From the ollie to the upside: Hincks has made skateboarding his thing

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Longtime skateboarder Andrew Hincks has gone from selling boards in his basement to getting involved in stores across Canada.

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Andrew Hincks reckons it was the late 80s when he got his first skateboard.

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It was a garage sale special – five bucks. Turns out it was a Laurel well spent.

Decades later, he is 40 years old. He owns a business in Regina and has an interest in three others — one in Kelowna, one in Saskatoon and one in Hamilton.

All of them peddle merchandise associated with his lifelong passion.

Although skateboarding is now an Olympic sport, there was a time when many considered it nothing more than a nuisance – a mindless pastime of young delinquents.

But those transfixed by the poetry of wood and urethane, artfully handled by deft feet, always knew there was more.

“I don’t know if it was real hate towards skateboarders,” Hincks said, recalling how he heard profanity shouting through car windows while participating in skate sessions in a parking lot.

“It was just more of a jealousy that the world was sort of our playground and we didn’t need to be told what to do and when to do it, unlike most other conventional sports.”

Andrew Hincks, skateboard instructor and owner of 306 SHOP in Regina, flies over a quarter pipe ramp in the store's indoor skatepark in 2018.
Andrew Hincks, skateboard instructor and owner of 306 SHOP in Regina, flies over a quarter pipe ramp in the store’s indoor skatepark in 2018. Photo by BRANDON HARDER /Regina Chief’s Post

In the mid-1990s, the sport was still in its infancy in Saskatchewan. The skaters went their own way, as pioneers. And it was on the prairie frontier, more or less devoid of a skateboarding industry, that Hincks made his first foray into the business.

“I saw an ad on the back of a skateboard magazine offering a wholesale account,” Hincks recalled.

Understanding a thing or two about his family’s retail business, a very young entrepreneur decided to sell some of his possessions at a garage sale to buy a “little pile of skateboards.”

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He recalled his mother later helping him set up a business license to “make it all legit”, so he could sell boards by “word of mouth” from the basement.

It was the summer before he started eighth grade.

“It occurred to me that this might be a possible business venture, to provide Regina with suitable skateboards and to make sure I always have fresh wood,” he said.

It was before the internet. In fact, he conducted all of his business by fax at the time.

“Vendors thought I was like a grown adult,” he said with a laugh.

This 2003 Leader-Post photo shows Andrew Hincks working in a skateboard store in Sherwood Village Mall.
This 2003 Leader-Post photo shows Andrew Hincks working in a skateboard store in Sherwood Village Mall. Photo by Roy Antal /Regina Chief’s Post

Since then, many skateboarders have purchased boards from Hincks. But, at its current location on 9th Ave. North, its 306 SHOP offers more than just merchandise. Its indoor skatepark welcomes riders of all skill levels and even features cameras that allow parents to tune in and check in on their kids.

Hincks said that during its years of operation, its park has regularly hosted a number of community organizations, providing young people from “all walks of life” with a way to stay busy and active.

Even gym class at school will pass from time to time.

Hincks was influenced in his youth by his father, Terry, a former city councilor who played for the Regina Rams in the early 70s and later coached various youth sports including football.

Andrew has learned that giving back to the sport you love can also help you hone your skills.

“I owe everything to skateboarding,” said Hincks, who hopes to pay it forward by helping a new generation of skaters as an instructor.

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He grew up in a town where there weren’t many designated places to skate. As a city councilor, his father helped bring purpose-built concrete to Regina’s skateboarding community.

After Terry died of cancer in 2016, it was decided that a skatepark in Regina would be renamed in his honor.

When city council made the decision, former mayor Michael Fougere recalled Terry speaking “repeatedly” about the importance of a place for skateboarders.

This photo from 2019 shows a newly unveiled plaque designating Terry Hincks Skate Park on Rochdale Boulevard.  Hincks, a former city councilman, died in 2016.
This photo from 2019 shows a newly unveiled plaque designating Terry Hincks Skate Park on Rochdale Boulevard. Hincks, a former city councilman, died in 2016. Photo by BRANDON HARDER /Regina Chief’s Post

Hincks remembers his father supporting him – not just in skateboarding, but in every endeavor he took on.

“Giving back to our passions more than we take is something he definitely coached me on,” Hincks said.

Since those early days, the evolution of the sport has been 180. “No pun intended,” he said.

As for where the sport is going…

“At this point, in this time of humanity, it’s kind of hard to say,” Hincks said, adding that he would like to see bigger and better infrastructure in Regina.

That means more workout facilities, including things like big bowls and halfpipes (U-shaped ramps).

“It’s usually the biggest field that athletes use to train for the X Games or the Olympics, or just to get to the next level,” he said.

This photo from 2004 shows Dustin Porter (left) and Andrew Hincks in the former 306 Hip Hop Sk8shop in Northgate Mall, holding some of the merchandise sold in the shop.
This photo from 2004 shows Dustin Porter (left) and Andrew Hincks in the former 306 Hip Hop Sk8shop in Northgate Mall, holding some of the merchandise sold in the shop. Photo by Don Healy /Regina Chief’s Post

For Hincks personally, it’s about not leaving the cards on the table. He wants to be sure, when he thinks about things, that there will be no “what ifs”.

“I want to create as many opportunities as possible for myself, my family, my friends, my employees, my city, my province and my country. »

306 SHOP owner Andrew Hincks sits in his store on February 5, 2022 in Regina.
306 SHOP owner Andrew Hincks sits in his store on February 5, 2022 in Regina. Photo by KAYLE NEIS /Regina Chief’s Post

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