Can I skate with you?

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by Paul Hyatt, Feature Editor

Dear skaters, I’m a poser.   

Yeah, that’s right, I’ll admit it. The best I can give you is a half-assed ollie and the possibility of me staying on my board as I skate down a ramp at the park. Go ahead and ask me to do a kickflip; I will gladly give it my best attempt before watching you laugh as I’m scraping myself off the pavement. Now, I might not skate very often, but I longboard around campus more than I walk.   

All right, I can already imagine the sequential rolling of any skaters’ eyes who just read that. You’ve made it this far, so once your eyes come to a halt, you might as well keep reading. Now, I know this doesn’t apply to everyone who skates, but there is a form of animosity that some skaters hold to those who longboard, and sometimes, vice versa. I’m here to tell you that animosity is stupid and completely misses the point of what skate culture is.   

I apologize; that was a little harsh. I’m not here to point fingers or blame anything on a group of people. I get it, skating is hard, and it is natural to become possessive of a difficult task that you have managed to master. However, at some point, we have lost what it means to grab a board and go out skating with our friends.   

Before I go any further, for those not familiar, a longboard is just like it sounds – a longer version of a conventional skateboard. These boards are generally faster due to wheel size, and rather than emphasizing performing tricks, they are often used to cruise around, travel from place to place, or race downhill.   

Back to the point, I have met some of my best friends through skating. And I’m willing to bet that if you skate, you have to. Unlike most conventional sports where the victor of a competition defines success, skating is about personal growth, intercultural relationships and the support and encouragement of those around you.   

Yes, I know that skate competitions exist. But 99% of the time when your feet touch any kind of board, it’s either to improve your skills or to have fun with your friends. 

The true competition of skating is landing a trick after you have been pouring your sweat and blood onto concrete for a week and celebrating the victory with the rest of your scraped and scabbed-up friends. It is that shared moment with friends that make skating so fulfilling, and these friendships are made just because two people saw each other ride around on a board.   

While tricks are not a goal for most people who longboard, the basis of skating remains. Nights spent cruising around concrete with a group and bombing down steep hills hoping everyone makes it to the bottom provides the same level of fulfillment for us that skating does for people who just skate.   

My point is, why care how someone chooses to ride around on a board to seek thrill and kinship? Instead of bringing each other down, we could be skating together and learning from each other. When you land a clean trick, we can be right there to help you celebrate. And you can celebrate us not breaking our necks down a hill we should not be trying to go down as fast as we are. At the end of the day, we are all here to make friends and enjoy our ride.  

Sincerely, a salty dude who can’t kickflip.