Atlas, the weekend came. Unfortunately, so did the rain, making it tougher than usual to find skaters at the skate park. Thankfully, my patience played out well. Sunday showed just enough sunlight to entice skaters to grab their decks, buckle up their helmets and go riding.
The Amazon Skate Park, located on 25th and Hillyard was my destination to find and interview some local Eugene skaters. Despite the conditions of the skate park, I was able to find a group of about seven or eight skaters. I sat down and talked to three of them regarding the skate scene here in Eugene.
Immediately after I got to the skate park and stepped out of my truck, I found the person I first wanted to interview. From a distance, I could see a guy with long hair tearing up the bowl with quick cuts and sharp turns – he knew what he was doing. Aaron Dillinger, an 18-year-old Eugene native, comes to the Amazon Skate Park, “at least twice a week, sometimes more if it’s nice out”, he says.
I come from southern California, so rain had never been an issue with skateboarding. Dillinger elaborated on the weather influencing the days he skates by saying, “Rain [is] pretty bad for your board, but I like riding so much that I have a ‘water board’ at home for the rainy days.” I found this very interesting and insightful. The fact that this guy has a board specifically for when it rains showed me the dedication he has for the sport.
University of Oregon sophomore, Ryan Phife, spent the time I was there doing interviews to change the trucks on his skateboard. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, trucks are the two metal brackets attached to each end of the skateboard. Each truck holds two of the four wheels. I sat down with Ryan Phife and asked him what it’s like to skate in Eugene.
“Honestly, it kinds sucks. The rain is the worst part, but the fact that this (Amazon) is our best skate park goes to show how much the city cares.” His reasoning seemed valid based on my own analysis of the park. The concrete looked uneven, the lip in which riders could get enough speed and jump off had cracks all over it, making it unusable, and the graffiti just added bad tone to the worn down Amazon Skate Park.
My last interviewee arrived at the skate park a few minutes after I did. He was with two younger kids who I assumed him to be the father of. Jim Mooney and I discussed the importance of skate parks in Eugene and how he believes the city is failing to make any efforts to improve current conditions.
“I think it’s important for them to have a place to go where they can have fun and be safe”, Mooney said about skate parks. “The city needs to make something indoor for the kids, though. If they can’t skate cause it’s raining, they’re gonna find something else to keep them busy and who knows what that could be.”