North Shore skateboarders now have a safer place to ride. A new skate park at Kahuku District Park was dedicated yesterday. After the ceremonial untying of the maile, Nainoa Suratt got some air off the half-pipe.

Kahuku airs out
new skateboard park

Skate enthusiasts are pleased
with the layout, an effort of
state and local groups

By Sally Apgar

Before the opening of the new Kahuku Skate Park, Joey Trisolini and his friends rode their skateboards in the streets and along the tops of railings around various small businesses in town.

"One guy chased my friend and threw a hammer at him, just for skating on his railing," said Trisolini, a freckle-faced 15-year-old from Kaaawa.

With the official opening and blessing of the skateboard course in Kahuku District Park yesterday, Trisolini and other North Shore boarders now have a safer place to show off their daring on six obstacles with names like the quarter-pipe, launch box, banked hip and the kicker ramp.

But the skateboarders frown when asked about the safety of riding in the streets. They seem more concerned about the rough street terrain causing wear and tear on their boards. Several boys said yesterday the smooth surfaces of the park's concrete slab and equipment is easier on their boards and wheels.

"The streets are rough. A friend of mine broke a new board in half in like two hours," said Trisolini, who added the town's terrain is so rough he regularly wears out a wooden board every four to six weeks. New boards costs about $50. The detachable wheels and "trucks" or axles around $90 or more.

Trisolini's younger brother, Nick, 13, looked approvingly at the new skate park course: "It has a nice flow to it and lots of good obstacles."

Kalani Kane, 10, of Kahuku said the course "is much better than the street. You can get bigger air" which is skateboard speak for the height off the ground or "air" he gets when he launches off the quarter-pipe, a big curved ramp.

The skate park is a product of a community effort aimed at North Shore at-risk youth that was themed "Off the streets and into the parks." HMSA donated $25,000 to cover the equipment and the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation donated the concrete slab and fencing.

In addition to HMSA and the Parks department, the project was supported by the Association of Skateboarders in Hawaii, the state Department of Health, the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition, Coast Recreation and the Kahuku Community Association.

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