The Santa Clarita Skate Park was buzzing with excitement Saturday, as many children with watchful parents were skating in preparation for the California Amateur Skateboard League competitions.
The event was hosted by historic skate brands like Powell Peralta, Bones and Vans Shoes; the competition was organized in three styles of skating: vert, street and park mini ramp.
Competitors were primarily young children and were divided into categories for boys or girls 7 years and younger, 8-12, and 13 and older. There was also a sponsored competitor competition.
Darrell Norman, 47, was the announcer for the competitions and the assistant director for CASL. He said that he’d skated all his life when he was younger and competed in the CASL.
“I started in this contest series when I was younger, and I’d never left. So I just wanted to keep this program going for all the future generations, especially with skateboarding being as popular as it is now,” Norman said.
Norman said that the talented kids just need to see the tricks and see how they can emulate the professionals and become better.
Prior to the event, the league held video skate competitions with kids submitting their skate routines because the parks were closed and having large groups wasn’t plausible because of COVID-19 disruptions.
“We had kids from all over the country sending in their own street footage at their local park, or in the streets, and we would judge it like a normal contest,” Norman said. “So we were doing that in lieu of the pandemic.”
With restrictions currently lifting across the nation and skate parks opening up, it was an ideal time for CASL to get back into producing competitions in person, according to Norman.
Norman said it’s slow with people coming back because people are cautious, but noted the increase in new faces and familiar ones returning to compete.
The event’s purpose is not just about winning skateboarding competitions; it’s about the life lessons and building camaraderie with others who enjoy the same community.
“The lessons that you learn through skateboarding, the falling down and getting back up to achieve a goal, the accomplishment and the community that comes with that, is something we want to instill in the kids more so than becoming a pro skater or going to the Olympics,” Norman said.
David Sager is the father of 9-year-old Jude, who competed in the vert and bowl competition. He was proud of his son’s first-place win that mesmerized crowds with his tricks and ability to catch air.
Sager said his son’s first run was flawless and he was impressed because Jude had never skated at the Santa Clarita Skatepark before.
“We were coming for the learning experience for his first contest in this series,” Sager said. “He’s really stoked and we’re really stoked right now.”
Jude has skated since he was 4 years old and was never influenced by his parents but found a passion for the sport while his siblings were in school. Sager said Jude is self-motivated to skateboard and compete.
“We want him to have fun, have longevity in the sport,” Sager said. “It’s a good healthy sport; it’s outdoors and keeps him off of the screens.”