Feature Article - February 2008
Find a printable version here

Ride the New Wave

Skatepark Terrain for the 21st Century

By Kate Bongiovanni

Go Skateboarding Day

Skateboarders of all ages take the skateparks by storm every year on June 21 for Go Skateboarding Day. It's a chance for skateboarders, those who want to try the sport and those inspired by skateboarding to stop everything and pick up a skateboard to go for a ride.

Kids post events at the Go Skateboarding Day Web site, www.goskateboardingday.org, which serves as a general posting site and last year received roughly 800,000 hits on event day and had 600 events posted in 40 countries worldwide, according to John Bernards, executive director of the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC). The event also gathers interest through videos posted on YouTube and MySpace, through skateboarding magazines and through skateboard retailers. "We're going to promote it pretty heavily this year," Bernards said. "We're in the business to promote skateboarding and increase participation."

Started in 2004 by the IASC, the event remains on the same date regardless of the day of the week. "We were looking to have a day for kids to skate where they'll actually go out and do it," Bernards said. "It's an individual sport, but kids tend to do it together…get together and have fun."

June 21 falls on a Saturday in 2008, and Bernards believes that the weekend date can only help the event. In 2007, Bernards said approximately 1,000 kids packed into Chicago skateparks to participate, and he recounted kids rolling into skateparks in Costa Mesa and Lake Forest, Calif., after 3 p.m. when school got out. "Kids were skating in from everywhere," he said. "And they skated from store to store to store."

But it's not just for the kids: Retailers see a 25 percent increase in sales because of Go Skateboarding Day and get involved at the local skateparks setting up tents or hosting events. Bernards said that the IASC plans to have contests with retailers around the country this year, offering incentives to stores that produce the best window displays or post pictures of their local events.

For more information about Go Skateboarding Day and past events, visit www.goskateboardingday.org.