The distinctive clacking of wood grinding against metal railing and tik-tak-tik-tak of plastic wheels rolling against concrete pavement fills the air, jostling with intermittent whiffs of cooked food drifting over from various tents and vendors watching the crowd and skaters rolling around the lagoon skate park in Kuala Belait. Go Skateboarding Day is in full swing! Previous years involved a community skate from one location to another, fun competitions, and everyone’s favourite — prizes like new gear or skate merchandise.
This year, the atmosphere is decidedly larger, with more vendors and larger crowds at both the Bandar and Kuala Belait events. Created in 2004 b y the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) to help make the sport more accessible, it’s now celebrated by skateboarding communities around the world. Brunei’s is by far one of the smallest though no less joyful, and it is encouraging to see new youths and women discovering the joy of pushing pavement.
“It’s good to have the other girls here. I started trying it because my boyfriend skates and I think it’s really fun, plus you get to also exercise,” Sarah tells me. Girls like Sarah, Mash and Fae, are still rare to see regularly at parks here but having their numbers move upwards in any amount is a significant progression to the growing appeal and accessibility of the sport