Des Moines’ new reputation as city for skateboarders grows with Streetstyle Open

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Skateboarders across America are starting to pay attention to Des Moines’ scene, and events such as this weekend’s Streetstyle Open may draw even more eyes to Iowa.

The three-day event organized by Skate DSM attracted both professional and local skaters to spots around the metro.

The skaters took their boards to the steps of the State Capitol and to the Legion Skatepark in West Des Moines on Friday. They will wrap up Saturday morning at the Lauridsen Skatepark, which hosted Olympic skateboarding qualifiers shortly after it opened this spring.

That group of skaters in town for the Streetstyle Open includes Nick Hanson, an Ankeny native now working for Santa Cruz Skateboards in California.

“There are still the skate parks that we grew up skating, but now you have this park in Valley Junction and the Lauridsen Skatepark,” Hanson said. “Now that we have the places and resources to skate and skate well, I want to bring teams and have more professional skateboarders come out here.”

Skate DSM leader Norm Sterzenbach said events like the Streetstyle Open are as much for cultivating local talent as they are for attracting nationally-known skaters to Des Moines.

“We’ve got a lot of Des Moines local skaters, and we really want to have the opportunity to showcase their skills,” Sterzenbach said.

Some younger skaters who took up the sport after the Olympic qualifiers in Des Moines decided to watch the Streetstyle Open up close for inspiration.

“I love learning new things, trying new things, and just skating,” said 10-year-old Aria Snell.

Snell and her friends are part of the Subsect Skate Club, who have been skating together since the Lauridsen Skatepark opened.

“Sometimes I just like skating around and it feels really nice,” said 8-year-old Isla Bowers.

“It’s great just watching them and learning new tricks to do,” said 8-year-old Hayden McGuire. “It’s sometimes scary when you feel like you’re going to fall, but on the other hand, it’s fun.”

Hanson said the Iowa skateboarding scene has come a long way since his upbringing in Ankeny, and he’s excited to see where it goes from here.

“You could skate here and easily become a pro skater,” Hanson said. “Without a doubt.”

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