Shredding Skateboarding's Intimidating Image

Carrie Hodousek
September 30, 2019 - 7:12 am

An East Bay record store is now selling skateboards in an effort to welcome more beginners, including girls and LGBTQ people, to the sport.

"We're really trying to making it feel comfortable for everyone to come in and ask questions," said Nic Taylor, owner of Up the Creek Records in Walnut Creek.

Taylor said he was inspired by his 15-year-old daughter, Sky, who was interested in buying her own board, but was nervous about where to start.

"Most skate shops are filled with teenage boys that are really good at it," Sky said. "It's really intimidating to go in there as a girl who is just starting and doesn't know anything about skateboards."

A majority of the boards Taylor came across didn't seem to appeal to teenage girls.

"I wanted to buy her a board that had a girl skateboarder on it. Most of the boards on the wall had either drugs or alcohol references or the graphics were offensive," he said.

Up the Creek opened two years ago. The store offers vinyl records, books, bicycles, guitars, turntables and T-shirts.

They welcomed colorful skateboards, rainbow knee pads, helmets and other skate gear about two months ago. Taylor said the addition, which sits across from his record collection, just made sense.

"Music and skating is a perfect match," he said. "Every skateboard video you've ever watched has a song playing in the background. It's an important part of the expression of skateboarding."

Taylor hopes to soon offer beginner skateboarding sessions in Walnut Creek. His long term goal is to work with the city to build a new skate park down the road from his Tice Valley Plaza storefront.

"For me, skateboarding was never about doing the best tricks or being the gnarliest person out there. It was just about the joy and the fun," he said.

Up the Creek is the first independent skate shop to open in Walnut Creek in 20 years.