A Skate Ramp Grows in Palestine

In October 2013, Tashkeel, an art and cultural organization in Dubai, sent a group of US professional skaters and ramp builders to Qalqilya to construct the first large scale mini ramp in Palestine. Recognizing that art and skating inspire creativity, innovation and community building, Tashkeel began building ramps and parks around Dubai a few years ago. When they saw Adam and Mohammed’s footage in December of 2012, Tashkeel immediately responded by funding this incredible new project.

From January to October of 2013, Adam and Mohammed worked with Brad Kirr, the project coordinator, in organizing all the materials and equipment necessary to build this state of the art ramp. Dave Duncan, a former US pro skater and expert ramp designer was brought onboard from the very beginning. The list of Dave’s accomplishments is long. It includes skating and designing boards for the world famous Alva Team, announcing many of the pro skate and snowboarding events around the world (including the Olympics), and designing ramps for the Gravity Games, X-Games and Olympics. Dave brought along Brian Patch, a US pro skater and five time X-Games medalist to assist in the build. And then anchoring the team was Kenny Reed (AKA “The Traveler”), a US pro street skater who is famous for traveling to all corners of the earth to share the art and spirit of skating.

R to L: Mohammed Othman, Dave Duncan, Brad Kirr, Brian Patch, Kenny Reed

These skaters not only demonstrated the highest level of professionalism, but they also exhibited incredible passion and sensitivity towards a new community. And the X-Games came out in force. The kids and some other community members showed up ready to hammer, drill and saw. The Qalqilya ramp is a beautiful symbol of cross-cultural collaboration. The pro skaters had never been to Palestine before and the kids surely have never built a ramp. But they all came together sharing a language and love for freedom and flying. (Photo/L2R: Mohammed Othman, Dave Duncan, Brad Kirr, Brian Patch, Kenny Reed)

If you are not familiar with skate ramps (and don’t worry, we were not either), this one is pretty special. Thanks to Dave and his uncanny design wizardry, the Qalqilya ramp exhibits four different elements. Starting at 4 feet, the ramp has both a 5 1/2 foot and a 6 1/2 foot extension. It also has a “roll-in” for beginners, which is the curved drop on the left side of the ramp. And thanks to Tashkeel’s insistence, the ramp is covered with Skatelite, the most durable wood-like surface. This will help the ramp endure the cold and wet weather that Palestinians face every winter. The experts have unofficially determined that this ramp is one of the most unique designs in the region. Qalqilya is now the place to skate. And, as the mayor of Qalqilya announced during the inauguration, EVERYONE is welcome!

We can not thank Tashkeel enough for their generosity, dedication and pure love for this community and our project. A special thanks goes to Mayor Othman Dawoud who has been dedicated to our project from the beginning and initiated the site of the ramp. We also want to thank everyone at the municipality of Qalqilya and the Qalqilya Zoo (where the ramp is located), whose help was instrumental in making the construction feasible.

2013 was the year for skate ramps in Palestine! First Skatejam built a ramp in Gaza in the beginning of 2013 and then SkatePAL built one in the West Bank city of Ramallah in the summer of 2013.