Who needs shoes when you have wheels? Will Murphy poses the question on a backyard ramp that will be a star attraction at this Saturday’s Rock the Plank! Pirate Party in Tow Hill. All proceeds will go to the Masset Skate Society, which is looking to start after-school programs for new skaters. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Who needs shoes when you have wheels? Will Murphy poses the question on a backyard ramp that will be a star attraction at this Saturday’s Rock the Plank! Pirate Party in Tow Hill. All proceeds will go to the Masset Skate Society, which is looking to start after-school programs for new skaters. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

A pirate party for skateboarding scallywags

With a skateboard ramp and all-islands music line-up, Saturday fundraiser gets Skate Society rolling

Meghan Wallace had a four-hour board meeting last week and it felt awesome.

That’s because Wallace, co-founder of the new Masset Skate Society, met with friends and skateboarded a ramp that will be centre stage for a pirate-themed fundraising party on Saturday.

Called Rock the Plank! the Tow Hill pirate party will feature live music from the islands’ own Minstrel Cramps, Dub Jackson Band, Jason Camp & The Posers, Evan Amies-Galonski — all of them performing by a wood ramp full of seadog skaters.

Will Murphy, a Skate Society supporter and party co-host, said having the ramp in his yard does have one small downside.

“We’re having a tough time doing our garden chores because the ramp is so insanely fun.”

Wallace said the long-run, future goal of the new society is to build a full skate park in Masset or Old Massett — she imagines it inside a community park that is friendly for kids, parents, and elders.

“We know that it’s going to take a few years,” Wallace said, so the first step is to buy a bunch of skateboards, safety gear, and a mobile skate park set-up they can use to put on after-school skate programs.

Wallace said they need about $7,000 to secure a matching Gwaii Trust grant for the gear. The big-ticket item is the “Park in a Cart” — a mobile skate park, used throughout Los Angeles city parks, that features two quarter pipes, launch ramps, grind rails and safety rails.

On sunny days, Wallace said they’ll set up outside, either for Haida Gwaii Rec programs or for the COAST Days program at Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay. When it rains, all the gear can roll in and out of the Masset roller rink doors — something the ramp that she and others originally built for COAST Days couldn’t do.

Students at the high school were pretty big into skateboarding at COAST Days, said Wallace, adding that Masset and Old Massett aren’t known for smooth pavement, so it’s a new thing for many.

“I was always going to skateboard summer camps when I was a kid,” said Murphy, adding that he thinks the north-end could use more self-directed, self-expressive after-school sports programs, such as skating and surfing.

When the opportunity came to support board sports for kids, land a backyard ramp, and host an all-islands summer music party, he and his roommates jumped on it right away.

“This thing was totally meant to be.”

Rock the Plank! goes 2 p.m. to late on Saturday, July 14, one house south of the old Trout House. Up for sale will be new skateboard decks donated by Ruins Board Shop in Terrace and painted by islands artists.

Tow Hill