Micaiah Furukawa nails a big-air ollie in front of the Goleta Valley Community Center.
Paul Wellman

How’d you like to kick-flip your way along Hollister Avenue from Modoc Road to Ellwood?

That’s an increasing possibility thanks to the Goleta Skateboarding Movement (GSM), a nonprofit founded in 2011 to advocate for skateboarding parks in the Goleta Valley. “Initially the discussion centered on the possibility of a skate park at the Goleta Valley Community Center,” explained the center’s general manager, Rob Locke, a GSM boardmember. “But it blossomed more into an initiative to develop satellite skate parks along the Hollister corridor. Now it’s taken flight, and we’re pretty excited about it.”

Thanks to their efforts, fundraising is underway for a temporary skate park at the community center, which will be used to gauge public interest in a more permanent structure. Also already in the works are skate zones in Isla Vista and Old Town Goleta, and if all goes as hoped, there will be places to grind at the Page Youth Center, on airport property owned by the City of Santa Barbara, and in a location west of Storke Road, possibly Girsh Park. The group then plans to work with the Metropolitan Transit District to develop a special bus pass that would let kids visit multiple locations on the corridor.

“It’s something that other communities are adopting,” said Elliott Rebuck, a marketing assistant at the Goleta-based Skate One manufacturing company, who explained that many kids from Goleta can’t make it down to Skater’s Point in Santa Barbara. In part because legal skate parks lessen property damage that comes from skating elsewhere, Locke said that neighborhood skate parks are taking off in Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada. In Oregon, according to Rebuck, “Every little town has a skate park, and some towns have multiple skate parks.”

Listening intently is the City of Goleta, whose spokesperson Valerie Kushnerov confirmed that the city is “actively pursuing” skateboarding elements in the new park being developed on Kellogg Avenue in Old Town. She explained, “It’s something we heard loud and clear from the community.” That interest was echoed during a recent event at Skate One’s headquarters. “We were just there to give out info, and pretty soon people are handing us one-dollar bills and five-dollar bills,” said Locke. “It was very uplifting.”

With the satellite model, the park sizes would vary widely in size and dimensions, offering skaters of all ages and skill levels an opportunity to shred. “Instead of focusing on a narrow audience of kids who know how to skate and know what they want to skate,” said Locke, “this gives an option to have a variety of skate elements that would appeal to a broader base of the skateboarding community.”

Lifelong skaters like Rebuck, who’s skated for 20 of his 29 years, can attest that skateboarding is no longer an outlaw sport but one that inspires and educates. “Young skaters get this spark,” said Rebuck. “Whether it’s the typography, the videos, the graphic designs, it’s an entry point for them to get excited about those different types of digital media. They might not find a career, but it is a potential entry point for them to gain experience and exposure to those different types of paths that would lead to a really fulfilling career.” Then there’s always the remote chance of going pro, which wouldn’t be possible without somewhere to practice, “just like there are soccer fields and baseball fields and football fields,” said Rebuck.

Though many years in the making, the current campaign certainly reminds everyone how much the skateboarding world owes to Goleta, where the sport caught on early as home to the pioneering Powell-Peralta skateboarding company (now part of Skate One). “There is history and heritage that exists here,” said Rebuck, “and we want to celebrate it.”

A punk rock concert to benefit the Goleta Skateboarding Movement happens on Friday, January 11, 8 p.m., at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. See sohosb.com or call 962-7776.


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