Rip it up - inside: skateboarding and freestyle BMX comes indoors

Kamloops already has one of B.C.'s best skate parks. Now an entrepreneur is bringing skateboarding and freestyle BMX riding indoors.

Faction Skate and BMX opened its doors at a Sahali warehouse on Dalhousie Drive earlier this month. Proprietor Wayne Parsons said it's the only indoor facility that accepts skateboards, bikes and scooters.

"My goal is to get more kids into it," Parsons said. "For a lot of people it's hard to get to Mac Island (McArthur Island Park's Tournament Capital skate park). It's a long haul and maybe not a safe place to leave your kids. Here's it's' all controlled."

One of the earliest and most enthusiastic customers is Barb Lundstrom, who drove grandchildren Jonathan and Quinn over from the North Shore to hit the ramps in their scooters.

"They said 'grandma, there's an indoor skate park,'" she laughed. "Here I can come and know they're safe.'"

Parsons said kids are a big part of his target market and his pitch to parents is his 2,500-square-foot facility crammed with ramps is safe and well controlled.

"I'm here for the vert," said Jonathan, as he and brother Quinn sampled the half pipe on a recent weekday morning.

Parsons said afternoons and weekends are peak time.

The skate park owner has a background in construction, so designing and building the mini half-pipe, street course and quarter pipes in three weeks was easy. Lining up the ideal site and finding liability insurance turned out to be tougher.

Parsons looked at dozens of spaces before settling on a former tile store location on Dalhousie Drive, beside Petland.

Parsons grew up in Newfoundland and learned to skateboard early. He has a friend who operates a similar park in St. John's, N.L., and the two shared ideas about the Kamloops location.

The shop is also a retailer focusing on decks, wheels and trucks as well as BMX bikes. Parsons said he will carry some clothes but the focus is on the "hard goods."

While compact compared to monster spaces elsewhere in Canada, the space is ideal because it is long and narrow, which allows space for skaters to get up speed and also run out.

"I've had kids as young as seven and guys into their 40s," Parsons said.

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