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Best Skate Shop: Where it's safe to lurk for 29 minutes 

510 Skateboarding

The East Bay proper never really had a good skate shop until 510 opened. Sure, there was Surf Berkeley down on San Pablo, but it catered to aging surfers and young girls interested in buying bikinis as much as it did to skateboarders. Several years have passed, Surf Berkeley is out of business, and other than the sanitized corporate sporting good chains that also sell skateboards, 510 (or Metro if you're closer to the Pleasant Hill/Concord/Walnut Creek area) is really your only smart choice. Not to say that it's a bad choice by any means: 510 offers a wide variety of skateboard decks and related skateboarding equipment, as well as the knowledgeable staff required to assemble your board, or at least point you in the right direction of a smart purchase. 510 grew quickly in its early years, and handled this by separating the hard goods from the soft; in other words, it opened up a clothing and shoe store a few doors down. The storefront window features art by talented local skateboarders, and the store also organizes the Berkeley skateboard demo which runs concurrently with the annual People's Park celebration. The board shop offers a couple couches to sit and watch skate videos while you wait for your friends, but beware of the thirty-minute lurking limit, which is strictly enforced.

Readers' Pick:
Metro Board Shop
236 Golf Club Rd., Pleasant Hill, 925-363-7440

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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