RANCHO SANTA FE — While most college students spend their summer break relaxing by the pool or hanging out with friends, a group of skateboarders are making the most of their vacation — all in the name of a good cause.
Armed with their trusty skateboards, 20-year-old Ari Mannis and four others officially embarked July 12 on their highly anticipated Skate Across the USA, which is taking place to raise money for charity.
The group has two sponsors, Subsonic Skateboard Company and GFH Boards, and they’re asking for individual donations to help them reach their goal.
They will be longboarding relay-style from coast to coast — nearly 3,000 miles total — in support of San Diego Youth Services and ClubXcite, both of which benefit at-risk youth.
“The donations will be used to provide children with consistent and positive mentoring services by ClubXcite mentors,” said Mannis, who mentors with the program that is run by his close friend, Stefan Hochfilzer.
The team’s goal is to raise $20,000 through the trip that will take them on a pre-planned route from Newport, Ore., to New York. The group hopes to cover 100 to 150 miles each day and will sleep in tents at RV parks and campgrounds along the way.
“Each one of us will be skating 30 miles a day on a specialty board from Subsonic that’s made for long distance riding,” Mannis said. “I’ve skated well over 50 miles in a day before, but never back to back. It should be interesting.”
Skate Across the USA riders will be filmed as they travel across the country to create a documentary once the trip is completed. During the course of the trip, the team will also be blogging to keep people updated on their whereabouts and how they’re doing.
“We’re going to try and post as many updates as we can,” Mannis said. “Not just for people who want to follow the trip, but for us too, so we can always remember it.”
Although Mannis’ Skate Across the USA concept was not originally planned as a trip for charity, he jumped at the chance to proceed in the name of a good cause when it was suggested he do so by Hochfilzer.
Through their experience mentoring at-risk youth in San Diego, Mannis and Hochfilzer arranged for proceeds to support ClubXcite mentors at San Diego Youth Services, which is a nonprofit organization.
“Hopefully we’ll start a trend and people will follow in our footsteps by doing something they love and supporting good causes at the same time,” Mannis said.
Follow along with Mannis and his team of skaters online at www.skate acrossusa.com. Donations can also be made on the site and will go directly to San Diego Youth Services.