By Ashley Janes and Jackson Cramp
Morinville – Professional skater Keith Allred recently came to the Bob Foster Skatepark in Morinville to shred the bowl, proving that it has started to attract attention from athletes outside of the local talent pool. The concrete park is a popular place among town youth, used every day by people on skateboards, bikes and almost anything else with wheels. But Allred’s recent visits raise the question: why would skaters from out of town want to come to our little slice of skate heaven?
In a brief interview, Allred said that he has visited the Bob Foster Skatepark anywhere between 12 and 15 times a year. “Skaters enjoy the variety of parks in the Edmonton area, Morinville being a beautiful setting, not busy, and easy to ride,” Allred said. Sponsored by Edmonton’s Local 124 Hard Corps skate shop, Allred enjoys traveling all over Alberta to take advantage of different local boarding hotspots. “We like coming to Morinville earlier in the year as it’s a really mellow park, good for carving around and knocking off the winter rust. It is nice to get out of the city and enjoy a less crowded park,” he said.
Allred explained that trick skating was never really his thing, preferring the thrills of sailing around a deep pool. “My style is not so much unique as it is old or traditional. I never got into street skating, always preferring transition like half pipes or pools or cement parks to street skating. I did both, but preferred the former.” The thrill aspect was easy to understand as soon as he began the session. Ripping through the bowl, he quickly gained speed and then defied gravity as he flew up the walls and grinded the ledges.
After the session, Allred said he broke his collarbone the second time. “I was long boarding down the hill above Victoria golf course and got pitched about twenty feet after trying to roll out from the hill,” he said. “Lots of road rash and a broken collar bone, but I only spilled half of my coffee.” Feeling lucky to have only suffered the typical injuries that most athletes face, Allred has never stopped enjoying the sport he loves most.
Allred made a simple suggestion for improving the Bob Foster Skatepark. Although he enjoys visiting the bowl because it is fun and has a beautiful setting south of the Morinville Fish and Game Association pond, he admits there is a consistent downside. “Next to Millwoods, Morinville is the dirtiest park around. So much litter. There are a lot more young kids around who might bring toys other than something to roll around on. Like air-soft pellets from pellet guns. They are a serious problem when they are in the bowl.” Since having debris in the bowl or on the ramps poses a serious threat to people skating, he suggested keeping the area clear. Less debris on the track means less broken collarbones and other potential injuries for local boarders.