Skate ramp heart and soul of the community

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Tucked away upstairs of Oamaru’s Soul Surf and Skate shop is a little something which has made the shop nationally renowned.

The Soul Ramp, an indoor mini skateboard ramp, was opened about five years ago and has attracted people from around the country to Oamaru.

Open seven days a week, free of charge, it’s been so well-loved over the last five years that it’s in need of an upgrade.

Next month Soul Surf and Skate celebrates 10 years in Oamaru, and to coincide with the celebrations, Ryan Moore has launched the “Soul Ramp Revamp” project.

Mr Moore, who helped build the ramp, is looking for the help of the Oamaru community, by way of donations to give the Ramp the love and attention it needs, as a way of giving back to owners Jeremy and Cristy Holding.

“I want to do this as a community gift to Soul and Jeremy and Cristy for the vital part they play in our wee town,” he said.

Mr and Mrs Holding could have shut the Soul Ramp door a number of times because of vandalism and theft, but the facility has remained open for almost 364 days a year for the last five years.

“It’s a whole community thing. We live in an age where no one does anything for free anymore, so those people that do need to be rewarded for it,” Mr Moore said.

“To have a facility like that that’s free for all people to use and open seven days a week is unheard of.

“It’s easy to take it for granted because it’s there and open all the time.”

Over the weekend about half-a-dozen people mucked in to give the room a fresh coat of paint and patch up some of the ramp.

Now, they’re in desperate need of about 10 sheets of 12mm ply wood to replace the likes of platforms and cover the floor.

“I just want to give it a complete revamp, a huge part of that is the windows, they leak quite seriously, so it’s about fixing the whole room up, as much as the ramp,” Mr Moore said.

Beyond fixing the ramp and the room, they’d also like to fix up the lighting and sound.

The Ramp has had national exposure, most recently on TVNZ U’s Airtime, and not long after it was built, videos of the ramp being used were uploaded to YouTube, and have attracted thousands of views.

“If you ask skateboarders throughout New Zealand what they know about Oamaru, it’d be Soul Ramp. Before old buildings, before penny farthings, it’s Soul Ramp,” Mr Moore said.

“People travel from out of town to use it. They come from Christchurch, Ashburton, Dunedin to use it. They’ll get in the car, come here and use it for the day and take off again.”

And when it’s raining in Oamaru, the outdoor skatepark clears and everyone heads upstairs, he said.

Yet, many people in the Oamaru community have no idea it’s even there.

Anyone interested in donating any time, goods or money to the project should pop into Soul Surf and Skate or check out the Facebook page www.facebook.com/soulramp.revamp.

“Any donations would be greatly appreciated, our key areas of expense are going to lie in the ply wood and the fixing of the windows,”Mr Moore said.

“It’s not a huge amount of money needed, but it’s just a way of thanking Jeremy and Cristy for everything that they do. They’re unsung heros.”

By Rebecca Ryan