The RVCA team recently took a trip out to Jamaica, hitting up the street spots in Kingston, and the epic Boston Bay skatepark. This cropped up a little too late for my January 2023 Video Roundup that went up earlier this week, but it absolutely would have been on there. Having said that, because I have a personal connection with Jamaica, I wanted to write more about it.
Here’s what I know about Jamaica and skateboarding (and any skateboarder who grew up in a Jamaican household will tell you this): until recently there wasn’t really much of a scene out there, and a lot of older Jamaicans just didn’t understand skateboarding. My Dad’s opinion on skateboarding was always viewed through the comparison to cricket… Which doesn’t really match up at all.
I don’t really know why the culture of skateboarding didn’t really have much of a foothold in Jamaica, because all of the Jamaican’s I know aren’t huge sticklers for rules, and very much the “Jamaican way” I always observed from my Dad and his mates was to pull together, get shit done and have a good time doing it. If that doesn’t describe skateboarding I don’t know what does.
This attitude is clear in the skatepark at Boston Bay – The Jamaica Skate Fund came together and built this gnarly DIY masterpiece, heavily inspired by Burnside, Potrero and Washington St skateparks, and as one of the first landmark skateparks in the country it sets an incredibly high bar. A lot of people I have met throughout my life write Jamaica off as some third world country, but the people are more resourceful, skilled and creative than most.
This was literally the foundation of what Jamaican culture taught me as a kid: surrounded by blokes who came to the UK in the 60’s at the Coventry West Indian Club telling us younger generations that we had to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to us, and make the best of what we got. And if those opportunities aren’t there, then you make them yourself.
If that’s what these dudes taught me, then the burgeoning skate scene in Jamaica is taking it even further – Boston Bay, DIY quarters in drainage ditches, navigating the unusual colonial architecture. Jamaica is a country ripe for the raddest, baddest skate scene we may ever see, and this glimpse into what skateboarding is like there makes me so stoked.
The spots in Kingston are these weird, crusty, gnarly street spots that seem oh-so-familiar for someone who grew up skateboarding in the UK, but the sunshine flooded streets and the bright yellow curbs give the spots a flavour all of their own. With teams like RVCA headed out there, I wanna start seeing more footage of the locals hitting these spots up and bringing their own tricks to them.
So yeah, the TLDR is: I’m part Jamaican, this video is fucking rad, it reminds me of my Dad who passed away last year, it makes me stoked on Jamaica and the skateboarders we may see come out of the country, and I genuinely think there is something to be learnt for the rest of the world from how Jamaica is now embracing skateboarding: pull together, get shit done and have a good time doing it.
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