MARYSVILLE — The skate park in Marysville hosts a variety of skateboarders, rollerbladers or practically anything with wheels to its site.
Among those was a family of three, whom all picked up skateboarding about a year ago.
Andy Sund, the father of two kids, grew up in Marysville and went to school in Gonzaga and then lived in Helena Mont. He returned to Marysville to visit family. When here, he enjoys the park with his kids Henry, 8, and Adela, 7.
Skateboarders don’t have to vandalize property finding a place to land tricks, Sund said.
“It’s beneficial to the community,” Sund said. “They have a place to skate.”
The Sunds skateboard in the morning to wait for Mission Beach to warm up, where Sund’s parents live.
After a great experience learning to skateboard at the city’s Skateboard Academy in Helena, where Sund volunteered, he approved of his kids taking up the hobby.
Sund’s kids were inspired to skateboard after seeing it done at a skate park.
“We were mountain biking in downtown Helena, but the kids kept looking at the skatepark saying, ‘That looks fun,'” Sund said.
They skated a handful of times last year at Marysville’s park and hope to return in August.
“It’s crazy how different each skatepark is,” Sund said. “Everywhere you go, there is a new challenge to face.”
Despite stigmas attached to skateboarding, such as troubled youth or drugs, it wasn’t the case in Helena because the mentors at the academy were great, he said.
“I guess we are trying to change that,” Sund added. “I think having two adorable kids helps lighten things up.”
One of those mentors was Larry Kucsulain, who founded the academy. He died of brain cancer sometime last year.
“I have never looked at it that way,” Sund said. “I grew up playing traditional team sports, and kids on those teams did drugs too.”
It’s why Adela hasn’t quit skateboarding. “I like it and Larry said not to,” she said.
Though Adela enjoys cruising on her skateboard while enjoying other things, skateboarding is by far Henry’s favorite hobby.
“I’m free, and I can do what I want,” he said.
Henry said he’s a positive skater thanks to the academy. “I took away to be kind and cheer for other people when they land tricks,” Henry said.
Henry practices every day in hopes of becoming a pro like his idol Ben Raybourn.
“I got into it by my friend,” Henry said. “He started skateboarding a year before I did.”
Henry’s mom then got Henry a skateboard, and he’s been at it ever since.
He is saving up to go to a skateboard camp in Los Angeles where he can hone his skateboarding skills as well as editing GoPro videos.
What he likes about Marysville’s skatepark is the variety of stairs and elevation, as opposed to a giant bowl that goes into the ground like a lot of other skateparks.
Henry and Adela also play team sports and do other outdoor activities.
Confidence and balance are two skills to be carried over into other sports, Sund said.
“They work at a trick and end up getting it,” Sund said. “They get that confidence in trying something challenging. It’s very rewarding.”