Kovalam Skate Club
The SISP Kovalam Skate Club is located at SISP, Kovalam, India and was founded in 2014 as a part of the bigger NGO SISP. We had already co-founded earlier the Kovalam Surf Club and the principle “no school, no surfing”, but during monsoon we had no alternative. Now with free skateboarding lessons we can motivate the school drop-outs also during monsoon to continue their education.
"No School, No Skating"
In April 2014 the Royal Atheneum College (Bruges, Belgium) did a great fundraising and SISP was able to build a mini skate ramp on the second floor of the school. SISP and the Kovalam Skate club joined hands with the Holystoked Collective (Bangalore, IND) and the 2er Crew (Hannover, GER). In May we could proudly open the first skateboarding miniramp in Kerala and one of the first of it's kind in India. Skateboarding has been proven to be extremely popular amongst youth from all cultures and social backgrounds and is, just like surfing, a powerful tool to uplift youngsters facing harsh living conditions. Skateboarding is like surfing on concrete and during the first runs on the skateramp by our kids with surf experience we were amazed to see how easily they adapted to their new playground. The skatepark is a part of S.I.S.P.’s free education centre.
After we experienced that the first mini skateramp was quite high (about 170 cm) and difficult for our younger kids, SISP decided to build a small skate park in the school courtyard. This does not affect the children’s games because it takes advantage of already existing walls and steps. Having a small skate ramp is also attracting younger children to join the Skate Club and benefit from it, and by seeing their friends skate, more and more children are encouraged to try it out. After a successful crowd funding campaign on Indigogo, to sponsor the materials, we had an amazing international team of volunteers (Germany, Maldives, UK, France, India) who came to build an incredible extension to our skate park. Especially designed for our junior kids but also great fun for all others.
Another advantage of having an open-air park is that also girls get more attracted to skating. Parents here often worry about their daughters practicing sports in the presence of boys. Having a park in the school courtyard means that girls will be able to skate in presence of adults in an easily visible place, so they will feel more at ease. At present the girls often can’t join the boys in their games because the girls’ clothes are impeding or the sport is culturally not considered suitable for girls. Skating overcomes both these boundaries and contributes to equality between boys and girls, which is still, unfortunately, uncommon in most of India.