Introduction<br /><ul><li>Skateboarding is one of the newest American sports and one for which global diffusion has been rapid and immediate. Skateboarding originated in southern California, specifically in the Los Angeles area, in the mid-twentieth century, where it was likened to surfing on land. Like other sports, it diffused beyond its hearth region. Some American sports, such as baseball and basketball, have diffused so thoroughly that their original Northeast hearths have no special dominance or meaning. Others, such as lacrosse, have diffused only in a limited way, and are still largely the province of their geographic hearth. Unlike most other sports, skateboarding, though truly global, is still dominated by its southern California hearth. The bulk of skating locations, professionally sanctioned events, and place of residence of top skaters are all in the Los Angeles area.
Given this, I inquire how and why the culture of skateboarding began, evolved, and maintained continued dominance in Southern California. Since the majority of professional skateboarders, with the exception of a select few, currently reside in California, I speculate why this is so and question their original location before their migration to California. Are there any patterns related to socio-economic aspects of those regions and what benefits is there that attracts the culture of skateboarding so greatly? With the popularity of skateboarding growing at a rapid rate through mass media exposure and the distribution of consumer products, i.e. televised skateboarding events and magazines I question the spatial distribution of sanctioned skateboarding events and magazine publishers and their audience. Are there any patterns in relation to skateboarding's hearth in California? I also consider the landscapes of skateboarding and their influence and impact on the perception of California to skaters. </li></ul>Methods<br /><ul><li>For this project I identified 40 top skaters, based on information about professional standing available from several skateboarding websites. Biographical information about these skaters, including their birthplaces and current places of residence, were collected from other online sources (for details of sources, see maps). From the same sources I gathered data on the number of skateparks in each state. I identified the geographic locations of the publishing offices of major skateboarding magazines from online sources and the magazines themselves. In addition, I collected data on major professional skating competitions. These data were mapped and the maps are used to identify spatial patterns. </li></ul>Findings<br />Many professional skateboarders that are sponsored by and/or own today's skateboard companies have been influenced by the Californian scene. Out of the forty professional skateboarders researched, only twenty-four of them originated in California. Currently, thirty- five of the forty professional skateboarders reside in the state of California alone. (Berra and Koston n.d.) The state with the second most is Pennsylvania with three skaters and New York and Canada each have one. (Berra and Koston n.d.) This shows that there is some magnet that is attracting this amount of skaters to California. Also the number of professional skaters that were born in California show that it is easier to step into the realm of skateboarding through the influence of the surrounding culture <br />Skateboarding has always had a competitive background. One skater is out to prove the he or her is better than the other. This competition between skaters has prompted a series of the biggest professional competitions known as the X-Games. Skaters from around the world come to compete against each other. The X-Games first premiered as the Extreme Games in 1995 in Providence, R.I. The next year, the name was officially changed to the X-Games and was again held in Providence, R.I. (Cave 1996) The next two X-Games were then held in San Diego, CA in 1997 and 1998. San Francisco hosted the next two years of X-Games V and VI. Philadelphia, PA was then chosen to host the VII and VIII games in 2001 and 2002. (Cave 1996)Finally, Los Angeles, CA has taken the lead in hosting the X-Games from 2003 to present. Of the 15 X-Games competitions, the state of California has hosted 11 of them. (Cave 1996) This clearly shows that the California is continuing to dominate skateboarding and possibly other extreme action sports as well in terms of sanctioned events. <br />Skateboarding magazines can also give insight to California's continued dominance. Of the five major skateboard magazines in the United States, four of them are in California and include Skateboarder Magazine, Thrasher Magazine, The Skateboard Mag, and Transworld Magazine. The only magazine publisher not located in southern California is Thrasher Magazine which is based out of San Francisco, California. (Thrasher Magazine n.d.) The other three are located around the general vicinity of Los Angeles. Skateboarder Magazine is located in Orange County, CA, The Skateboard Mag is located in Solana Beach, CA, and Transworld Magazine located in Carlsbad, CA. (Skateboarder Magazine Online n.d.) (Transworld Skateboarding n.d.) (The Skateboard Mag n.d.) The only other major skateboard magazine in the U.S. is Focus Skateboard Magazine which is located in Philadelphia, PA. (Focus Skateboard Magazine n.d.) These locations correlate spatially with the locations the X-Games, along with most of the forty professional skaters in the U.S. <br />The results show that for each indicator (top skater birthplace, top skater place of residence, number of skateparks, skateboarding magazine publisher location, and major professional skating competitions) California ranks number one. California dominates in the number of top skater birthplaces, with 60% of top skaters born in that state. California also dominates in the current place of residence of top skaters, with almost 88% of top skaters residing there) with the remaining 12% residing in only two other states). California has more than two and a half times the number of skateparks as does the next leading state, Texas. Of the five leading skateboard magazines, four (80% of the total) are published in California. The most popular and competitive skateboarding event, the X-Games, has held 15, including the past 7, in California. <br />Conclusion<br />California, particularly the Los Angeles region, is essentially the central hub of skateboarding. Professional skateboarders, if not born there, flock to California to pursue their love and passion for the sport. We speculate that the traditional culture of skating, the large number of skateparks, and year-round pleasant weather account for California’s dominance. Competitions along with magazine distributors congregate in California as a result of the high interest in the sport there. The magazine exposure and televised events highlight skating in California, resulting in increased skater migration to the hearth area, as new skaters hope to leave their mark on sport. <br />Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY Beal, Becky. "
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