In the 1950s skateboarding was born out on the West Coast of California. In the years since, the sport has undergone many spikes and falls in terms of popularity. Skateboarding and its sister sport, longboarding, are both on the rise and this is especially prevalent in Boston as many new shops and parks have begun to open in recent years.
2015 will be marked as a year of big change in Boston for skateboarders. The first public skate parked, the Lynch Family Skatepark, is currently under construction near the Zakim Bridge and POP Allston, a free indoor skate park just recently opened in Allston.
“They’ve put in multiple skate parks around the city over the last ten years,” said Erick Pickard, an employee at the popular Orchard Skate Shop on Newbury St. “It’s getting a lot better. It’s more of a destination these days than it has been in the past.”
While cities like San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Miami are more well-known in their skateability, Boston has never really been associated as a skating city. This has begun to change in recent years as there has been a big effort by Boston’s skating community to improve the situation. Shops and parks have begun to open and the city has seen a rise in skaters.
“Boston is definitely not on the same level as skateboarding as compared to the West Coast, mostly because of the weather since you can’t skate for five or six months due to the cold,” said Ollie Rodgers, a junior in BU’s COM.
Skaters have fought the cold, though, and have begun to travel to Boston, mostly to skate around the streets.
Rodgers, originally from London and Hong Kong, is one who sees the potential in the city’s skating.
“I actually love skating in Boston mostly because there’s a lot of bike lanes,” he described. Boston skating’s just a lot of manualing really fast down bike lanes, going fast next to cars. You do find some street spots once in a while.”
Many people have started to flock, yet their ages range drastically. It is not a particular group that is skating but rather a whole mix of people.
“We get people of all walks of life. Old, young,” Pickard, of Orchard, said. “We have kids from like six years old to dudes pushing sixty because we have a full skateable bowl in the shop.”
Orchard Skate Shop, which recently opened a new location in the North End, also runs the community skate park in POP Allston. The space, which opened in September, features a bike shop, a market, and a yoga studio. It is most known for its multi-level indoor skate park, which is free for anyone to use.
This is especially nice for skaters in the city, as it offers an environment for similar to gather and socialize. It allows for a free, safe place for people to skate and will be especially beneficial once the cold, Boston winter arrives.
“Especially when you’re skating with a crowd of other Boston skaters all your age or some you barely even know,” Rodgers said. “When they land a trick, you just build off of that and it makes you want to try something new or try something more crazy.”
Boston, not originally known as a skate-friendly city, has seen a large spike in the past few years. With the creation of spaces like POP Allston and the Lynch Family Skate Park, it seems like Boston will continue to rise in skating popularity.
[I plan on interviewing someone who is involved with the Lynch Family Skate Park. I plan on contacting S.J. Port, the Charles River Conservancy spokeswoman soon.]