King of the Park 2007

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Greetings from the world of Oakley skateboarding. Spring is upon us and times have been hectic to say the least. In the midst of skateboard madness and the blur that is our everyday lives, one recent event that we were lucky enough to be a part of has really opened our eyes and convinced us to focus on the important things in life.

While attending the King of the Park contest in Waveland, Mississippi, the scale of the destruction to the region hit me like a ton of bricks. Almost two years after Hurricane Katrina flooded and ravaged whole cities Louisiana and Mississippi, the people hit hardest are still struggling to get their lives back in order. Most people whose houses were destroyed continue to live in tiny trailers parked in front of the ruins that were once called home. The sheer enormity of the still wretched destruction can’t be fathomed without seeing it with one’s own eyes.

One beacon of hope for the city of Waveland, Mississippi is Kelly Welsh, the owner South Coast Skate Park. In the aftermath of Katrina, Kelly did everything humanly possible to get the park back in operation for the kids whose lives were seemingly destroyed in Katrina’s wake. With much help from family, friends and a few financial institutions who loaned him money, Kelly rebuilt the park. South Coast Skate Park was the first business in Waveland, Mississippi to reopen after the storm.

The 6th annual King of the Park contest marked the crossroads of a hurricane’s destruction and a community’s return to normality. Florida’s Chris Coogan and Miles Channevello of Illinois took first and second places, respectively. Oakley’s own Tyler Hendley clenched third place and the Red Bull’s Most Versitile Skater award with his technical wizardry and insatiable need for speed.

In the scheme of things, a skateboard contest may seem insignificant in the scheme of things for the kids of Waveland, but it’s a sign that things are beginning to return to the way things were and the way things will someday be.