Anti-Skateboarding Signage

A few years ago, I posted an image titled "skateboarding.jpg" to a site I was keeping up about signage on the U of Washington Campus.

(click image to enlarge and see funny added response)

A couple of months later, I started noticing some out-of-control traffic on my site, like way more than the two daily visitors I've grown accustomed to (thanks Mom and, well, Mom). It turned out to be the skateboarding.jpg image, and I soon found that it had prioritized to the number one position if you did an image search for "skateboarding" on Google.

Oh the joys of fame.

I still have the image up, but it now resides behind the U of I's Berlin-wall-esque firewall and cannot be reached by the tentacles of Google. But who's bitter?

Annnyway, what I always liked about the image was the way it seemed to celebrate or respect or somehow get skateboarding in the very representation of prohibition. This is to say, that the sign was so unlike similar anti-skateboarding signage with visually impoverished representations of what skating is all about.

Take this one for instance, spotted on a recent walk about Portland:

(click image to enlarge)

It prohibits skateboarding while dissing it, almost, through the utter weakness of its iconography. Who skates like that, anyway?

In looking around online, I found a few other anti-skateboarding signs that render skateboarding as rad. (Click any or all to enlarge.)

(commentary on the original .jpg)

But I don't quite understand these signs. On the one hand, they could be said to specifically reference "trick skating" (or whatever you want to call it; Iain Borden has a great book about skateboarding, space, and everyday life, by the way), as opposed to transportational skating, with all the rad skaters being depicted—but the rad skaters seem also like way too supportive of the sport/activity for prohibitive signage of this kind.

There's just such a contrast between saying "no dull skateboarding" and saying "no bad-ass, rad skateboarding like the kind in this picture."


  1. that second image? That looks like gingerboarding? That really is what I would look like were I a boarder. See? I don't even have the lingo.

    Love this post!

  2. And average Americans think they have it tough, try being a skateboarder. Honestly, we don't even look at those signs, we don't care we're going to skate your shit wheter you like it or not. Of course we go to jail for "criminal trespassing," but hey it's all about for the love of skating! Sk8 or Die!

  3. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Cool i love skateboarding i have a skatepark that says no skateboarding... :/!! i spray paited that all black and wrote skateeboarding ruleZ! then i got caught do it to other signs and went to juvey.. lol

  4. the american skater has it tough?????? I'm a european skater and there are noooo places to skate...Try being a skater when all the pavement are messed up. It's harder than dodging cops

  5. Anonymous1:14 PM

    I sign saying "NO SKATEBOARDING" will never stop skaters. The majority of skateboarders don't care what the law says. The sad thing is the kids around where I live picked up skateboarding to stay OUT of trouble. Now it's like they are saying, "stop skateing and go back to smokeing pot".Thanks america, lets take something total harmless away from the kids.

  6. Anonymous5:47 AM

    i agree with patrick and anonymous i live in england and places to skate= jack shit, no where also whats wrong with skating it doesn't hurt anyone, yeah it might be loud but thats it, but safer than playing football or soccer.

    p.s. noone pays attention to those signs so they're pointless, well done boodge you area pioneer! we should all have that kind of skating spirit! srew everyone! we want to skate!

  7. Anonymous11:11 PM

    omg r u seriouz sk8nz like ma life

    dude ive nevr seen anywere with a no skaten sighn.must ov just grown up in da rite placez aye CENTRAL COAST NSW AUSTRALIA!!!! YEHHH...lol

    yeh n bdw 2 all u ignerent guyz out there hoo rekon chiks cant sk8 ,get ready 2 b proven rong.


  8. Felipe2:53 PM

    Im a skater to and i think all this no skateboarding stuff is a bunch of BULL SHIT. Why cant people just leave us skaters alone, it would be so much cooler if we could skate werever the heck we wanted without people kicking us out and saying their gonna call the cops and all that stuff.


  9. Anonymous7:37 PM

    Ima sk8r too and i agree...i think that people should stop thinking about skateboarding as a "bad influence" im a girl and people think that im a "druggy" or whatever. im sick of it.

  10. No doubt! Sk8 or die!

  11. Anonymous8:56 PM

    i bought a bunch of sticky red letter 'g's off of ebay. you stick them over the N in 'No skateboarding' so it says go skateboarding. some company makes them the same size, cut, color, and reflection too

  12. Rah! What a great idea!

  13. Yeah right...people are wasting their time with the signs. Sorry a sign isn't stopping me from skating infact the thought of skating where you're not supposed to is what makes skating so much fun. Do people really think that telling us not to something is going to stop us that just makes us more likely to skate where we're not supposed to.

  14. i hate the people that think that skateboarding is a bad thing and its a good thing it keeps you occupied and if you get good enough you can get money for something you actually enjoy.

  15. Anonymous7:22 PM

    It's not the cop's fault, but they could at least show some mercy for us =/

  16. spray those signs and everything will be ok :)
    visit freeide4.blogspot.com

  17. Anonymous2:54 PM

    I reckon sk8rs can go whereva the hell they wanna go

  18. Anonymous4:16 AM

    lol im from australia and i have never seen a 'no sk8ing' sign... go us aussies!!!

    i gotta say skating is like da best thing evaaa... no one can stop a skaters spirit!!

  19. Anonymous3:05 PM

    skating like an hamburger, its been around for ever. i don't see why people hate us the skater boarders of the world, because we skate on others stuff. screw who ever hates on skaters

  20. Anonymous10:00 PM

    Skateboarding is NOT a bad thing. skateboarding is a good and enjoyable way to get rid of all your stress. so for whoever hates skateboarding SCREW YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Anonymous10:03 PM

    skate boarding is NOT a bad thing. It is a good and enjoyable way to get rid of all your stress. so for whoever hates skateboarding SCREW YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Rahhhhhh! Free the boarders!!!

  23. Anonymous1:00 PM

    this is true i love all these comments about not caring about the signs... really if they just built new skate parks for us maybe we wouldn't skate on their fucking property! screw the fucking popo sk8 or die mutha fucka!

    ~big willy~

  24. Anonymous7:12 PM

    the signs just tell me good places to skate cuz they wuldnt put up the signs if people werent skatin there so theyre just pointers as to where to skate for me