Fundraising a brighter future for local youth

San Clemente city organizers, non-profits and residents set $50,000 goal to improve and expand skatepark

(Courtesy San Clemente Skatepark Coalition)

Aspiring skaters arrived with anticipation to Ralph’s Skate Court on Sept. 15, demonstrating their rotational inertia and centripetal force. Dana Point, CA local implant from Austin, TX, Logan Cogswell stole the show, winning the competition with his Dogtown-esque modus-operandi and self-made creativity. 

The contest consisted of multiple divisions based on age and sex competing for first place along with other prizes, including a new deck from Oceanside skate shop ATM Skateboards. At any given moment, sounds of metal grinding on metal echoed throughout the court as riders carved up and down the ramps. As a panel of judges viewed the competition, ambitious young competitors gave their all to receive recognition and rewards.

“It has a lot to do with creativity, style, consistency — not necessarily in that order,” said professional skateboarder and instructor Neal Mims, one of three judges for the competition. “Using the whole course is very crucial, as opposed to staying in one zone.”

Mims adjudicated next to fellow professional skateboarders, Alphonso Rawls and Fabrizio Santos, as Dave Duncan donned the title master of ceremonies for the event. The four professionals monitored the contest with expertise. Young families, local sponsors and vendors filled the surrounding scene working toward the collective mission: fundraising for more skateboard facilities in San Clemente.

“I’m here to support my students and the community,” said sponsor Paulo Guillobel, founder of Guillobel Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. “The idea is to create a new venue with more options. Skateboarding is another way to bring in the youth that are not doing any other sports and to help them do something positive. We are 100 percent supportive of that because that is what we do too.”

The event is put on every year by the city of San Clemente, alongside the Friends of San Clemente Foundation. For the past three years the SC Skatepark Coalition, a local non-profit, serves in augmenting “bigger, better and brighter” facilities for the local skaters. 

“We are trying the best we can to listen to what the skate community wants and provide to them what they need,” said Stephanie Aguilar, president of SCSC. “The city has offered $100,000 to go toward lights and we are to cover $50,000 for the project. We’ve raised $20,000 so far and whatever we get from this competition will go towards that.”

At 8 a.m., opening ceremonies kicked off the event following the first round of competitors as young as 2 years old. By noon, winners from ages 11 and under were announced and neighborhood adolescent band, Stink Inc. took the stage to perform covers from past decades of skater-punk influenced music. 

Nike SB sponsored the event, handing out cash prizes for the best tricks. Street and vert skaters alike showed great sportsmanship celebrating flawless landings and dynamic stunts. With each victory, the crowd’s energy grew with applause and appreciation, bringing the community closer.

The SC Open Skate Contest will return next September. The SCSC will be back as well to continue fundraising for more features and building new parks for the skateboard community. Most importantly, skaters, young and old, will be back to compete for awards and affluence as their community supports their passion and posterity.