After 25 years, Regina shop owner reflects on growth of skateboard culture in city

·2 min read
The accessibility of skateboarding has contributed to its popularity in Regina, says Tiki Shop owner Noel Wendt. (Submitted by Noel Wendt - image credit)
The accessibility of skateboarding has contributed to its popularity in Regina, says Tiki Shop owner Noel Wendt. (Submitted by Noel Wendt - image credit)

The year 1996 was a different time all together: Tickle Me Elmo and Nintendo 64 were hot ticket items on store shelves. Twister and Mission: Impossible were box office hits.

But in Regina, skateboarding culture was starting to blossom and Tiki Room was establishing itself as a skate shop.

Saturday marks the shop's 25th birthday.

"A ton of kids were skateboarding and it had just grown in popularity and it was just blowing up," owner Noel Wendt said.

The accessibility of skateboarding and being able to ride a board wherever contributed to its popularity in Regina, he says.

Wendt had sold skateboards for about a year in a partnership with the owner of World of Trout before the shop launched and created its own identity.

The biggest change he's noticed is how skateboarding has gone from a fringe element of society to something that's more socially acceptable. It's even now an Olympic event.

With the growth of Regina's skate culture came a partnership between skaters and the city that led to an indoor skate park and multiple outdoor parks shops.

He said the pandemic has sparked interest in skateboarding because people can do it alone and can do it outdoors.

Regina's Tiki Room skate shop marked 25 years of operation on Saturday.
Regina's Tiki Room skate shop marked 25 years of operation on Saturday.(Submitted by Noel Wendt)

That's come with its own global supply challenges, he said, but 2021 is proving to be a better year on that front than 2020 was.

One element of the pandemic will still linger over the shop's 25th birthday, as Wendt noted he and some former staff were to participate in a Zoom celebration to mark the occasion.

Being able to reflect on the shop's success and challenges after 25 years, though, still fells good, he says.

"In so many ways it doesn't feel as though it's been 25 years. I'm thankful, for sure."