Islands' Sounder


Pro skaters, BMX athletes heading to Lopez Island

August 14, 2013 · Updated 1:46 PM

Arrival of the new skate park / Contributed photo/ Robert S. Harrison

Richlite Company, a family-owned, Tacoma-based manufacturer of paper-composite materials popular in the architectural, marine, commercial food and action sports industries, announced it is in the process of building a new skate park at the Lopez Island Community Center that the company will donate to residents of Lopez Island on Aug. 17.

The concept for the new park was developed by Shawn O’Day, Richlite’s president, who has boated around and vacationed on Lopez with his family every summer for decades. In August 2012, he walked past the current skate park at the community center and noticed it had a large, quality concrete platform but few features, limited to two quarter pipes and a rail box. Richlite manufactures Skatelite that is one of the world’s most popular skate ramp surfaces used in the X-Games and by the majority of professional skaters and BMX athletes on their personal ramps. Due to O’Day’s affection for the island, he discussed the idea of building a new park on Lopez with his executive team and plans were put into motion.

The new skate park will fill the entire 60-foot by 80-foot pad at the current location. Richlite has commissioned California RampWorks, the designers behind the X-Games half-pipe and mega air ramps, to build the Lopez Island park.

Richlite, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, will dedicate the skate park to island residents on Aug. 17 with a day of skating, food, music and entertainment called “The Retreat.”

Several of the world’s top skaters and BMX riders, including Bob Burnquist, Bucky Lasek, Ryan Nyquist and others who will have just competed in the X-Games a few days prior will be on hand to demonstrate their latest tricks and get up close and personal with fans on the island. In the days leading up to the event, Richlite is holding its annual international sales meeting on Lopez with more than 80 distributors, customers, VIPs and their families.

Guests who participate in the free event on Aug. 17 can skate and ride with the pros during open sessions, and enjoy music, films and food. Festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. with the dedication of the new skate park. To complement the skate park, California RampWorks will bring up their vert ramp directly following the X-Games in Los Angeles for the athlete sessions during The Retreat.

Music begins at 6 p.m. with live performances by The Good Husbands, several DJs and a special guest that alone is worth the trip. Free parking and shuttle transportation for ferry walk-ons will be provided by Skatelite from downtown Anacortes to the ferry dock and from the Lopez ferry terminal to The Retreat (held at the Lopez Island Community Center).

For more info, visit skatelite.com/the-retreat.


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