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Skateboarder of the Week: P-Rod

Baseball has its A-Rod, Alex Rodriguez, and skateboarding has its P-Rod, Paul Rodriguez Jr.

P-Rod, 23, grew up in Chatsworth, Calif., near East Los Angeles and used to sleep with his skateboard as a child. He doesn’t consider himself the most naturally gifted athlete, but he says he thinks about his tricks and practices for hours until he gets them right.

“Talent isn’t some unforeseen ability that a person has,” P-Rod believes. “Talent isn’t in your arms or your legs. It’s the way your mind views it. I was so obsessed with skating as a kid; it’s all I thought about.”

Yes, P-Rod’s father is the comic, Paul Rodriguez Sr. – one of the Latin Kings of Comedy. And on sites such as YouTube, you can still find plenty of the old man’s work. But P-Rod dominates the proceedings. There’s one site of the elder Paul Rodriguez that apparently young blogger types commented on, saying, “That’s not Paul Rodriguez; P-Rod is a skateboarder.” Someone else on the blog corrected them. We can only wonder if P-Rod found it and showed it to his pop. Apparently, the two of them didn’t see much of one another when P-Rod was a kid, but now they’re much closer.

Paul Rodriguez Jr. is a trim 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds, but he is really busy with his feet through a “Goofy Stance” with the right foot forward and the left foot pushing. P-Rod does many of his tricks with a switch stance maneuver. He won a bunch of pro-rookie awards as a 17-year-old in 2002. Unlike some other young skateboarders, he has not gradually lost his love or enthusiasm.

P-Rod’s grandparents were born in Mexico and came to the United States during the 1950s as migrant workers, before immigration became such a big issue. One of his ethnic distinctions is that he is the first and only Hispanic skateboarder to land a pro-model Nike shoe contract. The third edition, Paul Rodriguez Zoom Air Three, is due out in 2009. He also has appeared in three of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video games.


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Best Vacation Spots for Skaters: New Iberia, Louisiana

The American South has a rich history that makes it a great place to visit. If you are a skateboarder, you will find that the South has the perfect skating weather and a great selection of outdoor skate parks for you to try out. One of the cities that you will want to add to your travel itinerary is New Iberia, Louisiana. Here you will find historical attractions and a great little skate park to explore.

New Iberia, Louisiana Skate Park – Bayou Wheels Skate Park
If you are a skateboarder, you will want to bring your board and skateboarding gear with you on your New Iberia vacation. This is because in New Iberia there is a great family friendly skate park called the Bayou Wheels Skate Park. It is located at 300 Parkview Drive and is open during the summer from noon until seven at night and during the rest of the year between noon and at least five at night. This park costs a dollar to get into, and you will be required to wear a helmet. If you are 15 or younger, you will be required to also wear padding. This park is stocked with quarter and half pipes and street course obstacles and features.

New Iberia, Louisiana – Other Attractions
New Iberia is in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country. This means that the city is filled with a rich blend of cultural attractions. Some of the attractions that you won’t want to miss are the Farmer’s Market on Main Street, the Konriko Rice Mill and Company Store and the Shadows on the Teche. The Konriko Rice Mill is located at 301 Ann Street, and tours of the mill are offered daily. Shadows on the Teche can be found at 317 East Main Street and offers tours daily. This attraction is open from nine in the morning until four-thirty in the afternoon.

In addition to visiting the in-town attractions, you will also want to travel a little outside of New Iberia to see a few notable attractions in nearby communities. The first attraction you won’t want to miss is the Jungle Gardens. These gardens encompass over 200 acres and are great for naturists. Other attractions that are found nearby include St. Martinville and the McIlhenny Company Tabasco Factory and Company Store.

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Coolest Skate Park: The Edge Skate Park, Redmond, WA

One of the greatest thrills a skateboarder can have is racking up new skateboarding experiences. If you have a goal to skate at as many skate parks as possible, consider trying out some of the smaller city skate parks. If you happen to be in the state of Washington, you will have dozens of these smaller skate parks to work your way through. One skate park that you will not want to miss out on is the ever-expanding Edge Skate Park found in Redmond, Washington.

Edge Skate Park – The Basics
The Edge Skate Park is located at 8420 161st Avenue NW in downtown Redmond. It offers about 7,700 square feet of concrete skating terrain. It is primarily a street-course skate park with features like stairs, rails, platforms and edges. However, there are also a couple of quirky quarter pipes that you can practice tricks on.

Edge Skate Park – The Rules
Since this is a public skate park, you are responsible for your own actions and your own safety. To protect yourself you will want to wear a helmet, padding, proper skateboarding shoes and clothing. You will also want to make sure you don’t bring glass, food or beverages into the skateboarding area.

Other Amenities Offered by Edge Skate Park
The Edge Skate Park is a part of a larger city park that serves Redmond’s downtown area. This park sits on nearly an acre and a half of land and has plenty of space to skateboard and set up an impromptu soccer game. This park also offers you an information kiosk and an art wall. If you use this park, remember to pack out everything you pack in or at least use the garbage cans if you have items that need to be thrown away.

Setting Boarding Goals
Setting goals can help you focus the development of your skateboarding career. If your goal is to skate at as many skate parks as possible, start a list of parks that are available and a list of skate parks that you have used. As you skate at different skate parks, move the parks from the available list to the skated-at list. You can also add a third column for remarks and comments about the park. To keep your fans up to date about your skating adventures, post your lists and comments on your social networking page.

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Best Vacation Spots for Skaters: Athens, Ohio

Rutland, Ohio is one of the best cities to visit if you are a diehard fan of skateboarding. Not only does Rutland have one of the best private skate parks in the world, but it is also the home of the Museum of Skateboard History. If you are ready for a great vacation, then plan to visit Rutland.

Rutland, Ohio – Star Attractions
For skateboarders, the two star attractions in Rutland, Ohio are Skatopia and the Museum of Skateboard History. Fortunately, they are both located at 34961 Hutton Road, Rutland, Ohio so you can experience both attractions at once. The Museum of Skateboard History has a fabulous collection of vintage skateboards, and if you count them, you will find about 12,000 examples of historic boards. After browsing through the museum, you will want to put on your safety gear and hit the skate park section of the complex. Here you will find both indoor and outdoor segment, so you can basically skate here regardless of the weather. Make sure you check out what is going on at the park during your vacation, as this is the site of numerous skateboarding events, like the Backwoods Blowout.

Athens County Attractions
If you are interested in doing a little site seeing while visiting Rutland, Ohio you will need to expand your search to Athens County. Athens County, Ohio has a lot of great historical and cultural attractions. First, however, grab a slice of pizza at Pizza Dan’s, located at 244 Main Street, Rutland, Ohio. Once you have a great meal in your stomach, pull on your hoodie and hit the road.

To get the history of the area, visit Athens Country Historical Museum found at 65 North Court Street. If you are interested in military history, you will want to visit the Athens County Military Museum, which can be found at 145 West Columbus Street in Nelson, Ohio. Finally, as you travel through Athens County, keep your eyes open for historical sites like the Adena Indian Mounds and historical, covered bridges. There are a lot of great attractions scattered throughout this county so stop by the local chambers of commerce and visitors’ centers of the cities you drive through for information on what to see and do in that city.

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Coolest Skate Park: The Black Pearl

One of the coolest skate parks in the world is the Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park found in the Grand Cayman Islands. This skate park is considered to be the largest concrete skate park in the world. It also offers one of the largest, standing artificial waves in the world. So, if you are into surfing, skateboarding or both, this is a great park to visit.

The Black Pearl Skate Park
The Black Pearl Skate Park offers skaters about 52,000 square feet of skating terrain to work over. There are three different courses that you can ride on: a beginners’ course, an intermediate level course and an advanced skaters’ course. Each of these courses offers a selection of bowls, transition zones, flow terrain and street terrain. This park also offers quarter pipes and half pipes. If you want to skate in this park, you are required to wear a helmet and the appropriate padding. If you are on vacation or if you don’t have the appropriate equipment or padding, you can rent it at the onsite skate shop.

This park is open Monday through Saturday from nine in the morning until dusk and on Sunday from ten in the morning until dusk. The entry fee is CI $16 for the day, CI $50 for the week or CI $100 for the month. In U.S. dollars, this is about $24 for the day, $75 for the week or $150 for the month.

The Black Pearl Surf Park
The Black Pearl Surf Park is a record breaker in its own right. It has a machine that is capable of producing a standing wave of up to eleven feet tall. It also has the ability to move 150,000 gallons of water in a minute, and it produces a surfing zone that covers about 1,280 square feet. This park provides both surfing instructions and equipment, so you don’t have to pack a surfboard with you on the plane or in your car. This is a great place to go to learn the basics of surfing or to just have a bit of fun on a hot day. Parents will love this park too, because there is a restaurant onsite where they can enjoy a nice meal and relax while their kids play at the surf park or skate park.

Skateboarder of the Week: Geoff Rowley

British-born Geoff Rowleyis one of pro skateboarding’s more daring and acrobatic athletes. Somehow he’s still going strong at age 32, after all the thrills and more than his share of bone-rattling spills. If you watch Geoff Rowley’s various high-octane videos, which include both his hits and some occasional misses, you will wonder how he’s not in a full-body cast.

Furthermore, Geoff Rowley continues to up his street-skating ante. If he sees a handrail that looks similar to one that he has previously conquered, he’s not much interested.

“Show me an S-shaped one that goes around corners and over buildings, and I might be interested,” Rowley says.

British towns such as Rowley’s Liverpool have far tighter confines than most American cities, which explains why Rowley finds himself attracted to places such as parking ramps and steep front stair steps.

Geoff Rowley was 12-years-old when he first skated , borrowing his friends’ boards.

“Happiness came forth,” he describes the experience simply. In his early 20s, he decided to go for the big time and moved to Southern California. He remains single and makes his home in Huntington Beach.

It’s common to say that someone with Rowley’s modest and quiet nature “would let his skating do the talking.” One fan says in Rowley’s case “talking” should be replaced by “screaming,” because he always is ready to attack a challenge.

In Orange County, sometimes he tackles these challenges without the permission of the property owner.

“Everyone gets booted out of everywhere,” Geoff Rowley says. “You’re in, you’re out. But there’s a lot of concrete ditches … I’m having fun skating locally because I’ve found all this different stuff that (other) people aren’t really looking at. That’s fun for me, to skate stuff that everyone’s not interested in.”

Despite his street sense, Rowley also is a champion in regular competition, and he protests against being typecast.

“I’ve always tried to learn new things and constantly do different things,” Geoff Rowley says. “I’m not a handrail skater. I’m not a rail pro. It’s a non-issue. Skate whatever you want.”

Geoff Rowley has not forgotten about back home. He is pushing for the Liverpool City Council to build a top-notch skate park.


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Best Vacation Spots for Skaters: Skate Parks of the Caribbean

One of the best tropical vacation destinations for skaters to visit is Grand Cayman. This Caribbean island is easy to get to by plane or cruise ship. However, the biggest attraction for skaters is going to be the Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park. While this park offers some of the best surfing and skating options in the Caribbean, don’t spend all your time at the park, because Grand Cayman offers amazing natural and cultural attractions. If you are ready for the vacation of a lifetime, pack your skateboarding shoes and head for Grand Cayman.

The Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park
The Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park is both the largest concrete skate park in the world as well as the home of one of the largest, artificially produced, standing waves in the world. If you are a skater then you will enjoy the 52,000 square feet of skating terrain offered by this park, as well as its great collection of beginner, intermediate and advanced skating features. The surfing section of this park offers a Wavelock Surf Machine, which is capable of producing standing waves up to eleven feet tall in a surfing area of over 1,200 square feet. Both sections of the park are serviced by a pro shop that offers equipment rentals and instruction in surfing and skateboarding.

Grand Cayman’s Attractions
While you are in paradise, don’t forget to try out some of the other tourist attractions. First of all, stop by the city of Hell and send a letter or postcard to your friends. The postmark will show that the letter was sent from Hell. The novelty postmark is about all that is offered by this little outpost, so you will need other plans to fill your day.

Stingray City is a must see attraction. You will need to charter a boat or guided tour to get to this attraction. However, the effort is well worth it, as the diving here is considered to be world class. Here, you will be able to interact with stingrays and other marine life. Plan this adventure on Monday, Wednesday or Friday to avoid cruise ship traffic and crowds.

Other attractions you won’t want to miss include the Mastic Trail, the blowholes, the six beaches and Rum Point.

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Coolest Skate Parks: Rotary Club in Black Rivers Falls, Wisconsin

There are dozens of cool skate parks in the United States. One of the coolest is the Rotary Club Skate Park in Lunda Community Park, found at 1400 Tyler St., Black River Falls, Wisconsin, 54615. This hybrid skate park was completed in July 2006 and offers about 9,500 square feet of skating terrain.

Rotary Club Skate Park – Basic Features
The Rotary Club Skate Park is a very unique skate park. It utilizes a hybrid technique which pairs ramp equipment, normally used above ground, with concrete block retaining walls. This combination has several advantages including no seams, no gaps and no guard rails. This is great if you are just learning how to ride a ramp or trick off a ramp, because you don’t have to worry about tripping over gaps and other design imperfections.

In addition to a hybrid ramp design, the Rotary Club Skate Park offers several great skateboarding features. Some of the features that you can find here include a half bowl, ramps and a multi-tiered plaza. The advantage of skating here is that you can find skating features to fit your skill level if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced skater. The only real drawback of this skate park is that it doesn’t offer skate-box formations. This is a real drag that many skateboarders hope will eventually be fixed.

Rotary Club Skate Park – Having Fun at the Skate Park
In order to have a great time at the Rotary Club Skate Park, you need to come prepared to have a good time. To start with, you need the proper skater clothing to (1) look cook and (2) protect your skin from road rash. Next, you need to bring the proper safety gear. This means bringing a properly fitted helmet, elbow and knee pads and a pair of shoes that have enough grip on the soles to keep you from skidding off your board. The final accessory you need to bring to the skate park is a good attitude. If you come to the park in a funky mood, you are not only going to prevent yourself from having a great time, but you are going to increase your chances of bringing other skaters down with you.