While many Whitehorse residents enjoyed free music at Shipyards Park on Canada Day, local skateboarders strapped on their helmets, hopped on their boards and competed in the 10th annual Canada Day Skate Competition.
With about 25 competitors showing their skills at the Second Heaven Skate Park in Riverdale, it was the biggest turnout to date. However, with only one participant, numbers were still very low in the girls division.
“We only had one last year as well,” said Temam Himour, an event organizer with Board Stiff. “It’s really hard for girls to bust into it. The injury factor being so high in skateboarding is what usually deters girls; as well, as it’s hard to find a group of girls where even two of them skateboard.”
Whitehorse’s Jessica Harrison, 12, the lone female competitor, points to the intimidating nature of the sport.
“Some girls might look at the skate park and think it looks too tricky,” said Harrison.
“Some people were telling me I was really brave going against the boys because most of the boys do harder tricks and I’m a beginner and all I do is just skateboard around.
“I’m happy I won.”
The competition featured beginner, intermediate and advanced classes and wrapped up with a best trick contest, won by Whitehorse’s Hazen Russell, 18, with an ollie transfer over a valley in the bowl.
“That was the first time I’ve done that,” said Russell. “It was a lot of fun.”
Tyrell Miller, 13, from Lower Post, BC, came up specifically for the competition, taking home first in the beginner division.
“I was nervous,” said Miller. “I had butterflies in my stomach but I just tried my hardest.”
The competition was put on by Board Stiff, the Boys and Girls Club, Triple J’s Music Cafe and the youth services group B.Y.T.E. In response to the growing popularity of the sport in the territory, organizers are considering establishing a second competition to take place at a different time of year, said Himour. So far, no date has been set.
“There were some kids here at 8 a.m. practising and we just think that’s the coolest thing,” said Himour. “We’re really excited that skating is alive and well in Whitehorse. The kids work really hard at it; they use the park and we’re glad it’s here.”
In fact, according to Whitehorse’s Graydon Keenan, who won the advanced division, younger skaters are getting harder and harder to beat.
“I’ve been around for ages and used to win back in the day, but now the little kids are just tarring it up—they’re unbelievable,” said Keenan. “I didn’t think I was getting first when I came today.
“I stuck with lots of style, lots of air—keeps the crowd happy. Nothing too technical.”
Keenan’s crowd-pleasers included launching out of the bowl over a bar held about four feet off the ground.
“You get out there and you get in the zone and you just go and hope for the best,” said Keenan.
1st Graydon Keenan
2nd Max McNutt
3rd Tony Dafoe
1st Cameron Sas
2nd Dusty Knorr
3rd Jade Miller
1st Tyrell Miller
2nd Lester Gladue
3rd Jerry Miller
1st Jessica Harrison
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