Recently some of the most elite skateboarders in the world came together as global citizens to develop India’s first free skatepark. Holy Stoked, recently built in Bangalore, is the first of its kind, allowing skateboarding to flourish as a culture in a country where, until recently, it has been virtually unheard of.
British skateboarder Nick Smith built Bangalore’s first skatepark in 2010, and introduced locals Abhishek Enbake and Shashank Somanna, or “Shake” and “Soms” respectively, to the sport. Their passion was palpable and it became clear that they wanted the skateboarding culture to infiltrate India’s youth. Eager to construct new and safe skateparks, Shake and Soms created Holy Stoked Collective, hoping to propel enthusiasm for skateboarding across India.
Without proper experience and resources, Smith’s park would remain the only skatepark in India. Fortunately, a visit to India from German skaters Arne Hillerns and Robin Höning, accompanied by support from Levi’s, provided the boost that India’s skaters needed. Having started their own do-it-yourself skatepark in Germany, Hillerns and Honing were well-equipped to take on a similar project in Bangalore. After analyzing the obstacles they could potentially face and finalizing the design, they called in professional skaters from all over the world to make this dream a reality.
With help from local skaters as well as pro skaters from around the globe such as Lennie Burmeister (Germany), Jan Kliewer (Germany) and Rob Smith (England) and U.S. pros Omar Salazar, Chet Childress, Al Partanen and Stefan Janoski, the project was under way. The group faced the challenge of building a functional skatepark, moving several tons of sand and thousands of feet of steel without the use of modern machinery. In just two weeks, the global collaboration between all of the skaters helped transform an empty lot into a proper skatepark.
With the completion of India’s first free public skatepark, Holy Stoked will continue to grow the skateboard culture by building parks in three more cities, and by providing local kids and adults alike a place where they can gather and share a common interest.