This Saturday at the Mission Valley YMCA's Krause Family Skatepark in San Diego, teams of skateboarders will assemble for Sonic Generations of Skate. Polygon spoke with skateboarder Sergie Ventura to learn why he just "had to be a part of this."
Presented by Sonic: Lost World, Sega's upcoming Wii U and Nintendo 3DS exclusive title, skateboarding celebrities like Tony Hawk, Andy MacDonald, Bucky Lasek, Pierre Luc Gagnon and Sergie Ventura will be on hand. They'll engage in friendly competition, and proceeds will benefit Grind for Life, a charity founded skateboarder Mike Rogers that provides financial assistance for patients and families dealing with cancer.
Sergie Ventura grew up with Sonic games, staring with the first: Sonic the Hedgehog. He's been playing ever since and has started his own Sonic generation with his son, who's now into the series.
"He's always calling me in. 'Hey, daddy! Watch this, watch this, watch this! You can't touch this because they'll take all your coins!,'" he said.
Ventura has been skating for many years, and he participated in the Sega-sponsored event once before. When we spoke, he was already at the Krause Family Skatepark gearing up for the event, and the excitement in his voice was palpable.
"Each generation, you've got someone in their 20s, someone in their 30s and someone in their 40s," he said. "You have three different generations — that's where the Generations [in the event's name] comes in."
The competition will be split between individual and team events, he said, and each will contribute points to the team's overall score. He's particularly excited about the doubles event, because it got "really creative last year," he said.
"It's really cool because the energy amongst us, even though we don't see each other that much — for instance, the doubles. There's some guys who are used to doubles and some who are not. But I know without a doubt in my mind that they'll never do anything to hurt me."
For Ventura, the spirit of the event, the camaraderie of the participants and the cause they're ultimately there for makes it unlike anything else he's participated in.
"I've got give to give a shoutout to my man Mike Rogers and that whole organization Grind for Life," he said. "That's the reason why we're there. It's for a great cause."
It's a theme Ventura returned to several times: friends, fun and charity.
"It's such a great thing that I just had to be a part of this," he said. "I just had to be a part of this."
Those in the San Diego area can purchase tickets online for Sonic Generations of Skate or at the door for $10.