Two Felons Skate Co.

Best Skateboard Shop, August 2009

The notion of a rough-around-the-edges, family-owned-and-operated board shop is almost an anachronism—a relic from the era before X Games and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. The typical skateboard retailer is likely to be more about fashion than hardware, to be jockeying for a cut of the extreme sports lifestyle market and not devoted to the freedom engendered by four wheels, eight bearings, two trucks, and a concave maple deck. You can get hooked up at a boutique with history, such as ZJ Boarding House in Santa Monica, or one with bells and whistles, like Skatelab in Simi Valley, but it is hard to find one with more skate-or die swagger than Two Felons Skate Co., a lonely storefront on the low-rent side of Whittier. With nearly 500 boards in stock—for street skaters, vert skaters, downhill skaters, pool skaters, and none for the surf or snow—Two Felons is as uncompromising as its owners, brothers Travis and Brandon Swope, one with a conviction for drugs, the other for auto theft. Each boasts a tattoo of the company’s logo, as do a dozen other loyalists, and any customer willing to join them is promised the ink for free and a hella good party.