|Shockwaves skateboard store supports student skaters|
|Written by Kristen Bahler, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Monday, 09 February 2009 18:00|
While the origins of many sports, both contemporary and traditional, have (literally) prevailed through ancient history, skateboarding is relatively new.
Though irrefutable in its impact on our generation, those alive in the early 90's will remember skateboarding creating an exclusive and appealing niche for the youth of America. In 1992, Shockwaves Skateboards (Uptown Normal's only skate shop), opened its doors.
Run by Becky Williams (whose son suggested opening a skate shop after seeing its popularity among his friends at school), Shockwaves caters to both skateboard enthusiasts as well as those who are merely interested. Despite the store's modest beginnings, Shockwaves' goods pertain to the high standards and top quality demanded by those who work there.
"Everything we carry is a thing that we would ride. We wouldn't carry things we wouldn't use ourselves," Shockwaves employee, Matt Bauer, said.
With wall-to-wall skating gear and apparel, it is easy to see why Shockwaves is still a staple of Uptown Normal.
"We carry clothes and shoes on a limited basis," Bauer said. "Our primary sales are hard goods...plates for boards, wheels, etc." Bauer added the more popular brands of skateboards the store carries are Baker Skateboards, Plan B, Anti-Hero, Girl and Chocolate.
A dedicated skater can prove how costly a pastime skateboarding can be. Bauer said the average board sold at Shockwaves costs around $150, and that he himself goes through several thousand dollars each year on skateboarding trips and maintaining a good, working board.
Jake Ijams, Heartland Community College student and skateboarder, maintains the challenge and exclusivity of skateboarding is worth it if you're serious about the sport. "It's good exercise," he said. "It's really its own world."
Last summer, Shockwaves participated in the annual "Go Skateboarding Day" (started in 2004 by a small group of skateboarding companies to enhance the sport's appeal worldwide) for the first time.
A town of Normal and city of Bloomington sponsored event, skateboard aficionados skated down the Constitution Trail to Fairview Skatepark where contests and various other events were held.
"It's a national holiday," Bauer said. "We'll probably do something similar this year."
So where in Bloomington can one go to skate? The aforementioned Fairview Skatepark (on 949 N. Main St. in Normal) is one option, and O'Neil Park on 1515 W. Chestnut St. in Bloomington is another.
Bauer maintains that both skate parks are decent, though Ijams feels the community is lacking skateboard-wise and argues the best spots to skateboard are improvised, and Bloomington/Normal is not the place for skateboarding.
"It's pretty heavily restricted," Bauer said. "The few spots I know of always have security and police telling you to leave or they've built0 a fence around it."
Ijams added that Bloomington/Normal may be better suited for those who enjoy skateboarding at parks rather than unarranged areas around the city.
"The skate park here [Fairview] has improved considerably," Bauer said. "It used to be full of rotting wood and was really poorly designed, but now it's much better. The best parks are obviously in Chicago. The best one I've been to was an indoor warehouse called Krush Skate Park."
As for Shockwaves, Ijams said, "It's very much for someone who is a part of that world and very involved in that culture. I would see the guys who run it at the skate park, and then [if you went into the store] they would recognize you from skating. It's basically run by skaters for skaters."
Shockwaves Skateboards is located on 111 1/2 W. North Street in Uptown Normal (next to Mother Murphy's). Store hours are Monday-Friday: 10 am- 8 pm. Saturday: 10 am- 6 pm, and Sunday: 12 pm - 5 pm.