Skater’s dream: New concrete jungle opens in style
A LONG-time Coolum skater has splashed out on an epic concrete jungle inside a beachside warehouse to show his tricks of the trade to the next generation.
Mat Chigwidden opened Chiggy's Skateboarding Indoor Skatepark at Coolum Beach on Saturday, fulfilling an almost decade-long dream.
The 600sq m complex features a five-foot mini ramp with a six-foot extension, rails, ledges and kicker ramps for various ages and skill levels.
He said it had been custom-built using the latest designs and state-of-the-art ramps ideal for shredding.
"This is the sort of stuff you see in America - that's where it's the biggest. There's nothing like it on the Coast," Mr Chigwidden said.
"We've tried to incorporate the hardcore original side, the right transitions, not too steep or mellow.
"Our sport deals with a lot of wet weather and hot days. I see a lot of kids get sunburnt, so this is a safe haven."
He wouldn't say how much the facility set him back but that it "wasn't cheap".
Mr Chigwidden, who has been skating for more than 20 years, said passing on his knowledge to the younger generation was something he was born to do.
"Skating has given me everything, and I've really found my passion teaching kids," he said.
"It makes a big difference in kids' lives and I see that - especially for some kids who have behavioural issues. Helping them is so rewarding.
"The confidence they gain when they succeed, the patience - parents tell me it really helps them."
Mr Chigwidden said it runs seven days a week and that he teaches beginners to adults, with 300 per week.
"Watching a two-year-old kid drop in on a 10-foot ramp is very cool. It's exciting, too."