PORT Stephens has always had a strong skateboarding scene with generations of surfers and bodyboarders jumping on their stunt woods to kill flat spell boredom.
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In Anna Bay the first skatepark was built in the late 1990s thanks to Shirley O’Brien, a community stalwart and former Port Stephens Councillor who passed away in late 2019.
Shirley and her first husband Peter Broadfoot (deceased) rallied the local community to build the facility at Robinson Reserve after the tragic death of their son Peter Jnr in 1996.
The original skatepark that Shirley and the community helped build eventually became dilapidated and has now been completely rebuilt from the ground up to service the region’s ever growing skateboard culture.
15 year-old local shred lord, Ollie Biscan has grown up pushing his street sled since the age of 11 and says that skating draws people together under the one banner to have a good time.
“I skate because I love the culture,” said the aptly named Ollie.
“Skating brings everyone together at any age, any background, any race and any gender.
“Everyone is welcome and that’s the beauty of the sport.”
Ollie says that the new park at Anna Bay brings more of a street element compared to the Nelson Bay facility and that’s something that’s been missing in the region.
“It feels good to have more of a street skatepark in the area so we don’t have to travel so far to Newcastle,” said Ollie.
“So many kids from around the local area can also come and get into the sport which is epic to see.”
Fellow 19-year-old Nelson Bay ripper Bridie Hyland shares Ollie’s sentiments on the new park and the positives of skating.
“I think it’s good we finally have a park with more street obstacles, I skate for fun and to take my mind off things,” said Bridie.
“You got to love a bit of thrill seeking too!”
With a vision to expand the Anna Bay skatepark in the near future, the youth of Port Stephens may finally get the facilities they deserve to open up their creative sides.
By Mitch LEES