A Taradale teenager is off to a major skateboarding camp in the United States after being one of two Hawke's Bay winners at the Skateboard Nationals in Porirua on Waitangi Day.
Chris Skelton, a 15-year-old Taradale High School pupil, won the 16 years and under at the Mountain Dew Cheapskates championships held during the Porirua Skate Jam for the first time.
He gets a week at the Element YMCA Skate Camp near Sequoia National Park, California, in July.
Hastings competitors Tai Wepa and Luke O'Shea came first and second respectively in the 13 years and under category, which did not qualify for one of the competition's two travelling prizes, the other going to the Open winner.
The boys were among a group of 10 Williams Nelson Skatepark "locals", among whom limping 16-year-old Josh Kitt also won big-time, after crashing out big-time. His prize for the biggest "bail" was a year's supply of Mountain Dew.
But they all did it the hard way, leaving Hastings with mentor and @tomic Youth Centre youth worker Rosscoe Hema at 5am on Thursday to get to the championships on time.
Mr Hema said all 10 were regulars at the new skatepark of King St, St Aubyn and Queen Streets in Hastings, and he believes he can help change the lives of young users of the park.
Among the changes was making them compete, for he said that when it came time for the registrations at the park, most didn't want to.
But he knows the talent that's round, and said: "They love the skatepark. I've seen them every day for the last three months since it opened."
It's not stopping with this week's success, for now he plans to take the same troupe to Auckland for competitions on March 2, and he's planning Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools Championships to be held March 19.