Monday, December 14, 2015

The #Waikiki Beach Boys (&Girls) Redux for the 21st Century #Scalzi Skatepark #Spring2016 #skateboarding



Duke Kahanamoku, a Hawaiian and an Olympic swimming champion was also the number one ambassador for surfing in the world and his home base was Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. This was between the 1920's and 40's. Duke knit a collective of surfer that would take tourists out to catch waves on the giant long boards. It was the first time many ever get presented with such a foreign experience as 'surfing' a wave of water. In surfing, the experience one gets when a natural element like water is pushing them along brings a state of unique rest and contentment. You have to do it to know what it's truly like. Skateboarding parallels in many ways the feeling of surfing.

Like surfing and dancing, skateboarding is an effective, practical tool and strategy as an early education/ intervention methods for typical children and those on the autism spectrum, with executive function skill deficits or any other special need or disability. Skateboarding requires focus and sustained attention in a goal-directed manner. These are all executive function skills. Functional balance, another 'EF' skill, works in conjunction with both right and left hemispheres of the brain to make split second decisions involving a great number of calculations when skateboarding in a park bowl. It all happens in the blink of an eye, yet is an activity that remains novel, fun and engaging.

In Fairfield County, Connecticut, the skateboarding flagship skatepark known as Scalzi Park in Stamford, Connecticut does not have the Waikiki Beach Boys taking people out on the skateboards, but local skaters and the community are banding together to see through different initiatives to welcome skateboarders of all ages, nationalities, race, religion or socio-economic background. It does not matter if you 'rent or own,' or if you've never ridden a board before. Bring yourself or child (safety gear) to the park.  Starting  Spring 2016 with newly sand blasted walls the locals and I will be teaching skateboarding as an after school program and as a weekend activity. One teacher for every four students. We'll even co-build your skateboard with you.  

In our efforts to revitalize the park and polish it beyond its original intentions, the skateboarding classes are part of a multi-pronged campaign to raise awareness for the need to construct  'night lights' for local skating community at the skate park, as well as expand the 'street course' venue beyond the skate park gates and towards the rest room facilities (which are always closed).

In the meantime, we are patiently waiting on city approval for Cello's Art On The Fence idea and permission to move forward with mural artistry work for the skate bowls. 

My skateboarding skills: I am getting way better at my 'pumping' inside the bowls, can do an ollie pretty well and am working on two new 'street course tricks.. the 'no comply' and the 'shove.' I also worked on my drop in from different areas on the bowl with help. I did well, yet there is a long way to go. It's a work in progress for someone who grew up surfing and not skateboarding.


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