Competitors came from as close as a neighborhood nearby to as far away as Hawaii — and from a wide array of places in between — for the Grind for Life Series, a national competition hosted on March 19 at the Zephyrhills Skatepark, 39096 Alston Ave.
There were 156 competitors, of all ages and skill levels, including 20 first-time skaters and 17 women, according to statistics provided by the City of Zephyrhills.
Contestants included 10-year-old Samantha Livaditis, of Chicago, who dazzled the judges with a ‘front side air trick.’ She traveled to the competition with her dad, Steve Livaditis.
Twenty-year-old Jesse Yates didn’t travel far at all. He lives in Zephyrhills and was the only Pasco County resident to compete in the tournament.
He showed off his skills in a street division jump, flipping his skateboard beneath his feet.
He said he took up the pursuit when the Zephyrhills Skatepark was completed in 2015.
Anthony Ferraro of Spring Lake, New Jersey, competed, too.
He’s a relative newcomer to skateboarding, starting just two years ago.
Blind since birth, Ferraro and other competitors with disabilities approach the sport differently.
Prior to the competition’s start, he and other competitors with sight disabilities familiarized themselves with the placement of jumps, ramps, walls and rails, and distance.
Ferraro placed fourth in the men’s adaptive division.
The Grind for Life Series benefits the Grind for Life organization, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that assists cancer patients with travel expenses, according to a news release from the City of Zephyrhills.
The skateboarding competition was founded in 2003, by lifelong skateboarder Mike Rogers, after his second battle with sarcoma cancer. He beat cancer once as a preteen, and again 25 years later. Rogers beat the odds and is a competitive skateboarder again.
The City of Zephyrhills has been a host for a Grind for Life Series leg for several years, with the city’s public works crew members providing cleanup assistance during the course of the event.
The competition includes a men’s and women’s bowl, and street division, as well as an adaptive skateboarding division, for athletes with disabilities.
Registration was $35.
Published April 06, 2022
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