There is a small community of individuals that dare to see the world differently. They see the extreme possibilities where others may see mundane architecture. I’m talking about skateboarders. Lots of people skate and more are starting everyday, and there aren’t a lot of places to go out side of the skate parks. That’s the roots of skating the streets. Seattle is unique in a way because we have lots of old roads and sidewalks that are rough and have cracks, making it hard to skate around. There are limited places to skate around here.
Take the example of California. In the city the whole place is smooth. The weather is great all the time, and lots of spots are central in downtown. So when the clouds clear and streets dry up around here there are swarms of skaters headed into the city to shred.
The Seattle skate scene is mostly DIY. Even the most famous skate parks in the Northwest are made by hand: Marginal Way in South Seattle, Burnside in Portland, Ore., the Coal Pad in Glacier, Wash. These are just some of many 100 percent skater made skateparks around. But even the well funded city parks are made and designed by skaters.
Seattle is also home to Grindline skateparks, a concrete and design company that has been been making parks for more than 25 years. Its owner and founder Mark “Red” Scott was one of the original members built the Burnside Project in 1990 and kickstarted the whole DIY movement. Later building countless skateparks throughout the US and Canada across the seas in Hawaii, Denmark, and Israel. It’s DIY everywhere .
There are many societal values in skateboarding. Not only is it the sickest way to rip down the street, but it is probably the best exercise ever. Every time you get on a board and you start to get warmed up you start to sweat and get your heart rate up. And at the end of a long day of doing skate stuff your legs just feel like complete Jello, or like you just sprinted a mile and half. We need more local places for kids, Sk8 rats, and that old slappy guy to put in hours of work and pain just to improve skill that’s really not going to help anybody in the long run. The only purpose of a skateboard is to have fun and have a great time (messing) around on a stupid piece of wood.
You can help make Seattle more skateable. As a community we can make our scene better little by little, spot by spot. So the next time you go skating Bondo a crack, wax a ledge, put some plywood down. We’ll DIY the job all the way.
I call on you to give someone the opportunity to have fun and progress their skills but simply not putting on the skate stoppers on the ledge in front of your house or on the curbs in the parking garage of your business. Because it will bring hours of fun to countless people.
David Cole, Bothell