Skateboarders have their day with official activity

A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson The hop, the ollie, is one of the basics to skateboarding.

Thousands of skateboarders descended on San José Sunday for a procession through the heart of the city for the fifth annual Wild in the Streets celebration of skateboarding.

A truck provided by Red Bull blared music and led the procession down the official, six-kilometer route from Polideportivo Aranjuez, over to Parque Morazán, through downtown and finally ending in Parque de la Paz, where event sponsors set up numerous obstacles for skateboarders to show off their tricks.

Despite the official route, hundreds of young men and women in small groups took their own ways to Parque de la Paz, making skateboarders a common sight across the city Sunday.

“It’s really just to support the skaters so this sport can get bigger and bigger every year,” said Carolina Molina, a marketing manager for the Costa Rican apparel company Arenas Skate and Surf.

The first Wild in the Streets took place in Detroit, Michigan, in 2004 and was organized by Emerica, a skateboard shoe company based in the United States. The event has since spread to other cities internationally, including San José in 2008.
While the main event took place Thursday in Detroit, Emerica worked with other sponsors including Arenas, Red Bull and the Municipalidad de San Jose.

“This year Arenas is one of the principal sponsors,” said Ms. Molina. “So we brought the mini-ramp, and we’re going to have the teams skate there and then let the kids skate on the ramp.”

Skateboarders flocked to Barrio Aranjuez from across the city, some skating alongside runners in the Clasica Internacional San Juan half-marathon which also passed through downtown Sunday morning.

Meeting at the Aranjuez sports center at 9 a.m., thousands of primarily young men practiced in their tricks for 20 minutes until the group gradually began migrating to Parque de la Paz, where the skateboarders resumed showing off their skills and watching professionals on the half-pipe.

By 11 a.m., Ms. Molina estimated that somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 skaters had arrived at the basketball courts at the southern end of the park.

While hundreds of skaters determinedly attempted trick after trick throughout the morning and afternoon, many stopped to watch Arenas’ professional skateboarding team give a demo on the half-pipe before opening it up to public use.

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