On board, or on deck, with proposed skate museum

News of the Carlsbad Village Association’s plans to build a skateboard museum and park of sorts in the midst of the village brought a tear to my eye. Well, almost.  I’ll spare you the minor details, instead taking this opportunity to publicly support the smartest and most ambitious youth-focused project we’ve seen in North County lately.
While sympathetic to the naysayer who is routinely pestered by packs of roving boardwalk skaters, I will always lend more sympathy to the latter. There I go again, rooting for the underdog. 
I have good reason why, though. Skateboarding is an art, a way of seeing the world in different shades and possibilities. Streetscapes become a concrete canvas, a playground encompassing the entire city.
Having practically grown up in various skate parks, I can personally attest to the positive influence these places have on our youth. For starters, friends are easy to come by at skate parks. Everyone has at least one thing in common, be it an undying love of skateboarding, an affinity for the smell of dusty plywood, or perhaps a fondness for those long, nasally “yeahs” coupled with stunted coping smacks.
Second, for those concerned with law and order, the self-governed skate park society dictates acceptable behavior. Unwritten rules are understood and respected. Have an ego, but don’t be a jerk. Be experimental, but pick a line. Be nice to the little kids. If you’re too livid to skate, go home. Very important rules of that nature.
Skateboarders typically will not destroy their home park, or fight each other very often, or steal property. Yes, the foul language at a skate park could compete with the most savage Naval fleet, but that comes with the territory. You try taking a piece of metal or wood to the shin!
Rarely do you see kids pushing their peers harder than at skate parks. There are few feelings ranked higher than stomping a complicated trick in front of your toughest crowd, or watching your buddy work so hard to do the same. I believe these motivational drivers translate easily at school and in the labor force, although it’s tough to replicate that sensation.
Then there are the moments when the insanely rad older dude shows up, someone’s big brother who breezes in for just a minute, practically igniting the coping with truck sparks. You can’t help but stand in awe of the beauty of it all, as you “take a break” as a silent show of respect. You want to be at his level, shredding hard and fast.
This could be a dream come true for city council. What if a sizeable population of Carlsbad skateboarders took to the idea of a village skate park, thus dwindling the number of four-wheel sidewalk nuisances?
And a project of this magnitude would only increase the city’s stock value. By how much has yet to be determined. Project organizers claim many out-of-town parents will drop the kids off at the skate park then shop downtown, and they’re right. Pre-driving days are a serious challenge for teens, and as painful as it is at times, relying on your folks to drive you to a skate park is an only option. Heck, skateboarding could even save the local economy in a roundabout way. See, skateboarders and civilians can coexist at last!
Questions remain: Would this amount to a baby sitter service? How would the park be staffed? Will there be an entrance fee? What happens when a kid is seriously injured? Considering the project is in its infant stage, I would imagine these questions will be answered soon enough.
The vast majority of skateboarders out there are good kids at heart who are excessively adept at channeling their physical and creative energies into something positive. It’s time we tear down the “skateboarding is a crime” wall. Give it a chance.
To stay current and get involved with this grassroots campaign, visit   http://cvskatemuseum.blogspot.com/.


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  1. Property Owner says:

    You make some great points about the character of skateboards but breeze over the massive property damage and general lack of respect skateboards subject citizens to in the village.

    I am all over a park and museum, I do not however want you to sit here and romantize skaters in prose that would make and English teach raise an eyebrow.

    Skaters have been a thorn in the site of city and property owners for years, destroying curbs, steps and railing. Taking quick tour through the village, you’ll find many places have been forced to install “bumps” or “obstacles” to prevent skaters from “grinding” on the edges of city and private property. The respect the skating community has shown itself had been equally blessed upon the tax payer who has to pick up the tab on these damages.

    Of course there are those who would argue that a skate park will only detour these incredible artful athletes from continuing to damage property but in cities where parks have been installed, damage has not been proven to be reduced.

    Before the city embraces a skate park for this community, I would like to see the skaters, take on their own community and self police these issues. I’d like to see them actively participate in volunteer efforts to repair the damage fellow skaters have inflicted on the streets, curbs and railings.

    Well were on the subject of changes in attitudes, it would be nice if skaters could also observe a basic rule of thumb: You are mortal. Skating in the street, weaving in and out of traffic, with black clothing, is a recipe for disaster.

    I am actually a fan of the sport, so please forgive the rant, I simply want to call a spade a spade. Why should the community support this group when this group has at best avoided community support and involvement and at worst has damaged the physical structure of our incredible city.

  2. Jon Wantz says:

    The greatest part of this project is that it’s not just a skatepark! It will house an area for painters and sculptures, a computer area for graphic arts and video editing, an art center that will showcase local artists’ work, and a Museum. On top of all that the venue will have space for musical performances and movie/film showings.

    The Center will definitely have a skateboarding focus and tap into the rich history of Carlsbad skating, but it will also help us grow the minds of our youth through expressive behavior they may not be able to experience anywhere else.

    Community involvement is key!

    Follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/carlsbadskate

    or Facebook at http://bit.ly/SkateFacebook

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