Prepping for air time

Skate park opens

Kids were flying high at Cayman’s Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park at Grand Harbour at the weekend.

In fact, Cayman’s newest leisure attraction is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world.

The park is reportedly one of two skate and surf parks in the world. The only other known one is in South Africa. However, Cayman’s is considerably more extensive, explained Mr. Norm Belanger, Sales and Marketing Manager with Caribbeus Architecture Development, which is behind the new attraction. The park’s designer, Mr. Mike McIntyre is not aware of any bigger skate park in the world.

The skating section of the park opened Friday.

The impressive skate park consists of different sections to suit every level of skating enthusiast. There is a flow course and a street course catering for beginner, intermediate and advanced skaters.

Later this week the wave pool is set to open. The pool was imported from Europe and is a stationary wave generator than can create waves of up to 11 feet. After the pumps are certified this week the pool will be ready for action.

An exciting grand opening at the park’s Grand Harbour facility in Red Bay is planned for the weekend of 19 and 20 March when up to 20 of the top names in professional skateboarding in the world will visit Grand Cayman, including Tony Hawk and Mark Appleyard. There may also be some big surf names at the grand opening.

The park will be targeted at both cruise ship passengers and stay-over tourists, along with Cayman Islands residents.

The North American market will be particularly targeted, said Mr. Belanger. Up to 20 skate camps will be organised for kids from North America throughout the year, with competitive and televised world events also planned. The camps will start in June.

There will be advertising in the US to cater toward family packages.

According to US magazine articles, said Mr. Belanger, skateboarding is by far the most popular sport in North America among certain age groups, having more popularity than baseball, soccer and football combined. One of the aims of the park is to try to develop the sport in Cayman.

The park is also to get a special vert ramp – one of the largest professional competition vert ramps in the world. The ramp is 60-feet wide with 11-foot, 6-inch transitions and 2-feet of vert.

Mr. Belanger said he believes the vert ramp part of skate boarding is coming on line for the Olympics, and if so, this could serve as a training facility for athletes.

The park was well received over the weekend, said Mr. Belanger. Right now it is catering to ages of six years and up, but special sessions may be organised for younger children, where there parents would have to be on the property.

The park is open from 9am to 6pm seven days a week.

Pricing in CI dollars is as follows:
Annual memberships: Skate $199, Surf $299, Skate & Surf $399
Skate Camps (per week) $984, w/optional Surf Camp (add) 205
A two hour skate session for a member is $9 and for a non-member $16.75. A one hour surf session for a member is $34.95 and for a non-member $59.95.

Skating equipment is also available for rent.

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