Skaters roll Saturday to honor fallen friend

Skaters roll Saturday to honor fallen friend

Terry Winckler
City View Skate Park

A mural at City View Skate Park honors 17-year-old Clay Harding, who died in November. Photo by Terry Winckler.

Few things keep skateboarders off Alameda's streets, but briefly last November, the streets were quiet as the city's skate tribe gathered at St. Joseph's Church to mourn the tragic death of 17-year-old Clay Harding. On Saturday the clan is gathering again in his memory, but this time loud and proud at the skate park where Clay was a high-flying regular.

Clay's mom, Patty, will be watching as skaters compete in the first Annual Clay "C-Bone" Harding Skateboard Tournament. It's a fundraiser to help pay costs of refurbishing the park - a task Patty has been orchestrating with the help of many skaters.

Two major upgrades are being made in memory of her son: a mural painted along the wall where Clay often hung out, and a picnic area built as an Eagle Scout project by Alameda Troop 73.

The mural features Clay's name intertwined with various images including two sloths - his favorite creature - on skateboards. The artist, a friend named Sam Norton, said the mural is designed to create the feeling that Clay is alive and skating among them.

Another friend of Clay, Edan Winckler, brought together city workers and members of his Boy Scout troop to build the picnic area. People from throughout Alameda donated funds for the project. Tournament proceeds will help pay for an awning Patty is planning to install over it.

Patty said working at the park has helped her cope with losing Clay, who died accidentally on November 23 after ingesting a mix of alcohol and a prescription drug.

The skating community has been deeply involved in all the park rehabilitation, including painting fences, benches and concrete, repairing cracks and generally cleaning up the park under the guidance of Alameda's Recreation and Parks Department.

TOURNAMENT DETAILS

Where: City View Skate Park, 1177 West Redline Avenue, Alameda Point
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Registration: Opens at 10 a.m.
Eligibility: Spectators of all ages are invited. Entrants must be at least 12 years old. No maximum age.
Entry cost: $5