Words by Clare McGhee
Images by Ben Hermans & Samantha Robison
When Tiani Seeto moved to Nepal as a teenager, he struggled to fit in. That is until he was given a skateboard.
‘As far as struggling with physical or mental health, I’m yet to find a more effective method than throwing myself at cement," he said.
Since then, the 24-year-old has used his love of skateboarding to help others and is now the Australian ambassador for the UK based non-profit organisation Skate Nepal. Skate Nepal works to build skate parks throughout the country to promote the sport and its benefits to the local community.
Liaising with international brands to source donations for boards, shoes, events, competitions, and most importantly, to build parks, where the people can hone their skills. Skate Nepal is providing Nepali people with a sense of community and a healthy outlet. As the Australian ambassador, Tiani is passionate about equipping the community with what they need to get into the art form and said skate culture in Nepal is changing lives.
‘I’ve had friends leave gangs, beat drug addictions and turn their lives around completely… In a country and society that isn’t really looking out for them, they are looking out for their own, so I’m stoked we can help provide a platform for them to do so.’
The rush of forming an idea and manifesting it using, technique, attention to detail, self-discipline and perseverance provides people with crucial skills for navigating life. The non-profit organisation with the assistance of Make Life Skate Life, another community collective, has successfully fundraised and built Nepal’s first sustainable, world-class skate park in Kathmandu in 2016, following this, Skate Nepal went on to build the Annapurna skate park in 2017. Unfortunately, due to complications with the landlord and the current pandemic, the Kathmandu skate park was lost,
‘It’s been a bit of a kick in the teeth, however now we’re focussing on keeping the locals engaged by developing programs and other top-secret projects in the works,’
The team is also building halfpipes and other skate-able assets in Butwal and the Pokhara skatepark is getting a revamp soon. Skate Nepal is growing to an international organisation, with offices in the UK, France and Australia, with the hopes that eventually the Nepali skateboarding community will reach a point where it is self-sustainable so that there is no need for the organisation.
Organising Skate Nepal Australia’s first stand-alone project, a benefit gig at the Zoo in Fortitude Valley Brisbane on the 30th of July, Tiani has curated 10 South East Queensland artists to paint decks for auction and bands will be playing all night to raise awareness and fundraise for Skate Nepal.