Skaters in Venice, California rallied on April 22 at the site of the now-demolished Venice Pavilion, a beachside park area famous for its graffiti-covered benches and ledges that was removed a couple weeks prior. Known as The Pit, the spot has been sessioned by Los Angeles-area skaters since the mid 80s, and has been featured in numerous magazine stories and ads, including a recent Circa spot with Chad Muska (May 2000 TransWorld SKATEboarding, Volume 18 Number 5).
Organized by Ger-I Lewis of Groundswell Surf And Skate in Venice, with help from Heidi Lemmon of the Skatepark Association USA, the demo and protest drew about 700 supporters who called for the creation of a public skateboard area. The site of the demolished pavilion was to be converted to a beachside roller rink, but Lewis says that the attention focused on a lack of skateboarding facilities in the Los Angeles area has forced the city to review its plan.
Local police on hand at the protest were cordial and helpful in creating an area for the skaters to ride and gather. Also present to skate and lend their support were local legends Dave Hackett, Jesse Martinez, John Thomas, and Aaron Murray, as well as many other notables.
Lewis and the local skaters are asking for a free, concrete public skatepark to be built near the former pavilion, and city officials have already promised to allocate land for it. With the pavilion already gone, Lewis says the goal now is to see the public skatepark built, and he has plans to rally local support for a skateboard ordinance that would protect the right to ride in the Venice Beach area.