Skating rolls into prominence during the pandemic

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Alex Kelly

Sophomore and new skater Kai Louie Badua practices his ollie out on the Burlingame streets.

Alex Kelly, Staff Reporter

Burlingame teenagers have been looking for a way to get outside and exercise during the pandemic, and many have found skateboarding to be a form of relief. In a sport that was not dying, but certainly not growing, the pandemic has sparked a sudden resurgence in teen interest. Since the pandemic began, more and more people can be seen at skate parks, skating around the neighborhood or walking down Burlingame Avenue with their skateboard in hand. 

Sophomore Kai Louie-Badua is one of the many teens who became intrigued by skateboarding during the pandemic and it is now one of his favorite hobbies.

“It’s fun to go down hills and it just feels so good to be able to like land new tricks and new skills, and I guess that’s just been motivating me to get better on my skateboard,” Louie-Badua said. 

New skaters love being able to go outside and feel a sense of pride and happiness in what they are doing, and this is a huge motivating factor in skating’s recent growth in popularity. The freedom and joy that comes with landing a new trick or riding through the neighborhood is something that the pandemic has taken away from teens. Not only is skating an escape from the monotony of the pandemic, it also offers a chance for students to spend time with their friends while remaining socially distanced and masked.

The recent popularity of skating is not isolated to Burlingame. Ryen Motzek, owner of the Atlas Skateboard shop in downtown San Mateo, has had an uptick in business as a result of more people skateboarding during the pandemic. 

“There’s a lot of, you know, gyms and other activities are kind of shut down, and skateboarding provides this outlet that isn’t really available,” Motzek said.

Motzek emphasized the outdoor activity time that skateboarding provides as one of the key reasons he and many others picked it up and continued it into adulthood. With all this growth in skating, Motzek feels that there is a need for skate-friendly spaces in Burlingame and San Mateo.

“We’ve got all these amenities for organized sports, yet for skateboarding, there really aren’t sanctioned skate spaces,” Motzek said, while pointing to the numerous basketball courts and baseball fields in Burlingame.

Motzek mentioned that the new park by Facebook’s Oculus offices in Burlingame has been a hotspot for skaters in San Mateo and in the greater Bay Area. Skaters feel that with the support of spaces like these, skating will continue its trend of growth in the Bay Area.

“If you’re reading this, I recommend you go pick up a skateboard and try it out. You won’t be disappointed,” Louie-Badua said.