multiple aspects which also address the benefits associated with an individual’s health as well. A bigger skatepark with proper transitions and obstacles would give a greater scope for these skaters to flow on their wheels.