"We'll be having fun
all summer long..."

Surf's up along
our shoreline!

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The Panama Skate Park, gathering place for a flourishing local skate boarding scene, has transformed this part of Whitley Bay into a mini-California (when the sun shines!).



Read on to find out more about such exotica as cone nuts and walk-the-ferret flip-sides... (and always wear pads and a helmet, kids!)

Katherine has also written an article on the Tynemouth surfing scene which can be viewed here...
Get your skates on and join Whitley's rolling new scene...
by Katherine Wildman
How many of you have wandered along the sea front at Whitley Bay and stopped to admire the twist and turns of the kids who fly around the concrete bowls of the Panama Skate Park?

Well, with skateboarding possibly becoming an Exhibition Sport in the 2012 Olympics it seems as though we may be about to witness a wheely big [that's enough puns thank you, Katherine — Ed.] explosion in the UK skate scene.

One man who has taught skateboarding skills in local schools and clubs for over four years is Paul Sanders. "One of the beauties of skateboarding is that it is an individual sport. Skating offers kids a community of friends outside the usual realms of rugby and football. It's an alternative sport and it's not about competing with others but is more about competing with yourself."

Paul's 'taster' lessons have been helping children as young as six to find their feet on a board and many of his pupils from the local schools can often be found at the Panama Skate park. "Skating is a great way to keep fit, it's all about balance. Even clubs like the Falcons and Newcastle United have realised this now and are using balance boards in their training sessions."

Paul can often be found down at the skate park with his friend, Toby Lightfoot. Toby moved to the area a year ago and is a qualified inline skating instructor. He's looking forward to the spring when the not only the skate park but the pavements will be dry and he can hold "lessons in how to stop" for people who want a great workout with hour or two's skate along our beautiful coastline. "Inline skating is a great way to get low impact aerobic exercise, it's kinder to the knees than running and is a brilliant way to tone up and increase core strength."

Both Paul and Toby agreed that feeling relaxed helps when it comes to donning a pair of blades or picking up a skateboard. "Skating isn't just about throwing yourself about in the skate park," Toby explained. "I was a recreational skater for fifteen years before I realised my lifelong ambition to drop into a half pipe at my local park. Now I skate to keep fit and also as a way to unwind after a busy day." With that, both Paul and Toby picked up their gear and headed back to the skate park.

Photo credits, clockwise from top left: Katherine Wildman 1, 6 / Johnny Haynes 2, 3, 4 — see more of Johnny's images / Chris Wilson 5
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