Skateboarding was my first love. It was the first thing that seemed to come to me on its own; the first thing I couldn’t wait to do when I got up, whether or not anyone else was around or doing it. I did it for me, and the feeling I got.
In my teenage years, it signified so much of what I felt: rebelliousness, restlessness, creativity, fun, physicality, and a way of looking at the world around me differently. Pavement and concrete became both a canvas and a playground. Skateboarder Jason Adams says it best in a short video that captures just about everything I feel, remember, and look forward to with skateboarding (the video, not just the quote):
“I remember my biggest fear in life was to grow up and be normal. I was terrified of that.” -Jason Adams
I was 13 when I got my first skateboard. It was a Sims Flagship from The Sunshine House in Ocean City. It looked like the cover for The Who’s Greatest Hits, a British flag close up. I can’t count how many more I went through over the next five years. I plastered my walls with photographs from Thrasher and Transworld Skateboarding Magazines. Skating was an activity, sport, and art form that defined my teenage years.
Skateboarding resurfaced for me about 10 years ago, when I bought myself an Element Skateboard for my 35th birthday. My daughters got a kick out of watching me ollie over things in the driveway, but it didn’t give me the feeling I used to get as a kid. Then Landy Cook grabbed a hold of long distance skating, and a few of us would meet in the pre-dawn dark with headlamps and skate from Easton to Oxford and back before work. This was closer to what skating used to feel like, but limited.
Now we’ve hit a sweet spot with the surf/skate flow that Carver Skateboards has made a wave of. It’s not about tricks or hopes of being a great skater. It’s flow, it’s fun, it’s getting lost in the moment. It’s hearing your friends in their 40s and 30s, during their lunch breaks, or mornings or evenings, outside carving around on a skateboard. It’s riding skateboards to work. As a couple friends put it, it’s “carve therapy.”
It’s meeting as a group in the mornings to surf on asphalt and imbibe a sunrise, talking about life, fatherhood, camping, and stoking the fire of being alive and having fun; making mornings, days, life, a little different. There is something to skateboarding now, as years ago, that says life on your own terms.
* Image at the top is a still/screenshot of Carver Skateboarder Yago Dora from the video, “Under the Above.”