There are a lot of guys that have been skating for a long time in Calgary. Some of them you may know, some of them you may not. What’s important is that some of them have made some very large contributions to Calgary skateboarding. Mike Devries is one of those guys. We chatted with him about what he’s done and what he’s up to now.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Oakridge area of Calgary.
How long have you been skating for?
I’ve been skating for 35 years now.
What spots did you grow up skating?
Downtown. The rest of the time we made ramps and everyone would check out everyone’s ramps all over the city.
What about skateparks?
There were only poorly designed city-owned ramps, so a few people made their own indoor parks and I spent a lot of time riding them: Skate World (Lindsey’s park), Ramp o Rama (Barry Hiebert’s park) and Skate Jungle (TJ’s park) and All Skool(Trevor Morgan’s park). They were some of the first parks in Calgary aside from Skatopia in the 1970s. It was a concrete indoor park– before my time.
What made you open your own indoor skatepark (Four o Three)?
I wanted to create a space for all of the people in Calgary to unite and build a great community of skateboarders and support for Calgary Skateboarding.
I was intending on opening an indoor park and found out there were some guys already building a indoor park. I was super disappointed. I didn’t get into it at first but after thinking about it I decided it wasn’t a big deal and I should go and help. So I did that and ended up becoming friends the 3 partners: Tony, Jarrod, and Devon. The building team was hired from Toronto (Bruce Carson Ramp to Ramp and two of his friends Gosh and Russ). After some time helping I bought out Devon and that’s how it all happened.
How else have you been involved in Calgary skateboarding?
I worked with a group of people called the Fellowship of Calgary Skateboarders (A non-for profit organization similar to CASE) for 10 years to get Millennium Park built and built a temporary outdoor pilot project skatepark out of wood. This was right around the same time the indoor park Allskool opened and the interest was overwhelming from the City of Calgary. They pushed forward to make Millennium happen with help from the Calgary skateboarders and the Parks and Recreation department.
Tell us about the vert ramp you’re working on.
The ramp I’m working on right now is a ramp that I’ve had for quite a few years many people have helped out financially and with working on it as well. We used to have it outside of the Four o Three then it moved Priddis until a few people that ride vert wanted to turn it back into vert ramp. So we moved it and restored it. And after many man hours and thousands of dollars we are now to the point where we are ready to fundraise to get the final layer put on. And the people that support what we’re doing will be the people who are eligible to come ride whatever we build.
Any last words?
I’m very happy to see all the new parks springing up and can’t wait to see some of the next generation of kids turn into future rippers. Shout out to everybody that supported me in the past and present times. It means the world to me. Thank you.
We have a few “So Stoked My Dudes” T-shirts available in men’s sizes S, and XL for $20. Size M and L are sold out. You can use the “Donate” button on the right to pay for one using Paypal. Calgary residents will get free delivery.
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Thanks to John Mayer for shouting us out on Instagram.
Calgary has had its share of skateboarding events this year! Now Westside Rec Centre Skatepark is hosting Skatefest this Saturday, August 13th. It’s a skate competition for skaters ages 17 and under.
By Zev Klymochko, CASE Co-Chair
It’s been one year since the Edgemont Skatepark saga. It was in July 2015 that a group of vocal, albeit uninformed residents took over their community association board for the sole purpose of preventing the skatepark. A skatepark that had been approved by the previous board and the City. Their arguments ranged from “we didn’t know” to “it will decrease property values” and “increased traffic”. One of the most heinous lies they told people when they encouraged Edgemont residents to sign their anti-skatepark petition was that the soccer field would be displaced in favour of the skatepark.
Maybe you followed what happened with the Edgemont Community Association shortly after that.
How far we’ve come in just one year. We now have three new skateparks: CKE skate spot, Huntington Hills, and Southwood. All the parks are being very well used and the city is in the midst of developing three more parks: New Brighton, Midnapore, and Deer Run. Another skatepark is slated for a yet-unannounced location in northeast Calgary.
Another big win for skateboarding in Calgary has been the abolition of the bylaw which makes ramps on private property illegal. Shortly before this the City seemed to simply do away with the bylaw prohibiting ramps on streets.
The City’s recreation department is expanding and upgrading the current mobile skatepark program. This comes as a bit of a pleasant surprise, considering there will be a skatepark in every city quadrant by the end of 2016.
We had Kyle Conway’s viral video, “So Stoked My Dudes”, which garnered international media attention.
Not specifically Calgary-related, but skateboarding will now be in the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. No matter what your opinion is on skateboarding in the Olympics, you can’t deny that it will thrust skateboarding into the limelight even more. And Calgary is likely a prime training ground for Olympic skaters.
Calgary is really a great place to skate. Hopefully we can help make it even better. As always, we welcome your suggestions.