SlushCult is a community built on nostalgia

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Bystanders watch and film as a young fingerboarder prepares to do a trick. Photo by Lizeth Martinez/ el Don

On any given weekend, you might spot a skateboarder outside of SlushCult on Fourth Street, performing intricate tricks with ease. He flips his board, lands perfectly on a ramp, and executes a series of seamless maneuvers. Passersby stop to watch, captivated by his skill and precision. This isn’t a typical skateboarder though. Instead of a full-sized skateboard, he’s using a miniature one, riding it with just his fingers. 

Locals wandering past the mini skateboard shop stop to watch or take photos of the outside sessions where groups of people board along tiny ramps, bowls, and other intricate setups. SlushCult has built a bridge between youth and adulthood by connecting lovers of the fingerboard.

The multi-colored corner store usually packs a crowd of twenty to thirty boarders every weekend. This crowd is made up of all types of folks, from swagged-out preteens to boarders in their 30s, trying to take the edge off by landing a tiny kickflip. Meetups at SlushCult garner the attention of people throughout Orange County and Los Angeles. Some of the store’s regulars drive to attend from Long Beach to San Diego every weekend. 

One Slush fan, Reese Medina, shared that he was visiting from Brooklyn, New York and drove over an hour to check out the shop in person. 

“I saw SlushCult meetups on YouTube and wanted to see what it’s all about,” said Reese Medina, who was visiting from New York City. “I feel like it’s not a popular interest, so to see everybody come together like this is worth the trip.”

SlushCult owner Clayton McCarthy takes pride in his colorful wares. Photo by Lizeth Martinez/ el Don

SlushCult’s creator, Clayton McCarthy, converted the previous watch store into a lively hangout, matching Fourth Street’s vibrant atmosphere. Although the store itself is petite, its lease includes a permit that allows for ramps to be set up outside, which gives off a similar feeling to skating outdoors.

SlushCult began as a hobby for the owner. In 2012, McCarthy started designing vibrant streetwear and selling it online. Once his brand began to take off in the digital world, McCarthy decided it was time to open up a shop in the physical world too. The store’s original concept was completely unrelated to fingerboarding when it first opened.

SlushCult as a brand reflects McCarthy’s love of ’90s nostalgia, so along with his designs, he sold iconic items from the era: yo-yos, Tech Decks, and other random treats from his childhood. In his new shop, Clayton rediscovered his love for the Tech Deck and soon began to learn about the fingerboard scene on the internet.

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“If you have fingerboarders, you need a fingerboard skate shop. I already have the clothing store, I could very easily just start selling fingerboards in the store; we already have Tech Decks,” McCarthy states. 

“I bought a handful of stuff from a couple of brands that I knew, and it all sold out. I bought more, and it all sold out. It kind of slowly took over the store where now it’s 90% fingerboard and 10% clothes.” McCarthy’s passion for skate culture runs much deeper than the mini board. He’s a well-seasoned vet in the skateboarding industry, having worked in shops since he was 15 to 26 years old.

The store’s first meetup was made up of a mere six people. Over the years, the front of Slush’s store has always been packed with skateboarders out front each weekend. 

Aaron Salinas is one of Slush’s regulars, visiting any weekend that he’s not scheduled for work. “In a corny way, [this is] an escape from life,” he stated. Just kinda get away from everything. A sense of community, not being from here.”

Salinas rediscovered the fingerboard after a skateboarding injury and has since found a tribe of like-minded enthusiasts. “I feel like this place, Slushcult, actually created a community that I wasn’t even aware of,” said Salinas. “I came here one day, started meeting people and now I shake hands with like half the people here.”

The meetups have grown into community events, often featuring free activities, raffles, and even video showings at the nearby Frida Cinema. One notable event drew 200 attendees for a fingerboarding video premiere, highlighting the community’s enthusiasm. 

SlushCult has become a cornerstone of the SoCal fingerboarding scene, nurturing a unique subculture that blends skateboarding passion with nostalgic flair. McCarthy’s vision and dedication have turned a small streetwear brand into a beloved community hub, where every weekend, fingerboarders of all ages and backgrounds come together to celebrate their craft.

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