On board: Silverton Skatepark supports low-cost hobby, creativity, community

September 2018 Posted in Business, Community, People, Sports

By Melissa Wagoner

Jason Franz took up skateboarding when he was only four years old in an attempt to make friends with the older kids on his block. Now – 39 years later – the 43-year-old still skateboards several times a week, sharing his love for the sport with those in the community of Silverton through his store – Fall Line Sports – and through the Silverton Skatepark, which he helped bring to fruition in 2013.

“It’s freedom of creativity,” he said of the hobby. “If you watch these kids ride and what they do – it can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be.”

Dakota Bacerra, 15, – a regular at the skatepark – agrees and added, “Skating’s like the thing where it doesn’t matter who you are – it doesn’t matter your background. If you shred and you’re having a good time it doesn’t matter.”

For Franz – who is also involved in a number of other sports including biking and surfing – one of the biggest benefits of skateboarding is the minimalistic lifestyle.

“You don’t need a team,” he explained. “You don’t even need a park. I can come out here and do this any day. There’s a freedom in skateboarding.”

Relatively low cost, the only really necessary purchase for the novice skateboarder is a board. To that end, Franz – who opened Fall Line Sports in 2003 – stocks a multitude, starting with beginner boards at around $60 all the way up to pro-style boards at upwards of $140.

“It’s the least expensive hobby,” skater Adam Phillips, 26, said, “less expensive than biking.”

A Certified Nursing Assistant, Phillips has been skating with Franz since he was 11 and suggests those interested in getting into the sport take a trip to the skatepark.

“Bring your stuff and talk to people,” he said.

A trip to the park is also a great way to appreciate the local talent – some of which Franz sponsors as a means of advertisement on social media.

“I’d rather have a voice at the park that’s a good kid,” Franz said. “Nobody can skate for me unless their grades are passing.”

“It’s kept the skaters and the bike guys on a good path,” added Grant Clum, 20.

For Grant, skateboarding is more than a hobby – it’s a way to spend time with his dad. Grant’s father, Scott Clum, 54, lives a life that is heavily influenced by their love of the sport and the people who do it and he has passed that on to his son.

“It’s the variety of the lifestyle,” Scott explained. “It’s part of my every day thing. It’s a big part of our family. You form really amazing friendships. All my friends are skaters.”

Skateboarding isn’t all tricks and flips however, it takes hard work and can take a toll on the body – bruises, chipped teeth and broken bones do occur – but Scott is quick to add that there are benefits too and risky stunts are not required.

“There’s different degrees of it,” he explained. “We know a lot of people who just skate to skate and don’t do any tricks. It really keeps you motivated and in good physical condition. Skating’s good for your body and your life and your mentality.”

Scott – the creative director for an ad agency and an ex pro-snowboarder – sees skateboarding as a form of art and a healthy, creative outlet for kids like his son – who graduated high school with honors.

“I think skating definitely gives you a path in life,” Scott said. “It helps a lot of people out of trouble.”

Grant agreed adding, “They need an outlet, otherwise they might be doing something mischievous. It’s kind of a way of self-expressing yourself. You have the freedom to be your own person – there’s not a lot of things you can do that with.”

Franz encourages those in the community – whether interested in taking up the sport or just in learning more about it – to come by his store and ask questions, or better yet, take a trip out to the skatepark.

“Go to the park and sit and hang out,” he suggested.

Scott agreed adding, “I always felt like the community felt like it was just for the kids here – that’s not even close. This skatepark is a destination.”

Fall Line Sports 302 Lewis St., Silverton www.falllinesports.wordpress.com

Silverton Skatepark West Main at Westfield, Silverton

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.