Skateboarding takes over Hong Kong

Skateboarding takes over Hong Kong

Skateboarding is no longer just an underground sport. With skate parks springing up across the city, there has never been a better time to give it a go

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Bosco Chu says skateboarding is better than other sports
Bosco Chu says skateboarding is better than other sports
Photo: KY Cheng/SCMP

Hidden away within the grim, industrial surroundings of Fanling is a bright pop of colour. This warehouse studio, surrounded by skateboards covered in neon paint splatters and bright graphics, is home to the SBC skateboarding crew.

Skateboarding culture is still fairly new to Hong Kong, and nowhere near as developed as it is in the US and Europe. But SBC founder, Bun Lam Kam-bun, wants to change that. He's hoping his crew can be at the centre of this new rise.

"We started as a crew, just street skating everywhere and filming video," Bun says. "Once you skate with us, you are [part of] the crew."

Bun believes part of the appeal of skating is in the challenge and the freedom it presents.

"There are always new tricks," he says. "Plus there's the graphics on the skateboards and T-shirts. There's a lot of creativity."

Over the past decade, skateboarding has been steadily growing in Hong Kong. The SBC crew estimates that there are now more than 3,000 skaters in the city, and the number is growing.

Skateboarding is also becoming more accepted, even by the older generation. Rider and crew-member Matai Kwok Ka-chung says things were very different when he first started skateboarding. "When we skated on the street, some parents thought we were really bad guys, and they called us bad names," he says.

But as skating became more widespread, this view began to change. A major turning point was the opening of Hong Kong's first skate park, in Mei Foo.

Bun agrees that bringing things into the open has helped improve the skaters' reputation.

"In skateboard culture, just like in everything, there are some good people and there are some bad people," he says.

"Some parents only focus on the bad people. We had to keep it underground."

But that is now changing, he says, as skate parks begin to pop up across the city, from Yuen Long to Wan Chai. These parks are encouraging younger skaters to get involved, too.

Bosco Chu Ho-kwan, 10, from Fanling Assembly of God Church Primary School, and his sister, Yasmine Chu Yan-ching, 14, from Fanling Lutheran Secondary School, are two of SBC crew's younger skaters. Both have been skateboarding for a year, and while they find the sport challenging, they also think it's a lot of fun.

"Skateboarding is better than other sports, like basketball," Bosco says. Matai agrees skating can be a positive influence.

"In skateboarding, we respect each other," he says. "I think that in Hong Kong there's a lot of pressure. But skateboarding is something free. When you're skating, you don't have to think about anything. You can put it all out of your mind."

At the Fanling skate park, Bosco shows off his favourite trick, known as a "no comply", which involves popping the board into the air from the ground. Meanwhile, Yasmine circles around the edges of one of the deep pools.

As Bosco and Yasmine land their tricks, there are cheers of support from the other riders. The park is changing parents' attitudes to skating, according to fellow rider and crew-member Smore Chan Chung-yin.

"Parents no longer think that only 'bad guys' skateboard," he says.

Matai agrees that skating can be a good influence.

"How to jump or how to do a trick, it's all about your mind," he says.

"Plus skaters are just cool."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Taking it on board

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