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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Hubba is a word used by skateboarders to describe a ledge that angles down a set of stairs. It originated from a very famous skate spot in San Francisco near the Justin Herman Plaza on The Embarcadero called Hubba Hideout.
The spot is part of a pedestrian walkway that consists of a set of 6 stairs with large concrete ledges going down the stair on both sides. The spot was named Hubba Hideout because of the hoodlums and addicts that were frequently there looking for a hidden place to engage in illegal activity; The term hubba came from the Bay Area slang term for crack cocaine “hubbas.”[1] This term most likely deriving from the exclamation hubba-hubba, dating it back to about 1988.[2] The spot became a mecca for professional skateboarders who wanted to step it up while in San Francisco and gained more popularity by being published in famous skateboarding magazines such as Thrasher and TransWorld. Eventually the spot attracted the attention of the police which resulted in the addition of metal “skate stoppers,” designed to make it impossible to grind down as well as the demolition of the brick landing and replacement with sand.[1] This didn't stop skaters, though, they were able to remove the stoppers and used wood or a quick setup-up of other materials to replace the landing. In the end though, the spot was set for demolition and became a spot of the past on January 22, 2011.[3]
The word has become more popular as it is now being picked up by BMX and snowboard communities. The word is regularly used by skateboarders as it is much easier than saying “do a frontside grind down that downward ledge beside the stair set.” I think if I become an architect I will start to throw that term around a lot and try and integrate it into the community as a legitimate word. Probably for the purpose of retaining and respecting my roots as a skateboarder but mainly because it's catchy and easy to say. The thing about the word hubba that really interests me is that it is a word that came solely from the culture of skateboarding. It looks at an existing form and gives new meaning to it, implements a new function; the word hubba not only represents a ledge going down a stairset, but the way skateboarders look and interact with the world in a completely different way.

[1] Online. September 2012. Wikipedia.
(accessed November 21, 2012)
[2] Online. October 2007. Blog.
(accessed November 21, 2012)
[3] Online. January 2011. ESPN Action Sports.
(accessed November 21, 2012)

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