MORRO BAY — As of April, the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum has moved to 783 Market Ave., overlooking the Embarcadero.
The view that tourists and wine aficionados once paid top dollar to sit and enjoy is now a unique photo-op for visitors to the museum where they can climb atop, “the world’s largest skateboard.”
Actually, it’s now the world’s second-largest, explains museum founder Jack Smith, but it held a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for over a decade.
That’s just one of the prime attractions to tempt tourists and international travelers in the door for exhibits detailing a complete history of skateboarding, from the early 1930s to present day. The sign outside the door throws the future on the list for good measure. For instance, the electric skateboard which Smith rode across the nation in a trip completed last year.
In the collection assembled from Smith’s personal holdings as well as bits of history on loan from all over the world, are 200 skateboards with rotating exhibits planned.
John Lennon’s skateboard is one of their prized relics, with the Beatles star’s deck in a specially assembled display case.
The new location has been leased from the City of Morro Bay, which owns the building, constructed in the 1950s and has loose plans in place to build a convention center at some point in the future. For now, the museum has a year’s lease inside the old wine bar, sharing a windowed wall with a real estate office.
“It was a savior event for us to get this opportunity,” explained Smith, who until 2017 was the sole proprietor of the museum. Now operating as a 501c3 nonprofit, the arrangement with the City enabled their collection to remain intact and was cheaper than previous space rental on the Embarcadero. Offsetting the suggested $5 donation for a visit, the new window tinting shows a logo for the sponsor Vans shoes to the parking lot below.
The company offered a custom-made display featuring its own role in the skate movement as well.
Winter is the hardest time to stay open, but spring and summer are allowing hours seven days a week, and Smith adds the city’s tourism board likely appreciates the attention.
“We are the number one Morro Bay tourist attraction on TripAdvisor and we always get good listing on Yelp,” he said. “A lot of international travelers doing the loop, flying into LA, over to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Utah, San Francisco and back to LA, tell us they stopped here just because they saw us as a place to checkout online.”
They learn a lot about skating’s connection to surfing too, he adds, something museums in a landlocked destination might not touch on.
Hours and more information is available line at the recently updated: www.mbskate.com.