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Winnipeg skateboard group hopes sport will pick up speed with free lessons

The Winnipeg Skateboarding Outreach Organization is teaching the street sport at the Forks Skatepark.

Darnell Collins (right) helps 5-year-old Spencer Buxton get comfortable on a skateboard, Monday, July 17.

Braeden Jones/ Metro

Darnell Collins (right) helps 5-year-old Spencer Buxton get comfortable on a skateboard, Monday, July 17.

Five-year-old Spencer Buxton has learned he likes skateboarding.

“It’s fun,” said the boy, beaming, at The Forks Skatepark on Monday.

He also learned he likes riding ramps more than flat ground, because he can “go down (them) and go super far,” with speed, effortlessly.

Ramps may be scary to some new skaters, but not Spencer.

“Because I’m brave,” he said.

He may have known he was brave before Monday—he said so very matter-of-factly—but the rest of it was new to him, all thanks to a newly launched free skateboarding lessons being offered at The Forks Skatepark by the not-for-profit Winnipeg Skateboarding Outreach Organization (WSOO).

Beginning this week and running daily at 10:30 a.m. until August 18, the lessons hosted in conjunction with Sk8 Skates are not only free, but also make skateboards available for use. Participants just need a helmet and signed waiver to try skating for the first time with instruction and supervision.

Colin Lambert, Sk8 Skates owner and WSOO President, said the initiative is meant to “introduce more people to skateboarding.”

“People find it intimidating and don’t know where to start, what to do,” Lambert said, adding his instructors help expose newcomers to the fundamentals quickly and free of charge, removing barriers of entry like cost or nervousness.  

“They can hop on our boards, try it out… just get comfortable on it before committing to buying a $150 board.”

Lambert said the skating community in Winnipeg has “definitely been growing,” but he’s always looking for ways “to bring more people to skateboarding.”

Spencer Bruxton focuses on carving a turn after rolling down a ramp.

Braeden Jones/ Metro

Spencer Bruxton focuses on carving a turn after rolling down a ramp.

Darnell Collins, who’s spent four years working with Lambert at the park and helped Spencer get his feet under him Monday, said he’s noticed the park has been “quieter” so far this summer, which he found “surprising.”

“Every year up until now it has been growing and growing. I see kids getting better and better… but we don’t see as many new kids coming,” he said. “I feel like that’s one of the reasons to implement (the lessons), kind of to get kids hyped again on skateboarding.”

Spencer didn’t say if he was hyped or not, Monday, but his smile did. 

Braeden Jones/ Metro

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