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Small Thrills, Smaller Skateboards at Fingerboarding Festival

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Those hours spent in 8th grade Algebra class mimicking ollies with with a two-inch fingerboard? It’s all about to pay off. (Courtesy Kristian Buenconsejo)

Growing up in the late ’90s and early aughts — when the internet hadn’t yet taken hold, and the outside world felt endlessly inviting — almost every kid I knew either skated or had an older sibling who did. Whether you were a skater yourself or not didn’t really matter: there was still the ritual of playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater on Nintendo 64 while wearing Osiris D3s, or frequenting the local skate shop just to hang out.

And for those of us who couldn’t do more than kick-push ourselves on the kitchen linoleum? We found smaller thrills fingerboarding on the miniature wheels of Tech Decks at the school cafeteria table. We didn’t have a name for those loose fingerboard jams back then. The current generation is more organized, though, and they’re taking the craft to another level with custom mini skate parks, tournaments and sponsorships (there’s now a national USA Fingerboard League and professional fingerboarders).

In the Bay Area, fingerboarders are doing their part to keep micro-skateboarding alive with independent pop-up events. None seem doper than Fingerboard Fest, a three-hour finger-thrashing event at Tamper Room — a cafe, gallery and creative space in Fremont’s Pacific Commons — complete with loaner boards, coffee, and exclusive fingerboard merch.

Kristian Buenconsejo, also known as Dudr, is a fingerboarder from San Jose who designs his own micro boards and obstacles. (Kristian Buenconsejo)

San Jose’s Kristian Buenconsejo is the organizer. A mechanical engineer by day, Buenconsejo designs fingerboard obstacles and boards in his spare time under the pseudonym Dudr. He’s collaborating with Tamper Room’s Imran Najam-Noveno to host this event for the niche community.

If you’ve never attended a formal fingerboard session, it’s an impressive display of finger agility and new age tricks. Videos online of young and old fingerboarders abound — from fish-eye productions of fingerboard freestyles to brand-sponsored content from pro fingerboard teams. The activity has even become popular with rappers like UglyFace — whose skits on albums and videos often reference Tech Decks — as well as designers and makers around the globe who print their own custom fingerboards and obstacle courses.

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Though skating is inherently rebellious — risking one’s ankles by kick-flipping down a set of stairs or grinding the handrail — the spirit of skate culture, distilled down to its most essential components, is mostly about chilling and passing the time with friends. Fremont’s Fingerboard Fest should provide all of that and more for the Bay’s most active fingerboarders.

Fingerboard Fest gets underway on Saturday, Feb. 17, at Tamper Room (43737 Boscell Rd., Fremont) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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