Jovi Bathemess, pole jam. Photo: Sam Milianta
“What a drag it is getting old.” –“Mother’s Little Helper” by The Rolling Stones
It’s amazing how quickly the seasons pass. It seems so recent that it was the summer of 1994 and I was learning varial flips in the parking lot of a sporting goods store in Southern Utah. Every year inevitably brings four seasons (at least in Utah) and each year, those seasons bring many of the same opportunities.
I have been lucky enough in my many years of skateboarding to experience a traditional school schedule. Even as time passed and my youth faded into adulthood, I was still able to keep the same seasonal schedule as when I was a young skate rat in high school. My transition has been easy since I never took summer courses in college, and I was lucky enough to land a job that followed a similar schedule. During the summer months, I have the flexibility to skate and travel, just like a teenager who drives to California or Colorado for the first time during junior year with his/her skateboard homies.
By the time you read this article, school will be back in full swing. Just like all the grown-ups (I am hesitant to use the word “adult” when writing about skateboarders, as the joy of youth extends many years beyond age 18 in the skateboard world), all the teenagers and college students will be confined to weekend skateboard missions.
Being a weekend warrior sounds like a severe loss of freedom, at least when you think about it during the relaxing summer months. However, fall often brings some of the best skateboarding. The best way to enjoy your free time is to have less of it.
It seems like when you can wake up at the crack of noon and skate any time you wish, motivation is at an all time low. But when you have six hours on a Saturday, and that’s your only real skateboard session for the week, you’re going to get shit done. The British skateboard company Blueprint Skateboards once ran an ad that stated, “We thrive on cold winters.” Sometimes limitations are good, because they force you out of your comfort zone into unexplored territory.
Consider, for a minute, two well known pro skateboarders: Chris Cole and Brandon Westgate. If you follow skateboarding at all, you know how good both of these guys are. Both skaters grew up on the Northern East Coast of the United States, a part of the country not associated with having good weather for skateboarding. I guarantee both of these guys had a hard time finding places to skate during the cold, stormy months. So, how did they get so good? When you only get to skate once in a while, when you finally do skate, you make every trick count.
As fall comes into play and winter tries to rear its ugly head, let’s not let summer die so easily. Enjoy every night you can cruise around on your skateboard with no particular plan. Bomb hills and skate for transportation, even on chilly nights. Cruise around and enjoy every weekend.
Summer will come again, we can be sure of that, but that’s no reason not to enjoy your free time, even during the traditional school months and chilly seasons. I am issuing a challenge to everyone who actually reads this: You may not be able to go as far, or be gone as long during these months, but make the most of your weekends by traveling and exploring—even if that exploring entails looking to see what is behind a building or around a corner in your own neighborhood, or maybe just a day trip to Wyoming or Wendover. Let’s hope for an Indian Summer, and if we can’t have it, we should just take what’s ours and skate in the bad weather. The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of freedom … unless you let it.