Interview with Joshua Ganyobi Odamtten.
Photos by Joshua Ganyobi Odamtten
For people that do not know Ghana, can you describe your country and its people in a few words?
My country is one of the most peaceful places on earth & the people here are so kind & friendly.
Why did you start skating? Was there someone locally that inspired you or someone outside Ghana at the time?
My whole life, I have been interested in action sports. I use to rollerblading & biking before i got into skateboarding. It’s something I saw on TV and wanted to try. I was inspired by pro skater Chris Cole.
Who is the most talented skateboarder in Ghana at the moment?
It’s hard to say. People will say its me but may be there is someone who is more talented than I am that I have not met yet.
Where can you buy a new skate deck in Ghana? Are there any skateshops or general sport shops?
There are many sports shops but only one sells skateboards and their quality is of low standard so we mostly import from outside Ghana.
There is a lot of hype around your first official Freedom Skateboard Park in Accra. Has this been completed now?
It hasn’t started yet because of some little issues & land settlement.
How came up with the idea and how will it be funded?
The idea has been there for long by individuals in the skating community. The funding is from individual companies & skate fans all around the world.
Is there any funding from the government at all? It does not sound like you are getting a lot of support from them.
There’s no funding from the government. Not even1%.
What are popular skatespots in Accra at the moment?
Trade Fair, Labadi Legon Campus, University of Ghana National Theater, Accra opposite Kempinski Hotel, Mile 7, Achimota
When you first startedskating to where you are today, how much has the skate community changed and also has it become more acceptable in the general community/society?
The community has changed a lot because now many are coming in to learn and just to hang around to pass time or exercise. Compared to when I started, society didn’t really understand what it is & how it can help them grow physically & mentally.
What are some of the challenges skateboarding in Ghana still faces today?
The challenge are lack of skate shops, skate parks sponsors & the governments support.
You started a non-profit organization called ‘Skate Nation Ghana’ in 2008. What triggered the idea to come up with this idea?
The idea came about when all the people I use to skate with gave up on skating so in order for me to meet & connect with new people all around the world. I started Skate Nation Ghana.
What are the things you are working on right now with ‘Skate Nation Ghana’?
I am working on raising funds to build obstacles I can use to teach in my community. Or task that is meant to reach out to teach at least 100 people how to skate.
Do you collaborate with other NPOs like Sandy Alibo’s SurfGhana and the Skate Gal Club? If so how does that collaboration look like?
We are almost the same people with different ideas. Surf Ghana is the business side of skating & Skate Nation Ghana are the people who skate to make the community grow. So surfghana is the party and skate nation ghana are the people who make the party fun for people to want it more by organizing events.
What is one of your proudest moment with Skate Nation Ghana?
That is we being noticed & invited to an international event by a skate brand in Nigeria (WFFLSCRM).