Riding The Wave of Compassion

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Photo courtesy of The Riders Club facebook page

The Thrash Bash, organized by The Riders Club was held this year on a  crisp late September afternoon at Old Orchard Beach Skate Park. Nearly a hundred kids skated with their peers and the beauty of this five hour event was that all skill levels and ages were encouraged to participate. The event united local riders who enjoyed showcasing their skills while grooving to live music from Zombie Beach.  All age barriers dissolved as a selected bunch of the younger more talented  kids became teachers. Just a few years ago some of these same kids did not own a board, fortunately The Riders Club has provided them equipment as well as the opportunity to shred.

Barry and Sherri Tripp reside on Union Ave in Ocean Park Maine during the summer months. The Tripps own Mocean Surf Shop a surf as well as skate shop, that is attached to their inn,  Ocean Tripp Inn. This building has belonged to the two for 20 years, and soon after they got it running they saw that this was the place where their dreams of a non profit, a business, and a home could all feed off each other.  In addition to their work in the shop and Inn, the Tripps are also the founders of The Riders Club. Their motto is

“Bringing Board Sports to Schools”

. The Riders Club runs off grants, donations and fundraising, while also having a shifting scale, the more privileged kids who can afford to pay more do so. Their work is supported by local sponsors which includes Becky’s Diner, Marc Motors, Darlings, Benchmark Cleaning, The Rack BBQ at Sugarloaf, Ticomb, Shawnee Peak, Ayotte Scholarship, CEMServices, Inc., MOCEAN SURF SHOP-Old Orchard Beach, Black Point Surf Shop-Scarborough, Weirdwood Skateboards, and many more.

The Rider’s Club is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization which promotes outdoor activities for kids by providing more open access to  snowboarding, free ride skiing, surfing, and skateboarding. The Tripps do everything they can to allow kids at a financial disadvantage to shred. If that means giving them discounts on supplies they have in store than so be it, or by awarding scholarships to kids so they can participate in after school ski and snowboard programs. A big as they are in skate parks and on water they pride themselves even more on snow.

When the seasons change and it is no longer time for retailing skate and surf equipment the Tripps head up to their house at Sugarloaf. They really get the best of both worlds. The riders club is very big on snow,  so they promote board sports in the winter by encouraging kids to come together and shred mountains such as Titcomb and Shawnee peak. With a large staff of coaches due to Farmington’s high population of college park rats, so learning new tricks isn’t a problem for the younger riders.  One of  the board of Trustees is professional skier, Dan Marrion who said,  “I’m honored to be part of this program”. Olympic medalist Seth Wescott is also a sponsor of The Riders Club. “The history of these sports at schools have been driven by parents” said Tripp who founded the Riders Club with his wife, Sherri Tripp in 2012.  The non-profit isow entering its fifth year.

Anyone who is avid about extreme sports realizes how essential an organization like this is, for example junior Tucker Weeks said, “People who participate in such active hobbies and passions should be aware of the values that The Riders Club offers.”  

Barry Trip said,  “You don’t have to have a club or a team, we’re trying to create crews at different schools. In Old Orchard this year they got a skate crew and probably two thirds of kids surf. We’ve had half a dozen sessions already, we have coaches and shredders up at the park pretty much everyday. Our goal is to get that into the schools and we’re very popular on snow. We’re at Shawnee peak one day a week in the winter on Wednesday afternoons. It’s growing slowly but surely, this year we also coach at a school up north, Kents Hill. They have their own hill with almost 40 kids, this winter we are teaming up with UMf in which we are signing an internship agreement. They have an Outdoor recreation major, so we are gonna have about a dozen students intern with The Riders Club anywhere from coaching to administrate or grant stuff. It’s all coming together, our goal is to benefit the kids to see snowboarding and freeriding more inclusive instead of exclusive, it’s just so expense.”

The members will buy surf and skate supplies at Mocean Surf Shop and stay at the inn with their family. As big as they are on land and water they pride themselves even more on snow. Barry, a former coach at CVA, a private boarding school at Sugarloaf Mountain left CVA to pursue his snowboard career as a freelance coach. That included traveling the world while mentoring, coaching and inspiring riders. He rides through the park with the members on the weekend while shredding the rest of the week days. Every March the Tripps host an overnight sleepover at their house where sixty members spend the night. On the Friday night they use CBA’s trampoline equipped and have a night session prior to being fed pizza donated by Seth Wescott. With competitions this year at Titcomb mountain, Sunday river  and one at Payson Park they expect more people to get involved. The events are put on for all the right reasons, to enhance the communities involvement.

With over 230 members over the state, all of whom are spending time outside enjoying the outdoors. Them, the kids make the program said Jasper Tripp, Sherri and Barry’s son who is a coach in addition to a rider for Rome snowboards. Credit the forty coaches in large part for the kids coming back, serving as facilitators to the shredders. To become a member kids must submit a form. After being received, reviewed and accepted you will have to pay your seventy five dollar  membership fees in order to join The Riders Club. After accomplishing these task members will get an email with a membership identification card.

These kids are determined, many of the members are facing economic barriers, once they have the equipment, a surfboard a skateboard and skis there’s no stopping them. The lesson Jasper exemplified to me is that the members realize you can’t just wait for someone to do your work for you. Meaning if their school or  SMAA doesn’t recognize any of these passions the kids have then so be it, nobody can tame big ambitions and they will continue to pursue what they love by events like the Thrash Bash. Nonetheless these kids will pursue what they enjoy,  in order to do so through schools someone has to take the initiative and get the ball rolling.

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One Response to Riding The Wave of Compassion

  1. Emilee Wermenchuk November 10, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    Cool story! I love Carpe Diem!

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