My friend Pat has started a blog about his return to skateboarding after a hiatus of over 20 years. I met Pat in 1989 when we began going to the same high school together in a suburb of Maryland. We were part of the same skate circle and together we followed all the fashions and developments of skateboarding through the early 90s. We were dedicated to and passionate about the sport. Neither of us were good enough to have imagined a future in skateboarding, though, and when we left for college we put our boards aside and moved on to other things. (I’ve written about my experience here.)
But skating never really left either of us, apparently. I can attest that I have always mentally skated my surroundings. The ex-skater is always silently scanning the landscape for skateable surfaces. There was a time I attempted to bury these tendencies, somewhat embarrassed about their unintellectual nature. But it wasn’t really up to me; the mind, as we know, has a life of its own. It’s not easy to tell yourself what to think about and what to block out. So when Pat began posting videos of himself re-learning to ollie, I took it as carte blanche to dust off the skateboard of my imagination once and for all.
A lot of this involves finding clips of old skate videos on You Tube, videos I used to watch on a daily basis on our VHS player. Trying to remember all the details is a challenge: what boards did I ride? I can only remember the first two: a Mark “Gator” Rogowski was my first board, in 1987. Sometime after that I got a bit more sophisticated and bought a Santa Cruz/SMA Natas Kaupas, the one with the black panther. I still remember the excitement of getting that one. I can’t for the life of me, however, recall any of the other boards I had between 1989 and 1992.
I do recall that the shape of the boards was changing constantly. In fact, the basic shape of a skateboard in 1992 is essentially the same as today: the nose and tail are indistinguishable from one another. There are minor variations, I suppose, but nothing like the variety of shapes one saw in the late 80s. I guess skateboard evolution selected the model which works the best for the most people. Here is a good breakdown of this evolution (via Pinterest)
Suffice it to say that I have been getting more and more into watching and thinking about skateboarding. I’ve heard that this is a not uncommon phenomenon for those hitting forty, but so be it. Today I ordered a new skateboard online and a I really can’t wait to finally learn tre flips, a trick I could never get down even back when that was all I wanted out of life. Stay tuned for further updates!