Tuesday, February 26, 2008

5 Questions With an Obsessed Skateboarder


Louie Baur runs a website listing over 3,500 skateparks around the world called skateboardpark.com. Himself a skater since around 1980, this Desert Storm veteran even built ramps on his tour of duty. Louie graciously agreed to put the board down for a moment and be the subject of my latest 5 questions:

1. You began skateboarding at a time before the X Games, Tony Hawk's dominance, and Fuel TV – how was the sport viewed during that time? Was everything "Dogtown and Z-Boys"?

Yes, it was kind of like that. I wasn't much of a street skater and I liked skating pools and ramps. They tore down all the good parks in the late 80's like Upland, Del Mar, Big O and more. We got harassed a lot almost everywhere we went. Still, that hasn't changed much. When you go to a street spot you still get harassed by security and when you go to a skatepark a lot of them are constantly monitoring you for proper safety equipment.

2. You recently wrote a post about building a skate ramp in Turkey while you were in the Air Force – what was the biggest challenge trying to make that happen?

Actually, when I got stationed in Turkey I had just broken my foot and couldn't skate. I saw a beat up old ramp at the rec center on base and told the director that it was not functional and if he would be into letting us build something that was. Our biggest challenge was getting the right wood. Usually you use 1/2" plywood because it is plyable enough to bend it onto the ramp. They gave us 5/8" plywood and we had to cut each piece in half and soak it with water to get it to mold to the ramp. Not complaining though - we got it handled and that ramp was solid as a rock!

3. Tell me about skateboardpark.com – how did it start? How did you get the word out to get so many parks listed?

In 1999 I saw the need for some sort of map to the skateparks that started popping up all over California. I started networking with friends and getting them to take pictures and write reviews to the parks I couldn't get to. That concept still holds true today and people from all over the world submit skatepark reviews and photos so you can make it to the local skatepark when you are in the area.

4. Who are some professional skaters that you watch? Which events do you find the most exciting for skateboarding?

I have mad respect for the Vert Skaters - some of them would be Danny Way, Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist, Brian Patch, Chris Gentry, Rune Glifberg, Omar Hassan and many more. Those guys helped me get on the ramp to take pictures of many events that I didn't have proper credentials for. It does help to know people for sure. The events that I find most exciting for skateboarding would be the Vans Protec Pool Party in Orange, that one is raw and hardcore. The big air jump at the X Games is pretty insane as well.

5. Now that skateboarding has become more mainstream, where do you see the sport progressing to? Do you think we will ever see Olympic events in skating?

That's not too far fetched I would love to see skateboarding become and Olympic sport for sure! Snowboarding roared onto the Olympics scene a few seasons ago and that seems to be pretty popular I think skateboarding would yield the same results.

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