News Local

Lee lives in skaters' hearts

MATT KIELTYKA, 24 HOURS

Lee Matasi's legacy is alive and well in the local skateboard community.

Hundreds of skaters, led by the Emerica international pro team, gathered at the Downtown Plaza skatepark to celebrate the world-wide Go Skateboarding Day.

And while the session, which involved a mass ride through the city, is meant to raise awareness for the sport, Matasi - a local skater murdered in 2005 - was in the hearts of many.

"He was such a big part of our community," said Vancouver Skateboard Coalition director Chris Young, watching skaters wearing T-shirts in tribute to Matasi. The coalition is working with the parks board to have Vancouver's Leeside skatepark officially recognized.

"It would mean so much to our community."

Yesterday was also about fun, especially for young skaters such as 10-year-old Tomas Pustovalov.

"I try to skate everyday," he said. "I'm excited about this."

Family friend Cheryl MacRae said the sport gives Pustovalov a creative outlet.

"It's challenging and gives him a reason to go outside and release some of that energy," she said.

She was also impressed with the local scene.

"You don't hear any swearing here and the older guys are patient with the kids. I think it's great."