When I first started skateboarding, I pushed shitfoot. I don’t know why, for some reason it just felt natural. I think that’s how most of us started skating too, but eventually somebody came along to tell us we’re wrong and showed us that directing the board with our back foot is actually pointless, and we didn’t realize that because our trucks were probably too tight to begin with.
Eventually we realize the Dick’s Sporting Goods second-floor “skateboard department” manager, Asher, probably doesn’t actually support skateboarding when he tells you he has some sick red grip tape to match that Element board your dad just bought you for your birthday–which he applies in the back room with little regard for the fact you’re capable of learning how to do it yourself.
Later we find out there’s a skate shop in our own city (or the biggest city near us)–where maybe one walks in and has to politely wake the guy passed out on the couch, who is a real skateboarder–and we’re taught how to grip our own board while he explains the origins of the video playing on the TV mounted on a stack of broken boards along with a pile of magazines. It’s this place we can call home when our parents are busy getting divorced, or disowning us for throwing away that scholarship opportunity we could have gotten by staying on the swim team throughout high school.
Then some of our friends quit, and are replaced by others who we would have never met otherwise if it weren’t for our new home. Regardless, there’s no better feeling than being alone while pushing down a crowded city street with no destination in mind.
And in every city we visit where there’s a similar shop, more often than not we find there that we also have a home, and maybe even a place to stay for the weekend while we get shitty with like-minded people. And we always return the favor.
Not only does it exist between the east and west coasts either, but in other countries where we might not even speak the same language as the people hanging out in front of their local shop. Like music, skateboarding can act as a universal language. We’ll be stared at blankly when we get off the plane, carrying only a skateboard and a backpack, and promise the customs agent that we’re staying at a friend’s house somewhere in the city, only we forgot the address.
Every time we go skate, every trip, every new city–there’s always a story. We never end up going in the same direction we planned, and it’s not just the footage captured and edited down for a video–it’s the people, the places, the parties and everything else that comes as a result of wanting to grab a board for the first time and giving it a few good shitty pushes.