ENCINITAS — In the fall of last year, local Olympian Bryce Wettstein and her family donated a 10-foot vert ramp they had constructed in their backyard to the Encinitas YMCA.
Since then, the ribbon-cutting ceremony to publicly celebrate the generous donation has been delayed due to COVID-19 constraints and other extenuating factors. And even on the day of the grand opening event on Sunday, March 6, things did not go according to plan.
As Mike Wilson, YMCA’s skate park director, took to the microphone to talk about the importance of having a new vert ramp in Encinitas, it started to rain.
“Am I going to get electrocuted? I just want to make sure that’s not going to be an issue,” Wilson asked.
But when Wettstein took the microphone to thank those in attendance, the rain began to stop.
“I think I know why it just started raining because I was crying tears of joy within my heart for all of you,” Wettstein said.
The ramp was donated to the YMCA by the 17-year-old regular-footed skateboarder and X-Games bronze medal winner and her family after the family was told by their homeowner’s association it could not stay past the time Bryce needed it for her preparation for the Tokyo Olympic games last year.
The ramp is a smaller version of a regular vert ramp, like the one the YMCA was famous for having for many years until its removal in 2019.
“The vert riders were actually living in this community, a bunch of them,” Wilson said. “Not only skating here but training and winning gold medals.”
The popularity of vert in the community, added with the rot of the previous ramp, led to its removal. The ramp was an icon for the skate scene in Encinitas, visible to skaters and anyone driving up or down the I-5 freeway in North County.
Wilson and others in the skating community hope the smaller size of this ramp will draw younger kids and begin a new generation of vert skating in Encinitas.
“We can get our kids, ages 6-12, back on to it because they don’t see it as scary,” Wilson said. “Over the last month, I have been teaching a six-year-old girl to drop down this vert ramp. The kids see the inspiration. Vert is back”
Despite its smaller size, the ramp is still impressive to see in person and can be visible from the I-5 freeway.
Deputy Mayor Joe Mosca, who represented the City of Encinitas at last weekend’s event, was surprised at the size of the ramp.
“I remember her talking about this ramp before at our City Council meeting and I never thought it was this large. Being here today to see this, it’s huge,” Mosca said.
Before the ceremony, Wettstein spent time speaking with younger skaters and signing their skate gear. Based on the turnout and enthusiasm present in the crowd, it’s clear a younger generation of skaters draw inspiration from both Wettstein’s skills as a skateboarder and her unique personality.
The donation of the vert ramp is sure to inspire even more young skaters in Encinitas.
“I can’t wait to keep going on so many expeditions with all of you,” Wettstein said. “I hope you just keep being inspired.”