Fishtown’s Lineman wins “Uncapped” skateboarding competition

After tak­ing first place at a skate com­pet­i­tion last week, Fishtown’s Joey Line­man is headed to the renowned Wood­ward East skate camp.

Ac­tion from Exit’s “Un­capped” Skate Con­test, Sat­urday, Ju­ly 30, 2011, at POP’s Skate­park in Phil­adelphia.

Where there was once a rick­ety aban­doned con­crete slab off of Trenton Av­en­ue, there is now a bur­geon­ing com­munity skate­board­ing scene.

It’s bring­ing to­geth­er youths and adults in the com­munity and mo­bil­iz­ing civic groups.

Two years ago, an aban­doned roller hockey rink at E. Haz­zard Street and Trenton Av­en­ue was trans­formed in­to a skate park. Loc­al groups like the Friends of Pops, the or­gan­iz­a­tion in charge of the park, and the New Kens­ing­ton Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion (NK­CDC) worked with Fishtown skate­boarder Jessie Clayton and oth­ers to build the park.

To raise funds there were events at the loc­al VFW and a con­cert at Kung-Fu Neck­tie. The NK­CDC re­ceived a $10,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Found­a­tion.

Now, the park draws dozens of kids al­most daily. Last Sat­urday, Pop’s Skate Park got more at­ten­tion when 45 com­pet­it­ors between the ages of 7 and 17 par­ti­cip­ated in the Exit Un­capped Skate Con­test, sponsored by Exit Skateshop, loc­ated in North­ern Liber­ties and Vit­am­in Wa­ter.

Con­test­ants glided across the course, jumped from one ramp to an­oth­er, slid across rails, and flipped their boards and landed on them amidst the traffic of at least six oth­er skaters at a time — all for the chance to win a free one-week trip to Wood­ward East. Wood­ward is the na­tion’s most fam­ous and the world’s largest skate­board­ing camp, and is loc­ated in Wood­ward, Pa. out­side of State Col­lege.

“We’re look­ing for the kid who skates the hard­est and skates the best,” said Clayton.

“It’s pretty much the Mac Daddy of prizes for kids in a skat­ing com­pet­i­tion,” said Steve Miller, 25, founder and own­er of Exit Skateshop, loc­ated at 825 N. 2nd St. Miller was also a sig­ni­fic­ant play­er in the long pro­cess of the park’s even­tu­al con­struc­tion, from con­cep­tion to in­cep­tion.

All par­ti­cipants were in­vited to par­ti­cip­ate in a Best Trick Con­test after the main event. They also re­ceived prizes ran­ging from T-shirts, hats, skate­board decks, bags and oth­er skat­ing equip­ment.

Fishtown res­id­ent and Fath­er Judge stu­dent Joey Line­man, 16, star­ted skat­ing two years ago and won the com­pet­i­tion last week. Kev­in Cork­ery and Tyler Neiss­er won second and third place. Line­man skates at Pop’s “every­day,” he said.

His best tricks Sat­urday were a “bluntslide” (a move where the rider nav­ig­ates the trucks of his board along a rail) over a gap between ramps and a 360 over the hip, Line­man said. That’s one full ro­ta­tion over about a four-foot ramp that juts out in one loc­a­tion from the wall that rides along a fence of the park like a back­wards C.

The con­test took shape over the past two-and-a-half months, after Robert Norton, a dis­trict mar­ket­ing man­ager for Vit­am­in Wa­ter, told Miller he had a schol­ar­ship to Wood­ward provided by his com­pany. From that dis­cus­sion, brain­storm­ing led to the or­gan­iz­a­tion and pro­duc­tion of the con­test.

The con­test was also a show­case for Pop’s, a park that was de­signed to in­cor­por­ate street skat­ing struc­tures and rep­licas of loc­al skate spots, like the piece modeled after a statue in front of the Afric­an-Amer­ic­an Mu­seum at 6th and Arch streets.

“It was really a team ef­fort,” said Clayton, the pro­ject’s lead de­sign­er, as he poin­ted out a num­ber of in­di­vidu­als whose weld­ing and con­crete work made the park pos­sible. Vo­lun­teers built the park, with help from more than 100 com­munity mem­bers.

“I wanted to see where I was,” said Delkiphah Haynes, a 16-year-old Mer­chantville, New Jer­sey res­id­ent who traveled to Fishtown Sat­urday to com­pete. “What my level was. I found out I need to go for it more without be­ing scared.”

“I seem to end up at a lot of these things,” said Rod­ney “The An­cient” Wats, the own­er of Philly-based One Skate­boards. Wats was sup­port­ing his kids from Power­ful­nailya, a skate team he runs that takes kids from the loc­al scene and tries to get them sponsored or backed by an of­fi­cial skate team or shop. To skate for Power­ful­nailya, stu­dents must keep a grade av­er­age of 80 per­cent.

Wats’ group is one more in­dic­a­tion of a grow­ing skate scene in Fishtown.

“[Un­capped] gives kids the drive to earn something they want,” said Chris Clark, 30, who did a lot of brick­work around the park. “To come out and see your friends land a trick they haven’t landed be­fore gives them the in­spir­a­tion to go out and work harder … and it’s all sup­port­ing loc­al busi­nesses and the com­munity.”••

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