Sweat and fun bring people together. Whether you are ripping it up at the park or practicing kick-flips in your front driveway, skating is a good relief from homework, real work or just plain boredom. If you’ve been in the Ark-La-Tex a while then you know Sensory Skatepark is the place to do it. Bossier City boasts the finest indoor skateboarding in north Louisiana. We caught up with owner Thomas Woodruff recently to get the latest scoop on their identity change, new ramps and what else is happening at Sensory.
Landon Miller: Sensory Skatepark has been around for awhile under a few different names. How long have you been with the park and what drove you to becoming owner?
Thomas Woodruff: I started working at the skatepark October of 2003. And somewhere in 2011 is when the original owners sat me down and explained that it was time for them to move on. They didn’t like the idea of selling it to someone they didn’t know and trust would do right by the skate scene they created. So, the options were, I step up as owner and keep it going, or the skatepark would shut down completely. They gave me some time to think about it, as I never pictured myself owning my own business, but the thought of there not being a real skate shop/park here would break my heart. Especially since it was a place that had given so much to myself as well as many others. So, not long after I took over I knew that this is exactly what I wanted to do having been skateboarding for the past 15 years and it being one of the things I love the most.
LM: For those who haven’t done it; what’s so great about skateboarding? Why should I come to the park instead of just riding the streets?
T: Everything. Unlike other sports or whatever else you consider a way of life, skateboarding is a way of redefining the world around you. Even the way a skateboard is made is a very specific art form. One of the most appealing things about it is that it is a very individual thing. You don’t need anybody else to do it, and so much of your personality shines through your skating. But, there is also a very large community you become apart of. It brings together all walks of life and you make friends with people you might not normally be friends with because all of a sudden you have this huge thing in common.
So, inside this huge community of skateboarders, everyone is an individual and everyone brings something different to it. You should always ride the streets because that’s were the heart of skateboarding is. A skatepark offers you a much different experience. It’s a place to learn and to skate things you wouldn’t find out in the streets. A skatepark also becomes a home base for everyone and a place to skate without worrying about being kicked out and told not to skate. You should skate everything!
LM: What kind of events happen at the park besides just skating?
T: I keep everything centered around skateboarding. We often show skate videos and host video premieres for local as well as professional skate films. We have had live performances from local musicians at different contests that we host, but it all revolves around skating.
LM: Recommend any other skate destinations in our area? What’s the closest community of skaters outside of Shreveport?
T: Of course there is the Stoner Ave Skate Plaza off Clyde Fant Parkway that the city built a few years back. It offers a different experience as well aiming more towards street oriented type obstacles such as stairs and handrails. Although, lately I think it has become more of a haven for people who don’t skate but to them have found a good party spot. You can find a community of skaters in any town you go to. The closest skatepark to us outside our area is probably in Tyler, TX. It is an outdoor city built park. Privately owned, indoor skatepark/shops like us become fewer and farther between everyday. With corporations like Zumiez spreading all over the country, parks like us have been shutting down left and right. So the closest indoor park is in the Dallas area. Skateboarding is everywhere, you just have to look a little harder in some places.
LM: Anything new coming up that folks can look forward to? Updates, installments?
T: We have video showings sporadically, and recently I have partnered up with long time friend and local skateboarder, Justin Mcvey, who has been helping Sensory tremendously by coming in and building new additions for the park, and will be adding more very soon. If you follow us on Instagram, (@sensoryskatepark), and on Facebook you will get all the updates on new product we get in and anything that goes down.