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Heat doesnt stop dedicated skateboard enthusiast
Luis Lopez grabs some shade beneath a tree at the Manteca Skate Park. He was the only person there on Wednesday afternoon. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

The sounds of a skate park are unmistakable.

Crack. The sound of a skateboard as the rider erupts from the ground or comes crashing back down to it.

Ting. The sound of metal skateboard trucks as they come into contact with either a rail or the coping at the top of a concrete ramp.

Expletive deleted. The sound of a skateboarder when their best-laid plans go south and the hard pavement comes crashing up at them at a frightening pace.

But none of those sounds existed for Luis Lopez Wednesday afternoon. Maybe it was the 105-degree heat, or the pending holiday, or the fact that kids would just rather be doing something else on a summer afternoon.

Whatever the reason, he had the entire Manteca skate park to himself – every line and every lip and every flow was his for the taking, and he wasn’t going to let the heatstroke-inducing sun stand in the way of his poetic expression.

Well, let’s not get too carried away. He had to grab some shade every once in a while.

“There’s just so much you can do with it,” he said of skateboarding while sitting beneath a tree on his skateboard in between sessions. “You can just keep pushing and doing more. It’s fun. It’s something that never really ends.”

Lopez said that he rides down to the park, which is tucked off of Center Street and just off of the Tidewater Bikeway, every day when he isn’t in school.

Usually with a group of friends, Lopez focuses on tricks that he’s both pulled off a hundred times and those that he’s been too afraid to try – pushed by the collective conscience of the group that hoots and hollers and provides the standing motivation that seemed to be lacking on Wednesday.

Deserted is a nice way to make sure that he doesn’t slam into anybody when trying anything. There was also a reason why nobody else was out there, and save for a drink of water and some shade, there wasn’t very much he could do in his time away from the shade.

Modesto, Patterson, Ripon – he takes trips to new places whenever possible to keep his skills fresh and the scenery constantly changing.

The elements, he said, is no reason not to do what it is that he loves to do.

“Yeah, it’s hot, but you just have to deal with it,” he said. “It’s better our here with my friends – it’s better when you have other people that are there to push you – but I just like skateboarding.”