An interview with Lujain – Maldive’s leading girl skater

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Subject: Project down at RAALHUGANDU SKATE PARK, Maldives
Words by Lujain
Interview and edit by Atita
Photos – Raalhugaandu Skatepark
31.5.2014

Maldives is a place where water makes up most of the country. But these guys in main city Male, managed to find a spot for some concrete, bang opposite their home surf break. Not just a rad penis bowl spot with a good view but the ocean with some waves to cool off right there! Or grab a different board. I hit up Lujain, the heading woman of Raalhugandu Skate Park, to tell us a little about it..

ME: How did the idea come about?
LUJAIN: The idea popped into Hambe’s head after he got back from Bangalore during the first attempt to build a mini ramp at what is now the Holystoked park. Chilling with his friend AJ at Raalhugandu, they just decided to build a spot randomly near the garden.

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ME: How did it all come together finally?
LUJAIN: They collected brick by brick from random places around the city and took donations as well. Most of the materials were transported on Hambe’s bike. Haha. And after they’d already built one half of a mini ramp, the city council asked them to remove it for they didn’t have a permit. The guys, Hambe, AJ, Mody, Bodey and a few others headed over to the City Council and demanded a space to build. Under the agreement that they demolish the already built half, the government provided another location within a 100m of the spot. And so began the build! It used to be an old stage that had been unused for years. Triangular in shape and brick laid over it. They had to remove the bricks and began digging into it with shovels until one guy decided to hire an excavator.

ME: Good idea, that one guy! So, how’d you raise funds?
LUJAIN: Raising funds was not too hard, really, as people were really supportive of the whole thing. The project got a tremendous amount of positive feedback from the community and around 10000 USD must have been raised.

ME: Baumi and I joined you down there last year to build one section but who else is usually involved?
LUJAIN: A large part of the builders and volunteers are surfers but a lot of people from our community, from different groups and companies contributed to the build. Baumi from Germany and you from India also dropped by to help us with one big section. It was good that you guys came as we needed the help and it also provided us with some much needed motivation.

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ME: Some obstacles you faced?
LUJAIN: After phase 1 (The mini), the number of volunteers and contributors got lower but it still goes on, though more slowly than at first.
ME: How long did it take?
LUJAIN: It’s been over a year since the project started and right now we’re focusing on completing the bowl. Personally, I hope it never stops as there is so much potential over here to build. There is a big area around the former stage which we hope to work on as well, including some street obstacles.
ME: How’d the locals react to it?
LUJAIN: In a country where the government is expected to provide entertainment and places to socialize, I think it’s a great example for everyone that a bunch of people decided to take matters into their own hands and do what they want. Instead of asking for people to do it for you, DO IT YOURSELF. The local support has been great. It’s something that could not have been done without all of those people involved. And I think everyone who contributed their money is very happy to see what has become of the place. They see it as a place with potential for a sport to grow. They see it as a place where their kids can have a blast.
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Visit the Raalhugaandu facebook page for more developments on skateboarding in Maldives at https://www.facebook.com/RaalhuganduSkatePark