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O' Thread Fever Takes Over Island!

By: Chika Kobayashi

Date Posted: 2000-10-21

As the mid-October sun beat the Okinawa ground, 49 skaters prepare themselves for first place at the first skate-off sponsored by O’ Threads (Okinawa Threads). Last Sunday over 200 people showed up to observe skateboarders from all over Okinawa. It was a great time for everyone. There was free food and drinks for all who attended the event and great prizes for the participants! The prizes included skateboard decks, t-shirts, pants, stickers, and posters. Music pumped through the air while the tension mounted as each skater performed their best for the spectators.

The competition was fierce and exciting. Skateboarders were in rare form as they demonstrated their skills to the audience. There were three age brackets for 1 – 12, 13 – 16, and 17 years old and up. Each skater got to skate 1 1/2 minutes during the first round of the skate-off. Then five skaters from the youngest age group, eight from the middle, and 5 from the oldest skaters were chosen for the final skate-off. For the first age group, 12-year-old Isao Uehara came in first with Chris Matayoshi (11) second and Ryan Waldroop (12) at third place. For ages 13 – 16, Kenta Aguni, age 15, came on top along with Youichi Shimabukuro (15) in second and Jun Shimabukuro (14) for third place. Akira Syu blew the competition away for first place in the oldest age bracket. Shota Sunagawa (17) came in second with Hirotaka Moriya (17) close behind at third place. Congratulations to all the winners, as well as everyone who participated. Each person tried their best and did a great job!

I asked several skaters if they had as much fun as I did and the response was always an enthusiastic YES! I even asked where they’d heard of O’ Threads and one person exclaimed, “Everyone who’s into skating knows them! Their name is on almost everyone’s skateboards!” It was fantastic to see everyone having a fun and exciting time. All communication barriers broke down as the contest began. It really didn’t matter what nationality you were because everyone had a common interest, skateboarding. Skaters have always had a bad reputation as troublemakers and loiterers, but on Sunday, they shed a new light upon themselves as they helped to clean the park before and after the skate-off and offered support to their fellow skaters. New skills were learned and new friendships were formed. With the help of O’ Threads and other supporting sponsors, now we have a place to skate and have a great time for both skaters and spectators. As the O’ Thread wave of enthusiasm for skating sweeps Okinawa, Mainland Japan will also get a taste of it. So don’t let the wave pass you by, catch it!

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