EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The super bowl for skateboarding. At this year’s Olympics, the sport made its debut.
As it expands its reach globally, First News at Nine’s Maria Blough tells us how skateboarding is looking to grow in the Chippewa Valley.
A few things have changed since 2013 when the Lakeshore Skate Park opened in Eau Claire.
One of those: skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport.
“It’s wild to see it on that level, and it’s so cool seeing everyone from so many different countries and different age groups,” said Gabe Brummett, the founder of the Eau Claire Skaters Association.
For Brummett skateboarding is a sport, but it’s also an art.
That’s one fearsome skateboarders have about it becoming an Olympic sport: that it will lose its edge.
“A creative outlet for a lot of kids,” said Mikey Selsky who works at Passion Board Shop. “They get into it because they weren’t into the traditional sports. They didn’t like having a coach or someone telling them what to do. For me it was I don’t have anyone over my shoulder. I get to hang out with my friends and experiment with this thing.”
Selsky hopes the Olympics will get more people to fall in love with skateboarding.
Eau Claire is already home to a growing skateboarding community and that community said it’s outgrown the only park in town.
“Last summer if you went past the Pablo Center in the evening, there was like 20 or 25 skaters in that little plaza area just doing what they do,” Brummett said. “That’s the kind of space they need. That’s why they’re there. They’re not there because they don’t like the skate park. They are there because the skate park is too small.”
To solve that problem, the Eau Claire Skaters Association has been raising money to build a new, larger skate park in Boyd Park.
Already it’s raised $83,000.
To create a park the size they need, it will cost around $150,000 to $200,000.
The Eau Claire Skaters Association is hopeful that construction will begin next year on the new park.
In the upcoming months, it will host design workshops with the city and the community to design the park to fit community needs and wants.
In Eau Claire, Maria Blough, First News at Nine.