After everyone committed two long weeks of hard work, our goal to bring India’s first free skatepark was finally done!
– Omar Salazar
Thanks to a local collective with big dreams and some good connections to the international skateboard scene, India finally has its first free skatepark in Bangalore. It’s a massive step for skateboarding in India, and turned out one of the best parks in all of Asia. Yet, the story’s only just begun, and now everyone can help by donating used skate gear to the growing skatescene in India – join the Levi’s® #Suboard Donation Project this summer!
Earlier this spring, almost three dozen DIY ramp builders, pro skateboarders, journalists, and cinematographers from all over the world traveled to Bangalore, India to assist the local skate advocacy collective HolyStoked in making true what they’d been dreaming of for the longest time: to build the first free public skatepark for the Republic’s growing skateboard community. Supported by Levi’s®, it all went down in no more than two short weeks, and yet everybody referred to it as “The Epic Build” – because the project was so special, the impact so massive: “It was smiles for miles in India today, and it felt great to us all,” US pro Omar Salazar said after the opening bash with hundreds of locals. “Thanks to all and to the HolyStoked crew for never giving up! It’s all about taking action and doing what’s right. Look how happy skateboarding makes these kids.”
Despite the ambitious scope of the project, it was smiles for miles during the build as well: Initiated by HolyStoked’s Abhishek “Shake” Shakenbake and Shashank “Som” Somanna and Hannover-based “2er” Crew (Arne Hillerns, Daniel “Eule” May, Robin Höning and Max Beckmann), the idea to create an alternative to the official Bangalore park – way too expensive for most of the locals anyway – soon attracted other like-minded individuals and crews: More DIY concrete builders such as Alex Irvine, Darryl Knobbs, Lennie Burmeister and Jan Kliewer came out to help and were quickly joined by US pro skaters Chet Childress, Al Partanen, Omar Salazar, and Stefan Janoski.
Well aware of the fact that they were pushing skateboarding and contributing to the culture like they never had before, they all came together like one big family and ended up building not just a park, but a concrete-solid foundation for India’s bubbling skateboard scene.
After the massive opening event saw all 34 international guests and hundreds of local kids ripping those three tons of freshly laid cement – and avoiding to hit that one freshly planted palm tree that’s also part of the new park, placed in the middle of the “volcano” –, switchstance master Janoski went as far as to call it “one of the best, most fun skateparks.”
In order to secure the future of the park and to equip kids from low-income families with necessary equipment to actually skate it, Levi’s® has initiated its #Suboard Donation Project, a chance for each and everyone to push the Indian community even further: Skaters can donate their used boards and have them shipped to Bangalore. The first batch of 200 boards was already shipped by the 2er Crew, and now it’s your chance to #Suboard and to help fuel the fire of the Indian skate scene!
#Suboard is about taking the donation process to the next level: Coinciding with the launch of the new global Levi’s® Skateboarding Collection, a series of events is going to take place in five major European cities to celebrate skateboarding in India, showcase “The Epic Build” in all its gnarlitude and radness – and to support HolyStoked and the thriving scene in India by hosting board collections under the campaign’s #Suboard motto.
Apart from a special #Suboard Tuk Tuk responsible for collecting the boards, the events will not only boast photo exhibitions with India exclusives shot by Jeff Landi and Jonathan Mehring, but also bring exclusive screenings of the epic 15-minute documentary that was filmed by Simon Weyhe and Mathias Nyholm Schmidt during the build. Kicked off with a block party during Copenhagen Pro in July, #Suboard will also come to Berlin, Barcelona, Leeds, and Paris throughout August and September. Check the program – and dig out an old one: time to #Suboard!