Friday the 25th of August saw Skateboarding Western Australia again transform Curtin University’s lower Henderson court into a shared skate precinct.
The event which included a pop-up skate park, skateboards and safety equipment; enabled students of all skill levels to participate, and in some cases, try skateboarding for the first time under professional supervision.
The event is part of a wider push by Skateboarding Western Australia to grow and recognise skateboarding as a major sport in Australia.
Taking their skateboards and pop-up parks around WA, Skateboarding WA have run programs from Karratha to Warakurna.
Professional skateboarder, and SWA instructor, Alex Yates believes the last few years have shown encouraging signs for skateboarding, and hopes the announcement that it will feature in the 2020 Olympics will help to foster continual growth in support for the sport.
“Skateboarding is starting to get the recognition it deserves. Now the funding and institutional support needs to be investigated in comparison to participation rates in other, more mainstream sports.”
SWA aims to promote socially inclusive areas, and to break down the barrier between skateboarders and the public.
Mat De Koning, Co-owner of Perth based Skate Sculpture park designs, and associate of SWA, believes there needs to be a shift in the mindset toward skateboarders.
“There are still public spaces where skateboarding is not viable for obvious safety reasons, but there are places, like this campus, that with a little bit of signage and co-harmony the space can accommodate skateboarders and the wider community”, he said.
Since federal funding for the sport was cut in 2015, not-for profit organisations like SWA have struggled to garner institutional support.
De Koning believes institutions like Curtin University could be instrumental in growing the sport, and hopes that Curtin may consider embracing the sport to a point where skateboarding is actively catered for on campus.
“The skateboarding community is drastically under catered for, and that needs to be changed.
“We would love to see Universities take the lead in promoting less mainstream sports like skateboarding, and permanent fixture in campus would really help,” said Mat.
“When we bring our pop-up clinics to Curtin everyone loves it. We get all skill levels involved, and most people we speak to would love to see skateboarding a regular fixture on campus.”