By Kurt Madar

Pilot staff writer

Local skaters Matt Coy, Tyler Miller and Chuck Simkovich rate the Brookings skatepark an eight out of 10 while bemoaning the lack of a street park and soda machine.

andquot;Skating makes me feel free; it's like nectar,andquot; said Simkovich.

The three friends were ripping it up at the Brookings skatepark Wednesday afternoon. Skating doesn't have a bad name in Brookings, they said, but it isn't well understood.

andquot;The community doesn't understand it, they don't know it,andquot; said Miller, who believes that understanding would bring a more favorable attitude. andquot;I mean we're too busy skating to really cause trouble.andquot;

Sixteen-year-old Matt Coy, born in Medford, has lived in Brookings for seven years. He has skated the whole time, but for the past five years it has been high above the concrete and coping of the Brookings skatepark.

andquot;I skate every day, it's just so fun and demanding,andquot; said Coy, who also finds time to play wide receiver and defensive back for the Brookings-Harbor High School varsity football team. The tallest of the three, he was too busy skating to say much except that the skatepark needs lights, then added, andquot;I wear my helmet for safety - but that doesn't mean I like it!andquot;

Originally from the Bay Area, Tyler Miller moved to Brookings when he was 2. He has been on a board for only two years, but, according to the others, is the best all-round skater of the three.

andquot;I'm too busy skating for a girlfriend,andquot; Miller confessed. andquot;I want to be a mechanic, one that customizes cars.andquot;

Brookings native Chuck Simkovich is 14 and a freshman at BHHS. Though he has been skating for just six months, he launches as confidently as his buddies and catches just as much air.

andquot;Skating with these two really jumped up my abilities. They rip, and so I have to rip too or get left behind,andquot; he said.

Simkovich, who wants to be a cook someday, brought up the need for a soda machine, which was met with general approval. There is an easy camaraderie among the three young men, who share a lingo that includes andquot;nectarandquot; (which means sweet and smooth) and andquot;gnar gnarandquot; (short for gnarly, which is slang for awesome.)

The three friends approach skating with intensity but also care, watching out for each other and anyone else enjoying the skatepark. Shouts of encouragement ring out whenever someone pulls a perfect front-side 180, and Simkovich gets a roar of approval when he pops a clean olley - tapping the tail to get the board to leap off the ground - in mid-transition. He lands it, looking for all the world as though the maneuver were as simple as walking.

Gnar gnar, indeed.