Interview: Mike DeVries
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.