Landing a backside-360-kick-flip into the limelight, grinding for two years with consolidated efforts by individuals and communities that came together, is the skateboarding culture in Sikkim. Long since seen as time-pass or leisure activities, the skateboarding community in Sikkim has pulled up their skater socks, flipped their skater hats, waxed on and waxed off their boards, and marched on in their skater kicks; marching on to change the notion of people who think of skateboarding as just a past time activity, these young skaters from Sikkim have started a movement in making people aware about skateboarding as an urban culture and how it is not a crime to skateboard. This bunch, collectively known as Skatekonnect ushered by Tenzin Tsundue popularly known as Jack Junior, has been on the frontlines trying to hype up the skateboarding culture in Sikkim.
“We just need a skate park and maybe we’ll be out of everybody’s hair. The bunch of us who have created this community have come together close, personally as well due to this love for skateboarding that we share. Once you know that exact feeling of gliding with the board, of making that precise twitch in the calf muscles to feel the toe stretching just that extra inch to get the board twisting into a kickflip, once you that tiny little fraction of belonging there’s nothing quite like it anywhere, that’s what keeps us together.” One of the skaters from Skatekonnect shares.
A team of skaters recently travelled to Bangalore for “Jugaad”, a skate event that happens annually where skaters from several states and from abroad come together to compete and celebrate the skate culture in India. From Sikkim, a team was put together by Jack and with a few approaches to the masses and a fundraising event organised by Skatekonnect with the help of local talents and artists, the team raised the funds needed to travel to Bangalore for the event.
The same journey that took Sikkimese skateboarders out of the state for the first time, begat another event showing gratitude to everyone who supported the bunch. The event One and Ollie was a screening of the documented journey of Skatekonnect from Sikkim to Bangalore – of how the jugaad for ‘Jugaad’ went about. With this, Skatekonnect’s official YouTube channel was also launched, where the community is going to post videos of the skateboarding scene in Sikkim. The event oversaw an array of Sikkimese urban and sub-urban culture’s pioneers coming together through screening of documentaries and videos about the street, its cultural concoction as well as its impact in Sikkim and Sikkimese youth. Amongst the eye-catching elements in the event, the screened videos were Kamali a short movie, Gangtok Cypher a rap cypher by The Rusty Crowns, Skate jam, a rap cypher and an Open Mic Event.
The event also had a heart-to-heart session where the likes of Youth for Change community development experts from Nepal who also happen to be skaters, Manish Rasaily the producer of The Rusty Crown, Bishal Chettri the pioneer of Parkour or Free Running in Sikkim, Tenzing Lekchola a.k.a Lex one of the members from Sikkim’s first rap crew Urban Inc and Jack shared their experiences, hurdles and struggles, and taught a lot to the young boys and girls about how to go forward to get the street culture accepted in the Sikkimese society’s ecosystem.