May 062012
 
Authors: Bailey Constas

Echoing from the sides of CSU’s Rockwell Halls at 11 p.m. you can hear skateboard wheels rolling across pavement and grinding against benches. There you’ll find a group of students turned skaters.

It’s not just a popular form of transportation –– it’s an overlooked culture for students.

Freshman Adam Concannon builds his own fixed gear bikes to fit his own specifications and style. He has been riding “fixie’s” for less than a year, but has skated his whole life and has enjoyed the Fort Collins skate scene.

“All the parks are awesome. Northside is awesome, Spring Canyon is cool. I’ve heard they’re building a new one. But all the kids are pretty rad and the scene is awesome,” he said.

In Thornton and Denver, where Concannon is from, he explained there are some traces of a skating community, but not as much as Fort Collins.

“In Denver they just want to show up everyone, but (in Fort Collins) these kids grow up together and develop their skills,” said Concannon. “They’re a family and they want see each other do well.”

Cody Oliver, a freshman skater also from Denver, agreed.

“In Fort Collins people are a lot tighter. Everybody knows everybody and everybody is friendly,” Oliver said. “In Denver there’s just way too many people. Here it’s a smaller scene, but the kids are more dedicated.”

Concannon has noticed a rivalry between bikers and skaters, but more of a tension between longboarders and scooters.

“In Arvada you’ll see 20 kids cruising through with $300 Razor carbon fiber scooters,” Concannon said. “The two attract different types of people and different attitudes. It also just depends on the person … bikers are more our allies in this war.”

Oliver put it differently.

“If a biker were to ever hit a skater, every skater in the park would just beat the s*** out of them,” he said.

This kind of bond is not just in Fort Collins, Oliver added. Skaters tend to stick with skaters and bikers need to be cautious.

“A skateboard is so much smaller and so less dangerous and a bike can do so much more damage, and they can go super fast,” Oliver said. “Bikers just need to be careful, just as long as they’re not irresponsible.”

Tensions aside, Concannon can’t get enough of the sport he loves.

“It’s a release from school and the everyday stresses,” he said. “It’s good to clear your mind and refocus.”

Concannon has ended up at the Northside Aztlan Community Center at night or taken a ride to Horsetooth Reservoir.

“It’s a good way to release, have fun and meet people,” said Concannon.

Oliver began skating in sixth grade and has continued ever since.

“It’s like my creative outlet, it’s how I release my creativity,” he said.

But it’s not always a good time. Concannon was fined $75 for riding down College Avenue two weeks ago.

“It’s crappy because skateboards are defined by law as toys in Colorado. So I was fined $75 for playing with a toy.”

Evan Humphreys, a freshman fish, wildlife and conservation biology major from Wisconsin, recently got into the skating and biking scene.

“I just wanted to get a fixie, so I bought one,” he said. “And then I moved to Colorado and I decided to get a skateboard or longboard, but most of the kids I hang out with here skateboard so I got one of those.”

He hasn’t had any run-ins with the law due to his boarding, but one of his friends from Wisconsin received a $125 fine for longboarding in the road.

“I think it’s about time lawmakers recognize skateboards and longboards as legitimate modes of transportation,” Humphreys said. “I want lawmakers to do to skateboarding the same thing that they’ve done to every other legitimate form of transportation –– make it legal.”

Concannon, however, doesn’t think that the laws need to be changed towards skating. Instead, officials should maintain cities’ concrete quality. He has had a few spills on campus due to cracks in the concrete and wears two scars from the incidents.

And he’s not alone. Oliver has broken his left wrist and pinky once, right wrist twice, as well as torn ligaments in his foot up to his shin. But it doesn’t bother him too much.

“It’s absolutely worth it to be injured,” he said. In a weird way when I’m injured I think, at least I’m out there doing something. It’s like battle scars.”

Collegian writer Bailey Constas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Northside Aztlan Community Center
112 East Willow St.
Free and open to public year round
Opened in 2008

Edora Skateboard Park
Located between the Edora Pool Ice Center (EPIC) and the ballparks and tennis courts at Edora Park
Free and open to public year round
17,500-square-foot concrete facility
Opened in 2001

Fossil Creek Skateboard Park
Located between the parking lots and playground near the front of Fossil Creek Community Park
15,000 square foot urban obstacle skateboard park
Opened in 2003

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