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This story was one in a series titled “Not Another Teen Series” that won the 2002 Dallas Press Club’s “Katy” Award for Best Series. The series also won second place for the 2002 Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Award for Best Series.

NOTHING BUT AIR
SKATEBOARDIN

Times Record News
Category: Local News
Published: 06/25/2002
Page: A1
Cutline: Shane McQuigg, 14, makes a jump down a set of stairs in front of a bank in downtown.
James Huber, 17, Justin Wilson, 18, Shane McQuigg, 14, Jason Ford, 16, and Brandon Thomason, 14, are always looking for a place in Bowie to skateboard. The group hopes the city is successful in obtaining funding for a skate park.
Justin Wilson, 18, catches some air as he flies down steps in downtown Bowie.
Nothing but air
Skateboarding riding wave of resurgance
Byline: Daniel Bartel, Times Record News


As a popular pastime, skateboarding has been around since the 1960s.

But like the rippling tide of ocean that inspired it, popularity for the sport seems to go in waves.

"It has peaks and swells, but as a sport, skateboarding has become more popular," Bob Thompson, director of the downtown youth center Straight Street, said.

Thompson said he first noticed local interest last September when he ran across a crush of about 35 skateboarders practicing off concrete steps and railing in downtown Wichita Falls.

He said he approached the skaters and offered to build a skate ramp on the lot of Straight Street for them to practice without harm from police and complaining residents.

Big businesses are trying to capitalize on the swell in skateboarding interest. A new movie from Sony Picture Classics called "Dogtown and Z-Boys" released in May chronicles the birth of skateboarding in Southern California during the 1970s.

Nike is beginning to market a new "skate" sneaker modeled after the success of the company Vans, which produces skating and street wear.

Even the car company BMW is getting into the act, having released its own version of a skateboard called a "Streetcarver." However, the $500 price tag for the board should be enough to keep them out of the hand of average users.

Interest in the skateboarding has picked up in the last few years, due in large part to the formation of skate parks in large cities.

Two well-known skate parks in cities closer to Dallas-Fort Worth are One Goal located in Denton and Isenburg in Plano.  The facilities are outfitted for skateboarders and in-line skaters.

A little closer to home, Bowie and Burkburnett are working on obtaining state grants to build their own skate parks.

Shane McQuigg, a 14-year-old Bowie resident, and his group of four, take regular trips to these parks. Mostly, they hang out around the concrete and railing of downtown Bowie.

Shane readies himself on his skateboard, leaps off a flight of steps, turns 180 degrees and lands smoothly on the ground below. It looks effortless, until some friends try to follow it up with some painful results.

"Everybody falls at some point," he said. "The pros do it all the time, they just edit the falls out of the videos."
In Wichita Falls, falling off wasn't enough to detract Marteen Arevalo, 18, who recently attempted building his own skate ramp by Lake Wichita near the North Texas State Hospital.

He got into skateboards four years ago when he saw a neighbor do a stunt off a street curb. 

"After I saw that, I wanted to do it and when I started, I couldn't get enough of it," he said. "The better you get, the more you want to do."

Arevalo said he's noticed a resurgence in the sport since he's been involved. More people have joined his group to skate as they've have become interested.