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The language of wheels in Limassol (photos)

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The new park in Limassol (all photos Roman Nikitin)
Users of a new skate park in Limassol are breaking both physical and cultural barriers. Souzana Psara visits to find out more

 

How did I end up at the City Skate Park in Limassol? Seeing so many of my friends and people talking excitedly about this place, my curiosity got the better of me. What’s the deal with this park? And why is everyone raving about it?

In the heart of Limassol, behind the Del Mar, a vivid cultural space has emerged, captivating the hearts of children, teenagers and parents alike. The City Skate Park, funded by Alexey Gubarev and Anna Gubareva, the founder of the City Friends Club, has become a hub of activity since opening just before Christmas.

The skate park, covering 5,000m², is not simply a playground for skateboarders; it’s proof of diversity and shared passion. “It’s not just a park, it’s our space to be real, have fun, and bounce back from falls. It’s where we can truly be ourselves,” said teenager Andrianos Anastasiou.

“We come from different backgrounds, but here, we all connect – it’s the language of wheels,” he said. “We’re mastering tricks and breaking barriers, both physical and cultural,” he added.

Skateboarding, cycling, rollerblading and scootering seem to be uniting people through the simple joy of moving on wheels. Here, cultural differences fade away. It’s an unspoken agreement.

Children eagerly share their favourite park features. “The ramps are my thing! They make me feel like I’m rocketing into the sky,” said youngster Emmelia Anastasiou.

BMX Freestyle debuted at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, establishing itself as one of the fastest and youngest cycling disciplines. And after its successful debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021, skateboarding is set to return to the Olympic stage in Paris 2024.

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Before the City Skate Park opened, Cyprus lacked spaces for individuals to train and express their passion for alternative sports like skateboarding and BMX. “The introduction of BMX Freestyle to the Olympic stage marked a turning point for alternative sports. The City Skate Park in Limassol further adds to this change, providing an oasis for enthusiasts who previously lacked dedicated facilities. Here, they not only hone their skills but build a community united by their love for these sports,” trainer from Adonis Bike Academy Adonis Michaelides said.

It’s not just about skating; it’s a symbol of inclusion. Before, our community lacked a spot for everyone, no matter their background, to enjoy alternative sports. Now, it’s a lively place where differences vanish on the ramps, and everyone speaks the same language – the language of skating,” parent Ioanna Matsi added. “It’s more than just concrete; it’s where life skills are learned, and we’re here cheering them on every step of the way.”

“The City Skate Park is a fun place for kids to use their energy positively. It’s not just a physical space; it’s a way for kids to have fun, grow, and build a community. It’s where life skills come alive,” said fellow parent Evgenios Perdios.

However, despite only recently opening the park shows signs of wear and tear and riders were concerned about maintenance.

“We all appreciate this spot. It’s holding up fine for now, but you can see the signs [of use]. I wonder how it’ll be down the road. Like, the edges of the ramps, where the paint’s showing some wear from all our moves. We’re all about this place, but if it keeps taking a beating, who knows how it’ll turn out in a few years? It’s kind of up to everyone, the teenagers and the parents, to lend a hand, give it the care it needs to keep being our go-to spot.”

Another gripe would be that the park lacks a canteen. The plus of having refreshments and a chill-out spot would surely make people extend their stay. On a more positive note, the restroom facilities are extremely well maintained. It might seem like a small detail, but the dedication to cleanliness significantly elevated our overall experience. Moreover, the park introduced a touch of nature with carefully placed plants and trees, transforming the skate haven into a dynamic urban oasis.

The park also has a cool recycling setup, with bins smartly placed around, showing off a real commitment to keeping things green. It’s like a little nod to nature, making sure we all remember to do our part in keeping the skate park and the whole area spick and span. A shared responsibility to keep the place lively and eco-friendly has become a big part of the community.

The experience seemed to run deep for many users. Their love for outdoor activities and the positive impact of alternative sports on their lives was apparent. Whether it was conquering tricks on a skateboard or relishing the freedom of rolling on ramps, the physical and mental being gained from these activities was impossible to ignore.

Gubarev said “I’ve been to Australia, where the government has built numerous skate parks to give kids more opportunities and encourage them to spend their free time away from just being in front of a computer. The idea for this project appeared about two years ago.” With the Mayor of Yermasoyia, Kyriakos Xydias, we began planning how to create City Skate Park. Next, I talked to my friends, and many of them decided to help out. Without their support, the project wouldn’t have been possible.

City Skate Park’s design meets Olympic standards, as skateboarding became part of the Olympic Games in 2020. “We hope to introduce this sport in Cyprus, encouraging our kids to engage in more physical activity here to improve their skills. I’m optimistic that, in a few years, we’ll witness our kids representing Cyprus in the Olympic Games,” he added.

So, now I get it – the City Skate Park is more than just a spot to skate. It’s where people from all walks of life come together to share their love for wheels. Whether you’re a pro, a curious child, or a parent wanting to connect, this place is about more than just ramps and tricks. It’s a place to build a community.

 

The successful realisation of this project was made possible by the generous financial support from a diverse range of contributors, including:

– Limassol DelMar, Leptos Group, and Zavos Group
– InDrive
– PUNIN Group and Dmitry Punin
– Ecommpay.com
– Oleg Netepenko
– itez.com
– payble.com and Ugne Buraciene
– ASBIS Group
– Adtech Holding
– Gusev Family
– Sergey Korol
– Konstantin Filippov
– D.Alexandridis & S.Hertsman
– Anton Delbin
– Alexander Pavlov
– Alexander Shilyaev and Family
– TechIsland
– City Friends Club
– IT Quarter LTD

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