Skate Club celebrates 25th anniversary

The Wānaka Skate Park

The Wānaka Stateboard Club will be celebrating their 25 year anniversary next weekend, and have organised a number of community events to celebrate and fundraise. The club has partnered with the Wānaka Mental Health Peer Support Group and will be raising funds for both groups over the weekend’s programme of events, which is open to the wider Upper Clutha community.

The skateboard club was founded in 1995 by local skateboarding trailblazers Olly Burke and Reon Morland after the Queenstown Lakes District Council passed a by-law banning skateboarding in Wānaka town. Burke, who was head boy of Mount Aspiring College at the time, said that they had to find an alternative solution to allow them to practise their sport, “between ourselves and the staff at MAC… we formed the basis of the Wānaka Skateboard Club. The late Mike Allison who was Headmaster let us put a rail on the school tennis court. This gave us a legal place to practice our sport. After that we started fundraising for skateboard facilities. We acquired a secondhand skateboard halfpipe from Queenstown and drove over with five of us and dismantled the whole ramp and drove it back to Wānaka in the same day. This was the base of one of the first ramps in Wānaka.”

From Friday 20 to Sunday 22 September, the WSC will be hosting a number of community focused events. On Friday 20, at 6pm there will be an art exhibition/sale at Rhyme and Reason brewery featuring local and international artists. Saturday 21 will be a Wānaka Skate Tour around three iconic local skate areas for local skate enthusiasts. That evening, three local bands will be featured at Post Office Lane from 7pm onwards. “On Sunday 22 we have a skate/snow contest to be held at Cardrona Resort and the Rabbit Hole Café,” said Burke. “The Wānaka Skate Club held New Zealand’s First Skate and Snow Back in 1996-7 so it’s great to see the return of this event after 20 years.”

Burke said that since the club’s founding, he has witnessed a great development in skate culture in Wānaka, “the main changes I’ve seen in the last 25 years is the attitude and image of skateboarding... Similar to what happened to snowboarding in the 2000s, skateboarding is now an Olympic sport.” The fundraising events next weekend aim to contribute to further improve both the skate facilities as well as the skate culture in Wānaka. He would like to thank all of the members of the Upper Clutha Community for their support over the past 25 years, and encourages those interested in donating to the Club to email him at wanakaskatecollective@gmail.com.


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