Jayyous Skatepark - Week 2

Week 2 down!

Our volunteers have been working late into the night, pouring concrete (and their hearts) into Jayyous Skatepark. We've hit our fundraising target with partners SkateQilya, but you can still donate towards the sustainability of this project:

www.jayyouspark.com

Jayyous Skatepark - Week 1

Our new project in partnership with SkateQilya is starting to take shape and the stoke is high within Jayyous Skatepark team! Our volunteers have been working from noon 'till night to get the job done. Check out the video to see what went down in week 1.

We've reached 94% of our fundraising target of £10,000 but there's still time to help out.

Donate at www.jayyouspark.com and follow @jayyouspark on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates! 

Jayyous Skatepark

We're very excited to announce that our next skatepark will be built in the village of Jayyous in collaboration with our friends at SkateQilya!

This September we will be working with a team of international volunteers and professional skatepark builders to construct a 600m2, free access community skatepark in the picturesque Palestinian village of Jayyous. 

Working together with the local community and partner organisations, we will provide the fast-growing group of skateboarders in Jayyous a safe space to engage with each other and call their own! 

For more information and to donate head to: www.jayyouspark.com

Follow the story @jayyouspark on Facebook and Instagram.

Contact us at jayyouspark@gmail.com

SkatePal Summer Jam 2017

Roll up, roll up! Join us for the third annual SkatePal Summer Jam in London. All proceeds from this event go directly towards building a new skatepark in Palestine this September!

Sunday 13th August // 11am - 7pm // Gillett Square, Dalston N16 8JN.

What to expect:

- Suma Sound and Pig & Rig DJs soundtracking your day with a mix of psychedelic beats from around the globe.

- Authentic Palestinian food from our friends at Hiba Express.

- Delicious cider courtesy of Kentish Pip.

- Game of S.K.A.T.E - £2 entry with prizes for winners.

- Raffle - win prizes from: Isle Skateboards, Rock Solid Distribution, Long Live Southbank, Theobalds Cap Co. Ninja Tune, NTS Radio and more! 

- Free beginners skate lessons!

- Merch & information stalls

**This is a free event, but don't forget - all the money we raise is going directly to help build a new skatepark for young children in Palestine** 

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Schedule

11am - 12pm: Beginners skate lessons

12pm: Skate jam opens

1pm - 3pm: Game of S.K.A.T.E

3pm - 7pm: Skate Jam continues.  

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Many thanks to Hackney Council and Gillett Square for supporting this event.

Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/events/134723553791290

In memory of
Ignacio Echeverria

Last Sunday skateboarders from all over London gathered to celebrate the life of Ignacio Echeverria, the Spanish skateboarder who was killed whilst trying to defend a woman with his skateboard during the London Bridge attack.

The skate session was an immensely powerful and positive event, and a real reminder of how amazing the skateboarding community is. We skated together in solidarity, travelling the route that Ignacio took around the London Bridge area that day, turning a painful memory into a positive one.

We are extremely humbled and honoured that Ignacio’s friends and family have decided to donate money in his memory to SkatePal, as he had previously told them that he was inspired by our work in the West Bank.

Our event at Southbank this weekend is dedicated to his memory.

Ignacio 5.jpg

SkatePal Southbank Jam

Join us for our first SkatePal fundraiser of the summer supported by Long Live Southbank

Get yourself down to Southbank to raise money for skateboarders in the West Bank! All proceeds go towards building a new skatepark in Palestine this September.

Saturday 17th June // 10am - 7pm // Southbank (The Undercroft)

Schedule:

10am - 12noon: Skate Lessons hosted by LLSB

12noon - 2pm: Jam begins

2pm - 3pm: Best trick contest

3pm-7pm: Jam on!

Prizes from: Isle Skateboards, Brixtons Baddest Skate Shop, Slam City Skates, Rock Sold DistributionTheobalds Cap Co. and more!

Facebook event - https://www.facebook.com/events/436986503333748

**This is a free event, but don't forget - all the money we raise is going directly to help build a new skatepark for young people in Palestine**

If you can't make it to the event, fear not! You can make a donation at www.skatepal.co.uk/donate

In memory of Ignacio Echeverria

 

Interview:
Abdullah Milhem &
Majd Ramadan

We caught up with Abdullah Milhem and Majd Ramadan, two of the best skaters in Palestine - to ask them about how they got into skateboarding and the impact it has had on their lives.

Abdullah. Photo: Sam Ashley

Abdullah. Photo: Sam Ashley

Ok let's start from the beginning - how did you start skating? What was your first skateboard?

Abdullah: I started skating three years ago, I found a fake skateboard in a second-hand shop in Qalqilya, then I joined a local crew called the X-games team, which were a group of rappers, beatboxers, graffiti artists, free-runners and skateboarders. In 2013 an organisation called Tashkeel donated money for us to build the mini-ramp in Qalqilya. Kenny Reed came to help with the building and he gave me my first real board: a Real deck, Thunder trucks and Spitfire wheels. That year I also met Charlie when he came to visit our ramp in Qalqilya, just when he was starting SkatePal. He was really nice and told me about his projects.

Majd: The first time I saw someone skating in real life I think was in 2012. It was Charlie with his team skating at the plaza (in Ramallah). I was walking by, saw them skating and stopped for a bit to watch them. Charlie was doing a fakie 360 flip or something, but at the time I didn't know what the trick was - I just thought 'wow!'. So I talked to him and now we're friends. My first skateboard was from a toy shop in Ramallah, which now I know was a rubbish board, but at that time it was the best skateboard I could get!

Majd takes the unconventional route at the Plaza, Ramallah. Photo: Emil Agerskov

Majd takes the unconventional route at the Plaza, Ramallah. Photo: Emil Agerskov

You're both from different towns (Qalqilya & Ramallah), what's the difference between skating in these towns? What do your parents think?

Abdullah: I live in Qalqilya, which is one of the most conservative cities in the West Bank. People here (until recently) did not accept anything new, including skate boarding. They used to kick us out of every spot - they hated our guts just for being different. But as years went by they got used to us. Ramallah, however, is considered to be more liberal because of the interaction with the outside world, unlike Qalqilya which is completely surrounded by a wall. So skateboarding in Ramallah grew much faster because people were more welcoming to the sport. My family didn’t like it at first but they got used to it eventually.

Majd: Some people like it but most people think that it's just a toy for the kids. My family don't really like it, they always tell me I should grow up and stuff like that. 

Abdullah - Frontside 180 at the SkateQilya mini ramp, Qalqilya. Photo: Emil Agerskov

Abdullah - Frontside 180 at the SkateQilya mini ramp, Qalqilya. Photo: Emil Agerskov

How did you guys meet each other? Do you think you would have met each other if you didn't skateboard?

Majd: The first time I met Abdullah it was at the SOS skatepark in Bethlehem with SkatePal volunteer Maen Hammad. I don’t think that we would know each other if we weren’t skating! 

Abdullah: I don’t think I would've met Majd if one of us didn’t skate. After meeting at SOS, we had a session in the plaza in Ramallah. Majd had only just started skating by then, but I enjoyed watching him landing new tricks. He is always excited to skate, even though his father doesn’t like it. He is one hell of a skater and I'm glad that I’ve met him!

What impact has skateboarding had on your life?

Abdullah: Skateboarding changed my life. It gave me that sense of freedom that I was dying to have, it changed the way I saw my surroundings: everything turned into a playground. Even the wall around the city is just a sick spot for wall rides! SkatePal also made a huge change as they managed to create a skate scene that we were desperate for. They united all the skaters in Palestine, gave them boards and built skateparks, spreading the freedom and joy of skateboarding.

Majd: To be honest, I wouldn't be skating without SkatePal, especially Charlie and Theo. We don’t have a skate shop here, so my shop is SkatePal haha! They always get me a board when mine breaks, so without them I wouldn't be able to skate! 

What impact do you think Asira skatepark has had on the skate-scene in Palestine? 

Abdullah: It had a huge impact. It created a chance for kids to have a place where they can have fun. It gave them something to do instead of wasting their time just hanging around in the streets doing nothing.

Majd: Yeah I agree. People in Asira love skateboarding so much now! 

Abdullah, you recently helped out teaching with the SkateQilya summer camp with Kenny Reed - how was that? 

Abdullah: It was an amazing experience, seeing Kenny back in Palestine shredding and teaching kids with him was really fun. We had 23 boys and girls skating at the camp every day, which was great. I used to be the only skater in the city, but now thanks to SkateQilya there are a lot of kids skating. It was like a dream come true as I saw girls starting to skate through the streets of a conservative city. We're hoping to create a better future for the kids who are trapped inside the walls of the Israeli occupation.

Photo: Emil Agerskov

Photo: Emil Agerskov

How has SkatePal evolved since you got involved?

Abdullah: It has been an amazing experience working with SkatePal. I've met so many people from around the world who came to teach kids here. It's been great introducing them to our culture, and telling them stories about the people of this country. I’ve made a lot of great friends, and I was able to see how skateboarding brings people together and brings joy to oppressed people.

You both came skating with the Isle team when they were in Palestine. What was it like skating with them? Would you like to see more pro teams visiting the West Bank?

Abdullah: It was mind blowing! I couldn’t believe it at first - watching them land one banger after the other. It was good for the skate scene because people were able to see that skating is not just a game but rather a way of life, something that adults do as well as kids. We hope to see more pro teams in the West Bank, because it would inspire and motivate us Palestinian skaters, knowing that we are not alone. Also when pro teams come it brings more attention to the skate scene in Palestine and the Palestinian issue in general.

Majd: It was awesome to have a pro team like the Isle crew in Palestine. It meant a lot to me, but to be honest I didn’t skate much during the sessions, I just sat down and watched them do crazy stuff that I’ve never seen before except in videos haha! I would like to see more teams like that in Palestine for sure!

Chiling with the Isle team in Ramallah. 

Chiling with the Isle team in Ramallah. 

Majd & Chris Jones

Majd & Chris Jones

Why do you think skateboarding is important for boys and girls in the West Bank?

Abdullah: It is important because it’s self-liberating and is a peaceful way of resistance. It sends a message to the world that no matter what happens, we will live our lives like normal people. We are human beings who deserve to live.

Majd: I think the most important thing is the feeling of freedom. Even if I was feeling sad, I just pick up my board and go skating and have fun. I don't know what else to say!

What are your hopes for the future of skateboarding in Palestine? 

Abdullah: I hope to see more people skating, more skate parks and maybe a skate shop. It might be hard but hard isn’t impossible.

Majd: I hope that skateboarding get much bigger and better in the future here in Palestine! 

What are you doing now / planning next? 

Abdullah: Next year I'm hoping to study Film in the US. I dream of travelling the world, sharing the stories of Palestine through film.

Majd: Right now I’m studying in Birzeit university.

What trick are you learning right now? 

Abdullah: Lazer flips and they are a pain in the ass!

Majd: I'm working on inward heel flips and nollie bigspins.

Almost done, how would you describe Charlie?

Abdullah: A great friend who dedicated himself to spreading the freedom of skateboarding.

Majd: I will describe Charlie later hahah. I love him.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Majd: I would say thanks for everyone that makes this happen. So much love from Palestine! 

A few quick ones with @majdramadan3 at the Plaza #ramallah #skatepal

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It counts! More stunts from @majdramadan3 at the Plaza #ramallah #skatepal

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Thanks guys! 

Keep up to date with Abdullah and Majd on instagram:

www.instagram.com/majdramadan3

www.instagram.com/a_milhem40