Charleston skateboard race becomes more competition, less protest
The third annual skateboard race known as “The King Street Bomb” wasn’t held on King Street this year, and it was more of a firecracker than a bomb.
But that didn’t seem to bother the group of about 30 skateboarders who showed up Saturday for this year’s race and weaved through smaller downtown streets — St. Phillip and Archdale — to the finish line at the Battery.
In previous years, the race was held on King Street in protest of the city’s restrictions on skateboarding downtown. A new ordinance passed by the city of Charleston earlier this year eased up on some restrictions, making it legal to skateboard on most streets in the city.
“There’s nothing to complain about anymore,” said Jesse Weyher, an organizer of the race.
Though skating is still prohibited on King Street, Weyher suggested changing the race’s route because he didn’t want to jeopardize the city’s new acceptance of skateboarders.
That may have had something to do with the smaller turnout this year. About 30 skateboarders showed up, compared with roughly 100 last year.
“There wasn’t as much shock value because now we’re kind of going the back-neighborhood way,” Weyher said.
Still, many skateboarders remained loyal to the race, like Zack Mauldin, who won first place for the second year in a row. As a prize, he’ll get a custom-made board.
After the race, skateboarders hung out in White Point Garden and compared stories. One said most cars pulled over or stopped when they saw the flock coming.
Weyher said he’ll probably move the race back to King Street next year. He said a major part of the experience is seeing people’s reactions when they see a pack of skateboarders coming down King Street.
“People would stand out on the sidewalks taking photos and screaming. I hope to bring that back in much bigger numbers” he said. “Next year will be like last year.”