The Texas Skateboard Museum arrives in Dallas

Artwork by Justin McGuffin

Artwork by Justin McGuffin

On Saturday September 15, 2018, the Texas Skateboard Museum will open in Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX. The Texas Skateboard Museum is a celebration of skateboarding history and culture through the eyes of the curator, Al Coker. Corresponding with the opening of the exhibition is a skateboarding celebration at Guapo Skateboards, from 1pm to 8pm. Visit Guapo for more information about this family friendly event and be among the first to see this amazing collection of skateboarding history. All are welcome to see some of the best skaters in Dallas riding retro boards to celebrate.

Skateparks for Dallas founder Clinton Haley, a member at Guapo, took this opportunity to interview Al Coker about his history in skateboarding and why he is so committed to helping it thrive here in Dallas and across Texas. Al has been a tireless advocate for skateboarding for decades. Among skaters he is known as the “Grindfather” in homage to his standing in the community as a supporter, as an accomplished skater and a mentor to so many.

Two sides to Al Coker, business man and skateboarder

Clinton: Al, you have been skateboarding for decades. When did you start skateboarding and what got you interested?

Al Coker: I started around 1963 when I lived in Venezuela and my dad brought back a skateboard from the States. Metal wheels and a tiny board that fit my tiny feet and BAM I was hooked. My friend and I skated that board on a big concrete patio until the wheels fell off. Then I got another when we visited the US on vacation, but it had CLAY wheels and was so much better.

You also started and ran the first skateboard shop in Dallas, right? How did that come into being?

It was the first stand-alone skateboard shop in Texas; not a bike shop or surf shop with boards. We got trucks and wheels from California somehow and were riding around and then started buying boards on surf trips to the Gulf and people kept asking about buying them. I partnered up with Don and Elaine Singer and we opened “ The Skateboard Shop” in Valley View Mall.

Texas Skate Legends at the Texas Skateboard Museum, photo by Tracy Weller

Texas Skate Legends at the Texas Skateboard Museum, photo by Tracy Weller

I have seen your collection of photographs, skateboards, and skate gear, spanning decades from the 70’s to the present. It’s pretty amazing! What have you enjoyed about collecting so much skateboard memorabilia?

The huge financial gain!!! Just kidding. I am who I am today mainly due to my experiences skating and surfing and the memorabilia and photos certainly create a time machine for memories, but it’s also a great way to spread the love and stoke of skating with others. The goal a few years ago evolved into opening up a museum of sorts.

What does this new Texas Skateboard Museum mean to you?

Spread the love and appreciation of skateboarding with skaters and with the general public. It is a uniquely American cultural contribution to Pop Culture and is now practiced in every country around the world that has a patch of concrete and some kids with big smiles. This Museum, like Guapo is a way to give back and share skating and what it means to me and other skaters and I hope it inspires people in some small way.

What do you hope those who visit the new museum get from perusing the old boards, photos and gear?

I hope/think it will bring some smiles and a wave of good memories that they can relive and also share with their children, family and friends.

With this museum collection, you are the preserver of Skateboarding Past, with your enthusiastic and supportive skate style, you also maintain the stoke of Skateboarding’s Present. What do you hope to see in Dallas’ Skateboarding Future?

After years of a Quixotic quest: the Grail of a great Dallas Skatepark I have passed on the quest to a younger generation like yourself, Clinton. You guys will realize that dream. I’d like to see a pump track built for exercise in some parks too. Ultimately I hope that Guapo continues to flourish and remains an integral part of the Dallas skate scene long after I am gone. That might be pretty cool.

Thank you to Al Coker for his time and commitment to Dallas and skatboarding. And if you ever need some inspiration or a kick in the pants to get up and moving, watch Al flying around the Guapo bowl on his Instagram.

The Texas Skateboard Museum is hosted by Guapo Skateboards, which is open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and for special events. Follow Guapo on Instagram for the latest event news. Guapo has a full array of ramps and obstacles for skaters from professionals to beginners. It is a welcoming environment for the love of skateboarding and friendship.