The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Skaters supporting skaters in the Eau Claire community

Eau Claire Skaters Association is building a positive skateboarding community
Photo by Wyatt Voelker
Skaters using Boyd Skatepark on a sunny day.

The Eau Claire Skaters Association (ECSA) is a nonprofit organization that brings people together through skating in Eau Claire. The ECSA uses its voice within the community to help create a safer, more positive and educated skate community within Eau Claire.

Through fundraising and advocacy, the ECSA has helped build the Boyd Skatepark, Lakeshore Skatepark and the soon-to-be park in the Cannery District of Eau Claire.

The ECSA is also working on equipping the Boyd skatepark with lights to make it accessible later in the evening.  

The ECSA works with local skate shops like El Camino Skateshop and Passion Skateshop in Eau Claire to promote these goals and build a stronger community.

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Gabe Brummett is one of the board members of the ECSA advocating for the skate community within Eau Claire. Brummett is a longtime skater himself and an Eau Claire resident since 2009.

“We started out just as a way to fundraise to get skateparks built. That was our whole goal,” Brummett said. “Now our goals are to just continue promoting all the good stuff that skateboarding has to offer.”

Brummett, along with other members of the ECSA, hold lessons for kids in the community to get into and learn how to skate. 

“It’s intimidating for parents who want to get their kids involved in something, and their kid wants to skate, and it’s like, ‘what do they do?’” Brummett said. “We’re just trying to make sure the community has everything they need to thrive as skateboarders.” 

Tom Kemp is another community member who sits on the board of the ECSA. Like Brummett, Kemp is all about evolving the community and making these spaces available and positive. 

“We’re just trying to build a good skating infrastructure and support for younger skaters to promote a more positive community for the younger kids,” Kemp said.

Kemp noted that the ECSA is working with other organizations to improve the quality and abundance of these skateparks in Eau Claire and, through its organization and events, raise awareness of other issues, such as mental health. 

“We’re excited that we’re working with some park beautification projects as well as some mental health professionals to bring some attention to issues a lot of young people are facing today,” Kemp said. 

The ECSA plans to hold two events on May 5 and May 19. The events will be centered around skating and incorporate topics such as mental health, art, music and other creative outlets. 

Outside of the events and goals of ECSA, Kemp also noted the growth that the skating community has seen with these new parks ECSA has pushed for. The growth is not only within the youth community but also among older members of the community.

“What we’re starting to see now is this is becoming a place where people who are skating can stay and make it their home,” Kemp said. “It’s really a binding force for the community in general which is something that Eau Claire benefits from as a whole.” 

As the community grows, these parks are used more and more, resulting in ‘wear and tear.’ The ECSA focuses heavily on raising awareness of the maintenance of these parks. 

“Just as basketball courts need to be resealed, tennis courts need marking, the same goes for skateboarding,” Kemp said. “These are creative facilities that are of high use and as a consequence, they have maintenance needs.”

This growth and maintenance of the parks would not have been as possible as it is today without ECSA. With their help, the Eau Claire skate community has grown within the last 10 to 20 years, according to Brummett.

“We’ve had to fight a lot to get here, and now we’re at a point where the city sees the value of this,” Brummett said.

Voelker can be reached at [email protected]

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