Nov 262018

We never know what we’re going to find when we set out for a day of exploring America’s back roads and small towns, but we always seem to discover something interesting along the way. On a visit to California’s Central Coast we were wandering along Morro Bay’s Embarcadero when we found the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum and stopped in to check it out.

I’ll admit, I don’t know much about skateboarding. My son had one when he was a kid and I think I tried to ride it once and fell and bruised my dignity. But I do know that for a lot of people it’s more than a hobby, it’s a serious sport and a way of life. At the Skateboard Museum we saw displays covering the complete history of skateboarding, from the early 1930s to present day. They have over 200 skateboards from all eras, with rotating exhibits from extensive private collections. It was interesting to see the evolution of the skateboard and to learn about some of the people who have been involved with skateboarding since the early days.

The first thing that caught our eye was the world’s second-largest skateboard, a 12 foot mega-board in the museum’s lobby. I wonder how many people could ride that thing at once!

I remember seeing these things when I was a kid. I don’t think I ever had one, but where I grew up there weren’t many sidewalks.

Wandering around the small museum’s displays, I couldn’t help think of my son Travis and how much fun he would have here among all of this nostalgia. Darn, I must be getting old when my kid has nostalgia!

Besides the historic skateboards on display, it’s not uncommon to see veteran skateboarders stopping in for a visit and to talk about the good old days with museum founder Jack Smith. The museum seems to draw them like a magnet.

This window was once located at the famous 1980s Heaven Ramp in San Jose, California. It became tradition that when pro skateboarders visited the ramp they would place stickers on the bedroom window of Ron Kaspar, who lived there. It is a virtual time capsule of 1980s skateboarding companies.

We spent part of an afternoon at the Skateboard Museum and learned a lot about their evolution from the early crude wooden sidewalk surfers to the professionally designed speed machines that they are today, capable of doing all kinds of stunts in the hands of skilled skaters. It was definitely worth our time, and if you’ve ever been a skateboarder, or have kids or grandkids who are, check it out next time you’re in Morro Bay.

The museum was established in 2012 by Jack and Kathy Smith, who have received skateboards and memorabilia on loan from collectors all over the world. The museum is an all volunteer effort. Jack mans the front desk about 95% of the time, while his wife Kathy and their children fill in when time is available. When we visited there was a volunteer on duty. No one receives compensation for working at the museum, it’s a labor of love. The museum is supported by monetary donations and the sale of apparel, skateboards, and other skateboard related items in the museum store. Jack also does consulting work in the skateboard and apparel industry to help make ends meet. A yearly online fundraiser also helps to fund the museum. Be sure to stop and visit the next time you’re on the Central Coast.

The Morro Bay skateboard Museum is located on the waterfront at 699 Embarcadero and is open Monday – Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday noon to 5 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit their website at

Congratulations Steve Varadi, winner of our drawing for an audio book of undone, the first book in my buddy Jason Deas’ new Burt Bigsley mystery series. We had 43 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – Every man has two options. You can stand up and be the man she wants you to be or sit down so she can see the man standing behind you!


Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  3 Responses to “Morro Bay Skateboard Museum”

  1. I remember my first skate board. It was a roller skate, taken apart and nailed to a piece of 2×4. By 1965 I had a store bought skateboard.

    I still have trouble with the concept of “professional” skateboarders… professional video game players and professional “box openers” on youtube too…

  2. Ahhhhh skateboarding. Yup …. we took apart our roller skates, screwed each set of wheels to opposite ends of a 2 x 4 and rolled down the 10 feet of sidewalk outside the ranch house. Got in trouble for taking it to school one day. 1956-57 I think.

  3. I made my first board in high school wood shop. Rough rider.

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