The ‘world’s first skater statue’ returns to Prague’s Folimanka
Skejťák, as the bronze statue of a skateboard is called in Czech, was made in 1981 by sculptor Jaroslav Hladký. A year later it was installed in Folimanka, a park at the foot of the Vyšehrad fortifications. In 2006, the statue was destroyed by a vandal, who cut off its arms, most likely selling them to a scrap yard.
About four years ago, Pavel Friš, a man behind a website dedicated to the history of Vyšehrad, began searching for the long-lost statue and discovered that it was hidden in a depot in the Prague 2 district.
He suggested having the statue renovated and later raised over CZK 250,000 through a crowdfunding campaign.
“The sculptor, Mr. Hladký, offered to come to his garden and dig up a plaster model of the statue he had buried there, but unfortunately we couldn’t find it.
“But thanks to another sculptor, Jiří Kašpar, we managed to reconstruct the weapons from the old photographs.
“Mr. Hladký approved it, then it was sent to the foundry, where the hands were cast and fused to the torso.
Although the skateboarding community in the 1980s in Czechoslovakia was very small compared to Western countries, Pavel Friš says that according to his research, skejťák is really the very first skateboarding statue in the world.
“Mr. Hladký noticed skateboarders in the early 80s or even late 70s and immediately had the idea to make a statue based on them.
“Eventually, he modeled his statue on photographs from foreign magazines to get the pose right. to be under Western influence.
Pavel Friš claims that despite his initiative, the statue would not have returned to Folimanka without the support of the Czech Skateboarding Association. Jaroslav Kučera is a member of its executive committee:
“I’m from the older generation and I actually remember the statue from before the Velvet Revolution. It was really symbolic for us back then and it makes me really nostalgic to see it again.
The unveiling of the statue coincided with the opening of a brand new skate park, located just below Nusle Bridge, next to the brutalist 1970s sports hall.
Skejťák is not the only statue adorning Folimanka. Several bronze and stone figures are scattered around the area, made mostly by communist-era artists, but there is also an upturned lamppost by contemporary artist Krištof Kintera, dedicated to those who committed suicide jumping off the bridge.