Pro skaters coast into town

It was a dream weekend for local skateboard fans.

Some of the top athletes in the sport made their way to the Oak Harbor Skate Park on Saturday as part of the “High Fives up the I-5 Tour,” put on by the Girl Skateboard team.

“It’s always been a dream that I could get a pro team out here at some point,” organizer Terrill Simecki said. “I’m just super happy about it.”

Although the name suggests the participants may be female, Girl is strictly the name of one of the more popular companies in the world of skateboarding. Some of the top names participating on their team include, Brian Anderson, Paul Rodriguez, Mike Carroll , Jereme Rogers and Rick McCrank.

“You would never even think that these guys would come here and they’re here,” fan Justin Connolly said.

Getting them to perform here wasn’t really that difficult. A simple email from Simecki to the team manager a few months ago and that’s all it took for Oak Harbor to become one of the locations added to the list that included large venues such as Sacramento, Portland and Seattle.

“We’re so lucky to have them out here,” Simecki said. “If you look at their tour poster we’re one of the smallest towns on there.”

With a good 200 plus fans of all ages on hand, the skaters performed a demo, showing off their various skills.

“These are some of the elite skateboarders,” Simecki said. “It would be like the San Antonio Spurs playing basketball at Oak Harbor High School.”

The skateboarders didn’t disappoint, as they performed a variety of kick flips, ollies and rail grinds that obviously pleased those in attendance.

“This is the best thing that’s ever happened to Oak Harbor,” fan Mike Darcy said.

Not only did the fans have fun, but the pro boarders also enjoyed the experience on what was their final leg of the tour.

“I didn’t really have any demos in my town when I was growing up, it’s really cool to do this for the kids,” Brian Anderson said.

Along with the theme of giving back to the kids, the group spent over an hour at Gizmo’s Board Shop signing autographs before they made their way down to the park to perform.

Anderson, who was voted Thrasher magazine’s skateboarder of the year in 1999, was impressed with the set up at the Oak Harbor Skate Park.

“It’s one of the best ones I’ve been to (on the tour),” Anderson said. “I like stuff that’s smaller with ledges and stuff and not just have bowls. You can get more creative here, there’s just so many ways to hit everything.”

With the success of Saturday’s demo, Simecki plans on bringing a similar event to Oak Harbor next year.

“We’re going to try and get something going like this every year,” he said.

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