Violet Whyte walks the bowl on her board at Castle Downs Skatepark in North Edmonton.
“It’s just fun and I feel alive,” said the 19-year-old from Sherwood Park.
Whyte belongs to the Tiger Skate Club, a club for women and girls, which helps develop the sport in Edmonton.
“A lot of people would say it’s a crime and it should always be a crime, but I’m so glad it’s accepted and in the public sphere kids can adopt it and parents support it,” he said. said Whyte.
You can see more from the Castle Downs Skatepark on Our Edmonton Saturday at 10 a.m. and Monday Labor Day at 11 a.m. on CBC TV and CBC GEM.
Part of that acceptance comes from skateboarding debut at the Olympics this summer with the street and park categories. Four Canadians – three men and one woman – competed in the Tokyo Games.
It was an “incredible feat”, according to Adam Higgins.
The High Performance Director and Head Coach of Canada Skateboard knew that the international sport exhibition would attract eyes and attention. But it wasn’t until his return to the Tokyo team that it really touched him.
“When I parked in my driveway on the way home, I could see a few neighborhood kids who had just skated – and they were kids who didn’t skate before I left.”
Now, Higgins is in talks with clubs across the country who are seeing interest skyrocket.
“They get more phone calls, more class requests, and they just fill up, they sell. So they added more dates, and it’s just amazing.”
Tim Mercer specializes in equipment for sports and he also saw the crampon.
The owner of Edmonton’s local 124 Skate Shop, located on 124th Street near 107th Avenue, said inventory had “blown off the shelves” during the pandemic as people sought to get out and stay active .
But he also noticed another trend.
“The face of skateboarding has changed. We have certainly seen an increase in the number of young women buying their first skateboards and that has been great,” said Mercer.
He mentions the sport’s top female athletes, like 12-year-old Kokona Hiraki, who won silver and 13-year-old Sky Brown, bronze at the skateboard park competition in Tokyo last month.
“I just think about the ages of the women who competed and won. It’s pretty powerful to see someone their age win an Olympic medal and I think that definitely motivated him.”
Mercer would love to see a couple more skateboard parks added to the local landscape to keep pace with demand.
There are currently 11 skateparks in Edmonton with Castle Downs, at 11520 153rd Ave. being one of the largest and among the first developed in the mid-2000s, according to Brennan Link.
There are no plans to add more parks at this time, but Link, the city’s supervisor for playgrounds and sports fields, said he has seen use of these facilities increase.
“I think it’s super important to have places like this. It provides opportunities for communities,” he said.