Skateboarding in Palestine
Charlie Davis visits Palestine for the first time
During his time volunteering as an English teacher at a youth centre in Jenin, Scottish skateboarder Charlie Davis takes his board into the streets after class.
To his amazement, crowds of kids gather round, asking him how he makes the board jump in the air. Charlie discovers that skateboarding is something new to Palestine, and the idea for SkatePal is born.
Charlie continues to visit Palestine as a volunteer and studies Arabic at university to prepare him for working in the Middle East.
The early days
Sajed Abu-Elba, a rollerblader from Qalqilya, creates Palestine's first ever dedicated space for skating.
Frustrated by a lack of facilities (and other skaters!), Sajed rents a warehouse and fills it with self-built metal ramps and grind rails. The park is mainly used by rollerbladers, scooters and free-runners with whom Sajed forms a team, dubbed the 'X-Games'.
However, due to high running costs, the park closes after just 3 months and never re-opens.
SkateJam build a mini-ramp in Gaza
Two London-based volunteers, Enrico Dorante and Alexandra Lort-Phillips, lead a project to build the first mini-ramp in Palestine, at the Al-Amal Sport Club in Khan Younis, Gaza.
SkatePal builds the first mini-ramp in the West Bank and hosts a summer camp at the Sharek Youth Forum
Inspired by the work of Skateistan, Charlie, together with his brother Jack and volunteers Geoffrey Elston and Mark McCallister, build a mini-ramp and hold a skateboarding summer camp for 8 weeks at the Sharek Youth Forum in Ramallah.
It is here that Charlie meets the first two skaters in Palestine - Aram Sabbah and Adham Tamini.
US-Filmmaker Adam Abel & Palestinian producer Mohammad Othman organise the construction of a mini-ramp in Qalqilya.
After seeing footage of Sajed and the ‘X-Games’ team filmed by Adam and Mohammad, Dubai-based NGO Tashkeel offer to fund the construction of a mini-ramp in Qalqilya.
The ramp is built on land at the Qalqilya Zoo by an American team including Dave Duncan, Brian Patch, Alex Garcia, Brad Kirr and pro-skater Kenny Reed together with local skaters and volunteers from Qalqilya.
SkatePal holds skate camps in Ramallah and Zebabdeh
As well as continuing classes in Ramallah, Charlie and volunteer Mick Kirkman hold classes with girls and boys from the town of Zebabdeh in preparation for building the first concrete skatepark in Palestine.
SkatePal builds a mini-ramp at the Islamic Club in Ramallah and hosts a summer camp
New volunteers, including Sirus F. Gahan, Harry Gerrard, Luke Murphy, Sam Dearden and Martin O'Grady, join Charlie to construct the ramp and hold another summer skate camp.
Sirus later releases 'Fully Falafelled', a short film documenting the experiences of the volunteers.
SkatePal builds the first permanent skatepark in Palestine
After a crowdfunding campaign, SkatePal volunteers from across Europe complete the first concrete skatepark in Palestine, in the town of Zebabdeh.
German NGO Skate-Aid builds a skatepark in Bethlehem
Former SkatePal volunteer Harry Gerrard, together with Skate-Aid volunteers Patrick Ritchey and Christopher Kintrop, build a concrete park in Bethlehem.
They are joined by Mohammed Zakaria, Milorad Obradovic, Marlene Pick, Jonas Ganz and Jeeda Masoud. It is painted by APTART's Leah Rose O'Bryant and Samantha Robinson.
Two documentaries, ‘Kickflips Over Occupation’ & ‘Epicly Palestine’d’ reveal the Palestinian skate scene to the world.
After volunteering with SkatePal that summer, Maen Hammad, a Palestinian-American filmmaker produces a short documentary about his experience and the skaters he meets.
Later that month, filmmakers Philip Joa and Theo Krish release the documentary 'Epicly Palestine’d’. The film chronicles the birth of skateboarding in the West Bank and shines a light on the Palestinian skate scene.
Inspired by their time in the Palestine meeting Charlie and local skaters, Phil and Theo join the family and become SkatePal volunteers.
SkatePal builds their second concrete skatepark in Palestine.
Named 'Rosa Park', the 700m2 concrete park is built in the town of Asira Al-Shamaliya, near Nablus.
The park is constructed with the the help of 20 international volunteers in partnership with the Palestinian House of Friendship and Asira Al-Shamaliya council.
SkatePal begins year-round skateboarding classes in Palestine.
SkatePal hosts 50 volunteers from over 12 different countries, for the first year of continual skateboarding classes at Asira Al-Shamaliya skatepark
Mohammad Othman, Adam Abel and Kenny Reed host the first skate camp in Qalqilya, called SkateQilya
The three-week summer camp, brings together girls and boys from Qalqilya and Jayyous to learn community building, English and skateboarding.
Isle Skateboards become the first professional skateboard team to tour Palestine
Organised by SkatePal and volunteer Chris Jones, Isle Skateboards visit all the major skateboarding sites in Palestine and holds workshops with local skaters.
Their trip is documented in 'Pieces of Palestine' filmed by Jacob Harris and released by Free Skate Mag.
SkatePal holds second year of daily skateboarding classes in Palestine
As the SkatePal family grows, skateboarders from across the globe arrive in Asira Al-Shamaliya to help teach skateboarding to young people in the village.
SkateQilya hosts its second summer camp.
Following its summer camp in 2016, SkateQilya becomes an NGO and runs a second 3-week long skate camp, introducing further activities such as photography classes for attendees.
Maen Hammad joins the SkatePal team
Having been an advocate of the Palestinian skate scene since 2015, (even giving a TEDX talk on the subject) Maen joins the SkatePal team as Local Co-ordinator based in Ramallah.
SkatePal team up with SkateQilya to construct Jayyous Skatepark
The skatepark is designed by SkatePal in conjunction with the Community Collective and East by West Co and built with the help of 20 international SkatePal volunteers in September 2017.
SkatePal volunteers hold daily skateboarding classes in Asira & Jayyous
SkatePal holds classes at both skatepark locations throughout the year, in conjunction with local partners The Palestinian House of Friendship in Asira and SkateQilya in Jayyous.
Viceland TV showcases the Palestinian skate-scene in the documentary series 'Post Radical'
The series is presented by professional skater Rick McCrank and brings a new audience to the world of skateboarding in Palestine!