Wheels up for scooter tournament

Nathan Suitor, 11, shows off his skills at the Black Pearl skate park this week. - PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER

Daredevil youngsters will compete for prizes and prestige at the Cayman Islands International Scooter Tournament this weekend.

The Black Pearl Skate Park in Grand Harbour will host the competition with divisions for under-6, beginners, intermediates and a contest for visiting pros.

Michael Myles, who manages the park, said the sport of scootering was growing in the Cayman Islands, taking over skateboarding as the dominant activity in the park.

His nonprofit organization Inspire Cayman has donated $5,000 to grow the sport and attract pro athletes and coaches to the island. He hopes this weekend’s competition will inspire youngsters to take their scooter skills to the next level.

“The majority of the kids are really loving scootering. We have been investing a lot more in the sport and inviting pros to come to the island.

“We have a lot of really talented young kids in the park and we want to give them every chance to develop their skills.”

He said an average of 300 kids attend the park each week, the majority of them on scooters.

“It is great because it is fairly easy to start with, but you can make it as tough as you like as you develop. The Black Pearl park gives you that variety, where it has something for total beginners but is still a challenge for professionals.”

He said the sport was great for developing confidence, and for some it could even lead to a professional career.

“We brought in two young professionals, 17 and 19, who are travelling the world scootering. This is a huge business and there are opportunities for young people to develop,” he said.

The competition, sponsored in part by Harneys law firm, takes place Friday and Saturday with a pro division tentatively scheduled for Sunday.

Entrants can register at the park in advance or on the day. Entry fees range from $30 for the beginner division to $150 for pros, and the competition starts at 3 p.m. Friday.