Friday | October 21, 2016
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New Honokaa Skate Park is a community collaboration

On Saturday, the new Honokaa Skate Park formally opened for business following a dedication ceremony and celebration.

Skateboard enthusiasts and their supporters joined Mayor Billy Kenoi and County Council member Val Poindexter for the happy occasion.

The Honokaa Skate Park is a community-led, collaborative effort between the county and the Honokaa Skate Club (HSC) “to build a world-class skate park in Honokaa.” The effort began in 2010, and area youths worked with locally based skate park builder Brian Sandlin to design a one-of-a-kind park.

HSC conducted a campaign to raise the necessary funds to realize this dream, while the county Department of Parks and Recreation designated the site for the skate park and earmarked $125,000 in county funds for materials.

Youth Horizons Hawaii, a Waimea-based nonprofit, acted as fiscal administrator for private funds that included grants from John Paul Mitchell Hair Systems, The Tony Hawk Foundation, The Atherton Family Foundation, The Laura Jane Musser Foundation, Healing Our Island Foundation and The Steven B. Hard Foundation, as well as contributions from community members.

Malama Market conducted a fundraising effort at its Honokaa store that resulted in more than $13,000 in donations from Hamakua residents.

In all, monetary donations totaled about $120,000.

Additional in-kind donations in the form of equipment, materials and labor came from local businesses such as DeRego Services, Deluz Trucking, Allied Machinery, Accurate Line-boring, JGags Farm Services, Tim Cockel and many others.

“Because of the kokua of our community and the hard, dedicated work of Brian Sandlin and his crew, the Honokaa Skate Park was built for about one-third of the normal cost of constructing a skate park,” said HSC President Jim Cain. “This has truly been a collaborative effort that would not have happened without the heartfelt kokua of many people in our community. Brian and his crew built what many consider to be the best skate park in the whole state, and our youth will enjoy the benefit of their fine craftsmanship for generations to come.”

The Honokaa Skate Club was formed in 2010 with the goal of providing a safe place for skate boarders to practice their sport.

“Working closely with the County of Hawaii Parks and Recreation, our collaborative, community effort has raised funds and sought out community donations and support to add a skate park to our facilities at the gym complex and provide recreational opportunities for our kids,” Cain said. “We produced the ‘Honokaa Skate Park Fundraising Video,’ where we talked to local businesses, residents and the politicians of Honokaa to show that we have strong community support and showed the positive sides of skateboarding.”

Sandlin, who has built skate parks all over the world, also recently completed a park in Waikoloa. He gathered input from local skaters and together they designed “a cutting-edge park” that incorporates features for many styles of skating including bowls and the latest in street features, Cain added.

Cain and his wife, Gretchen, who has served as secretary and treasurer, were the first to really get the ball rolling on the idea of a skate park in Honokaa, and together they nurtured that vision into reality, much the same way they’ve been farming taro in Waipio Valley for the last 20 years.

They hope to help create a safe place in Honokaa for the entire community, where beginning and experienced skateboarders can practice their sport.

Club vice president Winter Anderson is a locally grown surfer/skater turned dad/filmmaker who returned to his hometown to make a difference and raise his family. He helped spearhead the Honokaa Skate Club from its inception in the hopes his son will one day be ripping it up on the concrete.

Winter produced the “Honokaa Skate Park Fundraising Video” through his early film company, Sensitive Artist Productions, which succeeded in helping secure major city, county and national funding. He continues to provide organizational, fundraising and media support to get the skate park up and running for the community.

“Lucky for us, (Sandlin) currently resides in Kohala. Aside from building and designing our Honokaa Skate Park, he recently completed the Kamakoa Nui Skate Park in Waikoloa, and he is designing the Roots Skate Park in Kohala,” Cain said.

The total cost of the Honokaa Skate Park is $182,645. To date, $172,325 has been raised with just $10,320 remaining to meet the club’s goal, according to Cain.

“Please consider supporting this worthy cause,” he said. “Monetary as well as in-kind donations are accepted.”

All donations are tax deductible. Donations of $1,000 or more will have their names (or business name) added to a large bronze plaque that will be permanently installed at the skate park as a mahalo for their generosity.

To donate, make check payable to “Youth Horizons Hawaii” and mail to Honokaa Skate Club, C/O Jim Cain, P.O. Box 884, Honokaa, HI 96727.

To volunteer or provide in-kind donations, contact the Cains at 333-0457 or via email at For more information, visit


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