Sam Haslet said she wish she knew that today, June 21, is Go Skateboarding Day, but it matters little as a promotion to build business at her place of work, the Brandon Skate Park at Providence Park East.
There, at the 11,000- square-foot park, Haslet serves as the program specialist, and is more than eager to discuss the success of the , which officially opened April 21.
“We finally hit our 1,000th waiver,” she said, in reference to the signed-waiver that is a required before a skater can use the facility owned and operated by the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department.
“We’re at about 1,050 now,” she added. “Our oldest skater is 52 and I have two 4-year-olds who skate regularly,” Haslet said. “I’ve even had a 3-year-old. They don’t have the muscle capacity to do some of the tricks, but they are definitely grinding and Ollie-ing and cruising the course.”
The regular, more-advanced skaters, “are breaking in the course nicely,” Haslet added. “We have 30 to 50 people here every day and that means that there was an absolute need for this park and the county made a good decision putting it here.”
- See in video, .
As for special hours or activities for Go Skateboarding Day, Haslet said nothing is planned.
As advertised at GoSkateboardingDay.org, "every year on June 21, skateboarders around the globe celebrate the pure exhilaration, creativity, and spirit of one of the most infuential activities in the world by blowing off all other obligations to go skateboarding."
“I didn’t know it was Go Skateboarding Day until yesterday,” she said in an interview June 20.
Still, the day does mark the park’s second-month anniversary, which afforded Haslet a good opportunity to talk at even greater length about what life has been like at the park for skateboard aficionados, both from the Greater Brandon community and the broader regional area.
“It’s important that the kids who don’t do standard sports, like soccer, baseball and football, have an opportunity to try something different they may like other than a typical team sport,” Haslet said. “It’s great exercise and you have to have a lot of willpower to do this. You have to want to do it.”
Haslet said she is very glad her job required her to embrace the world of skateboarding, a sport that was foreign to her — and to her way of thinking.
“I was in the Marine Corps, which means I’ve done things that are very rigorous with lots of rules,” she said. Skateboarding, though, “ is very laid-back and I thought, ‘Man, I’m going to have a hard time,' but it kind of loosened me up, made me relax, and we have a really good time.”
The bottom line?
“We’re making our own little family over here,” Haslet said. “The skaters accept everybody. Doesn’t matter who you are, what color you are, there is no hate. They all just get along. There’s a cool camaraderie about it.”
As for the new vocabulary that comes along with the world of skateboarding, Haslet said she is getting a good education.
“If you have questions, the skaters are more than happy to explain it to you,” she said. “They definitely want to educate you on everything.”
In celebration of the park’s grand opening, skating is free throughout the summer. As to when a fee will be instituted, that has yet to be decided, Haslet said.
At the park, music plays and the lights are on at night, which allows for skating in cooler temperatures. Summer hours for the Brandon Skate Park are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.
All skaters are required to wear helmets. Skaters under age ten must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Skaters under age 12 must skate with full pads. There are a limited number of helmets and knee and elbow pads available to borrow, Haslet said.
The park’s first major event is the Brandon Skate Park Band Jam and Skate Jam, scheduled for July 14, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Five to six skaters will compete at a time in a skate jam by doing skateboarding tricks one after the other. Four local bands will be performing as well.
“We’re going to make this an annual event,” Halset said. “Next year we’ll make it even bigger, maybe a whole-day event.”
Skateboarding at the Brandon Skate Park, she added, “is getting big, quick.”
From an earlier report:
The 11,000-square-foot park was funded with impact fees and general revenue dollars. Team Pain, a company owned and operated by skaters that for 30 years has been creating custom skate parks for communities and skateboarders worldwide, worked under Hennessy Construction Services Corp. as a member of the design, permitting and construction team.
The Brandon Skate Park is the first skate park built with taxpayers' dollars.
According to county officials, the park cost $499,501 and is best described, according to a Brandon Patch interview with Team Pain foreman Chris Berry in January, as a "street course," featuring a bowl, "like a swimming pool, 9 feet, 6 inches deep."
The Brandon Skate Park is at 5720 Providence Road, in the Greater Brandon community of Riverview.
Included in the course are radius ramps, stairs, rails, ledges, banks and pool coping, which is the term used to identify the stone, or in this case, concrete material used to cap the bowl shell wall.
Team Pain has built skate parks throughout Florida, including in Tampa, New Tampa, Sarasota, Bradenton and the soon-to-open park in Apollo Beach.
Brandon Skate Park Grand Opening Particulars:
- Entrance to the park will be free throughout the summer.
- After that, the skate fee is $4 per day. The cost for an annual pass is $150.
- Hillsborough County has a reciprocal agreement with the City of Tampa. Annual passes will be honored at all Hillsborough County and City of Tampa skate parks.
- All skaters must wear helmets and complete a waiver.
Brandon Skate Park Features:
- An intermediate/professional bowl with rounded walls, two hips and two general depths. The shallow end is 6 feet deep and just under-vert; the deep end is more than 9 feet deep, with 1.5 feet of vert. The entire bowl has pool coping and tile.
- Consists of two main levels that split the park into two sections.
- The lower section has a few street-plaza elements, including a granite bench set at an angle; curved ledges; a cone-pole jam; a manual pad; a small, but long, set of four stairs; a brick-stamped bank with a flat bar on top; and a handrail and flat rail. The area also sports a very wide quarter-pipe, with steel coping, including a 12-foot pool coping extension; a smaller pyramid with a bull-nose flat rail; and a steep bank and hip.
- The lower section is connected to the upper section with a series of banks, including a step-up that links to an escalating transition hip.
- Six-foot corner quarter-pipe leading to a long and low A-shaped quarter-pipe, ending at a series of moguls located throughout.
- A third level takes skaters to the bowl, an area also connected with quarter-pipes and more moguls, ranging in height from 2.5 to 5 feet.