Jacksonville has been selected as the host city of the inaugural Street League Skateboarding World Championship this fall.
Competitive skateboarder Paul Rodriguez joined city officials Tuesday morning at Downtown’s Riverfront Plaza to help make the announcement.
He said the Street League Skateboarding (SLS) Supercrown attracts the sport's top talent from around the world.
“It is a handpicked group of the best skateboarders in the world competing head to head, but here in Jacksonville, of those handpicked best skateboarders you will get the cream of the crop of the handpicked, so there will be the best skateboarding in competition here in Jacksonville, which is very exciting.”
The event will transform the plaza where the former Jacksonville Landing once stood into a skatepark for the world’s top 25 skatersboarders.
The championship is set for the weekend of November 13.
As home to the world's oldest continuously operating skateboard, Jacksonville is well known in the skateboarding community. Kona, located near Jacksonville's Arlington Expressway, has been in operation since 1977 and has attracted world-class skateboarders including Tony Hawk. In fact, Kona was featured in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 video game.
Skateboarding has been growing in stature. The sport will make its debut Olympic appearance at the Summer Olympics in 2021 in Tokyo.
"The growth of SLS continues each year, and with skateboarding in the Olympics, we look forward to having those athletes join the competition later in 2021 in a world-class facility built specifically for this event on the banks of the St. Johns River,” said Thrill One Chief Commercial and Communications Officer Steve Ziff in an email sent to WJCT News.
Each SLS skatepark is unique in its design, including the one that will be built in Jacksonville for the Supercrown competition, the organizers said. The SLS skateparks are created by Dydrek and Joe Ciaglia of California Skateparks.
“Our team at Visit Jacksonville is proud to host all of the visiting fans from Street League Skateboarding and introduce them to our great city,” said Michael Corrigan, CEO of Visit Jacksonville. “This event showcases our destination in a new light, and we look forward to providing a first class visitor experience around this world championship event.”
Riverfront Plaza is being used for public events until its long-term future is decided.
Last week SouthEast Development Group proposed a master plan that would include redeveloping the former Jacksonville Landing site with a mix of office space, a condominium tower, hotel and public green space.
The city also launched a park space design competition for the site. Three national firms are competing for a contract to design a public riverfront park. WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record reported the firms are due to present their designs in a public workshop in late June to allow community and stakeholder input.