CAROLYN FRISBY of Samson writes about Fremantle’s skate plaza.
Can I play on your iPad?” was inevitably the question whispered in my ear at 6.30am every Sunday, but not anymore. Ever since my six-year-old son saw a photo of the Fremantle skate park in the local paper, his eagerness to go rivalled that of a hyperactive dog wanting a walk.
So even though the sky was grey, it was cold outside and warm in bed, my husband and I finally conceded and made the short trip into Freo.
We arrived at 9.30am and were pleasantly surprised to be met, not by masses of beanie-clad teens practising their newest tricks, but by several other bleary-eyed parents clutching little helmets, mini-scooters and large coffees.
Eyes bright with anticipation, our sons (six and four) entered the park. Carefully at first, they rode the gentle slopes, but as my rather competitive eldest son noticed other kids speeding past, they quickly progressed to faster and more challenging drops.
Not to be outdone by his older brothers, our 18-month-old happily toddled around, haphazardly weaving between delighted children on two, three or four wheels.
As you can imagine, there were spills, and many of them, but I was again surprised and very impressed by the gladiator-style bravery these kids displayed.
I witnessed one little girl repeatedly fall: each time she would smile, dust the dirt off her jeans and keep on riding. These children have no time for tears.
Perhaps the highlight of the morning was the skate clinic run by Skateboarding Australia. Offered completely free of charge, three experienced skaters shared their expertise with 15 very eager pupils.
They set the children up with helmets and boards, ran through some stretches and, step by step, taught them some basic skateboarding skills.
They were patient and encouraging and it was wonderful to see the kids learn correct technique from local skaters.
That first trip to the skate park was six weeks ago now and it appears we have been converted: every Sunday morning since—rain, hail or shine (unhappily not much of the latter), we have joined the faithful throng.
Yes, even the other Sunday, in torrential rain, we sat in our van, Playschool music drowned out by the rain, gazing wistfully out the window at the empty skate park.
No longer am I woken every Sunday at 6.30am with requests to play my iPad, but with scooters in hand and helmets donned, my kids seek real adventure.