With most indoor sports and activities being put on hold during the last year due to COVID-19, outdoor activities have been on the rise and skateboarding in Powell River is gaining in popularity.
Tyler Doubt recently became a member of the qathet Skateboard Society and helps out as much as he can when needed. His involvement with the society came through talking to people at the skateboard park with hopes to help out the community. He’s been involved with skateboarding since he was a child.
“I started skateboarding around 1985 when my brother and I found a Ray Rodriguez skull and sword skateboard with a broken off tail in the creek by our house,” said Doubt. “We rode around on it so much that for Christmas that year our parents finally caved and got us some gear.”
Doubt tries to skate every day, even if it’s for only 20 minutes during his lunch break. His own children are now involved and it has become a family activity.
“We rarely miss a skateboard night, and we have been building a ‘shred shed’ at home for when it is raining or the park is too crowded,” he added.
Coronavirus and social distancing played a role in getting back into skating.
“At a certain point during the pandemic it became pretty clear to me that I needed to pay more attention to my physical and mental health, and skateboarding has always been the most effective way for me to do that,” said Doubt. “My children are also at an age where they are interested in it now, too. Lots of us who grew up skateboarding are now going with our kids.
Doubt said it is common to see parents at the park or the skateboard night at Powell River Recreation Complex skating with their children.
“That wasn’t really how it was in the 80s and 90s when lots of us started,” he added. “The whole thing was still really in its infancy in most places. To have parents who grew up skateboarding would have been very rare then, but it is common now.”
Skateboarding is going to be included in the Olympics for the first time this year in Tokyo. While Doubt believes the arenas used for competition are lacking in authenticity, he will be watching the Olympic event enthusiastically and feels the overall impact will be a positive one.
Skater notes increase in interest
Fellow volunteer and society member Amber Schur agrees that while it may change things, having skateboarding in the Olympics will be a good thing. She has also been skating most of her life.
“I’ve always had a board since I was eight and then I started learning tricks the past three years,” said Schur, who is now 18. “I try to go whenever the weather is good and I have time; it’s been every day or every other day for awhile now.”
She helps out with recruitment, advertising and with the drop-ins that happen once a week.
“I’ve definitely seen an increase in people interested in the drop-ins; the inside kind of environment,” said Schur. “I think when the summer comes around there will be a lot more people; a lot of people skate outside during the summer. I’d say there are a lot more youth skating now.”
Drop-in nights have had around 30 people in attendance. The age group ranges from five and younger to around 50.
“It’s awesome, you get to meet a bunch of people of all different ages with the same passion and interest,” said Schur. “It’s definitely a hobby and a passion, just something to do to get outside and have fun.”