14 Jan 2018  |   04:57am IST

The skateboarders of Goa

For the last five years or so, there has been a growing community of alternate adventure sport enthusiasts in Goa. The tribe of skateboarders that is part of this underground sports scene has also been growing. Café takes a look a this trend and lifestyle
The skateboarders of Goa

Karsten Miranda

Back in the 1990s, Fido Dido, the cartoon

character mascot of a popular beverage, was quite the rage, with his cool vibe and skateboard, teasing at a culture relatively unknown to India, let alone Goa. Fido may have disappeared from the picture, but this underground scene is very much alive and kicking and Goa has a big role in the story of how that culture has evolved over the last decade or so.

The alternative sports scene in India hangs out together a lot. Skateboarders are often found in the mix of surfers, slackliners, mountain bikers, BMXers, snowboarders, longboarders and other adventure enthusiasts; the communities are very intertwined. Even the underground hip hop scene in India is very tight with the skateboarding scene. It's common to find B boys, rappers and graffiti artists at a skate event.

Events such as these have found a growing base in Goa and while there is more to come, the first skate park of India was built in Goa sometime around 2003. “It used to be a very beautiful skate park but unfortunately it isn't accessible to skate today. This was probably when skateboarding first came to India and Goa. Ten years later, there were a few skaters in different pockets of India, many who knew of each other but probably had never met. Everything was online. The Third Eye Tour of 2014 bought all these skaters together for the first time on a three-city skate tour from Bangalore to Goa via Hampi. That set the ball rolling,” says Anveer Mehta. Anveer, a resident of Panjim, and other members of this community can be seen skating on the streets of Panjim when there is no traffic.

Some of these street skaters prefer jumping sets of stairs, skating ledges and rails and just cruising, while others prefer transition and skatepark, trying out tricks such as the kickflip, rock n roll, no comply, treflip, powerslides, grinds, tail stalls, etc.

“We have our favourite spots in Panjim. Night skatemeets are great. Apart from that there's Patto plaza, Goa University, Don Bosco and the Youth Hostel(YH) skating rink in Miramar. Since most of these spots are flat ground, we're either building our own wooden ramps or spot hunting for something new,” adds Anveer.

Their latest work on a new skating park at the Youth Hostel has generated a lot of buzz on social media ever since they got Vans, the international footwear and apparel company to help them sponsor their build.

“This is going to be a real spark. To have something like this in Panjim will really help push the scene as well as every individual skater,” adds Vaibhav Rasam.

The group has also trained a large number of people, from ages 4 to forty. “You just introduce someone to the basics and then they find their own style. We’re soon planning to take classes again to help build this community,” says Vaibhav.

While India itself has just around 15 parks, besides the one coming up at YH, skatemeets in Goa happen at the ALIS bowl in Morjim and the Cirrus skate park in Anjuna that was made by Holystoked, a collective from Bangalore that also organises the popular ‘Holy Detour’- a three-city skate tour where a bus full of skaters travel and skate together. The event sees skaters from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Madhya Pradesh.

Apart from this, last year, Redbull sent four skateboarders from North America, South America, Europe and Africa to India, where Goa along with Bangalore and Chennai were the locations they visited. “They skated all over Panjim at spots we guys could have never imagined were skateable. It was absolutely insane. The guys along with local skaters did a demo show at Don Bosco School too,” says Samuel Ferreira.

There’s also the Girls Skate India tour that brings together girl skateboarders and videographers and more together on a three-city skate trip across India.

Apart from that we always have some skateboarders visiting Goa, and when they do, we always meet for a session. It’s the same if we travel to another city with our boards. It’s great, you make new friends and get to skate new spots, learn new tricks,” says Samuel. Sharing that sentiment, Anveer adds that the energy from the skateboard community has pushed them to try out new things, which is rewarding and inspiring.

“Skateboarding really teaches you two things - how to take a really bad fall and get up, and how to keep pushing,” sums up Anveer.


Idhar Udhar