A History of Skateboarding in Dunedin
The history of modern skateboarding in Dunedin begins in 1988. A hard core of young skaters rediscover the Mornington Bowl. Skating takes place after school, at night and during the weekend. A friendly atmosphere ensures that the scene grows. On a sunny weekend typically thirty skaters skate the bowl, have water fights, and just lounge about on the grass.
Craig Lyall & Greg Leif
Local University skaters construct a mini-ramp in the building that eventually became Unipol. The mini-ramp is soon relocated in a warehouse in North East Valley.
The Dunedin Skateboard Association is started by local skateboarding retailers and senior skaters. The St.Clair ramp is built in October 1989. It is finished just in time to be skated by, Bones Brigade members, Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, and Mike McGill, infront of hundreds of people.
Tony Hawk & Mike McGill
Bones Tour '90
St. Clair Vert Ramp
Indoor Skateboard facility Wheelcool is opened in 1990. Owner Stu Dovey initially builds a vert ramp, then a mini ramp and finally a street course. Inclement weather ensures Wheeelcool's popularity. Wheelcool hosts competitions, demos and sleepovers.
A portable wooden mini-ramp is built. This ramp does the rounds of various local areas to test out sites for the possible of new ramps. Fairfield locals fundraise to build a ramp complex. At the same time mini-ramps are built in Mosgiel and Brockville. Local schools also construct mini ramps, with varying degrees of skill. Ramps are constructed at Andersons Bay School, Kenmure Intermediate, and Logan Park High School.
Andersons Bay School Miniramp
Logan Park High School Miniramp
Skateboarding slumps. Wheelcool closes. Skateboarding is kept alive in Dunedin by a small group of hard-core skaters. They represent Dunedin in competitions in Christchurch, Wellington and Napier, earning respect from the people they compete against. Dunedin becomes known for it's mini-ramp skaters. They appear in various Yeah-Bo videos.
The popularity of Streetstyle skating overseas causes a growth in Street skating. New skaters join established skaters as skateboarding becomes fashionable again. The connection overseas to the music industry ensures skateboarding is cool once again.
The number of skaters congregating in sites suitable for streetskating causes concern amongst the elderly and various local politicians. That eventually results in a bylaw banning skaters from an area in the central city called the Octagon. The bylaw proves to be ineffective as the council has no means to enforce this bylaw. In desperation, with local body elections looming, the council employ a local security firm to enforce the bylaw.
The older skaters design extensions to the Mornington Bowl complex. Construction begins in early September 1995, on a extensions that feature, a flat street skating area, steps, a hand rail, a foot rail, a big spine, a rail slide and a pallet. The asphalted area produces new banks and enables the better use of the existing bowls.
Sam Robertson checking out the new additions to Mornington
The Skate Arena a avenue for Rollerblading opens mid 1996. Skateboarders get in on the act and initially have a Tuesday night session that soon extends to all hours. The venue although popular with skateboarders suffers from some bad management, and lack of support from the dwindling inline faternity. A year later the venue closes.