Interview with Dave Eastman @boardsforghana
Photos by Joshua Ganyobi Odamtten
“I wanted to do whatever I could to help build a skateboarding culture there as I know how much Skateboarding has impacted my life in a positive way. The sense of community it builds, Friendships, culture, style, creativity and the powerful life lesson of never giving up till you reach your goal.”
How does a guy from Sydney Australia come up with the idea to send boards to Ghana?
My Partner is Ghanaian, she was born in Kumasi Ghana and her family moved to Australia when she was 10 years old. We travelled to Ghana about 5 years ago now and spent a couple of months there. I fell in love with the place, the people the culture and the lifestyle and I did not want to leave. We have been wanting to move there and set something up ever since. I noticed that there is a large youth population in Ghana that don’t have a lot of activities to keep them occupied. I wanted to do whatever I could to help build a skateboarding culture there as I know how much Skateboarding has impacted my life in a positive way.
The sense of community it buils, Friendships, culture, style, creativity and the powerful life lesson of never giving up till you reach your goal. When I got back home to my life here in Australia I started to reach out to some of the skateboarders in Accra that I found on social media to find out how I could help. I came across a young man by the name of Cephas @cephyo who started an Instagram page @leaguesb where he was showcasing skateboarders from all over the continent of Africa. Cephas seemed to me to be one of the main guys who was trying to push the scene on the ground level amongst the other young skaters in Accra. I started to chat to Cephas a lot to try and find out what was going on over there and how they were getting skateboards and shoes etc. I have formed a good friendship with Cephas and he is now my main contact in Ghana that I ship the boards to.
What are some of the sources you collect Boards from?
Skate Shops and Distribution Companies. All of the 2nd hand product comes from skate shops that collect boards from skaters when they come and buy a new board. A lot of times they will leave there old boards there at the shop for any kids that can’t afford a new one. There are 3 main skate shops in Sydney that I have collected Boards from. @335skatesupply @abdskatesupply and @lodownstore. @projectdist were able to donate some trucks, wheels and griptape as well. My Brother Brad (Beastman) is a well known artist here in Australia that has done work for Element Skateboards before. He was able to put me in contact with someone at Element and they have donated about 400 brand new decks to date that had faulty graphics.
Do you collect anything else apart from Boards?
Whatever I can get I will ship. I am always on the lookout for more trucks and wheels as they are harder to come by and the skaters in Ghana are always in need. Last shipment I sent a box of 2nd hand shoes, some trucks, wheels, griptape, bearings and some tshirts. Anything Skate related I will ship but it is mostly skate decks.
“I am always on the lookout for more trucks and wheels as they are harder to come by and the skaters in Ghana are always in need.”
What are some of the People/Organisations in Ghana that you work with?
My main contact is Cephas. He is the man. He has proven to be trustworthy and I would not have been able to get anything there if it wasn’t for him. Sandy @surfghana has also been great to speak with. She is doing a lot over there in regards to bringing people together and pushing to get this skate park built. She is regularly putting on events for the skaters and organising skate tours all around Ghana to showcase skateboarding to the youth in areas where they might not otherwise see it. She really is doing a lot of work to build and grow the skateboarding culture in Ghana.
What are the main challenges?
The main challenge above anything else is shipping the boards to Ghana. My Partners mother is well connected within the Ghanaian community here in Sydney. She is the one who helps me with shipping. Usually about 4 containers a year get sent from Sydney to Ghana. Organised by Ghanaian families here in Sydney and you can pay to have space on the container. Due to Covid-19 there have not been any containers shipped in the last 12 months so I currently have about 250 boards that i am waiting to ship.
How can people support within and outside Australia?
Donate Boards and product in whatever way you can. If you are in Australia you can donate product to me and I will ship it there. If you are outside Australia you can contact me and I can give you contacts of who to ship to in Ghana. There are no skate shops in Ghana. The only way they get product is if it comes from overseas so they are always in need. Donate to @surfghana as they are currently trying to raise funds to get the first official skatepark in Ghana built. Freedom Skatepark. You can also contact @surfghana and donate boards directly to them. Other than that the best way people can support is just to raise awareness, spread the word and share on social media.