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Catholic messages on skateboards? Yes, and the results are stunning


Courtesy of Motherboards

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 02/06/20

Denver company shines a light into the skater world with their cool Catholic skateboards and snowboards.

The story of salvation is as old as humanity, but in the skateboard world, it feels new. In a market crowded with “anti-authoritarian” and sometimes disturbing visual art, one small company is putting gorgeous Catholic art and themes on skateboards—and filling a real need for many skaters.

Aleteia had a chance to talk with Lisa Fixler, founder and president of Motherboards. A Catholic mom who lives in Denver, Fixler vividly remembers the moment that inspired her to start the company:

My youngest son’s best friend was over at our house with his skateboard. I looked down at his board on my kitchen floor and felt truly appalled that it was in my house! I was struck by two things in particular: the horrible Satanic art on the board, and that both my son and his friend actually claimed they liked it. It was “cool” to them. That the designs seemed to celebrate something clearly nefarious was one thing. But the fact my son thought it was cool hit me like a brick.

Fixler decided to spend some more time exploring the world of skateboard art, and what she saw appalled her:

I took a trip to the mall to peruse the skate stores. Here were some of the design choices I saw: A Hail Satan deck (that actually said “Hail Satan”) with a goat’s head with red eyes, a board with marijuana leaves, a board covered with topless women. There HAD to be a way to counter this … The subtle, almost subconscious impact art like this could have on an impressionable kid frankly made my blood boil.

Most Catholic parents would be concerned about the impact of such images on their children, but Fixler took things a step further. She began to wonder if there was a way for their Catholic faith to be a part of her sons’ beloved skateboarding hobby.

Courtesy of Motherboards

“I knew then and there this was something I had to tackle,” she says. “Whether this company became successful or not, I knew this was a calling for me, and so I went to work.”

Fixler dove headfirst into commissioning Catholic artwork that would also appear to fit the “cool/rad” styles that are so popular on skateboards. The stunning skateboards that were produced checked all the boxes: They not only had a positive message, but also featured the skate-style artwork young people wanted.

Courtesy of Motherboards

The boards became a way for Catholic skaters to not just bring their faith into their hobby, but to honor it:

“It’s not only OK to have religion in your life, but to wear it proudly, to rejoice and celebrate your Catholic faith. We let youth know that you can be ‘cool’ and at the same time wear the banner of Catholicism without losing some of that ‘cool.’”

While her work began with filling an unmet need for skateboards with more wholesome images, Fixler quickly realized that the skateboards could have an impact not just on her own children and their friends, but on other skaters who perhaps had never before been exposed to Catholic images.

“I wanted a way to bring some of the power of these sacred Catholic images into what can sometimes be a dark and troubled venue – skateparks. They are full of mostly kids who are completely un-catechized, never pray, and have never seen the inside of a church,” she says. “My hope is that our deck art helps start a conversation that eventually leads to conversion.”

Courtesy of Motherboards

Fixler’s work making a product for Catholic youth is especially meaningful given trends in the Church today. More and more, young people are seeking a return to tradition, and wanting to be rooted in centuries of ancient practice.

“We see a tremendous and exciting change happening in our faith, being led by the youth.,” Fixler said. “We see the resurgence of love for traditional Catholicism: the Latin Mass, Adoration, prayer, the sacraments, virtuous behavior.”

Motherboards skateboards fit perfectly with this trend, helping Catholic skaters to joyfully embrace a fun hobby while bringing the Gospel message to the new generation.

“We want to help celebrate the beauty and awesomeness of our faith. We want to support that counter-cultural movement,” Fixler says. “We want to provide products that support the faith and that celebrate the faith.”

Courtesy of Motherboards

It looks like her products are accomplishing that goal already. One example of these great skateboards in action can be seen in the work of Brother Gabriel Cortes, a Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate and amazing trick skater, whom Motherboard sponsors.

Skaters (and their parents!) everywhere can celebrate these beautiful skateboards that feature a positive, wholesome message. And if the boards open a door to conversation with other young people about the message of salvation, that’s one more reason to rejoice.

Read more:
The Skateboarding Friar that Took Home an Emmy

Read more:
Skateboarding Songwriter Josh Garrels Is on Fire with Faith

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