Raised in the Venice skateboarding scene and a pro since age 12, Eric “Tuma” Britton is now an elder statesman of the sprawling beachside skate park they call the Breeding Ground. Open since October 2009, the 16,000-square-foot, multimillion-dollar park honors a rich skate heritage that extends back to the Dogtown days, when an empty swimming pool was about as good as it got. In fact, local and pro skateboarders provided design input for the park, which features bowls that resemble haphazardly shaped backyard pools.
Britton, who's become a mentor to young skaters at the park — including his young son — calls out by name skaters who are tearing it up and taking the sport into a new generation: Shane Borland, Melissa “Lizard” O'Grady, Desmond Shepherd (the “quintessential punk rock kid”).
“It all started right here. It's all because of the Breeding Ground,” he says. “And we can't forget it.”