A celebration of stoke: Go Skateboarding Day 2018

Alexis Betia
The local skate community converges to spread the stoke

STOKED. Enthusiasts and professionals alike come together to celebrate local skateboarding culture. All photos by Alexis Betia/Rappler

Skateboarding has long since been integral to the Vans branding. Since the 70s, skaters have favored their shoes for their rough-and-tumble durability and the now-iconic waffle sole; thick, “sticky” rubber perfect for defying the laws of physics on a skateboard.

Since then, Vans has sought to give back to the sport which has defined it – everything from providing local skate shops with support, sponsoring up-and-coming local riders, and holding events that bring the community together.

Go Skateboarding Day, held last Saturday, June 23, is the latest in such events, a full-day celebration that had registration lines starting bright and early at 7 in the morning and capped off in the late evening with performances by The Chongkeys and Go Smoke Mary.

SUNNY SIDE STOKE. Hundreds of skaters didn’t mind the sun as they queued for entrance to the event.

Vans had back-to-back events lined up for skaters and audiences alike, from a skate clinic for newbies hosted by Kalye Skate Shop, an hour of free skate at the indoor course, and a series of mini-competitions like the longest powerslide, the speed challenge, an obstacle race, a girls’ game of S.K.A.T.E., the longest ollie and the highest hippie jump.

SOME LIKE IT SLICK. Iggy Chavez bagging first prize for the longest powerslide.

BODY COUNT. A rider attempts to clear a staggering 17 boards for the longest ollie.

GIRL GANG. The participants of the girls’ game of S.K.A.T.E.

SKY HIGH. Hippie jumps are not for the weak-willed.

OFF INTO THE FRAY. A rider takes off from the ramp during free skate

Main events

One of the highlights of the day was the old skool best trick contest, which called in faces familiar to those who have been part of the skate scene for decades.

OLD SKOOL RULES | Only for riders 35-years-old and above.

These riders showed the crowd a thing or two about riding, and that age and experience count for a lot when it comes to conquering a course. After all, if you can’t teach an old(er) dog new tricks, then they can at least show the younger pups a thing or two.

There was also the Off The Wall Ride Contest, which offered an impressive cash prize for the winner, but meant more when it came down to guts, glory, and taking on an obstacle that is as difficult and emblematic as the Vans Sidestripe itself.

GETTING LITERAL. A rider takes off from the top of the wall ride.

PRECIPICE. A grom skater musters up his nerve to try the trick.

It was the Men’s Invitational, however, that had crowds jostling for a better view as some of the country’s best riders queued up to show off their best run.

SMOOTH OPERATOR. Mark Calvo kicks off.

DAILY GRIND. Chris Ping Hurich on the rail.

CATCH 22. Rick Moral gets flight clearance.

There’s not a lot that one can accomplish within 60 seconds, but these skaters weren’t just anyone. The participants gave the course their all as they filled their minute with every trick they had up their sleeves.

“There’s a lot of pressure when it comes to events like this,” says Moral, a 26-year-old rider for Vans who has been skating for fifteen years.

“Being here, win or lose, we feel like we’ve already won.”

Community rules

Calvo, 29, has been skating for the last 15 years and been riding for Vans for the last five. He hails from Davao but flies in to Manila specifically for events like this, and confidently says, “One of the best things about skating is the skaters. We may speak different dialects but skating is a single language.”

POWER PLAY. Kito Trinidad wants to inspire more girls to join the skate community.

Kito Trinidad, a 23-year-old skater who came in all the way from Pampanga only to bag first place during the girls’ game of S.K.A.T.E., says that she’s never felt a difference between skating in her neighborhood and visiting Manila. “That’s why I love skateboarding. Everyone feels like family, like blood.”

Trinidad says that when she picked up a board five years ago, there were very few girls to idolize and that she learned how to skate from the boys. “Nakaka-proud ngayon na madami nang babae ang nagseskate sa Philippines. Sana makita ng mga bago na kayang-kaya nila. Lakas ng loob at tiwala lang.” (It makes me proud to see that there are more girls skating here in the Philippines. I hope the newbies see that they can do it. All they need is courage and trust.)

“These events are rare in the Philippines,” says Chris Ping Hurich, 30, another Vans rider who has been skating for 17 years. “Vans is very committed to holding events like this, not just in Manila but also in Visayas and Mindanao. It’s a melting pot — you learn from everybody. Go Skateboarding Day is great for bringing everybody together.”

A FAMILY AFFAIR. Rick Moral with his family.

“It’s is a great way to meet people and learn from them,” adds Moral, also from Davao, who flew in to Manila with his family in tow. “If there’s one thing people should learn from picking up a board and riding, it’s to value community.”

Four wheels and a piece of wood

There’s a lot to be learned from a sport where near-collisions are greeted with an embrace.

“I hope the general public sees and understands skateboarding as more than just what they think it is,” says Calvo. “More education is needed because some people still see skateboarding as risky, or that skateboarders are a nuisance.”

THE WORLD IS YOUR PLAYGROUND. A young rider overcomes makeshift obstacles out in the parking lot

“I hope the government gives more attention to the skate community,” adds Moral.

“We need more skateparks.” Hurich elucidates, “It gives kids something to do. Skating gets kids off the streets, gives them a venue where they can grow and be around good people instead of getting into vices.”

SEE YOU ON THE FLIP. Another grom getting some air outside.

“Skateboarding is constantly evolving. More skateparks means more chances for talent to shine and represent the Philippines,” adds Calvo.

“Skateboarding is all about defying limitations,” Hurich chimes in. “Whether they’re your own or the ones that society has set for you, skating teaches you to push past them. It’s all about persistence and determination.”

PARK TO PLAY. Christian Cis pulling tricks in the parking lot.

It will be interesting to see how Go Skateboarding Day evolves next year. Until then, these skaters will be spreading the stoke and holding the banner high for their sport. – Rappler.com