The busy makeshift boards in the disused space at Swami Vivekananda Road Metro Station overpowered the sound of the Metro wheels on Wednesday. The skaters were on a roll and entertaining the spectators, whose ‘aahs’ and ‘wows’ after witnessing the stunts, rented the air.
‘The Vans Holy Detour’, organised by ‘Holystoked’ and sponsored by VANS, started off with a bang in the City. The do-it-yourself (DIY) subculture of skateboarders received a lot of appreciation from Bengalureans. The skateboarders from across the country were joined by 20 international skateboarders, who came to witness the City’s beauty on their unique wheels. Shashank Somanna, one of the co-founders of ‘Holystoked’, said, “Skateboarding is a limitless passion and this event unites enthusiasts from different walks of life to skate together as a family.”
With participants coming in from France, Germany, USA and Australia, one could witness the comradery between them as they cheered each other with ‘high-fives’ and pushed themselves to do better with their boards. Jacob, a skateboarder from Germany, learnt about this event from one of his friends and was happy to hear about the existence of skateboarding culture in India. He shared, “While it is a good vacation for me to witness India, it gives me a boost to be able to do that with my skateboards. The event is very well-organised and it is good to see the DIY culture getting popular here in India.”
The skateboarding culture in India might be new, but this did not stop the Bengaluru boys from showing off their talent while staying on par with the international skaters. Abhishek, one of the co-founders of ‘Holystoked’, flew up high till the ceiling and never gave up until he finished all the stunts on the makeshift boards. Sweating out his passion for skateboarding, he said, “Last year we saw around 23 participants. This year, we have sponsorers and it is very well-organised with over 40 participants. We are grateful to have received the support of the locals here in the City.”
Emphasising that mainstream exposure is necessary for this unique sport, the business head of VANS, Rahul Ashok said, “We as a brand have strong heritage with skateboarding through our products and association with professional skateboarders. This event is part of our ongoing agenda to support amateur skateboarders in India and to grow support for the sport itself.”
The game moved beyond genders as the female skateboarders too enthusiastically showed off their talent. Clamence from France said, “I am not a pro in the game but I was looking forward to being a part of this event as skateboarding is something that I love and I want to excel in this taking motivation from everyone around.” Ben, a solo traveller to India from France, met the Indian skateboarders by chance and came to be a part of the event. Riding his wheels, he smoothly captured all the moves and stunts on his camera. Phillip from Germany was unstoppable. He moved like a wave and manoeuvred all the stunts with ease. When stopped to share his experience, he said, “I learnt about this event on the internet and wanted to be a part of it. It is so great to see the encouragement for skateboarders here in India.”