10 Questions for Leucadia skateboard advocate Thomas Barker


Thomas Barker is the Director of Research for The International Association of Skateboard Companies.

He was the lead advocate for getting a skatepark included in the Encinitas Community Park, and is a lifelong skateboarder, as well as a volunteer with the Rollin’ From the Heart Foundation. A North County resident, these days he calls Leucadia home.

Barker has worked in the skateboard industry since he was 12 years old. His family started Clive Backpacks out of their travel gear brand, Eagle Creek, and he worked there throughout high school.

He was a staple of the Moonlight Beach Flat Bar Friday scene in the early 2000s, has traveled and skated every inch of southern California, and produced the underground classic, “The Apt C Video.” He has worked with some of the biggest names in skateboarding, including Jamie Thomas and Tony Hawk.

After a decade in the skateboard industry, he went back to school to pursue his passion of giving back to community through nonprofit work. He now works for the International Association of Skateboard Companies, studying skateboarding market, participation and general trends.

What brought you to Encinitas?

I grew up at the bottom of Paint Mountain in Elfin Forest, and at that point not many kids lived out there. I could see all of Encinitas from up on the mountain and I just imagined all the fun that was going on below me. As soon as I was able to, I moved to Encinitas. Plus, it’s like skateboarding’s Hollywood, so it’s a good place to be based to be in the skateboard industry.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Encinitas?

Fix Leucadia Park up and continue with that original plan. Most people don’t realize that Leucadia Park was supposed to be part of a long-term plan to have a skate spot at every community park in Encinitas. Most people thought Leucadia Park was supposed to be a full skatepark and got really upset when it was built (it is a Certified Piece of Suck, according to Thrasher Magazine). I just want to add some ledges and banks there and see the rest of that plan completed. Make skatespots as ubiquitous as basketball courts.

Also, I want a skate bowl at Pacific View!

Who or what inspires you?

My parents.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight (12), who (living or deceased) would you invite?

Leila Steinberg and 2pac, Presidents Obama and Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Terry Gross, Tom Penny, Shane Cross, Keenan Milton, Marc Johnson and all of my grandparents. Of course my girlfriend, Rose, would be there as well. Jorge’s would cater the party.

What are your favorite movies?

“Frontline” documentaries, Flip “Sorry,” éS “Menikamit,” Zero’s “Dying to Live,” Mystery “Black and White,” “The APT C video,” “Get Weird,” 411VM issue “30,” “Lord of the Rings,” Harry Potter, “Ghostbusters,” “Stripes” and “Caddyshack.”

What is your most prized possession?

The skate museum I’ve been accumulating the last two decades. I have a piece of the world’s first skatepark and lots of other random artifacts I’ve collected.

What do you do for fun?

Skate with my friends at Poods Park, listen to NPR while playing FIFA, walks on the beach, and watching the Chargers and European Futbol.

What is it that you most dislike?

What is the opposite of enlightened? Close-minded?

What would be your dream vacation?

I’ve already been on it: Barcelona, 2004. My entire group of high school friends took off to Barcelona to skate and party after graduation. Someday someone will make a movie about that trip.

However, a miniramp on the beach in a tropical location with buddies sounds nice.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Do the right thing.