Association head Douglas says skateboarding taking off in JamaicaWednesday, May 20, 2020
BY SHERDON COWAN
PRESIDENT of Jamaica Skateboard Federation (JSF) Steve Douglas says the country continues to make significant strides in the sport's development, pending the erection of the Trench Town Boys' Town Reggae Skate Park when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ceases.
His assertion came on the heels of a new partnership with United States-based Boards for Bros and the Skatepark of Tampa (SPOT), as well as Canadian professional TJ Rogers, who pooled funds to secure 100 skateboards for the JSF's community programme.
Douglas, who introduced the sport to Jamaica about two years ago, believes the sponsorship will add impetus to the development process and send the country sailing along to a place where it could be deemed as having a skate culture.
Along with the boards, the partnership is also expected to provide a platform for Jamaican skateboarders in all parishes to feature their skills in a local competition for an opportunity to compete in the annual Tampa Am competition, dubbed the biggest amateur skateboarding contest across the globe.
“The Jamaica Skateboard Federation is elated about the 100-skateboard sponsorship and by extension the partnership with Boards for Bros, SPOT and TJ Rogers. This will support our skateboarding programme and the possibility of a Jamaica Am competition, which would premiere at the Trench Town Boys' Town Reggae Skate Park when construction is completed,” Douglas told the Jamaica Observer.
Plans and funding for the groundbreaking 18,000 to 25,000 square feet skatepark are still in the pipeline, despite the uncertainty around a new timeline for the project due to the current health crisis.
The project was first announced last year with an estimated cost of US$700,000 (about $94 million).
Once erected, Douglas foresees the skatepark and sports centre being a catalyst for change in the Trench Town and Boys' Town communities, and which will improve Jamaica's chances of Olympic qualification and more frequent participation at World Skate competitions.
“Jamaica has immense potential to compete at the Olympic Games and develop numerous male and female professional skateboarders with branding and sponsorship, which is why our main focus and priority is building the Trench Town Boys' Town Reggae Skate Park,” Douglas noted.
“But we are also aware of the effects of the pandemic on the economy and building the Trench Town Boys' Town Reggae Skatepark, so we have established a GoFundMe page with our partners to raise the final cost of building the skatepark. The options for branding and sponsorship for the Trench Town Boys' Town Reggae Skate Park is also available,” he added.
Meanwhile, Michelle Box, executive director Boards for Bros which is a non-profit organisation fully committed to providing equipment, safe skate spots and youth mentoring in the Jamaican community, echoed the sentiments.
“We are thrilled to send 100 skateboards to the Jamaica Skateboard Federation as the first step in our multi-faceted, multi-year partnership. We envision a pipeline of support to ensure that the youth being served by the 'Reggae Skatepark' have the equipment they need to establish a strong, supportive community.
“With over 14 years of experience distributing skateboards to communities, we know that it is tremendously impactful to distribute skateboards in communities where new skateparks are being built and we [will] follow up with more skateboards and perhaps other items such as helmets, shoes and skateboard lesson support as the community grows, changes and develops,” Box told the Observer.
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