For 24-year-old skateboarder Josh Dunstone, Canada is like home-away-from-home. While many tourists come to this country to explore famous landmarks, what amazes the young Australian is Canada’s skateboarding scene.
He has been regularly visiting Canada to participate in freestyle skateboarding competitions. This time he flew all the way to the other end of the world and spent about $3,000 on flights, just for the first-ever ‘7 Generations Cup’ – an Indigenous-hosted three-day pro skateboarding event taking place this weekend at Langley Events Centre (LEC).
And Dunstone is not the only one flying across oceans to compete in the event.
Brothers Jotaro and Shotaro came from Japan with their legal guardian. Just 14 and 11, the two boys will be hitting big bowls, showcasing ollies, and performing other tricks on Saturday and Sunday.
Skateboarding legend Kevin Harris described the boys as the “best in the world in their age category.” Harris, who helped start and promote the highly successful Slam City Jam in Vancouver, and dput B.C. on the map as a mecca for skateboarders, visited Japan in the late 1990s.
“When I was skateboarding, their (Jotaro and Shotaro’s) dad was a teenager. I influenced him and now they are sending their kids all the way here for this competition,” shared Harris.
Harris, a world-record holder and Canada’s first pro skatboarder, has full confidence in the boys.
“They will be killing it on Saturday and Sunday,” he added with a grin.
Dunstone, who will be flying back to Australia on Tuesday – a day after the competition – is looking forward to giving his best in the freestyle category.
Freestyle skateboarding is a style in which skaters perform tricks on flat ground. Dunstone has been practising the skill for 10 years now, and he described the sport as his “lifeblood.”
“It means everything to me.”
He is happy that people have started looking at skateboarding from a broader point of view and including freestyle skating in major events like the 7 Generations Cup.
The Melbourne resident shared that the freestyle scene is “pretty big” in his country and his home city has multiple street spots. He now wants to actively take part in promoting skateboarding as a sport and hopefully encourage more Australians to participate in the Langley contest in future.
While Dunstone spent his Friday at LEC practising for the weekend competition, on the other end of the arena Harris was seen prepping the teenage brothers and a few others.
“Is everything going okay?” asked Harris, while also making hand gestures to communicate with the Japanese competitors who – he said – don’t speak English.
The brothers reply with a thumbs-up gesture.
They all fist bump before heading back to their respective spots – Jotaro and Shotaro hit the rink, playing with their skateboards like it is part of their bodies, and Harris heads down to chat with fellow pro skateboarders.
Practising for the same category, the teenage boys noticed Dunstone as he performed his tricks and cruising towards him from the other end of the arena.
Separated by borders and languages, the international skateboarders share a moment of appreciation for each other with hand gestures. Awed by each others’ professionalism and skills, the trio ended their practice session with a group photograph – which they will take home as a souvenir.
Taking inspiration for its name from the Kwantlen First Nations’ seven laws of life (health, happiness, humbleness, generations, generosity, forgiveness and understanding), the 7 Generations Cup features a variety of events across its three-day span. Those events include an all-terrain contest, a freestyle cup, trick battles, and a competition marking the 35th anniversary of the historic Mini Ramp Challenge – a first-of-its-kind event that took place in Richmond in 1987.
There will also be pow wow dancers, Indigenous drummers and singers, a basket repatriation ceremony, Indigenous vendors, and more.
The competition, which started on Friday, June 10, is scheduled to run both Saturday and Sunday at Langley Events Centre, located at 7888 200th St.
For spectators, single-day tickets start at $26, and three-day passes start at $78. Those interested can purchase tickets and find more information about the all-ages event at 7genskate.com.
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