Travel & the Skateboard
Terren Gomez – Dick McQueen – Terren Gomez
At SMG we have been committed to seeing tourism destinations through new perspectives and this exhibit we view four destinations through the eyes of a skateboarder. Welcome to “Destination Skateboard”
Traveling to skateboard is as much a part of the culture as the tricks and camaraderie in the skate community. The best part about skateboarding is the ability of stepping out your front door and rolling down the streets. Even though you can stay within your area, the city avenues you cruise or the skate-park you frequent, there is always a town over or a destination that entices the skater’s curiosity. Photos in magazines and images in videos that showcase schools, parks, plazas, and streets dig-in to the skater’s desire to have their grasp lead their desire—make it a reality to put four-wheels down at a spot that took time and energy to reach.
The area that has become a focal point for the skateboarding aesthetic. Hills to bomb, all the paved streets and endless curb-cuts someone could want. From Ft. Miley, a skate-plaza-esque spot that once was an artillery location during World War II to guard against the possible attack from the Pacific Ocean, to the hills in the Sunset and Richmond district, to skating the middle of the streets and ollieing over sewer grates in the Financial District or SoMa, there is something for most every type of skater. For a skater to be fully immersed in the destination would be to catch an Airbnb in the city. From any point in the 7 by 11 mile coordinates that is the city of San Francisco, the public transportation can get you to any spot or area. Coined the “ski lift” by some locals, a skater can bomb a hill and catch a ride up to the top on the bus, which beats walking. Rivera street might be the best hill to bomb in the city as it starts at 24th avenue and is downhill 24 blocks to 48th where it meets the beach—on a clear day the views are not merely worth a thousand words but it would take a thousand words to describe. The MUNI and bus lines let skaters reach the closer attractions within the city and BART to the spots and parks that are a little further away. Skate-parks and even more street spots reach as far as San Jose to the south, Sonoma County to the north and Pittsburg to the east. To see every park in a sixty-mile radius might take a good couple weeks of hardnosed perseverance. The best thing to do is go to a skate-park, be chill, make some friends with the locals and they can introduce the local street spots. There’s still a functioning amity in the skateboard world that hasn’t been cut just yet. There may be a touch of abrasiveness if a skater fronts and demands information on skate spots but by using some genuine tact and treat other skaters respectively it does go a long way. Food in SF relies immensely on the Mission with taquerias like Taco Loco and El Farolito and pizza slices from Serrano’s that won’t knock the budget too bad. Music is always in abundance in ‘the city’, and an art show can be attended with ease. No dough, no problem; check the buildings on and around Sixth Street in the SoMa for top-shelf graffiti. Most SF businesses have murals and anchor their business aesthetic within an artsy and alternative look. San Francisco is like a living, breathing piece of art, so like many skaters being artists, the streets become the canvas.
Midtown and downtown Sac gives SD and SF a little run for its money. Although the size of Sac’s concentrated skate scene is a fraction of SD and SF it makes up for it in accessibility. The spots in Sac are rarely enforced with the same fervor as in SD and SF. The Hanger also known as 28th and B, or ‘the B’, is at the end of B St., where it meets the American River. Sacramento is the underdog of skate scenes; it doesn’t have the typical flair of SD or the historical precedence of SF, Sac quietly produces rippers of skate-parks and street and with its access to SF and the gateway to NorCal and Oregon skate-parks, as I-5 runs through Sac’s backyard, the day-trips and longer road-trips are a commonality to the local skaters. 28th and B has an evolving array of DIY street, like rails and ledges, along with wooden ramps that makes it the place to be during precipitation in the winter. During the summer though, the American River is a bootleg Riviera of coolers and water-toys where all the locals go to cool off. In between the session at ‘the B’ the American is a stones-throw—you can go dunk and cool down then hit the park. Its best to have a vehicle when in Sac, the other skate-parks like Power Inn—which is like a super-park with big transition options, a clam-shell, multiple bowls, and sections of street infused zones—and Mather Field are spread out like the majority of Sacramento. Stay in Midtown if you can, the restaurant and bar scene are filled with Sac State students, and the tree-lined streets emanate chill-vibes. A favorite spot to grind on foodstuffs is at Sawasdee Thai Cuisine where the service is otherworldly friendly and food is of a home-style flavor. The Golden Bear has a mellow scene and almost any bar in Midtown has a playful, lighthearted vibe.
Elias Sidney Blood
The city with an average of 72 degrees year round, a beautiful coastal destination that might pique the interest of surfers and beach goers yet is also a splendid city to skate. Although skating specifically downtown is now a bust there is plenty of street skating working your way east. With a good amount of skate-parks like Memorial and Ocean Beach within SD proper, the parks just a tad north like Poway and Rancho Bernardo along with Carlsbad and most of the towns that fill in the gaps between SD and Los Angeles are available to get the sessions started. It’s best to have a car when in San Diego. Many people who live or have lived in the 619 or 858 say “everywhere takes about fifteen minutes to get to” which is somewhat true, minus the traffic at appropriate times. The best choice in lodging would be to catch a cheaper motel in the off seasons or Airbnb. The grub also can be a heavy rotation of taquerias. There’s a “—berto’s” at almost any corner. Alberto’s, Adalberto’s, Roberto’s, Aliberto’s, Filberto’s, Filiberto’s, the quick, inexpensive, and delicious Mexican food is a staple of many a San Diegan’s diet. Although you can get respectable tacos at the aforementioned establishments, Pokez kills it on the vegan and vegetarian fare, and the graffiti in their bathrooms gives off the vibe that the skateboard lifestyle and cultural aesthetic that is common to writers and artists is thriving. If a skater skates transition, then chances are they know about Washington St. In the ethos of Burnside, which is a DIY park that has been a mainstay to the skating scene in Portland, Washington Street also inhabits under a freeway overpass and has all the challenging concrete and a vibe that will eat up any novice skater. Territorial are the locals at Washington St., but they have all the rights to; most of the locals helped build the park and keep up on maintenance. It’s always best to bring a peace offering, a twelver of brews or some meat to throw on the impromptu grill sessions. If you’re still enticed but have butterflies over the intimidation factor you can show up in the morning when the gate gets unlocked—forget the people, the imperfect transitions and gnarly lines will eat you up. Post Washington St. session you can check Lucha Libre right up the street, a Mexican wrestling themed taqueria that is low-key marvelous with its array of flavors in its salsa bar. Or check Bronx Pizza further up the hill on Washington St. that only serves one size pizza but does have slices. You’ll probably want to just get a whole pie, save the leftovers for the late night skate session or for some early morning energy before a long day of pushing. The harbor, where you can check the big cruise ships docked ready-to-leave or just arrived, or the boardwalk in Pacific Beach, are crucial spots for any flat-ground session of S.K.A.T.E. The extra-curricular activity of beautiful people passing is like a sideshow between tricks guaranteed to be interesting scenery if nothing else.
Commonly known for casinos, and well casinos, but is an up and coming skating scene. There has been a strong presence of skateboarders for a long time in the area but Reno it doesn’t get much praise by the skateboarding community. Classic skate-shop does it right to secure the core-driven skateboarders access to the choicest decks and other hard-goods. There are a handful of skate-parks in Reno but the street-skating is better than most would think. The spots are situated mostly in downtown and midtown but there is a plethora of ledges, ditches, manual pads, and quirky transition to get down on—they’re like concealed treasures. Reno is definitely a place where you’d want to make friends with a local and they can be your own personal ambassador to street spots. Sparks park, also known as Burges, has a solid mix of street and transition. The locals at Burges are easy to make friends with, again as long as you come with a positive attitude, know what you’re doing on your skateboard, basically don’t kook-out. Other activities to endeavor while in Reno is to peep Lake Tahoe, about an hour’s drive west. Lake Tahoe offers fly-fishing on the streams that feed in-and-out of the lavish lake, rock jumping into the pristine-blue waters, or simply taking-in the innate scenic elegance with some rest-n-relaxation. Staying in Reno centers in hotel rooms downtown, but with Whitney Peak’s alternative take on the standard resort makes it a must inquiry as a not-your-grandparent’s-Reno destination. Whitney Peak has all the best shows that come through Reno at its venue Cargo. Nightclubs and the finest dive-bars are located within the downtown scene too; the nightlife is not coming up short in Reno—it’s available if you desire with substantive class. Golden Flower, situated in the heart of downtown, offers moderate priced Vietnamese food with extraordinary taste. Their pho is good on a hot day but better on cold day. Nu Yalk Pizza in South Reno has the pizza slice game on lock, with their Banksy tapestries hanging off the ceiling and authentic New York subway maps with genuine graffiti to offset their modern building you’d think you were in NYC—the food speaks volumes in its ratio of value to satiety.
Elias Sidney Blood
Michael Ribaudo takes his skateboard with him wherever he goes. Whether it’s skating flat-ground in the Las Vegas Airport while waiting for a flight, or finding late-night skate-spots in Columbus, Ohio, his skateboard is an extension of his person. He is currently working on his Master’s in English, emphasis in Public Engagement, at the University of Nevada, Reno. His narratives on the urban-environment reflect an immersionist perspective. He imparts an unusual but appealing voice to people and places that are unconventional.