When skateboards or 'shingles on wheels' were back
Skateboarding was very popular with the kids when the 1980s rolled around
The National cast a semi-skeptical eye at skateboards when it assigned Dan Bjarnason to report on how the sport was rolling back to the forefront of recreational activities in the mid-1980s.
"From one end of the country to the other and in most of what's in-between, they're back," Bjarnason said, referring to skateboards, in a report that aired on Aug. 15, 1986.
"Like a reincarnation, these shingles on wheels keep on returning from beyond. After the '60s and again in the '70s, they're with us again in their third life."
Not only were they back, but they were being snapped up by would-be skaters in rapid succession.
"They're peddled in more than 500 stores," Bjarnason reported, noting there were more skateboard stores at that point than McDonald's restaurants in Canada.
A tough time for bicycles
In Toronto, Rudy Atzmueller Sr. had been selling sports goods for 30 years, including many bicycles.
And by 1986, on the suggestion of his son, he was selling a lot of skateboards and skateboard equipment — and not a lot of two-wheeled rides.
"It's just ridiculous," he told The National.
"I've still got bicycles there," he said gesturing to another part of his shop. "I can't give them away."
'It takes up my whole life'
Less experienced retailers were jumping on the trend as well, like 17-year-old Perry Gladstone, who had sold $25,000 worth of skateboard merchandise by that point in the summer.
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He'd set up a shop The National visited, which had skateboard decks hanging along a wall and a glass case displaying various skateboard-related merchandise.
A young group of skaters was hunched over the display case, while Gladstone appeared to be patiently waiting to make a potential sale.
"It takes up my whole life, basically," Gladstone said of skateboarding. "I eat, sleep, drink and live it."
'I'd go to jail for skateboarding'
The sport definitely had devoted participants in those days, like Dan Arnold, who was among skateboarders in Vancouver defying a local bylaw that prohibited skating on the streets.
"I'd serve my time in jail," he said. "If they said, you know: 'Either you pay these fines or we're putting you, like, three weekends in jail' ... I'd go to jail for skateboarding."