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Fighting to Preserve Skateboarding’s Origins in Venice Beach

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(Nathan Benn/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Nathan Benn/Corbis via Getty Images)


An abandoned Southern California motel swimming pool, for most skateboarders, is an epic discovery. Most would argue, though, that the traditional skatepark is still the place to be, especially when you’re starting out.

Venice Beach, also known as “Dogtown,” is the birthplace of skateboarding. But, Venice Beach today is a far cry from what “Dogtown” once was. The once ramshackle beach bungalows have been razed for some of the most coveted real estate on the West Coast with ubiquitous “No Skateboarding” signs. Strangely enough, all of this happened as the skateboarding blossomed into a five billion dollar industry with an estimated 11 million riders.

A new documentary, set to premiere at the Santa Monica Film Festival on August 25th, follows a group of former professional skateboarders and their endless fight to build a skatepark in their old stomping grounds. Directed by Jonathan Penson, “Made in Venice” explores how skateboarding was first put on the global map in the 1970s—and how a few passionate Dogtown locals will stop at nothing to keep the dream alive. Screenings of the film at the Santa Monica Film Festival sold out in 24 hours. Watch the latest trailer below. If you’re interested in seeing the film yourself, you can find location, times, and more information here.


By Reilly Dowd, RealClearLife Contributor