‘No boundaries’: La Jolla 12-year-old starts magazine and merchandise company to share love of skateboarding

Lucas Leaverton, 12, loves to skateboard and has started two enterprises to spread the word.
(Courtesy of Lucas Leaverton)

La Jollan Lucas Leaverton is turning his passion for tricks on his skateboard into entrepreneurship to help spread his message that skateboarding encourages community and creativity.

Lucas, who is 12 and in sixth grade at Muirlands Middle School, started skateboarding a few years ago. He developed a taste and talent for street skating, a style that focuses on tricks, last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

He’s also started a magazine dedicated to local surf and skate culture, as well as a company preparing to sell stickers, shirts and other skateboard-related merchandise.

Lucas said “my dad actually taught me a lot of the tricks. That really got me going, since I had all this time to learn and try things,” with school being closed to in-person instruction because of the pandemic.

Lucas said he loves skateboarding because “it’s different than other sports.” It has “options for creativity and new ideas and, while soccer has the lines, the boundaries, you can’t go past the boundaries,” he said.

In skating, “there’s no boundaries,” he said. “You can go anywhere … and you can use things that most people won’t really expect you to use in different ways,” such as a ledge or curb to perform tricks like a grind, in which a skateboard is slid along a surface.

“Most people would think to walk up a set of stairs,” he said, but skateboarders look at the same stairs and think of several ways to travel up or down. Skateboarding “opens up these new opportunities that most people can’t really see.”

Lucas said he skateboards daily for hours at a time, sticking mostly to his street, where his family built a “mini skate park” in front of his house with rail bars and a grind box.

He and his friends occasionally skateboard in various parking lots around town, he said. “Sometimes if you skate too much in one area, it gets bland and you have to find new places to do new things.”

Lucas said he also sometimes has to find somewhere else to skate when a neighbor “yells at us.”

“A few people think that skaters are punks and mean and disrespectful, but that’s not really the truth,” Lucas said. “Most of the skaters in La Jolla aren’t like that. You’ve got to show them that you’re not.”

Lucas said skateboarding has been a way for him and others to build community during the pandemic, as it “brings everyone together” yet is built for social distancing.

“Instead of pitting everyone against each other and making it this competitive sport, it’s like more like everyone’s in it and everyone wants to do a good job,” he said.

To share and promote skateboarding and his other interests, Lucas started Spigot, a “music/skate/food/humor magazine,” with articles written by Lucas and his friends and aided by Lucas’ father. It’s available at La Jolla stores such as Smallgoods and Bird Rock Surf Shop, Lucas said.

So far, six issues of Spigot have been printed. Lucas aims to be a journalist someday. He’s interviewed local surfers such as Richard Kenvin, Skip McCullough and Jacob “Zeke” Szekely, along with skate pro Wes Kremer.

Lucas and a friend, Muirlands seventh-grader Danny Ruiz, also started the Dowling Street Skate Club, making stickers, shirts and other skateboarding merchandise, though they’re not selling anywhere yet.

“We hope that it will become something; we’ll get into stores maybe,” he said.

Lucas hopes to see a dedicated skate park come to La Jolla. “There are 56 skate parks in San Diego County, none in La Jolla,” he said.

“I feel like if they just spent a couple thousand dollars and built a skate park — it doesn’t have to be full scale, it just has to be a little skate park — it’d be really great and really fun for everyone.” ◆