So, fast forward eighteen months or so, and I find myself at a vert comp, with a whole heap of guys of a similar age to me. And this is where things took a different turn. For while I didn't feel the urge to take on the vert stuff (although, it was so good to watch), my stoke from just being there was enough to make me want to start skateboarding in a real way.
After some thought I decided that if I'm going to do it then I want to skate parks, rather than street, there are some really good ones around and if I time things right I can avoid the youth and the hoards of scooter riding kids(!). Early mornings and later evenings were what I had in mind. Based upon my reluctance to use my precious collectibles, I also decided to buy a new set up - although initially I was just going to treat myself to wheels, trucks and a few bits, a trip to the local skate shop was all it took to go fully new-school with my choice of desk also. The friendly advice from the guy that runs it saw me walk away with an Anti Hero, Tony Mioriana. This model is of a decent size, a really great shape, and an awesome graphic too! I left that shop a very happy chap and ready to session those parks.
I get the feeling that the journey that I have taken to get back in to skateboarding, well in to my forties is by no-means a unique. For while there are lots of guys that never stopped, or if they did it wasn't for very long, I know that many more have ventured back in to the culture by way of collecting, and then having the same what the hell moment that I did. This is great, for the fact that there is now a much older scene bolsters my enthusiasm, not to mention confidence, plus it just feels good to be a part of something, sharing the experience. For many years I held back thinking that I was too old, it would hurt if I slammed, in fact the list of reasons for not going was a long one. But you know, it is all to easy to talk yourself out of doing something, based upon reasons that don't pass close scrutiny (apart from the hurting myself bit, that really I do take as a serious threat!).
In general, the view taken by society is that skateboarding is something for kids, nothing more. The scathing and badly researched pieces of sloppy journalism that I have read recently can only reinforce peoples prejudice towards older guys skateboarding. But the reality is that age is not a factor when it comes to such things, and it is awesome that so many people have realised this and are ignoring the sneers and sniggers from the general populous. The result is a shoal new scene, guys, and girls too, are doing something that is a whole lot of fun, and offering a lot of encouragement to those, who would love to but...as I did.
It would be easy to take the criticisms as offered by the main stream media to heart, but I am so glad that this has not dampened the energy and enthusiasm that is being generated in older skateboarding right now. I find it really interesting that skateboarding culture is going through this latest stage, for in real terms it is still young, so there are no previous generations to follow. I, like so many others were a part of the Bones Brigade to H-Street era, a critical few years that saw skateboarding change in a massive way. Boards evolved, tricks got bigger and way more technical, and the culture altered at an incredibly fast pace. Driven by the thriving industry and the fact that it was skateboarder owned at the time, innovation was given providence and the scene flourshed. But then as with many things, money took over and things took a turn for the worse, in my opinion anyway. It was at this stage in the early 90's that I stepped away from it, not in a conscious way, I just got more in to surfing, which was always my main thing. But I have always kept an eye on what is happening in skateboarding, it's great to watch good skateboarding in any of its forms, and while a part of me does regret not keeping it up, I can't change that. But I am so stoked to have re discovered it, and that I am able to share the whole experience with a group of people who were also there the first time around. I think the effect of this is that feeling is one of familiarity, but on the whole very fresh.
The groms of the eighties are re-emerging, a little bit grey, slightly slower maybe, but certainly full of stoke!
|The journey started here, the first of many!|