Skateboarding in Cambodia: how Tony Hawk, an Australian photographer and an NGO from Afghanistan sparked a thriving scene

Social programmes combining skateboarding with education are one of the reasons why the scene in Cambodia has grown so much over the last 10 years.

The clatter of skateboards echoes around an indoor park in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. A round of applause erupts as a skater masters a kickflip after several failed attempts. Elsewhere, bodies gleaming with sweat tackle the ramps and rails that fill the centre.

Some of the skaters are nurturing dreams of representing their country in this burgeoning sport one day. For others, it is an escape from the streets and a break from the shackles of poverty.

“Skateboarding didn’t really exist 10 years ago,” says one of the country’s first skaters, Peterson Khim.

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