Friday, April 10, 2009
Sit down and read for a second as I want to tell you a little tale. 10 years ago a group of local lifelong sk8boarders banded together to lobby the City of L.A to build a sk8park after their beloved Venice Pavilion was demolished. Much as David and Goliath, the fledgling platoon of sk8boarders took on a near insurmountable task, unknowingly entering into the lion's lair of L.A City politics. By 2000 The platoon of sk8rs(by now known as the Venice Surf And Skateboard Association(VSA)) had grown to company size and had held several protests/sk8board demonstrations to arouse public awareness of their battle for a world class sk8park. The first obstacle on the path to construction turned out to be the L.A Kings Hockey organization of all people. It turned out that the L.A Kings had a back door deal to exchange advertising for venture capitol. Imagine, a City Counsel member's Sr Deputy assistant had plans for an ice hockey and ice skating rink where there was once the very alpha centre of sk8boarding culture. Well, the VSA opposed the Kings/City Counsel deal. A showdown came to head in San Diego at a California Coastal Commission(CCC) hearing in April of 2000. Fortune smiled upon the sk8boarders as the CCC deemed the Kings plans not within the parameters of the CCC requirments. Amazingly the City Council switched sides and supported the construction of a sk8park. This small victory was only the beginning of an incredible series of negotiations, campaining and lobbying that eventually led to the 2009 construction of the only sk8park in America on the sand. The VSA has direct involvement in every stage of the process on the road to completion of the sk8park including the design and construction. Through the years the VSA has supplemented it's cost of doing business by providing skateboard and surfing clinics, demos, contests. In addition the VSA is providing mentoring and jobs to adult and youth participants. The VSA has been supported from a core of loyal sponsors that have continued to invest in the future of skateboarding.. However now that the sk8park is nearly done companies such as Redbull and Quiksilver that refused to support VSA efforts, have been throwing $$$ at the L.A City Rec and Parks to get the naming rights to the sk8park. Hey! Attention! Check this out, the sk8park will be named after a fellow Venice Sk8boarder, the legendary Dennis "Polar Bear" Agnew (RIP). The VSA will accept nothing less.