It had been quite some time since I last stepped on a skateboard. I skated throughout my teens and into my 20s slipping in and out of love for skateboarding. Towards the age of 25, I took a hard look at myself and thought ‘I am too old for skateboarding’, my first mistake. Surfing slowly took over and soon my focus became primarily about surfing.
Jump a few years and I am 31, surfing is my primary passion at this point, but due to where I live, this passion only gets exploited on the weekends. I have become an adult by definition, working 38 hours a week, which only leaves the weekends free to explore my interests. For quite some time I kept having dreams about skateboarding and nothing else. I would pass the skate parks and feel envious of those riding and enjoying the sensation that skating creates.
The dreams are more vivid, so vivid they just stick in my mind throughout the day. Whirling and rushing thoughts of just skateboarding, nothing else. I watch a few old classic videos to spark my inner teenager into a euphoric state. Dying to Live by Zero, a video that stuck throughout my youth and would stoke me to get out and skate. I feel sick with excitement, I tell my fiancé, “I want to skate again, but I feel like I am too old?” she gives a sideways glance and simply states “Does Tony Hawk still ride a skateboard?”
The answer I never knew I needed!
I bite the bullet and buy a Flip setup from eBay, fuck it. Delivery takes a few days and is subsequently left at my local post office on a Wednesday, as I was not home to receive. Again, I am classed as an adult now, so I won't be free to pick up my board until Saturday. Saturday rolls around and I am out of the door early! The post office opens at 9 am, I am the first in line. The withered post office worker struggles as she hands me the box, probably not too impressed as her day has just started off by carrying a massive parcel, although light, the box is large.
Like an excited kid at Christmas, I thrash open the box and unveil the holy grail. I am in awe. I quickly tighten the trucks slightly and take it outside for a push. My feet awkwardly find their position as I try to recenter my balance, I start the motion of pushing and feel the rekindled connection to an old friend, passion, and a part of who I am. Again, I am in awe. I push up and down my road several times, swaying side to side to that rush, that motion that I came to know and love. I am flooded with sheer joy and left smiling as I venture back home.
The next day I head to the skatepark. Given I am out of touch with skateboarding and rusty, I figured a 6 am skate would mean no one would be around and I’ll have some alone time to blow off the cobwebs. How I was wrong. The park is semi-full, I hesitate and question if I should just go somewhere quieter and gain confidence in solitude. I am too excited and think ‘fuck it, if you want to skate here then just skate!’
With surfing comes a slight hostility, ask any surfer and they will say that sometimes that’s a weird atmosphere as you paddle up against people you share a common interest with. There are rules in place and respect is to be given should you want to earn it. Skateboarding holds the complete opposite set of rules. I enter the park and instantly people are saying “Hey” or a simple nod to acknowledge and welcome you, it's fucking refreshing.
I have a skate. The warm-up takes a little longer and there were a few bails, although, there is some pleasure within the fall. It wakes you, tests your tolerance, and fires you up to get up and try again. After an hour some tricks come back into play, I surprised myself with a tre flip off a kicker, over a gap to flat. The taps of skateboards and clapping of hands again welcomes me into a community not built on competition but built on sharing the same passion. Something surfing has long lost.
I left the skatepark feeling inspired, refuelled in my passions, and somewhat angry at myself for giving up on skateboarding. For that, I apologise. A hole missing within myself has since been sealed, a vivid connection to my childhood sticking with me as I am now an adult. Thanks to my subconscious for heckling me with copious amounts of skating dreams, knowing I needed to reconnect with myself. As Jay Adams once said: “You did not quit skateboarding because you got old. You got old because you quit skateboarding.”