I was taking a stroll down the road not more than a couple of hundred yards from Central Festival and Florista in Wichit, Phuket when I looked up a side road and saw a sign saying Shaka Shaka. At first glance I thought it was a nightclub, however, upon closer inspection I realized it was a skate park with a couple of huge bowls (empty swimming pools to you and I) to surf skate in.
“Everyone involved in skateboarding in Phuket wanted large bowls in a park like this”.Ben – Owner of Shaka Shaka skate park.
At my earliest opportunity I booked in an hour’s tuition and arranged to meet with the Phuket born Thai owner Ben. We spoke for a while about how the park has suffered as most businesses have given the effects of recent events on all business to include tourism. Ben is a young successful man who knows what he wants and clearly has the ability to turn great vision into reality. Having grown up in LA in the states (the mecca for skateboarders) his passion for the sport took hold and it has been with him ever since.
I said to him that given the time he spent in the US, its clear why he decided to make skateboarding an important part of his life. He replied, “Everyone involved in skateboarding in Phuket wanted large bowls in a park like this”.
We walked around the park and looked at the various boards, helmets and additional protective gear available for hire. Ben then introduced me to the two bowls starting with the smaller of the two for beginners then leading into a larger bowl, joined by
a short tunnel, that has a spectacular 3 metre plus high wall at its far end.
Upstairs was a café to relax and observe the park from above, however, as times have been quiet, Ben and friends turned the area into a communal lounge for likeminded skateboarding souls to talk about their passion. A friend of Bens introduced what is referred to as a ‘finger boarding’ skate park where those who either want to practice tricks or have fun without fear of injury can simply place their fingers on mini skateboards and push them around miniature ramps.
The time was upon us for me to get suited up and get my first lesion which – following putting on a helmet and knee pads – required some rudimentary stretching of the back, arms and legs. Jino who is the head trainer at Shaka Shaka demonstrated what they wanted me to attempt, and I got to work. It had been 10 years since I last stepped on a board, and I was concerned as to how the hour was going to progress. I’m used to the board being stiff for riding on the road, however, with surf skate where you go up and down half pipes and into empty swimming pools, the trucks – mechanism connecting the board to the wheels – must be really loose. This makes just standing on the board a balancing act.
I soon got to grips and Jino and I ventured into the smaller of the two bowls. My first ride in saw me take a tumble as I got used the speed of riding in from a ramp. After several attempts I finally managed to roll into the bowl and ride the small wall unassisted which was awesome and one more item off my bucket list.
We ended the session with the grand master Jino going for an epic ride around both bowls. Just watching him was mesmerizing and I couldn’t help but thinking how incredible that must feel. I’ve got to admit I’m hooked on this sport and will return at the earliest opportunity.
Thank you to Ben and Jino from Shaka Shaka skate park for an incredible experience. Skate boarding is the way forward people!!!
Shaka Shaka Skate Park
Owner: Khun Ben
Trainer: Khun Jino
Address: 35/79 ซ.วิชิตธานี ถ.วิชิตสวคราม ต Wichit, อ.เมือง Phuket 83000
Call: 088 120 5888
Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/n4RakiV76JaZ7RMt9
Shaka Shaka – Price list
Joining session (1hr) = 100
Baht Trainer (1hr) = 600 Baht
Private session (1hr) 1,000 Baht
Private session (2hrs) 1,800 Baht
If you want to watch the filmed episode that supports this article then please go to the Farangbowl YouTube Channel or watch it in the media browser on this page below.