Skating “Five-0”

Tanner is a student at USC and one of my closest friends. He grew up in Brea California, on the boarder of Orange Country. He was a part of both soccer, skate, and fishing communities as a kid, as well as the public school community and his local community.


Performance: “So we’re at the skate park, and everybody has to wear helmets at the skate park – it’s the law. obviously we’re all skating and nobody is wearing helmets because… come on. haha. So we will all be skating and somebody is sitting at the top and all of a sudden you will hear somebody yell “Five-0!” And then you hear it and everybody panics and then runs to the bleachers and acts like they aren’t skating. I mean you say Five-0 because of the whole Hawaii Five-0 thing, and obviously the cops are showing up, and if you’re skating around and you don’t have a helmet on you get like a $200 ticket…which is like…not chill.”

Do you think that’s just a thing in Brea (where he is from) or do you think that’s a larger skate community thing? i asked.

“I mean i’ve been to other skate parks in like Chino and Santa Anna and people will yell Five-0 and the exact same thing happens. so yeah, I guess you could say it’s a bigger thing. One time though I was skating in Palmdale and yelled it and everybody thought I meant somebody was getting arrested and got really sketched out. I guess it means different things sometimes.”


Analysis: I believe that this skate folklore has both multiplicity and variation. As I never skated when I was younger, I had never heard of this warning call. It’s like a sort of code to say that cops are nearby without notifying the cops that the kids know. It is interesting that Tanner referenced a potential cause for the saying, the TV series Hawaii Five-0. The saying seems to sometimes mean different things in different skating communities but always has something to do with the police.