Santa Monica Locals Tear It Up at The Cove

"Ewwww dude, you farted again!" shouted a young boy to his friend as they skate a ramp on a Sunday afternoon. Boys in their pre and early teens immaturely and humorsly interact as they videotaped each other and used "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to determine who skates next in the battle at the Santa Monica skatepark, The Cove.

Skateboarding categorized as an extreme sport, erupted in the 70's by surfers in California and is very popular today all around the country especially in the beach city communities. The local skatepark known as "The Cove" has been fueling adrenaline rushes for local skateboarders for the past four years. It is planted on the corner of Olympic and 14th Street. The 20,000-sq ft concrete facility has ramps, bowls, stairs, pools and rails all catering to a skateboarder's street needs.

The fascinating sport exploded in 1979 and gained popularity when it was birthed 30 years ago in a seedy part of the city near Main Street where Santa Monica meets Venice Beach, known as "Dogtown." Skateboarding started with a group of local surfer kids who were referred to as the "Z Boys."

The boys formed a tight knit group of skaters and started the competitive sport as best depicted in the 2005 popular film, "Lords of Dogtown" starring the late Heath Ledger. Santa Monica and Venice Beach boast skateboarding history and it's where it all began. A few of the original "Dogtown" skateboarders contributed and helped to get The Cove open and running by attending some of the community council meetings.

"It took a lot of meetings and a few years to get this thing open. It wasn't easy," said Rick Boisdeau, Park Manager.

The Cove was opened by the request of the local skateboarding community. Skaters of all ages use the park. A mixed crowd of adults and children are seen performing tricks and dropping into the bowls.

Watching the skaters glide back and forth in what looks like hollowed out swimming pools can be very entertaining. Spectators can sit and observe on park benches.

Wheels are turning at high speeds, barrings are rattling, and the sounds of skateboards smacking on the pavement are all heard while Ollies and Kick-flips are constantly being executed.

Words like "Gnarly" and "Sick" are called out as the skaters chant, encourage and challenge one another. The popular skaters' playground is very clean, secured and supervised. Protective gear like helmets are required to be worn at all times for safety reasons.

Open from 11 am until 10 pm, The Cove holds small competitions weekly. The yearly registration fee is $15 and daily and quarterly passes ranging around $5 a day can be purchased. Although it is mainly popular among skateboarders, bikes and inline skates can also be used.

The busiest more popular times to skate the park are on weekends, however, Wednesday nights tend to be very popular among adults.

While skating is often for leisure, skating has even become a profession to some. When asked if professional skateboarders or famous extreme athletes visit The Cove, according to Boisdeau, they stop in to show off their moves from time to time.

Skateboarding is not just a hip, California trend; it is a great after school or after work recreational activity. The benefits include: improved balance coordination and flexibility, cardiovascular benefits, helps to develop muscle strength and endurance.