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Despite vandalism, positive energy shines at skateboarder’s memorial

Flowers cover a bench that’s dedicated to Ian “Poods” Barry. Graffiti blacking out Ian’s name was removed, and the community has reaffirmed its love for the late skateboarder.
Flowers cover a bench that’s dedicated to Ian “Poods” Barry. Graffiti blacking out Ian’s name was removed, and the community has reaffirmed its love for the late skateboarder.
( / Courtesy photo)

Vandalism temporarily blacked out a plaque in memory of skateboarder Ian “Poods” Barry. But his dad says Ian’s spirit of compassion is shining brighter than ever, thanks to community support following the incident.

Early on Sept. 21, someone spray-painted the plaque, which is on a bench at the Encinitas Skate Plaza, known to most as “Poods Park.”

In response, Ian’s parents, Alison and John Barry, asked the skateboarding community to stay positive in a post on the Encinitas Skate Plaza’s Facebook page.

“Senseless vandalism and destruction of property never makes any sense, and although this may be upsetting to many of you, let’s keep ‘Poods’ spirit of kindness and compassion alive,” the couple wrote. “We will clean it up and continue to enjoy the park and spread the great vibe that all of Ian’s true friends understand and cherish!”

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In a file photo, John and Alison Barry sit on a bench at the Encinitas Skate Plaza dedicated to their late son.
In a file photo, John and Alison Barry sit on a bench at the Encinitas Skate Plaza dedicated to their late son.
( / Jared Whitlock)

Ian, a beloved figure in the community, passed away September 2012 at age 22 after accidentally falling off a cliff that overlooks Stone Steps Beach. His compassion for others and love of skateboarding, motorcycles and playing guitar earned him many friends.

In an interview with the Encinitas Advocate, John Barry said those behind the vandalism were trying to spread negativity, “but it had the exact opposite effect. The community turned this into a positive.”

“That’s what Ian would have wanted,” he said.

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John added there’s been an outpouring of support this week, from messages to flowers laid on the bench.

People also showed support by donating to the Rollin’ From the Heart Foundation. To pay tribute to Ian, the couple launched the nonprofit to bring skateboarding to underserved youth. As a skateboarding instructor at the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, Ian loved introducing more people to skateboarding.

John also thanked local skateboarding advocate Thomas Barker for notifying the Sheriff’s Department and Encinitas Parks and Recreation Department staff, who scrubbed off the spray paint not long after.

Barker in a message said the incident upset local skateboarders, yet “the outpouring of support has been amazing.”

“I don’t believe it was a skateboarder who did this or someone that was in the local skate community,” Barker wrote. “I believe it was someone who was jealous seeing a bunch of people getting along, having fun, recreating and being a healthy community. They probably couldn’t take the amazingness of the park.”

John said he’s still moved that people call the plaza “Poods Park.”

“It’s a testament that he affected so many lives.”

To donate to Rollin’ From the Heart or volunteer, visit www.rollinfromtheheart.org.

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