Skateboarders take Bengaluru streets by storm

BENGALURU: Zipping on their and making their way seamlessly through crowded streets, nearly 30 skateboarding enthusiasts affiliated to the rode through and on Thursday.
The riders were observing International (June 21). The city, which is considered the skateboarding capital of the country, boasts of the first-ever free skatepark in India, set up by Holystoked and other collaborators from different places.

What began as a passion for Poornabodh, Somanna MR, Abhishek and Amit Subba in 2011 has turned into a hub for both professional and amateur skateboarders. From hosting competitions and providing lessons to selling skateboards and accessories, Holystoked in Hegdenagar can be considered the epicentre of the skateboarding scene in Bengaluru.

Somanna said there are three skateparks in the city, all built by Holystoked, of which only one, The Cave in Hegdenagar, is open to everyone.“We provide lessons at places like Cubbon Park and Decathlon, where there is space to teach properly, and at our skatepark. Over the years, it’s been exciting to see more and more people from different backgrounds express an interest in skateboarding. The youngest in the class is a three-and-a-half-year old,” he said.

Attracting skateboarders from different parts of the country via social media, the 30 enthusiasts first warmed up at The Cave and then moved on to MG Road. Turning heads as they cruised down the thoroughfare, the group was even offered free ice-cream by a store owner.

According to Somanna, potholes and the undulating surface of pavements are not deterrents, but in fact allow them to treat it as an obstacle course. “As skateboarders, we take the environment in our stride. Be it a bench on the sidewalk or a pothole on the road, all are obstacles for us to jump over and skate around. Obviously good infrastructure would be ideal but slight inclines and changes in the track are exciting,” he said.

‘Not aping the West’

Poornabodh said the setting up of Holystoked has helped the entire sub-culture of skateboarding to evolve, without any overt promotion.“We are not blindly aping Western culture. We left successful careers behind to test the scope of skateboarding in the country. We were told we were wrong but now we know skateboarding can really take off in India,” he said.

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