Eloy Fennell tries out the new grind box. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Skateboard Samaritan keeps Vancouver Island kid rolling

Stranger builds replacement grind box after hearing about neighbourhood theft

As one grind box mysteriously disappears, another one shows up to take its place.

Comox Valley resident Eloy Fennell, 12, had only started skateboarding in the spring, but he decided to build his own grind box on which to perform tricks – boarders, for example, can jump up on the box or slide along it.

He had started with a skateboarding game on an Xbox 360 before moving on to the real thing earlier this year.

“I learned the tricks from the game,” he says. “I just started two months ago.”

READ MORE: Black-eyed senior questions Saanich’s lack of skateboard bylaws after sidewalk crash

His family lives on Dove Creek Road, and he would put out his home-made grind box onto the road when skating – a somewhat more contemporary version of that classic Canadian scene of neighbourhood kids dragging their road hockey nets on and off the road whenever vehicles approach.

Fennell thinks most people in the area were fine with his boarding, but there maybe were a few complaints. He figures someone was not too keen about the grind box being out there at all, as the piece of equipment was suddenly gone one day. A neighbour apparently saw a suspicious white car that might have had something to do with the disappearance.

“This is the first thing that I have ever had stolen and it really made me sad,” he says in a message he sent to the Record.

He put up a sign asking for the person to return it, while his mother posted something on the Dove Creek community Facebook page about the incident. Before long, a new grind box – Fennell concedes a much better one that his own model – showed up at the family’s home, put together by someone nearby.

“He just dropped it off,” Fennell says.

The grind box was the handiwork of Milo Christie, who does not even know the Fennells, though he has seen Eloy out skateboarding in the area. His wife happened to hear about the missing grind box on social media, so he decided to respond.

“I was, just like, heartbroken for the kid,” he says.

Christie, who had some wood kicking around, put his carpentry skills to use to fashion a new one and bring it to the house. He understands the appeal, saying he had skateboarded with his friends when he was younger and fondly recalls building his own ramps.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Now in his mid-thirties with a family, he’s not boarding these days, but he’s happy to know he can help pass along the thrill of the sport to a young person, especially one close to familiar territory.

“I grew up skateboarding with the kid that used to live in that house,” he says, adding, “You can’t stop a kid from skateboarding.”

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