Call it teenage love. Forrest Huber, wallie. Photo: Sam Milianta
A few years back, I had the opportunity to interview legendary skateboarder Duane Peters. We discussed the finer things in life and how, even as you age, if you’re a “lifer,” skateboarding is always there. Sure, you get more responsibilities and different interests, and you might not skate as much as you used to, but it’s always there.
I was thinking about this particular conversation the other day and realized that my longest committed relationship has been with skateboarding. I’ve made “friends” with other things along the way—photography, motorcycles, music, etc.—but skateboarding has always been my number-one crush. In fact, it is the only relationship I’ve ever been able to make last.
All the friends I have now have come into my life because they were really my skateboard’s friends. It’s like when you’re with a girl and she has amazing friends who you end up hanging out with when she’s not around. That’s how skateboarding has been for me. I moved to Salt Lake City with no real family to support me. Thanks to skateboarding, I have a whole bunch of “skate-in-laws” I can call during a 3 a.m. emergency.
When you are a skateboarder, you put so much time into skateboarding that you develop a sense of dedication. It can take days or months to land something (especially in my case). This dedication turns into a sense of loyalty toward your fellow skateboarders and friends. Unfortunately, this sense of loyalty is lacking in most people outside of skateboarding. It gets to be too much for non-skateboarders and the sense of loyalty scares some people, and is confused for gang mentality. I believe this is why so many non-skateboarders come and go from my life. I don’t want to over-generalize and alienate some of my close friends, but the people who call me on a weekly or daily basis are all my skate-in-laws.
This relationship I have with skateboarding is difficult to explain to people who haven’t experienced it. It permeates into so many aspects of my life. Travelling is one such aspect. My pioneering spirit comes from exploring new cities for skateboarding potential. In these cities, I visit my “girlfriend’s friends” or “extended skate-in-laws.” Any city I go to, instantly I have friends as well as an all-access pass to the city, just by carrying my skateboard.
I’m sure it seems very sad to all the people reading this who haven’t dedicated 18 years to skateboarding. The fact that someone’s only successful relationship has been with a skateboard seems strange and kind of creepy. However, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had in this relationship for anything. I have had so many opportunities because of skateboarding and made the most loyal group of friends you could ever imagine. I feel like I am the luckiest person alive to be able to skate around downtown on Sundays with friends, even into my mid-thirties. If this seems emotionally unbalanced and sad, it means it’s beyond your scope of understanding. If having the world’s greatest group of friends is appealing, however, I would suggest you buy a skateboard and call me next Sunday. I’ll introduce you to my in-laws, some of the best people you will ever meet.