Tactics embodies the thrill of skate culture | Arts & Culture
AT Tactical Board and Snow Shop, comfort and style are limitless. The building is an industrial complex with an interior of exposed ceiling vents and wood paneling on the floor. At the front of the store there is a display with the latest skate shoes of the season. The huge display of skateboard decks can also be seen from afar with skulls, demons and disembodied cartoon characters floating on shelves in the back. Vendors are available to help beginners purchase gear for their skateboards and help them with clothing ideas. Customers come to the store knowing they’ll find reliable clothing brands such as Nike SB, Brixton and Lakai before heading out for a day of shredding.
Tactics has three locations in Oregon: Eugene, Portland and Bend. The tactics began in 1999 as a company that embraces the environment and social connections as well as people’s passions and styles. The company has a Blog which tests shoe quality, posts updates on artist collaborations, and provides tutorials on skating tips. If you are not geographically located in the Pacific Northwest, you can order the store’s products on its website.
Chris Ryan, sales associate and sophomore engineering student at Lane Community College, said
Tactics was his dream job for the past seven years. He applied last summer and was finally able to work at a place that “supports the community”. He has been skateboarding with friends since his junior year of high school and longboarding since middle school. Ryan credits his gymnastics background with helping him learn the sport and maintain his balance. He likes how the store encourages people to customize the look of their skateboard parts.
“You can make designs on your grip and create different colors,” Ryan said. “You can even loosen your tracks to make your riding style smoother.”
Ryan believes that a person dresses and modifies their board based on the style of skateboarding they are doing. His favorite brand is Polar because he loves the “cool videos” they produce. In transition skating or ramp balls, he said legends like Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen go for boards that have “big wheels and trucks.”
For street skating, however, he said people need small boards to flip their boards around in urban areas. He then said that freestyle skaters use a flat board and small wheels to perform jumps and kicks. The clothes also match the skating style, but people usually wear loose clothes.
“A lot of street skaters end up wearing baggier outfits,” Ryan said. “The myth behind it is that it helps people get around, and that’s been proven to be true. It’s quite difficult to move in tight jeans.
Skateboarding is not something that everyone experiences in their youth. Yuya Oshikata and Hinakota Miyazaki, first-year business students at LCC, started skateboarding in the past four months to spend time with friends.
They came to Tactics to buy new black Nike Skateboarding shoes. Oshikata said her favorite clothing brand was Chocolate while Miyazaki said hers was the Japanese alternative brand. Joust.
They said it was their dream to skateboard before moving to Eugene. There isn’t much access to skate parks in Japan compared to the United States, Miyazaki said. Back in their hometown, their first encounters with skateboarding were hiding from the authorities who despised the activity.
“Japan is strict on skateboarding,” Miyazaki said. “We had to skate in parking lots and under bridges.”
Alexandre Akoury, commercial and academic associate of Oregon junior advertising student, started working at Tactics nine months ago. Akoury loves the community aspect that skateboarding brings to Eugene. Tactics is welcome in all types of communities and not just limited to skateboarders, he said. Akoury noted that the ages of the local skaters ranged from “eight years old to 40 or 50 years old”. Although his favorite brands are Anti-Hero and Baker, he said no one is limited in what he can wear.
Akoury said skateboarders are actively recruited by brands to represent their image. According to Akoury, Washington Jefferson Skatepark + Urban Plaza, America’s largest covered, lighted outdoor skatepark, would be a hot spot for talent agents to sign sponsors. Even Tony Hawk stopped there once in 2003. Akoury mentioned that a friend of his in town was recently invited to join a team while studying at UO.
“My friend just hooked up with a pro-level skate team,” Akoury said. “They take skate trips to LA and everywhere.”
Tactics provides parts such as boards, trucks, and wheels for a skater to have a great experience. Skateboarding is all about expressing your individuality through clothing and showing off your tricks. It can be treated as a hobby with friends, a sport at the Olympics, or a paid career promoting a lifestyle for a brand.
Tactic’s Eugene Board and Snow Shop is located at 375 W 4th Ave in Eugene. It is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.