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MADE FOR SKATE

Get Bloody Soon enough, sidewalk surfing had not only picked up millions of followers, but also a questionable reputation as a very dangerous past time. This is hardly a surprise – harsh wipeouts have always been a major part of surfing and many risks abound when you’re stepping to big ocean waves. But ultimately, surfers land in the water when they wipe out. And with skateboarding, well, eating it is a whole different story on concrete. Things were getting bloody It’s hard to imagine today how anyone would think it a good idea to step to the hot concrete without any shoes on. Did the constant abrasion help develop some kind of extra-thick skin, some protective membrane? Probably not, as many a pair of feet on old photos appears downright mangled. Just look at Chris Yandell’s banged up feet up there. Hurts just to look, doesn’t it? Too Much Attitude? With all the gory pictures and horror stories, the public at large began casting a doubtful eye on what skaters were doing pretty early on. Health concerns across the U.S. were picking up quicker than board sales. In 1965, the Califor- nia Medical Association reported that skateboards had surpassed bicycles as the major source of childhood inju- ries. Around the same time, orthopedists coined the term “skateboard fracture” for shattered elbows. Not to mention reports of skateboarders colliding with pedestrians or skat- ers getting hit by cars. It was only a matter of time until The Man stepped in. By August 1965, skateboarding was banned from the streets and sidewalks of twenty U.S. cities from Rhode Island to California. Medical associations issued warnings about the new “dangerous fad,” while police officers would even urge stores to stop selling skateboards to their customers. But the growing public dislike of skateboarding was hardly due to safety concerns only. Yes, the bloody feet and ac- cidents were an eyesore to the public. But what hurt the establishment even more was the fact that skateboard- ers would just go out and skate on whatever they saw fit. Anywhere they wanted. At any given time. This remains the biggest reason for anti-skate legislature to this day. In the eyes of skateboarders, even the most useless architecture can hold an enormous potential for getting your kicks. No memberships, regular hours or entrance fees needed to have X-amounts of fun. And that kind of thinking – it just needs to be stopped, right?Cracking down on skaters has never been easy. Out in the street, skaters not only knew what was good for skating, but soon figured out how security was enforced and how it could be bypassed. One 1960’s hot spot awaited skaters right at LA Internation- al Airport; a banked area called “the Trestle” after a famous surfing spot outside camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base on Oahu. Riding the concrete tube at LAX usually implied being chased by police officers, but the morning and late night hours provided hope of some undisturbed sessions. It was exactly this free-wheeling appropriation of the public domain into skateable terrain that worried the average man. 26

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