AN AMBITIOUS scheme has been unveiled for a state-of-the-art skatepark in Freshwater — including the Island's first pump track.

Freshwater Parish Council has committed £120,000 over two years towards the project at The Stroud.

With the current skatepark nearing the end of its life, and repairs and upkeep costing more and more, the aim is for a long-lasting asset to the community, with something for all riders and ages to enjoy.

Careful landscaping and planting will create a park suitable for family picnics and spectators, as well as skaters.

The parish council hopes the pump track will prove a great draw for West Wight tourism, as well as attracting Islandwide interest.

The circuit of rollers, banked turns and features is designed to be ridden completely by riders 'pumping' — generating momentum by up-and-down body movements, instead of pedalling or pushing.

Originally designed for the mountain bike and BMX scene, they can now accommodate all riders including wheelchair users, and a wide variety of skill levels — and are relatively cheap to construct.

Concrete skateparks came to Britain from the US in the 1970s and one of the first was a community effort at Golden Hill Fort, Freshwater.

Southsea skatepark, which has a series of concrete bowls, was built in 1978 by the local authority and is still in place today.

Today’s concrete designs are built to last for generations of tough, punishing use within landscaped settings which integrate social, architectural, and environmental demands.

Skateboarding will make its debut as an Olympic sport in Tokyo this month, with 13-year-old Sky Brown set to become Britain's youngest ever summer Olympian after beating adults to qualify.

SkateboardGB research shows mental health and well-being benefits, especially in the context of the pandemic's impact on anxiety.

The parish council is seeking grants, fundraising, sponsorship and advertising, aiming to match the parish funding, and is looking for people who can help with the use of machinery and materials.

They say a public consultation drew an overwhelming positive response, with more than 70 emails of support and hundreds of social media messages and comments.

Feedback from local skaters produced a wishlist of what local riders want.

The plan is to build the pump track in the first year which will generate more interest and more funding for the skatepark in the following year.

Planning permission will soon be sought, after which the project will go out to tender.

Ten-year-old local skater Martha Eggleton said she was 'super excited at the prospect of going in the bowl to practice for competitons.

"The new park in Freshwater is going to be amazing,” she said.

Hamish Fleming, of the imminent Canopy Skatepark in Chale, who has skated for 25-plus years and has worked with kids who are harder to reach, said skateboarding was one of the best activities for kids not keen on team sports.

He is planning a skate jam to help raise money and awareness for the new skatepark.

Isle of Wight County Press: Hamish Fleming, of Canopy Skatepark in Chale, is supporting Freshwater Skatepark.Hamish Fleming, of Canopy Skatepark in Chale, is supporting Freshwater Skatepark.

Hamish Fleming, of Canopy Skatepark in Chale,is supporting the project.

John Cattle, a veteran professional skateboarder who has run a skate club in Wootton for ten years, as well as the Island's only skate shop, Wight Trash World in Ryde, said: “There’s a real need for improvement to all the Island skateparks.

"The news that Freshwater Parish Council is supporting the first pump skate track is really exciting.

“To provide better local facilities for people to exercise, have fun and meet new friends is more important now than ever. We can’t wait to roll around the new park.”

Lots of fundraising activities are being planned.

Isle of Wight County Press: The current Freshwater Skatepark.The current Freshwater Skatepark.

The current Freshwater Skatepark

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