The Trials and Tribulations of Building a Skatepark in India
At this stage in skating’s short but illustrious history, it’s easy to assume that kids in every corner of the globe have become as enamored with it as we have in the West. The skate scene in Bangalore, India, however, is decidedly less robust than in Orange County. The streets are often dilapidated and the cops don’t hesitate to chase kids away from good spots, which is unusual and unfortunate for a country that’s new to skating.
Holy Stoked, a small collective based in Bangalore, is working to create a community of skaters in a country where many people have never even seen a skateboard. Parks are important to any young skate scene—especially in places without great street spots—so Holy Stoked cofounders Shake and Soms reached out to Levi’s about teaming up to build a park in Bangalore. Lo and behold the jeans giant agreed to help.
The goal was to build a concrete park in two weeks, a prospect not unlike God creating the world in seven days. So pros Omar Salazar, Stefan Janoski, Chet Childress, and Al Partanen decided to fly out and lend a hand. European skaters Lennie Burmeister, Jan Kliewer, and Rob Smith showed up as well, and along with the German construction crew 2er and a slew of builders. They managed to put down, according to the press release, “20 tons of sand, three tons of cement, 2,000 meters of steal, and one palm tree” over the course of 16 days. You can watch the first of a three-part video series about the project below.
Skateboarder magazine’s senior photographer Jonathan Mehring was there snapping photos during the first week of the undertaking and recently stopped by the VICE offices to tell us about it.
VICE: Can you give me a basic rundown of what you guys were doing in India?
Jonathan Mehring: Holy Stoked bought a lot of land in a decent neighborhood in Bangalore, and then Levi’s bought all of the materials, gear, and equipment needed to make a skate park. They built the whole thing in just over two weeks and then had a party, an opening ceremony kind of thing. It was actually kind of funny—a local politician came and posed, pretending he was riding a skateboard.