By Michaela McNamara
St. Augustine skaters have noticed some positive changes at their beloved Treaty Park, and they have the Surf Station to thank for it. It took months and a bit of hard work before the Skate Station was given the go-ahead to run the concessionaire at the county park, but those dedicated guys at the Surf Station made sure that their half-pipes and ramps would be run in good hands.
In August 2005, Vinton Pacetti decided he was not going to renew his contract as the owner of the skate shop at the Robert Moran Skate Park at Treaty Park. So, St. Johns County, the actual proprietors of the park, established a bid to determine who would take over. Tory Strange, the owner of Surf Station, saw the perfect opportunity to touch his golden hand on the park with the same enthusiasm he’s had for the surf community. The county upheld certain criteria for the new vendor, and the Surf Station went head-to-head with GO Matix Corporation to see who would reign supreme in the local sphere of skateboarding. St. Johns County believed they were tied, so the Surf Station appealed, and through a series of oral presentations by Flagler alumnus and Surf Station manager, Tim Brooks, our beloved little surf shop won out.
Now, the Skate Station is up and running at Treaty Park, making bigger, better concrete waves for skaters, figuratively speaking. Flagler senior Ryan Riopko is the man in charge over there and has big ideas for the Surf Station’s latest project. As the buyer and event coordinator at the park, as well as a rider for DVS Shoes, Riopko has the contacts, capital, and dedication to make more things happen. There will be more pro demos, contests, and much more inventory from shoes to hardware to make Treaty Park a skater’s castle in the sky.
“We want to do stuff over there because we actually care about the skate community. We’re just pushing for a cleaner, better park,” Riopko said.
Of course, St. Johns County is still in charge of the park operations and complains to Surf Station management when parents call to say their little grommet is getting picked on or someone leaves their trash at the park.