I grew up skateboarding in Bellevue, Nebraska. I rode my brothers plastic skateboard as a young kid in the single digits. When I turned 11 in 1985, I got my first fish shaped deck from a department store. It was pretty much junk. It was a Nash Nightmare with hard plastic wheels that barely rolled. It rolled so bad that my first bad injury happened on this board when after rolling down from the top of my street, the wheels grabbed onto a pebble and sent me flying through the air and onto my wrist. My first cast which went all the way up to my shoulder! So itchy! I eventually upgraded from that to a used Alva Bill Danforth deck. I remember my first brand new skateboard. It was a total DIY project. Blanks back then were concave sheets of plywood that didn’t even have the holes drilled for the trucks. Talk about having to measure everything out! With help from my Dad…I traced a Hosoi Hammerhead skateboard onto this blank. Traced the truck holes. Cut the thing out with a Jigsaw, sanded it like crazy and put a clear coat of polyurethane on this bad boy. I wish I had a picture of it! It was both awesome because I made it and horrible because I didn’t get the truck holes quite lined up correctly and the board wobbled! 🙂 It was mine though and I loved it!
I don’t remember any other boards I had that were purchased brand new. From what I remember I always had a friend who was done with a board and I thought it still had some life in it, so either they gave it to me or sold it to me for pretty cheap. I didn’t have a lot of my own money back then, plus I remember spending money on computer parts as well since I was into computers back then too. I wasn’t great at skateboarding, but I loved it. I proceeded to stick with skateboarding for the next 7 years. It pretty much defined who I was throughout Junior High and High School. All my year books said “Skate or Die” somewhere in them! 🙂 Ha! For the most part it was good. It was nice to belong to something, to identify with something. One of the great things about skateboarding is that you could do it alone or with friends or with strangers. Pretty much any stranger that skateboarded became your instant friend and that was awesome.
Fast forward to 2004, I’m married and have one child and living in Williamsburg, VA. I had just lost 55 lbs and was looking for an outlet for all this extra energy I seemed to have. I had been noticing skateboarders in our town more frequently and saw an article about our local skatepark. One day after mowing the lawn, I pulled out my old skateboard that had been in the trunk of my car all these years, 12 to be exact! 🙂 I started to attempt stationary ollies and at first they were pretty small, but after several tries, my muscle memory started to come back and I could ollie pretty high again. I then started trying kickflips and after about 10 tries, I landed one! I was stoked I could still do these tricks! After that day, my passion for skateboarding was reignited. I would proceed to skate almost daily for the next three years from age 30 to 33.
I had a small bump in the road early when I broke my other wrist, the one that I didn’t break as a kid. It set me back a little, but I actually went skateboarding with the cast on, I just could not help myself. There was a wealth of skateparks in the area of Hampton Roads for me to explore and I did, including a drained pool on some property in Williamsburg, VA where I live! That was the first pool I had ever skated! I had a blast, I felt like a kid again. I attended local skateboarding events whenever I could, including my first GoSkateboarding Day event in 2005 in Hampton, VA. They closed off some streets and I got to skate with a big crowd down them. It was fun! I even got to meet some of my childhood heros at several different skateboarding events, among them was Christian Hosoi, Mike Vallely and Andy MacDonald.
I injured myself again at age 33, this time it was a broken foot. This injury took me out for a long time and I even had to go through physical therapy to learn how to walk and use that foot again. I honestly haven’t been able to get back into skateboarding the way I used to. The broken foot not only took a toll physically but also financially since I could not work my second job with a broken foot. Amazingly with a knee scooter I was able to continue my day job. I hope to get back into skating regularly again some day, but for now I settle for hopping on my board every once in awhile mainly just to roll around and feel the board beneath my feet again. The love for skateboarding never dies!