Support your Local Rider
I was young and impressionable during the height of the skateboarding craze. I played all the Tony Hawk video games, wore the chunky sneakers, and hung out with my friends at the elementary school parking lot doing the most terrible “tricks” imaginable. “Watch this,” I would warn everyone, and then balance on the back wheels of my skateboard for an instant. I was cool.
Now I am a young codger. My bones creak even when they’re not in use and I get agitated on nights when I miss Family Feud. In a few short years the AARP will probably start trying to sink their claws into me. The point is I no longer belong on a skateboard, but I can still get behind the mission of Help Boardshop and Indoor Skatepark.
Help Boardshop offers the decks, wheels, bearings and trucks you need to build your own skateboard. They also sell snowboards, skis and wakeboards by the biggest names in the industry. If you go there and look like you don’t know what you’re doing, like I did, then you might get approached by Ben Van Oss the general manager.
“We opened our doors in 2013 to support local skateboarders, snowboarders, skiers and wakeboarders,” said Ben. “Minnesota presents a lot of opportunities to enjoy wakeboarding, and we’re only two miles north of Hyland Hills which has an awesome terrain park for skiers and riders. We helped complete the picture with our indoor skatepark, which is one of only three in the Twin Cities.”
Ben motioned to the skatepark in question, with quarterpipes for instant acceleration, rails for grinding and ledges for sliding, and a giant halfpipe where one could theoretically bob up and down forever. If I had access to Help’s skatepark back in the day I’m sure there would have been a video game named after me by now.
“We’re the number one Google rated skatepark in Minnesota,” said Ben, “and we’re especially well-reviewed for our culture and atmosphere. We achieved that by hiring people who are passionate about riding and want to share their favorite sport with our guests. Our team is out here engaging with new riders everyday, helping them improve and encouraging them to keep trying new tricks.
“The pandemic has actually created a lot of new skateboarders. Kids still wanted to stay active last summer, and without team sports they found something they could do right in their driveway. I wish they discovered skateboarding for some other reason, but I’m glad they found it all the same. With skateboarding you’re not waiting on the sidelines for the coach to put you in the game. You can ride whatever style you want, spend hours perfecting any trick you want, and get a great workout the whole time.
“We’re always looking for new ways to engage with the community. We just had our annual Rail Jam on October 24th, where we set up a 40′ course in our parking lot for snowboarders and skiers to compete on. About 200 people turned out to enjoy our competitors’ performances, as well as the food trucks, the mechanical surfboard, and of course free energy drinks courtesy of Red Bull. We’re also hosting a video festival this March, where anyone can enter a one minute video showing off their skiing or snowboarding moves for a chance to win $500.
“We love helping people to master their boards, but that’s not our only goal. As part of JSAW, our mission is to transform action sports culture by making riders into disciples. You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy what we offer here at Help Boardshop, and we welcome riders of all faiths to come and shred it up. We also welcome anyone who’s interested to join our Bible studies on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and then decide if they’d like to pair up with a volunteer mentor to learn more about our faith.”
Help Boardshop and Indoor Skatepark is located at 7385 Bush Lake Rd in Edina. To learn more about their skatepark, see all the preeminent manufacturers’ skateboards, skis, snowboards and wakeboards that they offer, sign up for lessons, and read more about JSAW’s mission, you need only point your browser at helpboardshop.jsaw.org.
By David Scheller