Skate Culture in the Bay Area

I’m Lana. I moved to the Bay Area in June of 2009. History, in general, has always fascinated me because I’ve lived in places where the history was so pronounced. In Cincinnati, Ohio I lived in a neighborhood that had once hosted the underground railroad. The houses my friends and I lived in had secret rooms and passage ways to constantly remind us of our history. In Oklahoma I went to The University of Oklahoma, home of the Sooners. It’s hard to look away from that history when the football team is named after it… In California the history seems more evasive. People seem to shy away from their past here for some reason. I like the idea of digging for the elusive treasures that are buried here. One thing that has always interested me about California is the skate culture. Just about everyone knows about the Z-boys and their claim to fame, but that happened in Southern California. I’m interested in what happened here in the Bay. I know that a rich skate culture is thriving in the Bay Area, but where did it come from? How did it start? Who were the first pioneers to bring it here? What does it bring to the area? How do people feel about the skate culture here in the Bay Area? Most importantly, how do the skaters feel about their lifestyle and what exactly defines “skate culture” in the Bay Area?

I’ve spoken to a couple of skateboarders on campus. The ones I’ve spoken to got their drive to skate or skill from South Cal. One young man said his girlfriend from San Diego convinced him to learn to skate. At this point he uses his skateboard primarily for transportation. A fellow student of mine said that he moved to Hayward from South Cal and brought skateboarding with him.

I intend to look into skateparks in the area to see who the major contributors were. I want to know who thinks it is important to keep this culture alive and well in this area.

This is a video I found on youtube. It was created in 2008 depicting a part of “campus life” at Cal State East Bay. According to the video, it was filmed at Tennyson Skate Park, which is in Hayward. One thing that I think is very interesting is the ethnic diversity. From the view of this film, there does not seem to be any racial or ethnic barriers. People from many backgrounds are sharing in the same activity without concern for where the other person’s ancestors might have come from.

(The header image was obtained from Street League Skateboarding.)

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