The Nation‘s Big Island Tour was a super special one for the books. The Nations crew was Joe, Tristan, Murph, McKenna and myself. We got to learn from the locals, the parents/grandparents and especially the youth what it is like to grow up on the Big Island.
Written by Rose Archie, Photos by Tristan Henry and Monica Ament
With so much rich culture and history all over the Big Island it reminded me of how resilient and similar we are as an indigenous people working hard to keep it alive.
As we gifted the 100 skateboards, it was really amazing to connect with the youth and to share stories with each other as we set them up. Getting to hear their way of life, the journey of youth learning their language, carrying on traditions is something Nations love to acknowledge and we made sure they know how proud we are to hear that.
The young ones that skated for their first time weren’t scared at all; they used their surfer abilities and that made it easy for them to cruise by themselves. It was natural for them and unreal to see in person.
Our first stop of the trip we got to visit the Old Airport Kona Skate Park in Kailua Kona.
This park was built on the site of an old landing strip and is super close to the beach. For our workshop we didn’t know what to expect but the smiles said it all.
We continued to our second stop, Waikoloa SkatePark. It was another big turn out, even the Mayor came out to see what was going on. The rain and the heat didn’t stop us even the locals from Kona made the drive out to keep skating with us.
The third stop was Roots Skatepark. This park is a must see and is located in the North East corner of King Kamehameha Park in Kapaau. We got to meet Richey Riggs and he shared with us the history of this park. The rain passed by a few times but it was okay because the park would dry up quickly.
On our way to Hilo was our fourth stop Honoka’a SkatePark. It is always rad to pull into a small town and see a skatepark like Honoka’a. The locals were all so kind and definitely had a small town vibe. Just like the other towns everyone was so welcoming and stoked to have an event that brings skaters and community together.
The fifth and last stop was Pahoa SkatePark just outside of Hilo. The local security guard welcomed us at the park and shared with us many stories of the town. The youth that came out didn’t expect to leave with safety gear and skateboards. It’s always emotional when parents are truly sincere about us giving their kids free stuff, this is something I wish our sponsors and everyone that donates to Nations can see.
After all the boards are gone to their new homes, Nations ends the tour back in Kona where we started, a full circle back to the beginning. It was great to hear everyone say how they loved that we picked the Big Island.
Big thank you to Monica and her family for being a big help in organizing the stops – we couldn’t have done this without you. We had also had last minute donations from parents and friends on the tour and we appreciated it all. Everyone at Vans, DLX and Dime you truly made a difference,
“For me, what started out with just an idea to stoke out Hawaiian kids, ended with a much more fulfilling and enriching experience, with a deeper connection with the Big Island community, and our Hawaiian people. Something as simple as being given the right tools to succeed, really helped grow an entire skate community around the Big Island. The testimonies given by Nation Skate Youth resonated with the community, as we all have life experiences that weren’t ideal, that we’re still working through, historical and generational. I witnessed an entire wave of new to the sport, girl skateboarders. I experienced my son grow into an active member of his community, by putting in the work every day, to make those events happen, and helping kids learn to skate. I learned myself that giving back was the medicine I needed to heal and the fuel I needed to continue my own work, so I can continue to give back. We had youth offering mahalo prayer & mele that gave us all goosebumps, the cultural connection was so important. Giving and helping is ingrained within Hawaiian culture, parents, grandparents, business owners, were giving back by bringing snacks and drinks, helping with trash, donating protective gear, offering places to stay so we can invite Nation Skate Youth back to Big Island. It definitely brought awareness there is a need for organizations like Native Skate Youth. The ripple effect is still being felt today, seeing all of the groms at the skatepark using their new gear, and hearing all the stories from their parents of their keiki’s new found love for skateboarding or relit flames.”Monica Ament