“What is that bumpy dark spot on your leg?”
A written account of living as a weird skater kid
My good friend Nat once told me that art is a Band-Aid that keeps getting pulled and doesn’t heal. To understand skateboarding is to understand the art that Nat is talking about. There is no such thing as easy art; it is made with our blood. Years of persistent work and countless injuries. And I can promise you, after all of the effort put in, I still find myself lying on my back on the side of the road with the wind knocked out of me after a mid-sized bail. I still have those Band-Aids lurking the dark scar tissue of my elbows.
That being said, when I signed this plank of wood with my blood in the winter of 2011, it gave me more than I could ever repay. But one point that needs to be understood before anyone enters under the roof of our scene is that 99.9% of the time, downhill skateboarders do not look cool. We don’t have perfectly quaffed hair every time we bomb a hill with wind flowing through luscious locks. We don’t always smile when we are pushing out slides. Skateboarding does not owe you those trivialities.
I don’t want to tell you how to skate. I don’t want to tell you what is “real” skateboarding is. I’m not telling you how to make your art, I want to take a glance at how skateboarding gives us the tools to make better versions of ourselves.
The learning process and the performance of downhill skateboarding are in some ways, meditation. There is a necessity to have the ability to focus all of one’s energy into a single point. To flow out a slide, to make a trick just right, to go just a bit faster. Sometimes the movements need to be more coordinated and less choppy. That results in a bail. Embrace it, do it again. When it works though, it puts the brain into a state of blank bliss. Every part of the body works together to then make what we call style. Your style is a tangible representation of who you are as an artist on wheels. The style will flow right out when living in the moment and letting your body review the muscle memory that is ingrained into your brain. That’s the magic of it.
When I got up after my first fall on a Sector 9 40 inch bamboo cruiser in the chilly November afternoon, my small scrape stung like hell. In retrospect, I’m glad it stung. I decided to push those green sharp lipped wheels up the hill and carve hard side to side. Making it down the second time, I made it with an unmistakable feeling of joy. Joy that I made something right there that I can get better at. I am proud to tell you, I kept falling after that cold California day. If I keep falling, I know I’m going somewhere and I’m excited to tell you all about it. Go out and find your grody Band-Aid that keeps getting ripped off, it’s a story of wandering through the now and its messiness. Entirely new and made through you.
This is not the last installment of “A written account of living as a weird skater kid”, hopefully you folks will see more intricate explanations about the finer details of the scene.
Thanks for listening,