Skate culture at LHS declining


Christopher Schuring

Skateboarders outside Lincoln in 2016.

Skateboarding is a mysterious sport. It was created in California in the 1940s by surfers who wanted something to do when surfing conditions were not ideal.  

Some people find it fun to watch the intricate maneuvers skaters can do with their feet and boards. Others believe skateboarders destroy property. Although it is controversial, a study in 2010 by the New York Times sites that the skate industry is worth $5 billion a year.

The white and red ledge outside of the front doors of Lincoln has been used by skaters from all over the city. The school’s campus and skaters have gained attention after featuring in many skateboarding videos including Thrasher Magazine’s “Portland Public Skating” video on Youtube, poking fun at the abbreviation PPS, Portland Public Schools.

Thrasher Magazine is a highly regarded publication in the skateboarding industry.  The logo is all over hoodies, t-shirts, and hats around Lincoln. Vans is also a popular shoe company, making skateboarding-designed shoes.

In the skateboarding world there are three main types of skateboarding: freestyle, transition, and street. Freestyle is when the skateboarder uses the sides or bottom of the skateboard to do the tricks, while street skating is when you only touch the top, and you do it on a rail, stair, or anything along the street. Transition or “tranny” skating evolved from skating in empty swimming pools, and now has evolved into skating on 200 foot ramps.

Longboarding or “street surfing,” another branch of skateboarding, became popular in Hawaii. These skateboards are longer, hence the name “longboard” and generally have bigger, thicker wheels, and are used more for long-distance travel rather than tricks.

You can’t really do many tricks on a longboard, as they’re more made for cruising, but I’ve tried nonetheless,” says Kylie Newland, a sophomore.

The closest public skate park to Lincoln is Burnside Skatepark, which is a 10 minute drive depending on traffic, or a 35 minute walk. The next closest is Gabriel Skatepark, which is a 15 minute drive.

Lincoln used to have a large skate scene. “There isn’t much of a skate scene at Lincoln,” says Liem McKenzie, a sophomore, “at least not like their used to be.”

It is also not very diverse. “There aren’t many girl skaters that come around very often,” says McKenzie, “mostly boys.”

“Personally,” Newland said, “I keep to myself in the skating community. Only a few of my friends skate, and I don’t really know anyone else besides them. It does make me annoyed, and I have been subject to a few sexist remarks while boarding in the past. I’ve heard remarks like ‘Girls can’t skate’ and stuff like that, and that really bothers me.”

According to Stan Caples, one of Lincoln’s campus security guards, “Skateboarding is not tolerated during school hours. Anyone who does is trespassing,” Caples says. “During school is one thing but after 4:00, nobody is here to man the school grounds.” Although the outside campus is open to the public, there is no skateboarding on school grounds during school hours.

Above each entrance to Lincoln, there are signs that read “Skateboarding Unsafe and Prohibited”. Although the signs are there and the rules are technically implied all day, people still choose to skate there. Mckenzie says, “We are just trying to have fun.”