By Eric Heinz
Skateboarders across the age spectrum will once again swarm to the Ralphs Skate Court in San Clemente on Saturday, Sept. 15.
There’s more to the contest than just the aerial displays and competition. San Clemente Skatepark Coalition (SCSC) has been working with the city of San Clemente for the last two years to use the event as a fundraiser for more lighting and possible expansion of the Ralphs Skate Court, which is tucked into the back southeast corner of the city.
The skate park is typically pretty busy after school, on weekends and during the summer, and it sometimes gets too crowded, parents of younger skaters have said. Without lighting, the hours of the park are limited for use.
Stephanie Aguilar, the president of SCSC, said she and her organization along with the help of the Friends of San Clemente nonprofit have been working with a skate park company to come up with design proposals for the city to add lights and possibly another bowl to the park.
Samantha Thomas, the recreation manager of the Beaches, Parks and Recreation department, said the city allocated $100,000 to pay for lighting as long as the SCSC comes up with the remaining $50,000, but expanding the park would cost significantly more.
Last year, the event raised about $3,000 toward the skate park and about $6,000 the year before.
“Hopefully, it’s not going to be too long before something happens, but we also don’t want to go through the whole process if there are too many restrictions,” Aguilar said referring to the city’s insurance policy that may not cover certain features of the park proposed by the organization.
Thomas said the city will look into any concept submitted to it for the skate park, but getting past some of the hurdles has proven to be more difficult.
“We’re willing to entertain a concept, should they (raise) the funding for it,” Thomas said. “If that’s the path they want to go down, we’d need to see the conceptual drawings.”
The Friends of San Clemente are currently acting as the beneficiary of the funds raised to the skate park.
At Saturday’s Open Skate, there will be a vendor fair as well as sponsors with booths set up. There will be food trucks on-site for breakfast and lunch, as well as a local youth band, Stink, Inc., performing. Entry fees are $40 for skaters, and helmets, kneepads and elbow pads are required.
8 a.m. Opening Ceremony
8:10 a.m. Male 5 years and under/Female 5 years and under
8:40 a.m. Male 6-7 years/Female 6-7 years
9:50 a.m. Female 8-12 years /Female 13-17 years
10:15 a.m. Male 8-9 years
11 a.m. Male 10-11 years
11:45 a.m. Morning Awards (11 and under)
Noon. Nike SB Best Trick Contest (11 and under)
12:20 p.m. Live Music: Stink, Inc./Lunch
12:20 p.m. Open Skate (registrants only)
12:50 p.m. Female 17 years and older
1 p.m. Male 12-13 years
1:45 p.m. Male 14-16 years
2:30 p.m. Male 17 years and older
3:10 p.m. Afternoon Awards (12 and older)
3:20 p.m. Nike SB Best Trick Contest (12 and older)