15 June 2015


I went skating yesterday and it was fantastic. I've been sick all week so it could've gone either way, but the fresh air and male company was exactly what the doctor ordered. Above is a picture of Riley smith grinding the hilarious black ramp up the road from Reservoir, and below is a short 'listicle' piece I wrote for a skate magazine about our skate last weekend. On reflection, it is a tad self-indulgent and it was quite understandably rejected. So I wrote something else, and Slam's loss is the blog's gain.

1. I left my new board at home
I have a new board. It’s beautiful. I applied the grip tape with my usual love and care during an episode of MasterChef, which caused the usual grimaces from Rosie. ‘It’s so loud!’ she said, while I carefully filed down the edges with my trusty pocketknife. ‘You love it,’ I said, lost in the ritual.
I like having a new board kicking around the house. I’ll walk past it and have a look at it, maybe put it on the ground and do a few shove-its on the carpet. I’ll pick it up and examine it lovingly. It’s a hangover from my first proper board, which my mum bought then stuck on top of the cupboard until I had paid it off in instalments. I loved that board, but I learned the promise of it was almost better than the reality: it was a skateboard, a temporary thing, defined by its destructibility. This way, I’ll enjoy this board more. Because after the first skate, it will be relegated to the spot behind the front door, and I’ll never look at it in wonder again. Then I’ll get sick of it for some stupid reason, and then I’ll want another. The circle of life.
But on Saturday morning I had a look at my trusty old board and thought, no, this one is good for one more round. It will be great, I thought. I might even finish it off while trying one of those board-breaking tricks I usually avoid.

2. Sam drove for a change
For some reason, I’m the guy in charge of organising our weekly skate trips. ‘Where are we going?’ reads one of the flurry of texts. ‘Who else is coming?’ reads another. ‘What time?’, ‘My board is in the city!’, ‘I’m having breakfast,’ and so on. This weekend, I pretended that Rosie needed the car and suggested that maybe Sam could drive his parent’s car. To my surprise, he was up for it. ‘Scoop you at 12,’ he texted, and didn’t even ask for my address like he usually does. I made him a coffee as a show of my gratitude, and made myself comfortable on the heated leather back seat, complete with cup holder. Chris was sitting shotgun, and we picked up Pete on the way.

3. We went to a skatepark that looked good in pictures but sucked in real life
True to form, Pete knew of an obscure skatepark that we should definitely visit on the way to our intended destination. ‘Duuude,’ he said, stretching out the ‘oo’, ‘Tarneit. Check it out.’ The pictures on his phone looked pretty good, and we began speculating on what tricks we would all perform with ease. Tarneit is one of those new suburbs that, up until a couple of months ago, was a paddock. The skatepark was located on a humorously named street. What was it? That’s right: Woolybush Drive. That was the most amusing thing about it, though. The place sucks. It’s like it was made with some leftover concrete from the nearby building sites. It had cracks in front of the obstacles like on a footpath, and huge wooden stakes on the back of the one decent obstacle that made it extra terrifying. Because there was no toilet, Sam had to take a piss in a nearby bush. ‘How did you go?’ I asked upon his return. ‘Not bad,’ he replied, ‘but I realised halfway through that I was actually pissing in front of someone’s house.’

Here's Tree with a backside smith grind at Fitzroy 'pixie dust' bowl.

4. We got lost
After a quick stop at the golden arches (Sam wanted to create his own burger, the result of which he said was, ‘actually quite good’), we continued on our way to skate our ultimate destination: New Werribee. ‘Take a left here,’ said Pete, as we sat in curiously gridlocked traffic. Sam took a left. ‘Oh ... you need to do a u-turn. It was the next left.’ Sam did a u-turn and rejoined the traffic, then took the next left. We drove along for a while until Sam and I voiced a mutual intuition that we were getting further away from, rather than closer to, the park. Pete consulted his phone, which was rapidly losing battery life. ‘Oh ... you’re going to hate me ...,’ he said. ‘Don’t say it!’ I said, clapping my hands in glee. ‘... Remember back there where you did a u-turn?’ said Pete, ‘We need to get back there.’

5. We had a good skate
When we finally found the park, I felt like one of those chimps that were set free after being held captive for 30 years. The park is essentially a few banks and ledges built around the edge of a basketball court, which sounds underwhelming, but is in fact a wonderful thing to behold. After a few minutes of pushing around, I started feeling comfortable and began trying tricks. I did a kickflip and landed it. I did another one and fell over, but in a funny way that didn’t hurt. We were all smiling and laughing like we were in a cheesy movie. Even Sam was looking enthused. There were a few kids milling about watching and they asked me if I had a YouTube channel. ‘No,’ I lied.
 We started skating a narrow ledge over a patch of grass onto the footpath. Due to the wax, metal edges and my general ‘glass half empty’ attitude, it was a relatively scary obstacle, but because it had been such a good skate, I thought I’d give it a crack. ‘Kirksy back tailed it,’ observed Sam, gently putting things in perspective. I tried a boardslide and it didn’t feel that bad. I tried it again and nearly got it. Sam raised his eyebrows and said, ‘That might actually happen.’ I tried it again and landed it easily. It felt fantastic, so I did it another few times while toying with the idea of trying something more difficult. Then I stuck on one, tumbled forward and landed on the end of the ledge on my thigh and forearm. It was nasty. ‘Shit!’ said Sam, ‘Are you alright?’ I nodded and began walking around, swaying in pain. The kids who asked about the YouTube channel were laughing at me, and I resisted the urge to yell bad words at them, words like ‘FUCK OFF’. I put my jacket on, sat down and watched Chris and Pete attempt a stupid challenge of rolling from one side of the bank to the other. When Pete made it, we cheered, then walked back to the car (I hobbled). We talked about some stuff on the way home and I got a bit wound up about Tony Abbott. ‘You should wear a helmet,’ said Rosie when I got home. I had a bath. As I type this, I can hardly move.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

About the same age as you guys but nowhere near as good. Skate by myself & fall a fair bit trying pretty basic stuff.

Just wondering how you don't let those little shits laughing when you fall bother you, how do you ignore them? Guess it's easier to ignore when you're with mates. Have you ever yelled fuck off in the past? Any advice beyond the typical spoonful of concrete, develop a thicker skin aphorisms? Those those snickering pricks can be a real confidence killer.

Pretty self conscious about how rubbish I am when at a park, but why am I doing it? To try & impress strangers or for my own enjoyment? Keep telling myself, "Go to the beach & look at those surfing, they're no Mick Fanning & they're doing it. The lycra clad cyclists getting about like they're in the Tour de France are no Cadel Evans & they're doing it." They must be doing it for the enjoyment, exercise & to push themselves to progress at something.
So why can't I be just some guy trying to learn to skateboard for the same reasons.

Enjoyed the post & sorry 'bout the ramble, ended up here from Dave Quirk's instagram.