‘Chuffed’ to have new halfpipe after ‘bumpy road’

Cutting the ribbon to open the new Hampden halfpipe are (from left) Joseph Nicolson, Stuart...
Cutting the ribbon to open the new Hampden halfpipe are (from left) Joseph Nicolson, Stuart Barnes and Emily Daly-Ferguson. PHOTO: NIC DUFF
North Otago skaters now have a new place to shred.

A new halfpipe was unveiled in Hampden yesterday.

Stuart Barnes, Joseph Nicolson and Emily Daly-Ferguson joined forces to see the project through.

The trio were "really, really chuffed" to see it all come together, Mr Barnes said.

"It’s been a very bumpy road over the last two years and we’re over the moon we’ve got to this moment."

Almost 100 people turned out to see the new halfpipe and Mr Barnes said he loved seeing so many show up.

"We hoped [to see a lot of people] but we had no idea. You put the word out and you hope your community backs you."

He felt Hampden needed a new skatepark because the old one was "unusable and quite dangerous" as well as not being fit for purpose.

"Only a small percentage of skateboarders could use it because it was so steep. There was no learner, there was no intermediate. It was like a free-fall drop before you hit the bottom."

He was inspired when Hampden School ran a project where the pupils made their own skateboards, Mr Barnes said.

"But we don’t even have a footpath in Hampden.

"We had a couple near misses and kids going down roads they shouldn’t have been on and got hurt."

He hoped it would also be a place to bring children together as well.

"The kids in Hampden don’t really have an area, a neutral area where they can go out and be with each other. It’s always at parents’ houses. So this is actually theirs — we’ve just passed it on."

He loved seeing the children enjoy using the new halfpipe.

"This is why we did it, for the kids. I’ve got a boy out there [using it]."

It was built by 44 Ramps in Christchurch.

It was named in honour of Dillon Todd, who was a young skater who "touched a lot of hearts", Mr Nicolson said.

"He passed way too young."

He said he was "really proud to carry on that memory".

A total of $50,000 was raised for the project but due to costs being higher than expected, "a few thousand" was still needed.

"We’d love for anyone who would like to keep donating because we are a little bit short."

Donations could be made through the Givealittle page that was on the skatepark’s Facebook page.

At the unveiling ceremony there were also giveaways, free skate lessons and a sausage sizzle.