Why Skateboarding Is About To Be Bigger Than Ever The streets are full of skateboarders these days, and skate shops can hardly keep up with the demand. Why now? The answer might put a smile on your face.

How TikTok And Skater Girls Are Sending Skateboard Sales Off The Wall

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It seems like skateboarding is having a moment. Skateboarders are everywhere. Stores and manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up with demand for boards. As with everything, the pandemic is playing a role, but that's not all. Claire Miller reports on some of the other reasons why the skateboarding industry is about to be bigger than ever.

(SOUNDBITE OF SKATEBOARD ROLLING)

CLAIRE MILLER, BYLINE: Have you seen all the skateboarders out on the streets? They're everywhere, even on social media like Instagram and TikTok. There's actually a whole side of TikTok referred to as SkateTok, where users post clips of themselves cruising around town...

(SOUNDBITE OF SKATEBOARD ROLLING)

MILLER: ...Landing tricks...

(CHEERING)

MILLER: ...Feeling absolutely free.

(SOUNDBITE OF WHOOPING)

MILLER: Ruby Medina is a skateboarder who saw the trend and posted her own video.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SKATEBOARD P")

MADEINTYO: (Rapping) Yeah, going ape like Nigo...

MILLER: Picture a giant empty pool. Medina's skating every curve and slope as smooth as butter. It has more than half a million views.

RUBY MEDINA: Honestly, I was pretty shocked. I was like, what (laughter)? I didn't know my video could hit that much (laughter).

MILLER: But Medina's not just any TikToker. She works in two skate shops in Venice, Calif., and her parents are the owners. They started the business about 22 years ago, but they've never seen demand like this. Turns out, the industry hasn't either.

JEFF KENDALL: Skateboarding saw a growth in sales like it hadn't seen in years.

MILLER: Jeff Kendall used to be a professional skater. Now, he runs NHS, a skateboard manufacturer and distributor. Companies like his have spent the last year scrambling to meet a monstrous appetite for parts and boards. Kendall credits the rising popularity of skateboarding now to social media plus a few other factors - the pandemic led people to rediscover the outdoors, more girls are getting into it than ever before too - full confession, I'm one of them - and the Olympics are including it as a sport for the first time this summer.

KENDALL: This is a global phenomenon. This is something we're seeing all around. You know, the 80 countries that we sell to in the world, they're all seeing an increase. I think that by the end of '21, there'll be more skateboarders in the world than ever before.

MILLER: All these new skateboarders aren't just young people. Remember "Dogface"...

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEETWOOD MAC SONG, "DREAMS")

MILLER: ...An Idaho dad who made a TikTok while cruising on a longboard, drinking cran-raspberry juice, vibing to Fleetwood Mac?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DREAMS")

STEVIE NICKS: (Singing) Now here you go again, you say...

MILLER: People have viewed this video more than 80 million times. It sent the song back up to the top of the charts and Ocean Spray flying off the shelves. At Medina's skate shop, it moved boards too.

MEDINA: I would hear a lot of comments. And they would be like, oh, we could be like the "Dogface." And all like, let's get a longboard. And I'll just be, like, laughing in my head. And I was just like, OK.

MILLER: Medina gets why people love these videos so much and why they're inspiring new skaters to hit up their local skate shops.

MEDINA: Just to see someone, like, enjoying themselves so much on a board, it makes people realize, like, yo, this is actually fun. This is actually cool. It makes people, like, I'm going to go skate. Like, I'm going to go cruise.

MILLER: For a while there, Medina's family shop could not keep up with demand, but now it's fully stocked and merchandise is flowing. At the skate park, she says it already feels like summer.

For NPR News, I'm Claire Miller.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DREAMS")

NICKS: (Singing) Oh, thunder only happens when it's raining. Players only love you when they're playing. Say, women, they will come, and they will go.

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