Our story began in in the 80’s when I (Paul, CEO and Founder of Knox Extreme Sports) began skateboarding and racing BMX while growing up in Northwest Florida. At the time all I knew was I loved the sports, and I had a dad who helped foster what I loved by helping me build ramps in our yard, and in many yards in our community. We built kickers, quarter pipes and several half-pipes with vert, roll-ins, step-ups and more. I ended up shelving my board and bike for my love of baseball, but action sports always remained as something calling me.
Fast-forward roughly 20 years to 2002 and I had begun playing around with a skateboard, and getting serious with snowboarding and wakeboarding. Those things led to a vision of creating a non-profit organization focused on action sports. My dream was an organization helping to change the lives of kids in our community through engagement in action sports, specifically wake, snow, skateboarding and freestyle bmx. From there I dreamed of an indoor action sports park in one of the old grocery stores in West Knoxville. At the time I had no idea what this dream would turn into. but over the past 13 years there have been multiple starts and stops, evaluations of sites, discussions with other parks, professionals, real estate agents, business leaders, non-profit leaders and more. On many occasions I shelved the dream, not sure if it would ever come to be reality.
In 2014 I began spending more time skateboarding again with my son Alex. During the course of many trips to the Knoxville Skatepark that summer I began to notice both the best and worst things about KSP. What I noticed more than anything was the tension between the community of skaters but the barrenness of real community at the park. Action sports are communal, with their own unwritten code of conduct. It’s always been that way, and one of the beautiful things about the sports.
As Alex and I spent time and invested in the community at KSP I began to notice a great need, and a great opportunity. The need was in facilities as simple as bathrooms and water fountains, but also in new features to progress what was built and invested in back in 2007. The opportunity was to take the asset and not only progress it as an action sports destination, but also as a place for hope for kids in our community.
During our summer vacation we popped into Graffiti Skatezone in Melbourne, FL after we met a couple of skaters from there passing through Knoxville at KSP a few weeks before. What we found at Graffiti was a cool community of kids, enjoying the sport and integrated with the life that was happening. It was at Graffiti that the long time vision started to come more into focus for Knox Extreme Sports. Today, and for now, knxsports focus is building organized communities of hope in action sports in our community. We’ve already began the process and are pushing it forward this summer.
Paul F. Sponcia | Founder & CEO