Skateboarding club recognized as club sport

By Stephanie Sokol

Homework, class, work — college students live busy lives, but every other Wednesday at City Grind Skate Park, students take a break from the everyday stress to board.

Skateboarding recently became an Olympic sport, increasing its popularity, along with new trends like long boarding. Oakland University followed suit with the creation of the skateboard club at OU last October.

“(The club) lets you take a break from studying and everything so you can just skateboard,” creator Chris Arellanes said. “You don’t think about school, work or worries. When you’re skating you leave everything at the door.”

Unlike most college skateboard clubs, the club is recognized as an official club sport by the university. The school funds them through intramural sports, along with the group’s other supporters, Skatehungry, Dubs Bikes and Boards, Shenanigan Boards and City Grind — the park where they hold their meets.

Arellanes formed the club because of his love for skating. He began at a young age and it played a big role in his life.

“I skated for 15 years and thought it would be cool to form it,” Arellanes said. “With skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport, the timing seemed right.”

From 9 to 11 p.m. every Wednesday, they meet at City Grind Skate Park to spend time skating, as well as discussing and planning future events, including the first annual Grizz Skate Jam, which will be held on from noon to 7 p.m. Friday, April 27.

The event will include free food, bands, music from WXOU, appearances by pro skater Matt Bennett and club sponsors, as well as participation from other campus sports teams. Competing will also be part of the event, with the Bracket best trick contest and the Dubz downhill showdown for longboarding.

“The main goal is to give skateboarding a name at the University level,” Arellanes said. “I also want students to take a break and have fun, because we are under a lot of pressure and stress, but skateboarding helps.”

Though club is limited to 12 members at this time, everyone is welcome to come to the meets and skate. Students who mention the club at City Grind get a discount on skating fee.

“(Being in the club) nurtures the skate spirit in the winter, and the extra practice makes you better,” freshman AJ Kesler said.

Students also feel that the club allows them to succeed as individuals. Self expression and independence are encouraged.

The group’s boards, being designed by SK8 Factory, show the boarders’ pride for Oakland with details like grizzly bears, while the sport itself allows them to make any statement they choose.

“Skateboarding is a great way to find yourself,” freshman Jason Newman said. “I’ve pushed myself to do things I wouldn’t normally be able to do. It’s been a lot of fun reconnecting (with skateboarding)and this is one of the few clubs I can really relate to.”



Contact Photo Intern Stephanie Sokol via email at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @StephanieSokol