By Blaine Nebe

What could be said about skateboarding?

From something surfers in California started in the 1950s to a globally recognized sport of the Olympics’ in 2020, skateboarding has managed to only get more popular overtime. There’s no exception when it comes to skating in the 209.

After talking with skate shop owners and local skaters I’ve come to realize that skating in the 209 has been alive and well. Take the 209 as proof that skating reaches even the smallest of towns and can hold popularity enough that skate parks are still being built in the area.

If you’re a beginner, or if you’re a veteran, the one place outside the skate park you spend the most time are local skate shops. Skate shops are the destination for all things skaters need to get started.

I sat down with the owner of a local Stockton owned shop called Slip Skate Shop. The owner, Eric Torres, was nice enough to sit down and talk about skate culture and how it’s manifested itself here in the 209.

One advantage skateboarding has over most sports is that it’s not a team sport; all you need is a board and the commitment to practice.

A person would think that with skateboarding being one of the hardest activities to get even proficient at that its popularity wouldn’t be where it’s at today, however the extreme difficulty is the underlying charm of skating. One of the best feelings in the world is working hard for something and having all that work pay off in the end, and that is the embodiment of skating.

Working for weeks or months on end trying to land that new trick can be a very frustrating time, but as soon as you land it all that grueling work seems worth it. Not only is skateboarding one of the hardest sports to master, but it’s also one of the most bodily harming sports out there.

Broken bones, torn muscles, and really messed up shins are just some of the fun ways you can seriously injure yourself while skateboarding. To see a prime example of how skating in the 209 hasn’t dipped in popularity look no further than Slip Skate Shop. The shop opened Nov. 19, 1997 and nineteen years later is still going strong despite only selling skating related merchandise. That in itself is a testament to skating’s continued popularity here in the 209 area.

Like previously mentioned the only place a skater is at more than a skate shop is the skate parks.

Skate parks are the playgrounds for skaters were than can go to just practice what they love to do. Here in the 209 it took a long time before the emergence of skate parks started to happen.

Local parks such as the Stockton, Ripon, and Modesto skate parks have been tried and true places for skaters of the 209 to go to.

However in recent years the Lathrop skate park was built and became the defining skate park of the 209 area. With its variety of terrain from street to vert it encompasses the best parts of skating into one location. I went to the Lathrop skate park to talk to some of the regular skaters there to see why they skate.

One answered that skating is the only fun thing to do around here. Another answered by saying that it’s his way of escaping reality for a bit and just focusing on having a good time skating. And the last person said that it gets him out of the house and he has a passion for it.

Three different people with three different answers is a small example of how skateboarding means something different for everybody. Whether it be a fun hobby or a way of life, skateboarding is something that anyone can do as long as they’re willing to commit.