Skateboard series kicks off with indoor jam

The 2012 Kootenay Skateboard Series starts off on April 14 at the indoor skatepark in Castlegar.

Matt Fontes and Ty Smith are ready for the upcoming Kootenay Skateboard Series.

Matt Fontes and Ty Smith are ready for the upcoming Kootenay Skateboard Series.

The 2012 Kootenay Skateboard Series will be starting off just as the indoor skatepark is about to close down for the season as the skaters migrate outside.

But on Apr. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the skaters will be hitting the half-pipe at the Kinnaird Youth Indoor Skatepark (KYIS) in Castlegar for one last time.

“This will be the first stop on the Kootenay Skateboard Series,” said co-ordinator Ty Smith. “This event on Apr. 14 is a celebration of the space and it’s open to male and female, beginner, intermediate and advanced. It’s a time for everyone to come together and skate at the indoor skatepark.”

KYIS is located at the Kinnaird Park Community Church, which is in the old Kinnaird Middle School. Fittingly, the indoor skatepark is in the old woodshop.

More than 100 skateboarders have signed up to use the indoor park over the winter, said Smith.

“There’s over 100 unique skaters from five to 55 that have come in and signed a waiver and ridden on this ramp,” he said.

The large half-pipe was build by the Rossland Skatepark Association and loaned to KYIS.

“It’s been a unique, free space for a lot of youth and adults,” said Smith.

The skatepark received approval from the Kinnaird Church and was open for business on Dec. 28 of 2011.

“Over two years ago, one of the guys from my youth group came to me and said, ‘we need a place to skate, to ride BMX.’,” said Kinnaird Church Youth Pastor and KYIS manager Matt Fontes. “We had a big dream. We started out with a make shift ramp that we built. It didn’t look like the one we have now. It got our foot in the door with the church leadership and board of directors.”

Smith said that it’s great to have a dry, warm, safe place for youth to congregate and skate in the winter.

“They can feel comfortable with the supervisors here,” he said. “The parents have really supported us with the space and allowing their children to participate. It’s giving an opportunity for young people to come together and share in their love of skateboarding.”

“If you come out on an evening you’ll see the these guys here have a brotherhood and a sisterhood,” said Fontes. “They support each other and give encouragement to do the next trick, take on the next hill, do the next thing. You can see the high fives and the hugs. It’s a good safe place.”