By Paul Kent
Believe it or not, Greenskate was my first distance push ever. Well, outside of riding home from work. If you’re familiar with my LongTreks videos you most likely have Greenskate to thank for it.
The first Greenskate was held in Calgary back in 2007. The goal was to promote skateboarding as a means of environmentally friendly transportation. My roommates and I also decided it would be ideal if we could pair such an event with the international Earthday movement. We squabbled over names, then I went to work making posters and choosing a route. I got to sweep gravel off nearly 2 miles of our 18-km course that year. It sucked, but it made it possible for our 30-odd participants to complete the route. The following year we saw Greenskate take root in New York, Connecticut, Seattle, Edmonton, and Santiago Chile which alone had amassed a whopping turnout of about 200 people.
It’s been a while since I have done much outside leading the Calgary event. But I have proudly watched it grow under the care of my former roommates. Ross Baradoy and Aaron Christensen should take full credit for getting Greenskate noticed throughout the world. This humble little event has expanded on a scale we couldn’t have fathomed back in 2007. Last year we saw 53 registered events all over the place! And this year it’s only getting bigger! If we can figure out Antarctica it’ll be on every continent.
Greenskate is a not-for-profit group that is officially partnered with Earthday.org. It recieves no sponsorship, so it has remained neutral for the benefit of local event organizers. Allowing for local events to gather their own sponsors instead of forcing unfamiliar company logos onto the individual events. Of course this means it generates no revenue whatsoever. Greenskate is merely a tool for independent organizers or communities to get a group together for fun and a good cause.
The real charm of Greenskate is that anyone can participate; just check out www.greenskate.org to find the closest event near you. That, and organizing one is incredibly easy! Just get as many people as you can together for a big group skate, anywhere, however you’d like. Tell any news media it’s an Earthday celebration that promotes skateboarding as “green” transport. Greesnskate can be great experience for someone new to event organization. Its also a great strategy to build worth as a sponsored rider. How do you get involved? Talk to a few friends and decide what you want to do, and where you want your event to be held. Next head to www.greenskate.org for information and to register your event.
I’m excited to see this thing get huge this year. I’m glad in some small way I get to be a part of it.
With your participation we can really push this Greenskate into the history books.
Just remember: when you ride in a Greenskate event you are participating in a huge ride. The largest international collaborative longboard event recorded. Anywhere from 5,000-15,000 riders will be out in a global group ride. Think of it as go skateboarding day, with a cause.