Positive force

KAPAA — Yes I Elephit Skate Shop now caters to skaters from all over the island, after opening behind Chicken in a Barrel BBQ on Kou Road in Kapaa.

Co-owners Cameron Lovelace and Sean McCrink joined forces in June to bring their passion for skateboarding to the community, especially to Kauai’s keiki.

McCrink owns Elephit, a design and clothing brand aimed at skaters, and Lovelace owed a skate shop named Yes I for five years. Yes I skate shop was located in several places during its lifetime and closed in 2015, just as McCrink’s brand was gearing up.

But now, Lovelace has resurrected the shop and paired it with McCrink’s brand to create Yes I Elephit Skate Shop in Kapaa, and the pair want to focus both on profits and people.

“It’s all about the community, too; the kids for sure,” said McCrink.

Lovelace, father of four children from the ages of 5 to 15, wanted to convey his positive message to kids: You can accomplish anything.

He started his original skateboard company more than seven years ago, with a few challenges that included rising rents.

“I had Yes I (skateboard shop) from 2010 to 2015 in (several) different spots,” said Lovelace. “It was in the Safeway shopping center, Waipouli Town Center, upstairs at the Dragon Building, at Snorkel Bob’s and next to Lemongrass.”

The idea for Elephit sprang from the Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago’s novel “The Elephant’s Journey,” which McCrink used as fodder for a brand.

“I started studying about elephants and looking into what’s going on in Africa. Then I decided to make a brand that bases their ideals on elephants — their loyalty and the responsibility they have to each other and Mother Nature,” he said.

The large animal provided a perfect conceptual “fit,” so the Elephit name was selected to create McCrink’s branding and harness his elephant-sized dreams.

“It’s been five years, and I’ve been broke putting everything into this,” he said. “It’s definitely been a journey to keep it going, but now we print the logos ourselves on all the shirts and hats and everything.”

Yes I Elephit Skate Shop sponsors local skaters Jonathan Crago, James Miller, Jacee Lucero, Caleb Pacanas, Darion Stark and Darrell Dubin, as well as team riders Mark Bautista in California and Philip Powell in Virginia.

The pair also collaborate with artists, like Dave Flores, who painted the wall along Kapaa’s main road depicting a wave and wahine with a flower behind her ear.

“I was blown away by all the merchandise they give to the kids so they get them involved and really hype them up,” Flores said. “They gave away Oasis boards from the Big Island and promoted shops on Neighbor Islands, as well as donated stuff to the community.”

The new shop isn’t far from the county skate park, where the co-owners plan to host a competition to raise funds for much-needed park repairs in the next couple months, once permits are obtained.

The new store sells top brands like Baker, Girl and Weekend, and Oasis skateboards from Hilo. It carries trucks, wheels, bearings — all the basics for getting a board set up — as well as Yes I and Elephit hats, shirts and gear. Rental boards are available at $10 for 2 1/2 hours or $20 for the whole day.

“We’re guaranteed to help bring up the youth today and give them some structure and guidelines,” said McCrink. “I know it’s hard out there for them in every nation worldwide.”

Info: www.YesIKauai.com, 222-5076, or www.Elephit.com, 635-9283

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