The city of San Francisco and skateboarding are inseparable ever since skateboarding gained popularity in 1970s California when kids used swimming pools as skate parks.
In the 1970s, the state experienced a severe drought and as a result, pools were emptied and kids, creative as they are, started to use them as playgrounds to skate.
Those kids didn’t have the sophisticated laminated boards of today but rusty wooden boards with 4 wheels, still it was thanks to them and the drought, that skateboarding history was born.
San Francisco can be described as a perfect city for adrenaline filled skaters who love nothing else than hill-bombing down one of San Francisco iconic steep hills. Seeing them without wearing a helmet , makes me nervous. The “skate or die” motto should just be that, a popular skate logo but not a motto to live or skate by. I rather they “skate with style or don’t skate at all” and style means wearing a helmet.
Hilltop Skatepark or “The Dish”, which is located in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, this was a legendary San Francisco skatepark built in 1979 and the city updated and renovated it back in 2016.
La Raza Skatepark, is San Francisco’s largest skate park at 16,000 square feet (1,486 square meters). It opened in 2008 at 25th and Utah Streets.
Under the Bridge Skatepark, it opened its doors in 2014 and experts say it is good for both beginners and more experienced skaters . As the name says, it is located under a bridge.
Balboa Skatepark, located near the Balboa Bart station, it offers an all-wooden skate area with different terrains for all skate levels.
SoMa West Skatepark and Dog Park, this is the most recent skatepark added to the SF Rec and Parks system in 2014. Its design pays homage to classic city places, including Justin Herman Plaza.
d and Army Skatepark, once known as the “Newspot”, is an old-school spot that is popular with local skaters for its open space and chill vibe. It is situated behind the bus depot at 3rd and what is now Cesar Chavez Street.
A new skate of mind
My time to skate was in the 90’s, and I was doing this in Spain where skate was also popular. My brother was a skater who one day while experiencing teen angst, threw all his boards to a river including mine.
That aside, as I Iook at skate videos of the 90’s in San Francisco with 90’s kids wearing their skateboarding outfits of loose t-shirts, baggy trousers and Vans, all I can think is how similar 2021 kids look to skate 90’s kids and how avant-garde we were, or at least tried to be, cause 90’s skate kids fashion and take on life, had nothing to do with that of kids from previous generations.
Also, regardless of where we were in the world, skateboarding culture created a sense of community, a sense of belonging, a shared philosophy and a positive outlook on life because as the famous logo says Skate Boarding Is Not A Crime.
Skating is more than a sport, it is a lifestyle, a philosophy, an art form.Skaters have their own rules, their own take on life and even, their own fashion. A fashion that has gone mainstream just like anything that once was niche.