When I was a kid I wasn't allowed to own a skateboard until I was sixteen years old. My parents, as doctors, tended to see skateboards as injurious contraptions ridden only by masoquistic no-goodnicks. Of course, banning children from something generally has the effect of increasing it's appeal, so I would borrow friend's boards and over the years taught myself how to not bail too hard.
When I turned sixteen I immediately bought a longboard, and spent the next many years happily hurtling down whichever steep hills my path crossed.
Two summers ago there was a long flat spell, when southern Vancouver Island got absolutely no surf for months on end. To keep in shape and to practice my top turns and cutbacks, I started riding a normal-length skateboard in the skatepark. This led to attempting tricks, which meant a fair amount of painful bailing, but within a couple months I became reasonably proficient at riding transitions and ollie-ing up curbs. I developed a fluid, surf-inspired style, not overly impressive to the street-style groms, but satisfying.
That was the year I realized I was getting old. Watching twelve and thirteen year olds take endless bails on the concrete, I realized that my resilience was only a fraction of theirs. When I went down it took a week or more for the sprains to heal. Frequent yoga sessions helped even out the cramping. I worked out a happy medium between breaking the body down and taking care of injuries through stretching.
Once, a cool-dad showed up at the skatepark with his ten year old. The kid was afraid to even drop into the half-pipe, but cool dad was ripping, busting frontside airs and lipslides. It was a little embarassing, watching this thirty-something dude kill it, while his progeny floundered. If I was that kid I would have insisted on music lessons or dance classes, anything to avoid having to go to the skatepark with my dad.
Earlier this week I had a session of hill bombing, my first of this spring At the bottom of my first run I busted a power-slide, but was going fast enough that I went over the falls. A couple minor scrapes were all I had to show, but the body has reacted with stiffening and low energy. Is it time to give up the old deathplank? Hardly. This is a sign that I need to get out there more often, to toughen myself, and to relearn about pain. Skateboarding is mostly about learning painful lessons. This summer I will finally nail pop-shuvits, boardslides and tail slides.
Anyone want to go hill bombing this week?
-- Post From Taxi