Despite the popularity of skateboarding, San Francisco only has two skateparks; but skaters are coming together and working with the city to facilitate more skateparks.
Whether it’s used as means for transportation or it’s something that people do with a passion, skateboarding is often seen around the streets of San Francisco and regardless of the kind of skater you ask, they can all come to agree that skateboarding started in the streets. Being able to bomb huge hills or grinding rails, San Francisco was practically built for skateboarding. Owner of FTC Skate Shop, Kent Uyehara even said, “San Francisco had been once deemed the skate Mecca of the world.”
Now, San Francisco Skateboarding Law prohibits skateboarding on any city street at any time, on any sidewalk in any business district at any time, and on any non-business district sidewalk commencing 30 minutes after sunset and ending 30 minutes before sunrise. (Traffic Code, Section 100) There have been many situations where skaters have been cited by the police and forced to leave their skating spots, regardless of their age. But this has not stopped the number of skateboarders in San Francisco. The problem now is finding a place where to skate.
Though some might label skateboarding a dangerous sport, statistics from the Consumer Protection Safety Council displayed that skateboarding has fewer injuries compared to other sports like basketball and baseball. The injuries that were reported were incidents outside of skateparks. If San Francisco would provide more skateparks for young skaters, the chances of them getting hurt are less than if they were skateboarding on the streets.
The current issue is facilitating the skaters with proper skateparks they can use instead of heading for the streets and getting in trouble by the law. For once being labeled as the skate Mecca of the world, San Francisco only has two skateparks, both which are located in the outskirts of the city. This reason is why Bryan Hornbeck started the San Francisco Skateboarding Association in 2006, which is currently working with the city to built more skateparks. In June, the association is receiving 1 million dollars allocated to the Central Freeway Skatepark Project, which is a project Hornbeck says the association has been working on for three years.
Along with Hornbeck, Uyehara is looking forward to the expansion of skateparks in the city and though laws might try to regulate street skating, Uyehara believes skateboarding is only growing.
“San Francisco also is a home to a lot of skate industry,” said Uyehara. “Thrasher Magazine is based here, Slap Magazine, you know a whole bunch of skateboard companies, so skateboarding will never die in San Francisco. Street skating was born in San Francisco for the whole world. And so it’s part of the permanent culture here.”
“I remember when I was younger, my friends and I would drive late at night to different skateparks around LA, and we’d just hang out; they would skate as I took pictures. Those were some of the best adventures I had with my friends and I kinda did this project thinking of them and those good times we had.” -Sugriel Reyes