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New Orleans skate culture hits campus

On April 5, 2013

  • Music industry sophomore Zachary Klos does a handstand on his skateboard during a skating session. Skateboarding has popularized as a sport and leisure activity in the city. SARA FELDMAN/PHOTO EDITOR
  • Envioronmental studies sophomore Mitchell Selby and political science junior Conor Hyatt take a break from boarding at Audubon Park. The two Loyola students are avid skateboarders. SARA FELDMAN/PHOTO EDITOR

From Lil Wayne to Loyola students, New Orleans is embracing the thriving skateboard culture.
"It's just me and the road and whoever I'm listening to on my iPod," Zachary Klos, music industry sophomore, said. "You can do it with friends, but it's just as much fun alone."
Although skateboarding is physical in some aspects, the culture thrives off the tranquil feel of gliding through the streets.
"It's all about progression and relaxation," political science junior Conor Hyatt said.
Biological sciences junior Monwell Frazier can't get enough of rolling down the street on four wheels.
"I really enjoy coasting down the street and feeling like I can glide wherever I want to go," Frazier said. Frazier much prefers longboarding to skateboarding.
"I switched from skateboarding to longboarding because skateboarding can be pretty impractical on New Orleans streets. Longboards have wider and softer wheels that glide over what skateboards don't, more flexible, and more for getting around," Frazier said.
According to the National Sports Goods Association, skateboarding grew from 5.8 million to 10.1 million participants between 1998 and 2007. Today over 10 million people skateboard in the United States. Individuals that participate in skateboarding are more common in urban cities and use facilities like skateboarding parks or rings to skateboard and areas around the city. Recently in New Orleans, rapper Lil Wayne opened up a skate park in his old neighborhood. However, Hyatt most enjoys boarding on Canal Street. Klos and Frazier have no specific favorite spot, so they skateboard in different locations around the city.
Besides shredding around town, skateboarding allows participants to do stunts or show off their favorite tricks.
"My favorite trick is a half-cab heel. You ride a fakie, pop a backside 180, flick a heelflip and catch it riding away regular," Hyatt said.
Klos and Frazier both enjoy the sport, stories and heart-felt memories that have developed while skateboarding.
"My favorite longboarding memory was during a family trip to the country part of Louisiana where my family's from and just gliding down the country hills and roads alone," Frazier said.
Klos has a more eccentric favorite skateboarding memory.
"My favorite skateboarding story is any time I am in a monkey suit and I see some skaters trying to land tricks that aren't acting very kindly to strangers, I challenge them to skate. I don't always win, but when I do, it is glorious," Klos said.
Behind the ollies, grinds and 360 spins skaters face problems. Hyatt thinks that the problems are being associated with a sport that can injur the person and being cautious of the places not to skate to avoid complaints, property damages and police. But these issues do not stop him from practicing a sport he loves.
"I love skateboarding because I love the feeling of landing that trick you've seen a million pros do, taking that trick to a railing or stair set, nailing it and filming it. I love sitting with all my friends, squad of skaters, watching someone else try a trick over and over until they nail it," Hyatt said.

Shamara King can be reached at

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