The importance of skateboarding

I miss my skateboard. I had a Powell Peralta deck, with Bones wheels and
Tracker trucks. Everything but the deck I got for Christmas when I was
9. My Dad promised to help me build a deck. So we bought some plywood,
and erected an elaborate scheme of clamps, counterweights, and a hose
out of which flowed endless boiling water from Nevada's angry depths.
The wood bent, and a tail was formed, so I drew a shape and we cut the
deck. My Dad was (is?) kind of into fiberglass, so we fiberglassed it. I
grip taped some bear claw designs into the top and wore by high top
vans. But, well sorry Dad - the deck pretty much sucked, it was too
heavy - but it didn't matter much anyways, our sidewalkless street
seemed to be paved upside down and the wheels yearned for something
smooth. Somehow it didn't stop Mark across-the-street though. Mark
needed skateboarding more than I ever did.

Skateboards were not allowed at school. But Mark bought a gigantic bag
and put his books in it and sometimes his skateboard too. This pissed
the principal off to no end - I remember him, Vince Ames, marching out
to the bus line and demanding to search Mark's bag. Didn't he have
better things to do? Mark, a feisty 5th grader, resisted but principals
have power and he opened Mark's bag - sorry dude no skateboard here! It
was great. Sadly, Mark killed himself 5 years later.

I resurrected my love for skating in college. I found my 3rd grade
trucks and wheels and bolted them onto a new old school deck I bought.
Skating the smooth sidewalks under the hazy glow of LA County midnight
made me feel in control despite everything else spinning crazily into a
world much larger, harder, complex and wonderful than I had ever imagined.

A few years later we regularly managed to find someone to drive a dozen
(sometimes just 3) of us up past Snoop Dogg's house and drop us in the
hilly frontier of Los Angeles a few miles away from school. The
steepness, the smoothness, the utter emptiness at 2am was perfection.
There was 1 stop light for every mile or so of the about 3 mile course,
and if you hit the lights right you never had to kick once. We slalomed,
we street luged on our stomachs, we rode with our pants around our
ankles and peed as the world whizzed by at fifteen miles per hour.

It was in those days when I reached the ultimate for any skater of any
generation. I landed myself in Thrasher Magazine - the very same that I
used to read with Mark before we flung ourselves off his backyard ramp
into the hard dirt. That's me, Trevor, Charles, Josh, Dan and don't
forget Justin behind the camera.

Poser of the month, Thrasher Magazine

A few weeks ago I was out running and some Malawian kids had a crappy
old board (probably a Nash). I jumped on, and was still able to slide
around a 180 even if I was unable to ollie. Next time I am in the US I
think I need to find a shop with some old school gear.

3 Response to The importance of skateboarding

  1. The Juice says:

    It's amazing what a little smoke and mirrors can do...

    Life was much simpler when our biggest concerns were getting someone to the light ahead of the pack in order to press the Ped-Xing button or trying to outrun the Campus Security golf carts.

  2. Jani says:

    Excellent post :)

  3. Adam says:

    I swear I was in that picture. Where the hell am I?

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