A Former Costa Mesa Councilwoman and the OC Skateboarding League [PHOTOS]

​​While 20 middle school kids were competing in the semifinals in the halfpipe, the 25 high school competitors had just begun the semifinals on the street course at the Vans Skatepark at the Block at Orange. Overlooking it all, with a vantage point that viewed the dozens of competing skateboarders, and all the fans and families lining the upstairs railing, was Katrina Foley–the former Costa Mesa councilwoman and current NMUSD Board trustee. She's the president of the OC Skateboarding League, which was in the process of wrapping up its first year in existence.

In total, 20 teams from schools throughout Orange County were in attendance. Some schools had more competitors than others; it all depended on who qualified to reach this point.
Amongst the music blaring through the loudspeakers, the loud schwack! of a board coming down on the pipe or the squeal of the tires, Foley stood with hands on her hips smiling. 
This was much more than the single team she'd tried to start at Costa Mesa Middle School not too many months ago.


​Foley's son, Sam, is an accomplished snowboarder during the winter, and a recreational skateboarder and football player the rest of the year. She wanted to organize a skateboard team at his school. As she began talking with people and hanging out at the Volcom skate park in Costa Mesa, she realized there was interest in more than a single team. She saw other action sports like snowboarding (USASA) and surfing (NSSA) had amateur youth leagues that tied into the schools–so why not skateboarding?

OCSL was founded in March 2010, and it has “grown organically,” since then, according to Foley. She hasn't done it alone. She pooled together the talents of various people she's come across in her variety of involvements, and they comprise the board of directors.
There were 20 schools competing on this night in Orange, and there are plans to add another 20 next season, as the league expands into San Diego County.
“I thought it might grow, but not nearly this fast,” Foley admits.
Mid-interview, Foley stops talking and steps away. Sam's 45-second run on the halfpipe has begun. As with most youth sports, the talent divide is vast. Some of the kids can flow from side to side with the occasional rail slide, while others put together seamless runs at faster speeds with more technical maneuvers, including aerials. Sam is on the talented end of the spectrum.

​Mainly, the league is functioning on the kindness of sponsors. Some money has been raised through snack bars and raffles and donations, but Volcom has been a major supporter, donating all the team shirts and plenty of swag for the raffles. The Tony Hawk Foundation donated boxes of helmets. And all this time on this Wednesday evening at the Vans Skatepark, that's donated too. None of the kids pay to compete.
The teams have coaches and practice facilities (also, courtesy of Volcom). The kids are expected to maintain good grades and attendance. The league isn't yet to the point of handing out Varsity letters, but that's a possibility down the line.

​The skateboarding community has embraced the league, according to Foley. The kids of pros are competing and former pros work as judges. SkateBoarder magazine is considering being the media sponsor next season.
By the end of the event, which stretched hours beyond the scheduled 9 p.m. ending, the energy was reaching a fever pitch, with kids smacking their boards against railings and the concrete floor, encouraging the remaining competitors. 
Foley is still smiling. Unlike at the recent Costa Mesa City Council meeting, where she appears tense and disappointed, here, she's loose and energetic. But the league isn't about her. There's a popular saying that appears on t-shirts and stickers around the skateboarding community: “Skateboarding is not a crime.” With a league that promotes academics and team-building, youth skateboarding may finally be receiving the makeover it needed. 

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