Get your skates on

Get your skates on

Skateboarders are eagerly awaiting the opening of the city's first park dedicated to their sport


(Front row from left) Chan Hon-sang, Ko Wan-luk and Cheung Long-sing. (Back row from left) Oscar Tung Tak-ho and Yu Long.
(Front row from left) Chan Hon-sang, Ko Wan-luk and Cheung Long-sing. (Back row from left) Oscar Tung Tak-ho and Yu Long.
Photos: Kevin Kung/SCMP
Good news for skateboarders: the long-awaited X Games park in Fanling is to open soon. The city already has five skate parks but most are part of existing district parks. The X Games park, which has cost the government HK$51.3 million to build, will be just for skateboarders.

Located on On Luk Mun Street, in an industrial area near Luen Wo Hui in Fanling, the park has been a hot topic for months after its opening was delayed. Even though it passed safety tests, it is believed the government decided to postpone its opening because it was not convinced the facility was safe for users.

After many meetings over the past few months, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and Hong Kong Federation of Extreme Sports agreed to hold some fun days to test the venue and see how users found it. The park is 99 per cent finished - it's just waiting for some sign posts. As well as skateboarding, it can also be used for XGames BMX biking. It is expected to open after the fun days.

Young Post was at one of the fun days and met five young skateboarders: Chan Hon-sang, Ko Wan-luk, Cheung Long-sing, Oscar Tung Tak-ho and Yu Long.

All attend different schools but they met each other through the sport.

Wan-luk took up skateboarding 10months ago, on his 14th birthday. "I got a skateboard on my birthday and took it from there. My parents think it's dangerous and didn't want me to take it up. But it's not a bad hobby so they didn't make me give it up," said Wan-luk, a student at NLSI Peace Evangelical Secondary School.

Wan-luk met his first skateboarding buddy, Cheung Long-sing, also a beginner, at Mei Foo park. "Skateboarding parks are always a nice place to meet new friends. And it makes you try to do more advanced tricks when you see your friends can do them," said Long-sing, a Form Five student at ELCHK Lutheran Secondary School.

Hon-sang enjoys the speed of the sport, and its versatility. But he's got a few tips for beginners. "To play it safe and have fun, I advise watching some skateboarding videos on YouTube first. After you pick up the basic concepts, bring your skateboard down to any of the parks. You'll find other skateboarders are friendly and willing to share their knowledge," said Hon-sang, who is in Form Five at HKTA Lee Heng Kwei Secondary School.

Of the five good friends, Long has the best skateboarding skills. The Year One student at Integrated Vocational Development Centre in Mei Foo has been skateboarding for three years and has mastered some of the more advanced tricks. "I'm a stubborn person. Once I decide to try to learn a trick, I won't give up or try something else until I get it right," Long said.

This certainly seemed to be the case the day we met Long, who insisted on jumping off the steps in the park before being photographed. He failed the manoeuvre a few times before he nailed it.

Oscar, a student at Lam Tai Fai College, is looking forward to the new park's opening because it has a wider range of obstacles. "Before I saw this, I just couldn't get excited about the skateboard parks. I tried to skateboard on the street, but it's dangerous for me and pedestrians. This new park has steps, fences ... It's safe and a nice place to go skateboarding," he said.

Extreme sports federation president Warren Stuart is delighted the park is close to opening.

"We will have at least four more open days coming, on October 22 and 29, and two in November. The LCSD will run about four free training classes for beginners. Visitors will be able to learn some basic tricks and have a try-out at different obstacles," Warren said.

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