Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash
Every once in a while (a lot), I'll get some crazy idea that pops into my head and I feel compelled to share it with the world.
This post will be about just that.
Now, I want you to read this with a totally open mind, knowing that there is such a small, minute chance of this happening at all, but you definitely can't just rule it out.
A SKATEBOARDING DRAFT
Yeah, I said it. Can you imagine?
This idea came to me out of nowhere last week when I was flipping on the TV and stumbled upon the NFL draft.
I thought, "What if skateboarding had a draft one day?".
I immediately brushed it off as being lame and that I should carry on with my day. But the thought stuck with me. It kept coming back for more. I couldn't break it.
So, I figured I'd share it with you and get your thoughts.
Can you ever see this happening?
As I've mentioned before on the podcast, skateboarding is already pretty significant in the world of sports. Probably the most significant it's been in a long, long time. Basically, it's BIG. But it's going to grow even more with events like the Olympics, Street League, and just the fresh batch of insanely talented riders that are out there these days.
It's a good time to be following the sport. Trust me.
Photo by HENCE THE BOOM on Unsplash
Can you imagine if it really does happen down the road?
Who would be the Roger Goodell of skateboarding?
"And in the 2028 Skateboarding Draft, Santa Cruz Skateboards, selects (insert the name of some pro's kid here) from San Diego, CA".
A skater in his home, surrounded by family and friends, crying and talking to the team manager on the phone.
He hugs his family, and slaps on a Santa Cruz hat, knowing that his life has changed for the better. He is now a millionaire.
Okay, well maybe not a millionaire, but you get my point. It something that future generations just might see or experience.
What are your thoughts? Can you see something like this happening down the road? Or do I need to get more sleep?
Photo by Sean Stratton on Unsplash
Okay, I have something that I need to get off my (bare) chest.
I still don't get the whole "skate without a shirt" vibe.
Never have. Never will.
Now, let me explain some of my reasoning as I know many of you out there still ride half-naked on your four wheels. I probably only tried it a couple of times back in the day when I was younger, and much skinnier. I wouldn't dare try this today while rocking my #dadbod. I'd probably get arrested.
Sure, there are plenty of places all over the world that are so hot during the summer that it makes sense, but I will always be sweaty t-shirt guy for life.
Skateboarding without a shirt also made me feel so vulnerable and exposed. I just couldn't get used to the feeling. Nah, I'm good. Thanks.
Plus, falling sucked and you end up with dirt all over your back, chest, arm pits, butt crack, etc. I like knowing that if my body is headed towards hot pavement that I'm going to crash to the ground with a t-shirt layer to protect me.
I feel that it also serves as a potential distraction as it adds another element to think or worry about. Skaters already get in the zone and focus on landing tricks, but why add something to mix that could cause more harm.
It's estimated that there are roughly 65,000 skateboarding injuries per year. That's about 176 per day.
Skateboarding has been around for decades, as well as shirts, but the two often times don't go together.
How do you stand on the whole skateboarding without a shirt deal?
Unless you are Mike Vallely you are probably not rolling around the streets rocking a helmet and that's okay.
I get it.
Helmets often are looked down upon as being lame and can also have an impact on your performance. They can also save you from the grim reaper.
The amount of damage that can be done to one's brain is increasing drastically every day/month/year. Tricks are also getting bigger and bigger and are being attempted or done in the Golden Age of Social Media. Today there is way more pressure to pull off insane or NDB tricks to show the world.
I'll admit, I never wore a helmet unless I was at a park or somewhere that required me to do so. During those times I would be thankful that I had my helmet on. It gave me a sense of security. A feeling that I knew I could go all out and push my limits to the max.
More often than not, I never even thought about wearing a helmet in the street back in the day. Even after launching off my friends 4' launch ramp. Yeah, you read that right 4 feet high. I'll never forget the feeling of approaching it. The ramp almost seemed to go on forever then SILENCE. I was floating above the concrete with air flowing through my hair...without a helmet.
I've been very fortunate enough to not have too many Marty McFly moments of bouncing my head on the pavement.
Now I do remember hitting my head on the ground really badly one night back in the day. A close friend and I were skating to the local convenience store as we often did for some late-night snacks.
We were cruising along as we always, but for some reason (maybe because it was at night time) I had forgotten that there was a huge uneven part of the sidewalk with about a 1" crack.
I remember I was going pretty fast and then all of a sudden hitting the crack, which threw me to the ground as I bounced the back of my head on the sidewalk.
It went dark for a second and I recall seeing what I though were stars as most people describe. It was super scary and I don't even think I ever told my parents about it.
Maybe I did, but I can't remember. No pun intended.
I also don't think there was any long-term damage done as I've since had a CAT scan on my brain due to frequent migraines (not related to skating). Everything checked out at the time. I got lucky.
If I were to guess how many street skaters actually wear helmets today I would say maybe 5-7%. That's just a gut check guess. I'll be sure to do a follow up number down the road as I do more research on this topic. It's not a lot and I bet my number is pretty damn close or even a bit high.
Nevertheless, It's a topic that is definitely not going away soon. It's a sports-wide issue that has only just barely seen the light.
With that, what is it going to take in order to cause a huge shift in the other direction? The death of a prominent rider? I sure hope not.
Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash
Just in the past year alone we've already seen some pretty gnarly slams around the world. Jamie Foy and Ivan Montero instantly come to mind.
And more recently, Dustin Dollin who took a really bad slam filming the latest Independent Trucks' Video "Scabs for Slabs". Some scary stuff indeed. Check out the video on Thrasher's website.
Bouncing your head on the ground is slowly losing it's cool factor.
Sure, it all really comes down to each individual knowing their limitations and choosing to put on a helmet for times when things could really ugly or deadly. But is it really worth the risk? Some would say, yes.
It's helmet pioneers like Mike V. who is leading by example. I believe that others will soon follow, but it's going to be a slow and gradual process.
How do you stand on the whole helmet for street skating issue?
As I've mentioned before, there are so many good things to note about skateboarding.
And the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
I'm also not only talking about the potential physical health benefits you get from rolling around on a board with four wheels. You will also gain a ton of mental confidence which could help you be able to tackle most of your crazy everyday life as well.
With that, let's start with the obvious.
Skateboarding is great exercise.
Plain and simple.
Even if you are just rolling around the neighborhood you are already reaping the benefits of the sport. Heck, even if you are falling down you are still BURNING calories. Talk about a win, win. And did I just bust out a "Heck"?
Per the Harvard Medical School you can burn up to an average of 222 calories per each 30 minute session. That's at least the equivalent of one of your favorite fast food items or a solid IPA. Nice!
As I've gotten older I find that I can usually hang pretty good for about an hour. That is if I did some proper stretching, etc. (which I often times forget to do). Anything more than an hour and I'm asking for some pains in random places the next couple days. All of course, worth it.
So if you hate running on a treadmill or flexing at your local gym, I suggest you check out skateboarding as an option. My guess is that you will get hooked and never look back. You can thank me later.
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
Now, we all know skateboarding is very difficult master at a high level. It's very similar to golf, just less lame rules. You are, however, going to take some slams along the way. It's all part of the package.
But it's whether or not how and when you decide to get up and if you choose to try again is what counts. Doing so gives you so much confidence. I like to say that skateboarding didn't save my life, it MADE my life.
Take a look at all of the high level pros that are out there and look at their body language and demeanor. Their confidence level is usually so high that it shoots through the roof and is blasted into outer space (not literally). That is all due to skateboarding.
And, in the end, when you do finally land that trick you have been putting so much BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS into it feels like the best rush ever. It's almost hard to describe. You are on top of the world for a short moment.
Then you move on to the next trick conquer as you rinse and repeat.
MANAGE STRESS (WHILE TRYING TO MANAGE ANGER)
The world can be a pretty crazy place most of the time, but for skaters who are in the zone it can almost go unnoticed.
You'll see some riders so locked in to accomplishing their tricks that they almost get hit by cars, pedestrians and/or busses. They only have their eye on the prize - landing that one specific trick.
Nevertheless, I can guarantee that when you are in the zone you will not have one thought about all the things that are stressful in your life. Those thoughts just fade away. It's just you, your board, and your mind. Pure bliss.
You will have to manage your anger though. Especially if you are prone to being an a-hole or a loose cannon. We all know them and have them in our circle of friends or family. I say that because skateboarding, much like golf, is very hard to master.
It takes months and years to become really good. And what happens is when you start climbing the ladder of tricks you start to build enough confidence in yourself that you truly expect to land everything, every time.
That unfortunately doesn't happen. Boards then get tossed, snapped in half or thirds, thrown into water, and many other fun ways you will discover to release your frustration. I think back on the time when I used to spit on my board. Yeah, I often times lost my mind too. It happens.
Doesn't this sound fun?
Photo by Zach Lezniewicz on Unsplash
IT'S ACCEPTED NOW
Back when I first started skating it was constantly coming back from the dead. There were decades of regrouping, regrowth, and redefining what it was to be a skateboarder. It has and will always be an individual sport.
One that challenges riders to push themselves to places they have never gone before.
It has also gained a ton of respect and admiration over the years as well. Although there will always be cranky humans that hate everything about skaters and take every moment possible to degrade the sport. They will never take us down. Ever.
Then we have the complete opposite group of teens, moms, dads, grandparents, who are falling in love with the sport even if they've never stepped foot on a board. It's a very interesting time to be a skater and/or follow the sport.
Times sure have changed.
I remember being called "Skater F@g!" "Poser!" and many other names growing up. Some of those people didn't even know anything about me. They had no idea how their words didn't bother me at all. I'm sure many of those people by now have at least played a game of THPS in their time.
Some may have since converted to the dark side an bought a longboard. Hah!
What I'm trying to say is that skateboarding is accepted more now. And by "now" I mean within the last few years and even decade there has been a very monumental shift. One that is still just getting started.
As I mentioned in episode 01 of the podcast just wait until the 2020 Olympics when the sport gets catapulted to another level. Grab your popcorn.
IT CAN HELP CURE RACISM (AND HOMOPHOBIA)
Skateboarding is awesome because our community welcomes all members regardless of their sex, race, age, ability (or disability), etc. How cool is that?
It's very rare to show up to a new or local spot with a bunch of other riders and not instantly feel part of the family. Sure there might be a few bad apples here and there, but overall once you are in the know you are part of something very special.
We belong to a very unique global community that most people will never experience or see. And because many skaters are able to travel the world and see and meet new people of all kind of backgrounds and cultures the momentum of the sport just continues to grow and prosper.
These are just some examples of the many benefits of skateboarding. The confidence, skills, and overall health you get from riding not only works in your current situation, but carries over into your real-world environments as well.
Thanks for reading.
Drop a comment on how you discovered this site and where you are from.
One love, my friends. One love.
If you or your kids are ready to hop the fence and jump into the wonderful world of skateboarding you are in luck. It's not as scary as you think. It's actually the TRICKS that you should be more worried about. But more on that later.
Skateboarding has always been one of the more easier sports to take up. All you really need is a board and some dedication.
However, unless your last name is Hosoi, Caballero, or Hawk it's most likely something that you will not be able to pick up very quickly. Your future weekends will consist of hours upon hours of attempts and failures. And then even more attempts and failures mixed in with some doctor's visits. Nevertheless, nothing is more rewarding than finally landing a trick that you have been busting your butt (literally) for hours/days/weeks/years.
I've been pretty much riding the standard "double tail" or "popsicle" style boards for the last few decades. Some people also call them "double kick" boards. They've always been really good for regular and switch stance tricks. However, there has been an uptick in old-school re-issues of the classic boards many of us grew up with.
I have my eye on you, classic Caballero deck! I can't even recall how many of these I blew through back in the day. If you don't know who Steve Caballero is check out his website at www.stevecaballero.com You can even score one of his classic boards I mentioned above. These are always great gifts as well. (hint, hint).
EVERCHANGING FASHION TRENDS
Now that you are all pumped up, have your deck all set up and ready to roll, you are just about ready to hit the streets. Before you do just be sure to dress accordingly.
Skateboarding has always been about individuality and personal expression so when it comes to the kind of clothes you need to don you are also in luck. Are you sitting down? There is literally NO DRESS CODE. Talk about having options.
When I got started back in the late 80's I had no idea I would be rocking baggy pants in the next decade. Pants so big that I had to trim the bottoms. It all just kind of happened. Thankfully, social media wasn't around then so I am pretty sure there aren't too many photos of me in the wild.
The 90's will always be a stand out decade for skateboarding on many levels. Some may say even a black eye in regards to fashion, but it was a fun time indeed. I mean, I am a 36 waist and was rocking at least 42 waists back then. What were we thinking?
Anyway. As I mentioned, you can wear whatever the hell it is you want in this sport. Most riders today wear t-shirts, polos, button downs, flannels, tank tops, Jerry Rice jerseys, etc. for tops. And for bottoms you can wear shorts, jeans, cargo pants (Camo, but only if you are Josh Kalis or Rob Dyrdek), leggings, Nyjah shorts, sweat pants, track pants or whatever you have in your closet.
The main thing is to wear whatever you feel comfortable in. That's about it.
Just don't over think it. Get up. Get dressed. Go push.
Which reminds me. Proper shoes are really important once you start adding more tricks to your portfolio.
Since you are just starting out I would recommend getting a shoe that has a ton of support for your feet and ankles. Anything high top like Vans or Nike (with tons of air) will be just fine. You can go to any discount shoe store and find pretty much anything on the rack in your size that looks remotely like an athletic show. That is all you'll need at first.
Once you become sponsored you will then be able to get shoes sent to you for FREE. And, when you become good enough as Jamie Thomas you will be able to eliminate shoes all together and simply ride barefoot! Talk about setting some good career goals and saving some money in the process. Win, win.
Okay. Now that you have a board in hand and are dressed from head-to-toe in some comfortable gear, you are now ready to hit the streets. Or the front lawn as I once did.
MUST HAVE BALANCE
There are two main things you will need to learn right away when you are just starting out -- balance and how to push.
You can learn how to balance on a board by just setting it on the grass and pretending to ride and do tricks. This is a perfect place to start and you can take a few falls on softer environment before heading to the concrete jungle. Practice your ollies. Your manuals. Your Comb Your Hair airs. Get creative.
Sidewalk cracks are also great places to learn how to balance and ollie. Just place the wheels right on top/inside them and practice away. Practice balancing here as well. The sky's the limit from here. Just be careful as often times when you ollie your board will not necessarily land back in the crack. This will be your true test of balance, grasshopper.
Now lastly, and most importantly you must decide how you are going to push.
There is either "regular" foot where your left foot is in front and you push with your right foot.
Or "goofy" where your right foot is up front and you push with your left.
Notice how I said that regardless of the stance your front foot must be up towards the front of the board, right around the bolts.
I mention this because unless you are under the age of 3 or are skating switch stance I would definitely advise from pushing with your foot placed on the back of the board. Fact. This type of pushing style helped inspire the name of this website.
It's called pushing MONGO and you don't want to get caught up in the bad habit of pushing that way. Trust me.
NOW GO RIDE
Okay. Now that you're all set with a board, shoes, clothes (and maybe some protective gear), and tons of determination you are ready to hit the streets (or ramps). Get out there and practice balancing and pushing. Roll on every surface as possible - my favorite places are smooth hallways at schools and covered parking garages.
The most important thing is to just have fun and not worry about what all the other riders are doing or landing. Your time will come and before you know it I will be rolling around on one of YOUR boards.
Until next time.
Oh, and thank you skateboarding.
Hey, what’s up. Thanks for stopping by.
I wanted to do a quick post to introduce myself and give you a little background into my experience with this great sport we call skateboarding.
It all started about 30 years ago.
For some reason (maybe because it’s been over three decades?) I can’t remember how I got my first board. It was most likely a hand-me-down from friend-of-a-friend.
It was green banana board - Variflex, I believe. It had zero concave. Zero grip tape. And big ass wheels that were super fast. Rollin'!!
****I tried to find a picture online, but no luck. I'll update you once I do. ****
Like many, I started off by rolling around on my knees at the park. However, everything changed once I finally learned how to stand up and cruise down the sidewalk.
Needless to say, I was hooked from the start. No more baseball or soccer for me from that point on. Nope! I was done and on a new mission.
Check out this backside wall ride from many moons ago. Clearly, this was not shot on an iPhone.:
What's great about skateboarding is that it is way more than just a sport. It’s a lifestyle.
A lifestyle that sticks with you forever.
You never look at concrete, buildings, benches, and rails the same way again.
You notice potential skate spots in random places.
You get to make lifelong friendships. You also get to interact with police officers and security guards daily -- more on this at another time.
It’s also a sport that welcomes ALL races, genders, shapes, sizes, ages, species, etc. It’s a wonderful community that I am glad to be a part of.
With that being said, I have 3 main goals for this site.:
1. Continue to help spread knowledge of the sport
2. Meet and interact with awesome people much like yourself
3. Learn something new each day
I’d love to hear about your experience or greatest moment to date. Or, if you are a new rider I’d love to hear how your journey is going so far. Comment below.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Below is one of the first rails I did a caveman on. Short and sweet. Santa Clara, CA Circa '92.
Skateboarding changed my life.