Twenty years ago, you weren’t likely to find many parents looking to encourage their kid’s penchant for skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX riding, or other sports that invite the word “extreme” to help describe them – and back then, it wasn’t hard to see why.
In years past, skateboarders were relegated to the fringes of urban athletics, compelled to skate wherever they could, and often in places where they weren’t wanted.
But over time, skateboarding, riding an enormous wave of popularity, has slowly managed to work its way further and further into mainstream acceptance. Today, professional skateboarders and snowboarders are considered top-grade competitive athletes, and kids all over the world have people like Shaun White, or Tony Hawk to look up to.
And it’s amid the rumble and clatter of skateboards at Action Sports and Skatepark that the newest generation of street surfers are learning to tap into their full potential as athletes while getting the most out of the exciting sports they love.
While it may not be uncommon to see either a skate shop or a skate park on their own in California, Action Sports had the audacity to put both of them together.
In the front of their store, Action Sports carries a wide variety of skateboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding gear, including skate shoes, decks, snowboards, clothing, coats, and countless accessories. But behind the store’s retail section lies a 6,500 square-foot, fully-functional indoor skate park. The park’s blueprints came from Wormhoudt Incorporated, an internationally renowned skate park design company.
Ryan Johnson is Action’s Sports’ general manager. He said that since the store opened in December of last year, the goal has been to accommodate and challenge experienced skaters, while at the same time offering instruction to riders of all skill levels.
Johnson said that the store is able to create an environment where younger students can learn the basics from veteran skaters in a safe, controlled, supportive and supervised environment.
“We can bring brand new kids into the sport, we can carry the kids through the sport and we can offer them everything that they need that goes along with the sport. Having the skate park physically attached to us, that’s what really sets us apart.”
The store’s all-in-one approach also allows skaters to save time should they need any piece of equipment, or break a board in the middle of a session in the skate park.
“If they do break their skateboard out here,” Johnson said, “they don’t have their parent pick them up, taking them to another skate shop and drive back to the skate park. We have just about every skater’s needs here.”
Johnson also wants to show parents that may still have reservations about the sport that skateboarding can be a safe, fun and vigorous activity for kids to get into.
“If you’re a parent that thinks that skateboarding is unsafe, or that it’s tied to drugs and gangs and all of that, come and check us out, because we’re absolutely the opposite of that. We want a fun place where kids can just skate and enjoy themselves and get involved in a sport that has so much more to it.”
JoAnn Miller was reading a magazine and watching her grandson, J.T. work his way back and forth across the skate park. J.T. became one of Action Sports’ sponsored team riders after showing what he could do on a skateboard during a recent competition held at the store. Miller said she remembers when skateboarding culture used to carry a stigma of hooliganism, but doesn’t see it that way now.
“Now it’s become more like a sport, and my grandson’s goal right now is to be a professional skateboarder. This is his niche, he really likes it.”
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