Modern Skate Park and Surf & Skate Owner George Leichtweis Interview


Modern Skate Park and Surf & Skate Owner George Leichtweis answered your questions.

Could you briefly introduce yourself to us? Where were you born and what are you doing as a profession?
I am George Leichtweis, owner of Modern Skate & Surf and Modern Skate Park in Detroit, Michigan, USA. I was born and raised in the city of Detroit. I opened my first skate shop in 1979.

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What influenced you to start Skateboarding ?
George: I skateboarded on the Roller Derby Board with clay wheels and loose ball bearings in the 1960's, but with hard wheels, it was difficult to skate the sidewalks of Detroit. I was going to college when urethane wheels came out and revolutionized skateboarding. I got back in to it in 1979.

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Can you tell us the story of how Modern Skate and Surf started?
George: I went to visit friends in Venice Beach, California, USA in the summer of 1979 and loved the California lifestyle of skateboarding, surfing, and outdoor rollerskating. I wanted to bring that lifestyle back to Michigan (located in the "Midwest" region of USA and over 2000 miles (3200 km) from California.

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What were some tricky sides whilst constructing Modern Skate and Surf?
George: After I had built ramps for over 20 years and ran my own smaller skate parks. I acquired a Vans sponsored skatepark (53,000 sq ft - 4,925 sq meters) and ran it for about 5 years until I had to move. I cataloged all three top layers and all the underlayers and stored it for a year on pallets stacked 20 feet (6m) high. I then moved it 30 miles (48 km) and reassembled it and added many other features in a new 60,000 sq ft (5575 sq meters) skate park in a building that I own.

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What advice do you have for newcomers to longboarding?
George: Make sure to practice on level ground to get comfortable maneuvering and going at speed before "bombing" a hill and finding out you don't know how to "bail" while going fast.

modern skate park

What is your favorite skateboarding trick?
George: Crail grab on half pipe.

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Which skateboarding tricks was the most challenging for you?
George: This is not a trick, but dropping in on a large vert ramp always was (and is) intimidating to me.

What is the biggest skate project that you have ever dreamed of?
George: I have helped build over 15 public skate parks where you can skate for free, but my 60,000 sq ft indoor park was a dream that came true. It is the 3rd largest skate park in the United States.

To sum it up, what would you like to say to Turk Longboard members about Longboarding?
George: Enjoy the ride no matter what skill level you take it to. Accept all others that may not be as good because they are putting in the effort. And just have fun.

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