Kids flock to skate park

01. 16NEWSWHEN school is out getting the average teenager out of bed before 10am can be nigh on impossible.

But Fremantle’s new skate park has them getting their skates on—literally. And not just from Freo.

“We’re down here every day at six o’clock,” says Hunter, 15, from Cottesloe. “[It’s] good to beat the crowds,” Mosman Park mate Bayley agrees.

Since the Esplanade park’s packed-out opening last weekend kids have been voting with their wheels and, with school holidays kicking off, the place is heaving.

“Sponsored skaters are coming down as well,” Lachlan, 15, says. Freo teen Ocean, 17, is so keen she’s tackling the “bowl” every day by 5am. She’s seen kids as young as three giving gentler slopes a go, and has talked to kids from as far as Clarkson who travel by train for more than an hour to get here. “This is exactly what the youth of Fremantle needed,” she says. “It’s good for all different skills and styles.”

When the Herald dropped by the atmosphere was electric and the adrenal-rush palpable as kids tried out their moves, some as young as five or six.

Grandmother Flora, watching from a seat on the sidelines, reckons the park is just the shot: “It’s fantastic, a great thing.”

The council sponsored Skate Boarding Australia to run free clinics over the school holidays.

Meanwhile, UWA has debunked criticism by some that the skate park will become a hangout for hoodlums.

In a report released Monday, boffins found that skate parks promote “good behaviour”.

“Skate parks are in fact a powerful setting in which young people can learn the arts of cooperation, negotiation and compromise informally, in contrast to the structured rules of organised sports,” lead author Associate Professor Lisa Wood says.



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