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