Four years ago, Austin Doell’s dad brought home a skateboard for him, now he’s rocking two sponsorships and heading into his fourth Penticton Throwdown competition.
Doell, who is sponsored by Penticton’s Pentagon Board Shop, recently got picked up by Converse scoring him a fresh pair of shoes every couple of months, but like most skaters, it all started in his driveway.
“I didn’t really have enough money for sports and my dad just got me skateboarding,” Doell said. “He just got me a skateboard one day. He came home from work with it and hooked it up. I would skate for bit in my driveway and then one day I came to the skatepark and started getting into it. I started to get to know people.”
Now he skates every day he can and after a third place finish in last year’s Throwdown, he’s aiming for first in 2015.
At 17, he’s picked up the skills quick, but like most skaters, it was a bumpy start.
“It was hard to get used to it and then, I don’t know, it was almost natural,” Doell said.
Throwing bodies down multi-stair sets and over rails can be nerve-racking on its own, even more so in a competitive setting. Doell took on the challenge for the first time three years ago, though he did need a bit of a push.
“I wasn’t even going to go in it at first and this guy that used to work at Pentagon (Board Shop) talked me into it and I just went in,” Doell said.
Doell will be joining around 60 riders for the competition Aug. 8-9 at the Penticton Skate Park on Riverside Drive.
This year the format has changed slightly. The Throwdown will feature over-16 and under-16 categories as opposed to the pro and amateur categories of years past.
“The pro skateboard is going to be much more limited than the over-16, under-16, so we’ve kind of evened the playing field that way,” said Mitch Ellklan, an organizer of the Penticton Throwdown, part of the 68th annual Penticton Peach Festival.
Each skater gets two timed heats where they are free to create their line throughout the park.
“Our park is pretty sweet how the layout is. You’ve got the bowl in the far corner and there’s the hip where all the boxes and the pyramid and stuff comes across. Most guys stay in there, but that’s the other cool thing you sort of get to pick whatever your best line in the park is,” Ellklan said.
He said he expects the event to feature quite a few local skaters, as well as some pro and semi-pro riders from Vancouver and around B.C.
The skateboard category will begin on Aug. 8 at the skate park with registration starting at 12:30 p.m.
The under-16 event, sponsored by Burger 55, begins at 2 p.m. with $225 in prize money available. At 6 p.m. the over-16 category gets under way, with $525 in prizes up for grabs, followed by the bowl competition presented by Burnco, with $300 in prizes. The BMX event, sponsored by Eckert Electric, starts at 4 p.m. on Aug. 9 when riders will compete for $225 in prizes.
For more information visit www.peachfest.com.