Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I can safely say that skateboarding changed my life.
The first time I stepped on a skateboard was in grade 2. Now I don’t want to say I’ve been skateboarding since then, but that was the first time I tried it. My friend Chris and I would see older kids skating near us all the time and we wanted to be like them. He had two really shitty boards and I had the time of my life kicking around on it. Of course when I was 8 years old I had the attention span of a goldfish and moved on. But the important part is that I distinctly remember loving the feeling of riding around on a skateboard.
Sidebar: I also remember that both of these shitty skateboards had wicked graphics on the bottom. One was a big mutant bat thing screaming. The other was a skeleton playing poker and was called “The Higher Roller”. I didn’t appreciate them at the time, but I would do terrible things to come into possession of these boards now.
The next time it came back was when the video game “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” came out. The game was everywhere because it was so fun to play and really thrust skateboarding into the mainstream. This game changed my life. My brother and I would play it non-stop. It looked amazing to me. The idea of doing all these manoeuvres on a skateboard was just mind blowing and made me want to do the same. The soundtrack was full of punk that, to me, sounded like the only possible sound that you could skateboard to. I bought the album “Hang Ups” by Goldfinger, only because the first track on it was “Superman”. Other bands on it like The Suicide Machines and The Dead Kennedys are ones that I still enjoy today.
Sidebar again: I would get heavy into ska later in my life. “Hang Ups” and “Destruction by Definition”, which were both featured in this game, became some of my favourites. In fact, I would say that next to only “Three Cheers for Disappointment” “DxD” as it’s known, is my favourite album ever.
So I guess I had the “attitude”, more just a constant willingness to skate, and the soundtrack, all I needed was a board. So with my 11th birthday money I went and bought a skateboard from Wal-Mart. I spent that entire summer skateboarding with my best friend. I didn’t get much better. All my friends got better boards while I just stuck with my piece of crap. This would be important, because seriously this board was god-awful and very hard to get around on. So I stopped skating because my board was such a pain. But my undying interest in the sport never died.
During my teenaged year my high school’s art department had a project where students would paint skateboard decks. They would also sell blank decks for $20. This seemed ideal for me to replace my boat from Wal-Mart. So I bought a blank, painted it black and white checkerboard, reflecting my undying love for ska in high school, and put on my friend’s old trucks. It was far from a great set-up, but I loved it. It also didn’t suck that bad. It also had neon green grip tape. Once I had a deck that I could actually get around on, I was once again freed up to spend countless hours skating in the parking lots of the convenience stores near my house.
I would skate on and off for the remainder of high school, but it was a moment after first year university that really got me going again. I was home from university and had nothing to do, so I went through a bunch of skate videos I had on my computer. Almost’s video “Round 3” immediately inspired me to go and skate and try and become the next Rodney Mullen. Once I had enough money I went out and finally got a pro deck. I also discovered The Bones Brigade around this time, which changed the type of skating I liked forever. “The Search for Animal Chin” is hands down the best skate movie ever.
Now skateboarding is an essential part of who I am. The only time I leave my house without my skateboard is when I know for a fact that I will not be able to bring it into somewhere, or having it will become a huge hassle. The stuff that Koston and Reynolds can do with their skateboards still impresses me more than what any other athlete can do.
One of the things I like most about the sport is the sense of camaraderie between skaters. You immediately have something in common that is a large part of your life. You also immediately have something to do with this person when you hang out. No one cares how good you are, because they were at that point in their skating sometime in their life as well.
The simplicity of the sport is also what keeps me coming back. I’m definitely one of the least technical skaters I know. But that doesn’t matter, because to me, going incredibly fast down a hill on your deck is one of the greatest things that life has to offer.
At least in my mind, I will skateboard for the rest of my life.