MORRO BAY, Calif. - Little did he know, soon after graduating Morro Bay High School, Jack Smith's life would be changed forever during the summer of 1974.
"I found an old skateboard in my friend's backyard and we started skating," said Smith.
It was the beginning of a lifelong connection with the then just emerging sport.
"I was drawn to the racing side of skateboarding, and I was able to race professionally for a number of years," Smith said.
Smith later transitioned into a career on the business side, settling into sales and marketing positions for various skateboarding companies. During that time, he began collecting boards, and eventually wanted to share them with the public.
"About four years ago, I told my wife I want to try opening a skateboarding museum in Morro Bay, and she said go for it, and here we are," said Smith.
Four years later, Smith is now the owner and curator of the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum, which is located on the city's picturesque embarcadero.
"Visitors will see a timeline of skateboard history, in boards, trucks, decks, wheels," said Smith. "We have racing boards, pool-riding boards, boards with steel wheels, boards with clay wheels, and we also have skateboard memorabilia."
Visitors who come in, get an opportunity to experience a rare historical look into this unique culture.
"It's a little breathtaking just how many different things that there are," said local skateboarder Sam Coyle. "You just kind of walk around and see the old skateboards, and you can tell the time frames that they're from."
On display are hundreds of boards from several decades, including some dating back to the 1950's.
"It's a version of an art gallery right here and it's definitely very visually enticing, it's an expression, kind of like music, it's our art," said longtime skateboader Mike McGillis.
For many visitors, checking out the displays is like a roll down memory lane, where they may see a type or style of board they rode when they were younger.
"As someone who rode a skateboard back in the 1960's, I saw the sign, parked my car, and thought, I wonder if they have a a skateboard like mine, and sure enough, there's one on the wall!" said Melissa Adams, visiting from Monterey.
Smith notes the museum draws visitors from around the world.
"France, Germany, Australia, Russia, everywhere," said Smith.
He adds the typical visitor is a male, usually around 40 and 50-years-old. However, the museum also attracts visitors of all ages and backgrounds, including many that may not initially even be interested.
"Sometimes I'll hear people on the street say, what? Skateboard museum? And then they'll come in and won't leave for hour and as they're leaving they tell me, I had no idea skateboarding had been around so long, and had such an interesting history and culture," said Smith.
The museum is also home to the "world's second biggest skateboard," steel-wheeled scooters nearly a hundred years old, autographed memorabilia, and an impressive collection of merchandise and equipment to purchase. While there is no official cost to visit, the museum does rely on donations to remain open.
Hours are Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
More information is available at: www.mbskate.com
Morro Bay Skateboard Museum
601 Embarcadero (Marina Square)
Morro Bay, CA 93442