Catching air at Astro Skate
By Eric Horchy | Suncoast NewsFor people looking to nose grind, stalefish and tailslide their way through the summer's heat, Tarpon Springs' own Astro Skate indoor skating park is back in business after a short remodeling hiatus.
Published: June 27, 2009
Published: June 27, 2009
Billed as the oldest indoor skate park in all of Florida, Astro Skate and Fun Center has been holding its weekly Skateboard Night as a refuge for area skaters to hang and shred for 28 years.
Rates run at $7 for boys and $4 for girls and Astro Skate marketing representative, Jennifer Amato, said the Tuesday night gatherings offer an affordable outlet to develop skills on a course that features vert ramps, multiple jumps, boxes and rails.
The weekly transformation from roller skate rink to skateboarding park took a brief hiatus recently, though, and just geared back up June 2.
"We didn't have it going for a couple months because we remodeled our location," Amato said. "Now that our location's completed we've had a lot of demand to bring (Skateboard Night) back, so we started up again."
The majority of the refurbishing was aesthetic, including painting and layout changes. But the skating surface itself was also redone to ensure smooth skating.
When going strong, Amato said, the event has traditionally attracted upward of from 200 to 300 skaters, and the range in ages of those working the course is generational on any given Tuesday.
"I've been coming here since I was these kids' age," Palm Harbor resident Todd Mitchka, 30, said, pointing out some of the younger boarders. He said he began coming to Astro Skate around the sixth grade.
He's not the only one with longstanding ties to the venue. John Montesi, owner of Tarpon's Westside Skateshop, and business partner Mike Frazier are both local professional skaters who grew up rolling around the Astro Skate course.
Over the years, the site has been visited by skating icon Tony Hawk as well as the Bones Brigade, a legendary and pioneering skate team with famous former members such as Hawk, Christian "Christ" Hosoi, Bucky Lasek and Andy Macdonald.
As far as amenities go, both Mitchka and 15-year-old Shane Potter of Holiday said separately that Astro Skate street course layout offers everything they need to have a good time and a good challenge.
"They keep it relevant to what people are skating," Mitchka said.
In addition, Astro Skate offers what no other outdoor park can this time of year, Mitchka and Potter agreed, no matter how wicked the track may be. Air conditioning is a trump card when heat indexes become practically Saharan.
In addition to the skate park's amenities and offerings each Tuesday, Amato said, Astro Skate will hold its second All-Night Skateboard Night of the year on July 21. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the fully supervised event runs until 7 a.m. the next day.
"It's a safe place where the local skaters can come and hang out," she said, adding that a snack bar, games and dance club area are also available. The all-nighter costs $16 for boys and $12 for girls, helping to encourage more female skaters to participate. For more information on Astro Skate's Tuesday night Skateboard Night, contact the rink at 727-938-5778 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.