Skate park wheels on the roll

The Eyethu skate park is still under construction.

The first phase of construction of the Eyethu skate park has been completed, but additional funds are required by the end of February in order to meet the planned completion deadline of Friday March 15.

After receiving the go-ahead from the City of Cape Town, Peter Dutton, of the Rotary Club of Hout Bay and a team of community volunteers led by Vicki Scheffel, got the wheels turning on the Eyethu skate park project with construction having started at the Hout Bay sports complex in November, last year.

Initially the project was meant to be completed in one phase, however, due to funding, they’ve had to split construction into two phases and are currently trying to raise funds to finish the job.

“Phase one, which we just finished, now represents two-thirds of the entire bill. The remaining one-third we can’t commit to right now because we don’t have the additional R250 000 that we need, so we need to get that by the end of February,” said Mr Dutton.

“The project is due to finish on March 15, so by the end of February we need to know that we have that funds to be able to continue,” he said.

Mr Dutton, a long time Hout Bay resident, said the Eyethu skate park would keep children busy in the afternoon after school, catering specifically for those who were not interested in playing traditional sports like soccer or cricket.

“Skateboarding is something that brings all the youth together. Despite the negativity of the past, I think the youth realise that there is another way and they get along so well in the skate parks,” said Mr Dutton.

“We had a meeting last week with the funding committee and I’ll be contacting some overseas clubs to see what they can do and some local individuals to see how they can help as well,” he added.

Meanwhile, South African skateboarding legend, Dallas Oberholzer, who is the founder of the non-profit organisation, Indigo Youth Movement, heard about
the project and immediately offered his services to ensure skateboarders got the most out of the skate park.

Mr Oberholzer, 43, has over 30 years of skateboarding experience under his belt and became the first African skater to compete on the international scene in 1997.

“What makes me stoked about the construction of the skate park is that half of the crew on the site were children when I met them in a Zulu village 12 years ago.

“Not only are we creating a skate park, but we are also creating jobs for the locals, we’ll run life skills programmes, make skateboards available for those who don’t have.

“Everything will be free. We also plan on running skate instruction programmes in making skateboards and training up facilitators from within this area to run our programmes,” said Mr Oberholzer.

Mr Oberholzer is part of the design team but considers himself a “problem solver”. Originally from KwaZulu-Natal, he’s been in the Western Cape with Indigo Youth Movement for the past 10 years and has built skate parks across the country, including Blue Downs and Scottsdene.

“Last year we took skateboarding to schools in Atlantis where we repurposed old courtyards and made them skate parks.

“Skateboarding is thriving in Cape Town, new facilities are popping up and new NGOs are following in our footsteps so it’s really a time for skateboarding to shine because it’s also heading to the Olympics in 2020,” he added.