Located 80 kilometers to the east of Australia’s most central town with a largely Indigenous population of around 500, Santa Teresa is now set to get its first skate ramp.
The project was initiated by Hayes, an Alice native and the only accredited skateboard instructor in the Northern Territory.
Skateboarding since childhood, Hayes initially learned the sport from his cousin before becoming good enough to teach himself to progress, with the act of skating itself inspiring him to want to teach others.
“Teaching kids tricks, I look back on when I was learning how to skate my cousin taught me a couple of sticks, and I had to learn a few of them myself to learn how to skate – skateboarding inspired me to teach,” Hayes told SBS.
Unfortunately the lack of a skate park meant he and his friends would often get into trouble with the police.
“A bunch of us skated around town and got hassled by cops because there was no skate park back then when I was a grommet so we had to get signatures to get a petition going,” the skateboarder said.
Not content with constantly getting in trouble with the police, Hayes decided to start a petition to get a park built in the Alice.
“We had to get signatures to get a petition going and we had to talk to YMCA to get some steel ramps at first, but we eventually got the ramps – then we started a small committee.”
The committee then pushed for a skate park which was built around the turn of the century, with its construction inspiring Hayes to push for one in Santa Teresa.
“Eventually we got the skate park a few years later… that generated the idea for the ramp we have now out here at the Santa Teresa community,” he continued.
“It was an idea – I spoke to my mate a few years back and mentioned something to my mate … he bike rides… uses ramps as well … and I just came up with an idea just through chatting away.”
With ramp set to officially open next Friday, Hayes is happy to be in a position to provide indigenous kids with an opportunity to do something unique.
"I want to start doing it for indigenous kids, boys and girls – gives them an opportunity to do something different... it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life… or as long as I can!"