Abhishek, or Shake as he’s known, is a DIY master when it comes to building skate parks. That’s right a DIY skate park, made from scratch. He has built over 11 skate parks, three of them abroad.
Shake started skating six years ago, although his first run in with the board was at 14. “My folks travelled to Singapore and brought me a board because I had seen it in Back To The Future and wanted it. But I gave it up after less than a year because I had no friends to skate with and couldn’t progress further,” he recalled.
But that did not stop him. Later, amid the lack of skate parks in India, Shake and his buddies decided to build one. “It isn’t rocket science to build ramps to skate. It just takes a little experience and anybody can do it. If they stay interested, they can do it well,” said Shake. It definitely does help with the placement of obstacles if you are a skater yourself or friends with one.
The crew– Poornabodh, Gautham Nettar, Somanna and Shake – came together over a skate park built at Play Arena in Bangalore. Joining forces with Nick Smith, who’s been on a board for decades, they started skating the bowl in 2011. They were soon joined by Amit Subba and Prannoy Jacob and called themselves HolyStoked.
Shake, who has been building parks for years, says that with a little help from volunteers, building a skate park is a piece of cake, particularly if you know the basics of constructions and have a bit of experience with DIY. The first thing you need – in India – is the permission of the person whose land the build is on. If the land is private, the neighbours need to have no objection to the build.
“A mini ramp is pretty standard and can be built anywhere which is 200 square feet and larger. Depending on the space available, you can make it bigger or smaller,” he said
To begin construction, you will need regular power tools for cutting, shovels for digging, rakes, pick axes, power trowels and concrete floats. You will also need raw materials like plywood, steel rebar and concrete. “It’s always nice to have a cement mixing machine and a JCB digger, but it is possible to do without these as well,” said Shake.
Over the years, he has built various skate parks in India in places like Vizag, Hampi, Goa, Bangalore, Madhya Pradesh and more. Abroad, he has contributed in Myanmar, Ethiopia and Bolivia. He has also been involved in a government skate park in Navi Mumbai, the construction of which has currently been suspended.
For the future of skateboarding in India, he hopes for better sidewalks and more skate parks all over the country in the next few years and for Indians to be able to compete professionally with skaters from America, Brazil and Europe. He added, “I hope there will be a local skate crew in almost every Indian city and town, so that when we travel we will always find skate spots and the brotherhood.”
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