Skateboarding in Sudbury is in the spotlight recently thanks to a new docu-series from a local skater and business owner.
Nico Taus, one of the founders of Studio 123 and a graphic designer, pieced together a three-part YouTube series on the skateboarding culture in Sudbury.
“Cracks in the Road” (Cracks) looks into how skateboarding developed over the decades in the Nickel City.
In the 1970s, skateboards were only just appearing in retail stores downtown, Taus told Sudbury.com. At the time, they were considered little more than a fad by most people.
“Back then ... skateboarding was really, well, it was getting popular, you know, in the big urban centres in Canada, and obviously, that's been popular in the states for a little while,” Taus said in a phone interview. “But it was totally underground in smaller communities like Sudbury.”
Skateboarding made a resurgence in the 1980s after its brief stint in the ‘70s. A retail store entirely dedicated to skateboarding eventually opened up in Sudbury in 1988 - it was the first of its kind at the time. It was called Skadurz Pro, and the owner, Connie St. Marseille, opened up multiple locations throughout the city over time.
A skater himself, he said he became curious how the local skateboarding scene blossomed in those early days and how it evolved into what it is today — no one can say skateboarding is a fad any longer.
So, he started to dive deeper into his research. That was four years ago.
While running his business, Taus continuously worked on it as a passion project, piecing the history together while juggling his full-time job.
“I have some experience in how to put together a project. But I had never tangibly made it myself, like video wise. So that was a huge learning curve. But I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, considering,” Taus said about the documentary.
Taus did most of the research, interviews and video editing by himself. His love for skateboarding fueled him, he said.
“I think skateboarding for me personally, being a subculture, and especially when I got into it, exposed me to a lot of things that I fell in love with. And that basically, helps change the future of my life,” Taus said.
The documentary helped get a few of those old school skaters back on a deck once more, as Taus and others headed to the Cedar Park Playground for a skate session.
The Cedar Park Playground was established in the 1980s. Originally, the park included a public pool, but when the pool was decommissioned in the 2000s, skaters began using it as a skate park, Taus said.
DIY skate parks were a common playground for skaters in the early 2000s. Taus remembered a skate park that was made of just scrap wood on the corner of Barrydowne and The Kingsway. It only lasted a summer, but that’s how skaters paved their way into kicks and tricks back then.
He hopes the docu-series has a positive impact — the same way skateboarding has influenced his lifestyle and passions.
“I think skateboarding could be used as a vehicle to create a positive impact in our community,” Taus said. “Like a greater purpose to skateboarding and not just just a pastime. I think there's a way to get people involved and make people feel empowered to get involved and make their community better through that.”
You can watch all three episodes on YouTube. Check out the series here.