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Skater proposes ‘Snake Run’ as next phase in skate park

By Staff | Sep 1, 2011

Kurt Miller is lobbying county officials to build a Snake Run as a second phase of the West Maui park. He built this model to give people an idea of its design.

LAHAINA — With construction of the West Maui Skate Park under way, a former sponsored skater has the county considering a second phase.

Kurt Miller is pushing for a “Snake Run” to be added to the 15,000-square-foot, $1 million skate park BCP Construction of Hawaii Inc. is building near Lahaina Aquatic Center.

Miller has lobbied for the Snake Run before the County Council’s budget committee and met with County Councilwoman Elle Cochran and Ezekiela Kalua in the Mayor’s Office to discuss the project. He has petitions with more than 2,000 signatures.

Kalua said there is no funding for Miller’s proposal right now, but it could be considered in the future.

“That’s why Kurt is talking about the Snake Run now, so we can hopefully put some funding to a design,” Kalua said.

Designed by Grindline Skateparks Inc., Lahaina’s new park will feature street areas for all levels, a “flow bowl” for beginner and novice skaters, pool with coping and advanced bowl for experienced skaters.

Flat areas in the park are good for beginners, Miller said, but only “5 percent of all skaters know how to ride pools, vert and coping.”

He proposes a 160-foot by 80-foot Snake Run for skaters to develop their style and work up to riding pools. His design is “a total surf skate run,” Miller said.

“These Snake Runs give the beginning skater the patience to learn at their own speed, safely. The intermediate skater brags about it being the thrill of their lives, and the expert skater gets challenged to the utmost every time,” Miller noted.

“If built right, the rider can fool the body into thinking it’s actually surfing. Skaters at all levels walk away from these with the biggest of smiles from ear to ear, with the hair standing up on their heads. For this sole reason, the best skate parks from the beginning… 35 to 40 years ago had these to skate,” added Miller, who has skated in parks around the country.

He commented that Snake Run riders can create slalom courses and skate for hours, always going along different trails.

With 270 feet of winding area, progressing from four feet to eight feet deep with matching radius transitions and rounded top edges, skaters of all ages can build self-confidence, increase endurance, learn tricks, “build muscles where you never thought muscles were” and rapidly improve at skating and surfing, Miller added.

“This Snake Run I have created comes from 46 years of skateboarding experience. The compressed corners in the big bowl enable the skater to slingshot forward horizontally, just like you would gain speed or momentum on a bottom turn or vertical transitional release,” he explained.

“All the top edges of the Snake Run are round, so roundhouse cutbacks, floaters, lip slides and board slides can be performed without the constant jerk and pull the coping has on your board and trucks. Dropping in anywhere will be easy for those not yet sure of themselves on a coping drop.”

Lahaina lacks a skate park, and riders can be ticketed for skating on private property and public roadways.

Miller, 55, said that “there are a lot of skaters out there who aren’t skating.”

“Contrary to what a few believe, skateboarding isn’t just a kid’s sport. A good number of people who skated parks in the ’70s and ’80s, before they were bulldozed, still skate.”

He feels the new park with a Snake Run will represent progressive skating, bring people back to the sport and develop pro-quality skaters in the West Maui community.

Miller, a builder, also commented that there isn’t a Snake Run anywhere that can compare to the one he has designed to use as a second phase at the Lahaina park.

To reach Miller, call 276-2591.