Skateboarder Cullen Green calls for proper skateboarding facilities on north coast

Skateboarder Cullen Green has made an impassioned appeal for facilities in his hometown of Portrush.

The 20-year-old, who has competed in two major competitions in England in the last three months, is frustrated by the lack of proper facilities for the sport in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area.

The sport was one of four new sports added to the Olympic program for 2020 and has always been popular in the province.

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But as skateboarding continues to grow locally with a number of skateparks being built throughout Northern Ireland, Green feels skaters in the north coast are being left behind.

Cullen Green skating on the streets in Portrush. Photo by Danielle Cahill

Portrush has such a rich history with skateboarding,” he said.

“People have been skateboarding around Barry’s for over 40 years.

“It’s the only area in Northern Ireland that does not have facilities.

“Recently Antrim and Newtownabbey Council opened a world-class £750,000 state of the art skatepark in Newtownabbey called V36.

“There are parks in Derry City Council area, Carrickfergus, Banbridge, several in Belfast and Ballymena council have recently announced they are opening a skatepark this summer in People Park.

“Yet after 30 years of campaigning for one on the north coast there are still no suitable facilities even though there are hundreds of skateboarders, young and old, taking part in the now official Olympic sport every weekend in the centre of Portrush.

“I’d love to hear why some people are against something like a skatepark.

“It would benefit our community, not just provide a space for people to skate, but to provide kids with a proper facility.

“A skatepark is needed on the north coast as soon as possible.”

Despite the lack of facilities Green, who grew up in South Africa, continues to make a name for himself in the sport.

In February he won the Red Bull-sponsored skateboarding competition at Gray’s Action Sports in Manchester.

This resulted in Cullen being invited to the Nationals, organised by Skateboard GB the governing body for the GB Olympic team, competing at BaySixty6 Skatepark in London in April.

The Nationals may not have gone how the Portrush would have wished in terms of overall placing, but the experience was invaluable, and he is hoping it will stand him in good stead for future competitions.

“The Nationals were a great experience and I got to meet loads of guys I’ve been watching on social media for the past couple years,” Cullen explained.

“The competition didn’t go to plan for me with regards to placing however it enabled me to see exactly what was needed to compete at such a high level.

“The main difference between myself and the winning skaters is that they come from areas that have dedicated facilities which they are able to skate seven days a week.

“Unfortunately living on the north coast, it is over a two-hour round trip to the nearest skatepark.

“Next up for me is to just keep skating, have fun and skate more skateparks, that along with passing on the love of skating to the next generation is my imitate plan.

“Then next year I will be more prepared for when I will hopefully be back skating with the best of the best.

As well as pushing himself to compete with the best in the sport nationally Cullen is also dedicated to helping the next generation of aspiring skateboarders with the help of his sponsors, Rawee Board Company.

The business are based on the north coast and Cullen is full of praise for their support.

“Rawee have been a dream, especially Stuart (Cullen) he’s always doing something or planning the next thing and getting me opportunities like this,” he said.

“Recently they have opened their first skate shop in Portrush and are now supporting not just me but all of the skaters on the north coast.

“They are firmly behind the push for a Portrush Skatepark and together we are also about to launch the north coast’s first ever skateboard summer camp.

“I was lucky to have the opportunity to become a fully qualified Skateboard GB skateboard instructor and this summer will give us the opportunity to open the sport up to new kids who have never tried it before.”