Tripura might be the last place in India you expect to see a skateboarding team in, but then Hucko Skate wants to change all that. The brainchild of 22-year-old Boyer Debbarma, aka Tyler, Tripura’s first skateboarding club is now four years old and is popular also for a production house of the same name. ‘Hucko’ is the Tripuri word for smoke.
Hucko Skate has come a long way from 2015 when it first started rolling. Now, it has spawned a community of 15 stake boarders from all walks of life and age groups. The team includes BMX enthusiasts, who use push bikes to do amazing stunts mid-air, and even some videographers.
For a sport that did not even exist in Tripura before them, the group has set high goals for themselves — make the sport officially recognised in the state. Tyler says: “Skateboarding would be included in the Olympics in 2024. There are different international contests happening in the game. We want it to be officially recognised here in Tripura.”
Clinton Murasing, aka Clinto, attributes most of their success to their YouTube Channel. “We started posting out videos and photographs on YouTube and Instagram. Initially, we got like thousand viewers per video, but these days at least 8,000 viewers are standard for our videos,” says the first-semester student at Holy Cross College. Their YouTube channel currently has 1,800 subscribers.
Though the social media accounts were started by Tyler in his name ‘Boyer Debbarma’, managing them is more of a teamwork now. The group has got little kids of 15 years as well.
Laxman Bahadur Rana, at 12, is the youngest of the group. A student of Class 8 at Hindi Higher Secondary School, he came across Tyler and his pals on his way to school two years back. Later, he joined them. “Skateboarding is not like any other sport. It is more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle. I feel happy, free and joyous when I am cruising away on a skateboard. Nothing in the world matters when we are on a skateboard. We can also turn it into a profession,” says Laxman.
While most of his team consists of school and college students, Tyler is a college dropout who left studies after school and went ahead to fully focus on skateboarding.
Even as his team prepares for the extreme culture, Tyler is knocking every door in a bid to convince the state government about skateboarding and get it official recognition. He also wants a skate park for his team and other enthusiasts so that the sport can grow here.
But then, at least some of the team members have supportive parents. Government employees Uttam Debbarma and Imti, whose children Bukhri and David Debbarma are the newest members of Tyler’s team, look at this as a welcome change for their kids. “I don’t think my son is cut out for sports. But I agreed and welcomed his interest in skateboarding since I see the game more as a physical exercise,” says Uttam Debbarma.
Tyler meanwhile thinks the sport has the potential to bring the youth on right track across the country.