Young Tongans “going crazy” for skateboarding

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Photo/Chris Paquette

An American skateboarder who moved to Tonga and built a backyard ramp has kickstarted a mini skateboard craze in the kingdom.

Chris Paquette built the ramp in his back garden in Puke for local youth to use.

Regular Kaniva News contributor and photographer Todd Henry told Vice magazine young locals were “going crazy” for the sport using shared boards provided  by Paquette.

“The kids have kind of built a little skate scene,” Henry said.

“Last time I was there, about a month ago, I saw some kids skating the street actually in Nuku’alofa, which I’ve never seen before.”

Henry said the sport was unheard of when he first visited the kingdom in 2007.

A skateboarder himself, he took his equipment to Tonga and drew the attention of local children.

As Kaniva News reported last year, the skate ramp was paid for by an online fundraiser, as well as donations from island-based businesses.

“We started out with two skateboards and 15 kids, and now we have 12 skateboards thanks to a few people who donated boards,” Paquette told Kaniva News.

For more information 

You can find Henry’s photos of the skateboarding scene in Tonga here

Todd Henry’s website

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