[Editor’s Note: Fuzhou Expat is so proud to have received authorisation from Boomatang ‘s official site to run a special feed on Boomatang, which is a skating ramp out front Feeling Bar, in Fuzhou Shao Yuan Entertainment Area. We will run a few blog articles for the special feed on Boomarang. For the purpose of sharing what’s behind Boomatang, Fuzhou Expat is running the stories in both English and Chinese to facilitate common readership. All rights of this article are reserved by the Boomatang team.Translation rights are shared by Fuzhou Expat and the Boomatang team.]
What is Boomatang? 步马堂是个什么东西？
Story by @domestikrub
Translated by Nick@fuzhouexpat.com
This article was Posted on March 30, 2013, on the official blog of Boomatang, at www.boomatang.asia.
Boomatang is a skate ramp that was built on the East Coast of China, in a city called Fuzhou. Fuzhou is about 600km south of Shanghai and is home to many factories and local businesses. Tourism and Western influence is minimal, despite the obvious concentration of commerce. There are many shops in the area selling materials including paint, plywood, metal poles and screws – all the essential ingredients for a skateboard ramp…
There are many reasons behind why this ramp was not a feasible idea. For starters, the weather. For most of the year it’s either wet or humid, so a ramp made predominately out of wood for the purpose of rolling skateboard wheels, was always going to be a test for its durability. Then, there is the liability. Skateboarding is dangerous and to introduce the activity to people who are unfamiliar with the basics, and who live in an area with limited access to healthcare, some would argue, is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention that as foreigners we know very little about the law and the concept behind ‘due diligence’, which we have assumed is less about what happens and more about who it happens to. Let’s not also forget that skateboarding’s roots began in California by surfers who were looking for an avenue to rebel. How is rebellion as a tool used by the people in China and perhaps more importantly how does authority react to it?
Despite these obvious challenges, there were too many reasons to do this. Firstly, there was the support of those running the Shao Yuen entertainment area. They were completely behind this project and were looking for ways to create additional facets of entertainment. Then there were the young adults who owned the bars, or at least drank in them, and loved us and what we were doing. They were craving new forms of entertainment. Free time is not something as widely appreciated in Chinese culture as it is in Western culture, but surely we could change that… right?
Then there is the feeling of creation. Sculpture and art is found all over Chinese culture. It’s something widely appreciated. Woodwork is fun. Doing all of this in another country, as you make new friends, gives you a sense of purpose in a new setting. A good excuse to meet people, to be creative and to encourage others to see your vision.
But in saying all of this there was a lot that we are still very unsure of. Whether we could make it happen or not was always only the beginning. As I write this it has mostly been completed (see video and photographic evidence if you don’t believe me!). There are still a few pieces of the puzzle to finish later in the year. The bigger question though is how will local Chinese people interact with this piece of art? and this is something that can only be answered over time.
We will document our findings here. We also encourage all those reading this, anyone in China or even the region, to visit Boomatang and to get in touch with us. We’d love to find out what you think and hope that you can share something with us that will make us smile.
More about this project can be found at www.boomatang.asia.
Story by @domestikrub