It all started 200 skateboards ago, back in 2013, when Jake Warren happened to see a youth at a bus stop with a skateboard in very bad condition. After chatting with him about it, he offered to give the youth a better board.
That led to the creation of the Rad Santa Project, which sees Warren turn all the second-hand parts he can get a hold of into good-quality skateboards that he gives away to young people.
“Originally, the idea was let’s make this part of a recycling project as well as a refurbishing project, and we would ask the city’s skateboarders — mostly the older skateboarders — to donate their older equipment that was still useful,” Warren said. “And we would put the best boards together that we could.”
Wheels, bearings and other components are combined to produce the boards, which are then distributed to students at Victoria West Elementary, where Warren went as a kid. The school also happens to be the closest elementary to the skateboard park off Esquimalt Road.
“I love it,” said Warren, who is also a long-time advocate for public policy around skateboards and the establishment of skateboard parks. “I feel great doing it. I’m giving back to skateboarding because it’s given me so much.
“I’m sort of investing in the skateboarders of the future, keeping the sport thriving.”
Independent local skateboard shops have been a big part of the process, he said, and an online fundraising page has helped raise $500.
Vic West Elementary principal Marla Margetts applauds Warren’s generosity.
“It completely just matches with our culture that we’ve brought here the last five years, being Vic West Wolves and being part of the wolf pack,” she said.
“We just appreciate how he has such a heart for students in our school, making sure they’re active, making sure they have access to sports equipment such as skateboards. We’re just so grateful for his warm approach.”