If learning a new skill is on your New’s Year’s Resolution list, Ucluelet’s Seaplane Base Rec Hall has you covered.
A group of locals have partnered with the district’s parks and recreation department to offer drop in skateboarding sessions three days a week.
The organizers of Wednesday, Jan. 4’s drop-in session, Krista Bohlen and Rylie Noyes, explained that gear is provided and the space is judgment free.
“When you’re learning how to skate it can be pretty intimidating at the skate park and it’s kind of hard to get into it if you don’t have friends and other people supporting you,” Bohlen said, adding that posts on social media garnered instant interest.
“There was clearly a need for it and lots of other people who wanted a fun, supportive, inclusive space for skateboarding and it just grew from there.”
Noyes said it’s important to offer beginners a welcoming space to learn.
“I think it’s really important because it is an intimidating sport, falling on the concrete isn’t fun, and just having someone tell you what to do to help you succeed is a really nice feeling,” she said.
Sully Rogalski was teaching participants how to kickflip during Wednesday night’s skate and told the Westerly they enjoy sharing what they know with others.
“I just like skating and I like seeing other people skate. I like the grassroots connection that comes with teaching people what you know. I’m not a great skater, but I know how to do a few tricks and I like to share what I know with people and then they can share what they know, and that really just makes the world go round,” Rogalski said.
“It creates a strong community. A skate community is a hard thing to break into and I think that what we have out here on the Coast in our communities is pretty unique. With the people who are running it right now, it’s a pretty foundationally inclusive environment, so it really opens the doors for people who have never skated before or who are nervous or would experience barriers in skating. My work in life is to reduce barriers for people in accessing the things that they wish to access, so I just like to bring that into all the hobbies that I do and try to share as much as I can.”
Renee Frank travelled from Tofino to take in the event and said the welcoming space is a perfect conductor for learning.
“I especially enjoy it in this environment because sometimes when I go to a skatepark full of professionals, I feel a little pathetic because I don’t know what I’m doing, but here I feel so brave. I’ve been scared this entire time, but I’m still doing it and there’s people encouraging me and helping me and I’ve noticed that even though my improvements are slight, they’re still there. I’ve been able to do something on this little ramp that I wasn’t able to do when I got here,” she said. “I don’t think I would have even approached learning this new skill if I didn’t feel welcome but I read this quote somewhere that, ‘You are worth the time and effort that it takes to learn a new skill.’ So, I always want to and I guess an environment that’s welcome like this one gives me that opportunity.”
Cam Hockley also travelled to the event from Tofino and echoed Frank’s sentiment around the value of the welcoming atmosphere.
“It’s a welcoming, non-judgmental zone where I can actually practice something I’ve never done before and can have fun with supportive people,” Hockley said. “I’m having fun trying something new. It’s a challenge and I’ve gotten a few of the tricks that I’ve been trying and that’s really rewarding.”
Skate nights are held at the Ucluelet Seaplane Base Rec. Hall three nights a week. On Tuesdays, kids can skate from 6:30-8 p.m. and adults from 8-10 p.m. On Wednesdays, kids can skate from 7:45-8:30 p.m. and adults can skate from 8:30-10 p.m. Sundays offer open skate nights from 5-8 p.m.
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