Jan 20, 2013

"Sk8 961" in Tripoli

First of all there's a statement I need to make, Ameena Barakeh is a Champion. Is being a veiled skater enough to earn that title? Is coaching a HUGE number of teenage boys in their beloved hobby - skateboarding - enough? Is it putting all her efforts and savings into making an old dream come true, and waking up one day to find the dream is happening indeed, isn't it all enough to entitle her as a champion? Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Ameena, the young ambitious Graphic Designer from Saida, whose dream was to create a community of skaters around Lebanon, and that is only the beginning. Check her page Sk8 961 (Lebanese Skateboarders) on Facebook.

At 7:30 AM this morning, a message on my phone was telling me that Ameena, along with a few guys, are coming to spend the day in Tripoli to team up with a few local guys around town. Sunday being always my only friend among weekdays, I didn't see the message until it was 10:30 AM. The skaters had already been in Azmi Street, their loud noise lead me their direction. Ameena was the coach indeed, but was the director, photographer and videographer as well that morning. I found out later that she was setting up a documentary about the Skaters in Lebanon. Such a loud noise on a Sunday morning wasn't welcome between the tight districts of the city, neither on the premises of the official Tripoli Exhibition Center (Maarad). Skaters were constantly on the move to avoid the repetitive dismissal, and to find the "stairs" that would please their taste, and satisfy their crave for skating.

I learned that 5 to 7 steps is the golden number for such skaters, a height that is probably enough to ollie (jump) and perform backflips and many other tricks. A rail on the side is also preferable; in the end, a skater that can't grind is no skater at all. Manuals are also a masterpiece: the longer the manual, the better the skater is.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect skater. To Ameena and the other guys, if you don't mess up and fall down, you're still not ready to be called a skater. Scars and blood are their daily bread. Broken bones to them is your bi-annual visit to your older aunt. It's all part of the fun, all part of being called a Skater.

Hassan, Robby, Omar and the others were fascinating. They surely had it going on long before we came with our expensive cameras. Their whole gear is their board, and one GoPro camera that's passed among them in order to record as much action footage as possible. All thanks to every single one of them, and of course, to Ameena, for giving out such an outrageous performance in the streets of dear Tripoli

Definition of a skater by the Urban Dictionary:
A skater is a human being who enjoys riding a skateboard because it is fun. a lot of skaters could be classified as 'punks' but this is just a stereotype. true, some skaters so wear tight jeans and a pair of emericas, but a lot of them just dress 'normally'.
there are vert skaters and street skaters. vert skaters skate in halfpipes. street skaters skate stairs and ledges and such. street is currently more popular than vert, mainly because it is easier to do. not to say that it requires less skill; I mean that street requires no ramp, therefore it can be done in more places that vert. 
I leave you with the rest of the photos, some of them already published on my Facebook album:

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