Skateboarding documentary chronicles sport in Sudbury since 70s

Sudbury's Nico Taus has been skateboarding since he was a kid in the late 90s. He has created a new three-part documentary chronicling the sport in Sudbury since it emerged in the mid 70s.

Lifelong skateboarder, Nico Taus, wanted to show history of sport, but also appeal of underground subculture

The new documentary from Subdury's Nico Taus, called Cracks in the Road, chronicles the history of skateboarding in Sudbury, from the 70s. (Cracks in the Road on Facebook)

Nico Taus, of Sudbury, Ont., is a lifelong skateboarder. 

He's been skateboarding since the late 1990s, when he first discovered the sport as a kid.

"Skateboarding has always been a passion of mine, but I'm also really interested in the history of Sudbury and the history of downtown," he said.

Those interests have now meshed together into a new documentary project Taus directed called Cracks in the Road. The three-part series chronicles the history and evolution of the sport in Sudbury.

"It goes back a lot further than I thought it did," he said, adding that he would have guessed skateboarding went back to the early 90s.

What Taus discovered was that skateboarding in Sudbury began around the mid 1970s.

"Which kind of checks out with how the sport kind of evolved nationally, as well," he said.

During his research Taus discovered that the first skateboard park in Sudbury was created in 1978, at the former Barrydowne Arena.

"We're talking about little banana boards, little slalom boards that were just kind of meant for cruising around," he said.

"I guess there were enough kids rolling around at that time that the city decided to invest, I think it was $12,000 at the time, to make this new, this first skateboard board park." Taus said.

Nico Taus (left) met with skateboarders from Greater Sudbury for his 3-part documentary Cracks in the Road. It chronicles the history of the sport in the city. (Screenshot from Cracks in the Road on YouTube)

When Taus first got into skateboarding in the late 1990s, he says the appeal was that the sport was an underground subculture.

"It was obscure at that time," he said. "When I first got into it it was really underground, so if you were a part of that community it was something that was really tight knit."

It was that subculture element that Taus really wanted to cover in his documentary.


"Those stories that I was able to pull out of people are stories about true living in Sudbury, what it's like growing up in Sudbury as a youth that's into an alternative subculture. They're stories that just aren't told," he said.

But Taus says viewers don't have to be into skateboarding to enjoy the documentary series.

"These are stories that people can relate to whether or not they skateboarded. They'll see places that they visited back then that may not be there anymore, they'll recognize people from high school."

Tensions, struggles, challenges

The documentary series will also discuss the tension and struggles for skateboarders in the past.

"Most people didn't understand it, it was very misunderstood," Taus said.

"Obviously, skateboarding was not welcomed on private or public property at that time and there were no skate parks; and they would find themselves getting harassed."

"It was a sport that people wanted to do that wasn't welcomed, it was challenging," he said.

'Deserves some recognition'

But skateboarding has evolved so much that it is now a sport athletes compete in at the Olympics. It makes its debut at the summer games underway in Tokyo.

"It definitely lost a little bit of that underground element, knowing that you could basically go to any youngish store in a mall and find skateboarding shoes, and skateboard related-brands," Taus said.

"For a sport that's been around for 4 decades why wouldn't it deserve some recognition or some record of all the things that went on."

The evolution of the skateboarding scene in Sudbury is the focus of a new documentary. "Cracks in the Road" is the title. Nico Taus is the director and a skateboarder. We spoke to him about what inspired him to create the documentary. 8:56

With files from Morning North


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