Culture Shock aims to fill extreme sports gap in Blyth with new skate park
BY DENNY SCOTT
Blyth’s Culture Shock, an extreme sports apparel and equipment company in Blyth created by Connor Brooks and Joe Pizzati, is more than just a business to the two young entrepreneurs behind it, it’s a means to an end.
Brooks, in an interview with The Citizen, said that when the company was created late last year, he was just looking for a job and wanted something to do with extreme sports, specifically skateboarding. From there, it’s grown into not just a business, but a way for local extreme athletes to connect and work towards the betterment of their sports.
“My brother and friends enjoy extreme sports, and it’s extremely lacking in the area,” he said.
He said extreme sports like skateboarding or scootering are gaining popularity locally, which is a good thing because they are sports for individuals, which only rewards participants based on the effort put forward.
“That’s a good general life goal and experience,” he said. “It’s a good thing for people to learn.”
The business gave him motivation to get out and do something on a daily basis, he said, that aligned with his own personal beliefs about the sport.
Culture Shock started as a line of clothes and accessories, but it’s growing, Brooks said, adding new lines and a new logo.
“Our next step is that we have 110 pounds of skateboard wood coming in soon,” he said. “We’re going to build decks and give local artists real estate to practise their art.”
The company is also working on an educational YouTube channel, Brooks said, that will show not only how to participate in extreme sports but also how Culture Shock is growing as a business.
Brooks said the best way to connect with Culture Shock is through Instagram (@cultureshockskate) or at its booth at the Blyth Outdoor Market on Thursdays, which is winding down over the next two weeks. Alternatively, Brooks said he, Pizzati and others involved can often be found at the Blyth skatepark.
“That’s kind of our unofficial office,” he said. “It’s a good place to find us.”
Brooks, Pizzati and others under the Culture Shock banner are also working towards the construction of a new skatepark in Blyth.
The crew is raising money and has organized a petition which Brooks plans on presenting to North Huron Council later this month when he also outlines what the new skatepark should include.
He said the group is finding that the community is supportive of the project.
“The park we have is unsafe,” he said. “[The ramps] are left out in the winter, which is rough on them. We don’t even have a garbage can there to keep it clean.”
He said the current park is a lackluster experience at best, and, at worst, could result in injuries to users, which is a problem for CultureShock as a business.
Replacing the park could cost between $50,000 and $75,000, Brooks said, as he thinks the best way to go is a permanent concrete space. Currently, the group has raised $1,000 for the initiative, and Brooks hopes that, within two years, the project can be started.
“A concrete park, designed by the kids and users of the existing facility, is what we need,” he said. “That’s the most important thing, that the kids and users are asked before the project goes forward.”
He also said that a concrete park may prevent more destructive users from taking advantage of the park, like the dirt bikers that have been accessing the existing park and causing damage.
“Concrete parks are harder for people like that to use,” he said.
Currently, he estimates there are about 50 users of the park, which he thinks is impressive given the condition of the ramps.