Skateboarding Culture Catches Air
Ride it Sculpture Park and Chiips shop draw inspiration from Detroit skate scene.
Published: August 14, 2013
Today, wares at the store include skate shirts, wheels and trucks, stickers and skater kicks, including Vans and Cons, which come with built-in supports. Chiipss marks a year on the block this month, and business is good, with local skaters stopping by for supplies and the screen printing business churning out shirts and posters. He describes business at Chiipss as “solid,” even growing a bit lately, to where Miller is hiring a manager to come in and help with the store. And with skate culture clearly ramping up in this part of town, Miller and his crew are part of something bigger than themselves.
IT’S EARLY ON A Saturday afternoon at Ride it Sculpture Park, and a few skaters are already tooling around. It’s Nate Young of noise act Wolf Eyes here with Alex Moskos, a friend visiting from Montreal for a few months. They’re laughing about skating off a hangover.
Soon local skater dude Tony Tartamella drops by from the nearby art houses on Moran Street; he’s joined by two more visitors, Favian Audieri and Ryan DeLaval from the Bay Area.
They ride the park and soon some curious neighborhood kids drop by, peppering them with curious questions and testing the ramps with their bicycles, while motorbikes roar by on their way down into the expressway. Everybody seems happy, even when they biff on the way down. (Biff adjective \’bif\: To fall hard; wipe out.) These guys know how to take a fall.
Soon, another group of young teenagers shows up with one board between them, just learning the ropes. It’s an interesting mix, with thrill-seeking youths and globetrotting outsiders — precisely the kind of “meeting place” Cope had hoped it to be. And with the planned expansion in the fall – as well as the rumored arrival of a certain international skating celebrity – this scene aligned just off the axis of Joseph Campau might just cement its place as the hippest, rawest, most interesting skating destination in metro Detroit. Now there’s a trick we’d like to see pulled off.
Michael Jackman is managing editor of Metro Times and Emell Adolphus is a Detroit-area freelance writer. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos by Brett Mountain
Check out a slideshow of more skateboarding action here.