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CASTAIC – It’s off the hook. It’s off the heazy. And it’s just plain awesome. The skateboard club at Castaic Middle School, that is. That’s how the 180 or so fearless skaters in the school-sponsored club described it Thursday as they slid across railings, jumped over ramps and kicked flipped their boards to new heights. “It’s wicked,” said sixth-grader Ricky Callais. “I think it has helped us have more fun, and it’s a better reason to come to school excited.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Skaters searching for places to practice in their neighborhoods usually find “no skateboarding” signs slapped up outside coffee shops, drug stores and nearly every business with a clean stretch of pavement outside. Those warning signs even dot the main parking lot at Castaic Middle School. But behind the school, across a field and down a flight of stairs to the football field, lies the exception the rule. On a patch of smooth black top, typically reserved for football parking, skaters rule. Before school and during lunch, students give the lot a good pounding with their tricks. Practicing on equipment that parents supplied, the kids dream of making it big, getting sponsors and, as they said, lots of free stuff. “I hope to go pro,” said Marcos Meza, a sixth-grader whose big brother Juan taught him the ropes. Meza, with a head of thick dark hair that nearly reaches his shoulders, hangs with the skater crowd, who all have a similar look. T-shirts branded with skateboard logos. Vans for shoes. Jeans, some tight, some baggy. And the hair. The shaggier, the better. The few with crew cuts shrugged when asked why their hair is so short and blamed mom and her scissors. Boys, for the most part, make up this uninhibited crew. Twelve-year-old Sophie Sidky and a few other girls are the exceptions. Seventh-grade Sidky wonders why there aren’t more girls involved in the sport. “Maybe they think it’s too guy-ish,” she said. “I think they’re afraid of the helmet. It gives them helmet hair.” Bruce Brotz, department chair of physical education, saw the need for the club after students asked to bring their skateboards in to show him their feats. He was surprised to see how the group has grown since the club started in November with 30 interested skaters to six times that size just three months later. Although all kinds of kids have joined, a number of them were once uninterested in academics and school life. Brotz said the club provides a way to plug these students into school. `’I saw a population of kids where school didn’t seem important to them,” he said. “It felt like a good opportunity to connect with these kids and help them out.” With each stunt, the skaters test their skills and look for ways to push themselves to the next level. And in some cases for the next big thrill. Riding a wave board, 13-year-old Robert Steen Hansen swears it’ll soon take the skating world by storm. Longer than traditional skateboards, wave boards get their momentum from riders moving their hips. The sixth grader wiggled his way across the pavement to demonstrate and swears it’s the next big thing. “I only wave board. I think it’s really fun,” he said. “People are slowly switching over to them.” Sue Doyle, (661) 257-5254 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!