Christmas 1978, parents lined up to buy skateboards at the Saanich Skatewave

Christmas 1978, parents lined up to buy skateboards at the Saanich Skatewave
Christmas 1978, parents lined up to buy skateboards at the Saanich Skatewave
Christmas 1978, parents lined up to buy skateboards at the Saanich Skatewave
Christmas 1978, parents lined up to buy skateboards at the Saanich Skatewave
Christmas 1978, parents lined up to buy skateboards at the Saanich Skatewave
Christmas 1978, parents lined up to buy skateboards at the Saanich Skatewave
Christmas 1978, parents lined up to buy skateboards at the Saanich Skatewave

Forty-one years ago Tim Galavan sold so many skateboards and memberships to the Saanich Skatewave skatepark it’s a wonder the Saanich skate park didn’t work out.

Parents were buying them as Christmas gifts. Galavan remembers they were lined up out the door of the Skatewave store, a modular building that Galavan and his partner Bill Leininger leased.

“At Christmas we did well, a lot of kids had the skateboard and gear on their Christmas list,” recalls Galavan, now a retired City of Victoria employee. “We did well then, moms and dads came in.”

READ MORE: Skateboard advocates push for new skate park in Victoria

Forgotten now, the Skatewave was a way of life for the first generation of California style skateboarders in Victoria. Skaters from Washington State and the Lower Mainland would ferry over to visit and test it out.

It was built on a piece of land next to the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre and accessible from Finlayson Street (which was only connected to North Dairy Road around the same time).

Today, it is still there, a pile of concrete rubble and twisted rebar that was smashed up and buried under 20 feet of dirt.

The story of the Saanich Skatewave is one of broken dreams and broken bones.

From his parents’ house across the street on Finlayson, Craig Hall would skate most of the way to Mount Douglas secondary where he kept his board in his locker. After school and on weekends, he was at the Skatewave until finally, someone hurt themselves and Saanich closed it around 1982 or 1983 for safety and legal concerns. Hall, his friends and his mom stood before Saanich council in an attempt to save the skatepark.

But it wasn’t meant to be. Saanich paid someone with an excavator to jackhammer the concrete bowl. It took them weeks, Hall remembers. It was filled in and turned it into the surplus gravel parking lot that it is now.

“I used to watch him do it when I got home from school,” Hall recalls.

READ ALSO: Coalition campaigns to build new West Shore skate park

The Saanich Skatewave first came to light when Galavan, then 21 years old, approached Saanich council in a three-piece suit he bought for the occasion on a business loan. Galavan and friend Leininger had tried skateboarding in 1976. Galavan, a Nanaimo kid, had just started a business diploma at Malaspina College when he first tried skateboarding. At that point skateboarding as a fad wasn’t new, but it was experiencing a growth as new styles of skateboards permitted better balance and control.

“Originally, we were going to do it in Nanaimo,” recalled Galavan, who lives in Cowichan Valley. “We then realized Victoria would have more opportunity. We got more and more excited and made the decision to leave school. In our last semester, we moved to Victoria. We were ‘lock, stock and barrel’ working on site locations, financing, plans, and we connected with architects in California who’d built [skate parks].”

By the age of 23 Galavan and Leininger had worked out everything they needed to do. They leased a prefabricated office that was delivered. They had the Saanich Skatewave name and logo trademarked, using the image of local skater Brad “B-Rad” Carr as the frame for the cartoon skater in the logo.

Hall and Carr were among the city’s elite skaters and were both recruited into doing rebar to help expedite the Skatewave’s construction.

“We were there from the start, laying rebar,” Carr recalls. “We were the first to skate it too.”

By 1980 Leininger had bowed out and left it to Galavan.

When the membership model failed, and few skaters were paying to be there, Galavan tried unsuccessfully to sell it.

“The plan was to build a bubble, just like the tennis bubble,” Galavan said. “But that never happened.”

The rain was always a problem. Summers there were busy, but few would pay to come back for the dry days of fall and winter.

Following its closure, however, Saanich just left it open to the public. That was fine with Carr and Hall, who kept on skating. It was the summer of 1980 and it was a wild one, with free access to anyone wanting to skate or BMX in the Skatewave.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

– With thanks to Craig Hall, Brad Carr, Steven Sandve, Budd Watt, and Tim Galavan. If you have more stories to share about the Skatewave, contact reporter@oakbaynews.com

YOUR_CAPTION_HERE

Just Posted

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it”

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

Coaches with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey association have had to get creative during their weekly practices to keep players interested and improving their skills without physical contact. (Damian Kowalewich photo)
Vancouver Island minor hockey coach shares what it’s like on the ice without parents, fans

Most practices consist of relay races, goalie shots and passing drills

3L Developments has stated it is pulling the plug on its plans to build a residential neighbourhood in the Stotan Falls area. The company has repeatedly offered to turn the Stotan Falls area into parkland, if the CVRD were to amend its Regional Growth Strategy to allow for a residential community to be built in the area. The CVRD has steadfastly turned down the development company. File photo.
Plugged pulled on decade-old Comox Valley development project

3L Developments say there will be no further development applications filed for Stotan Falls

The profitability of Victoria International Airport dropped by almost $17 million in 2020 because of COVID-19. (Black Press Media File)
Victoria International Airport revenues in a tailspin

While airport made $9.2 million in profits 2019, COVID-19 brought estimated losses of $7.5 million

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Jackie Hildering, whale researcher with the Marine Education and Research Society, and Nanaimo Area Land Trust will present the Return of Giants, a webinar about the humpback whales’ return from the brink of extinction and how boaters can help protect them. (Jackie Hildering/MERS photo taken under Marine Mammal License MML-42)
‘Return of the Giants:’ B.C. getting a second chance to coexist with humpback whales

‘Marine Detective’ partners with Nanaimo stewardship group on webinar

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The Gardens at Qualicum Beach is now owned by family-owned The Care Group. (thegardensatqualicum.com)
The Gardens at Qualicum Beach has new owners

Family has travelled to Qualicum Beach for more than a century

Most Read