This is part 2 of my “Living Like a Rich Teenager” series. In short, if you have no responsibilities, then why behave like a responsible adult? Instead, do stupid stuff and spend your life goofing off! For the longer version, see Part 1 - The Kayak.
If I’m known for one thing these days, it’s my skateboard videos. You’ve probably seen me flying through the air in slo-mo followed by a slowed down impact-and-grunt several times at this point. People watch this, cringe, and then say, “What the f… are you thinking?”
Here I will explain the what and why of my new hobby, but first, since this is tumblr, enjoy an animated gif…
My board is a Rayne Hellcat with Abec11 Freeride Classic wheels, plus a bunch of stuff that I know nothing about (trucks, bushings, etc.). It’s definitely a longboard, with no kicktail for jumping or any of that nonsense.
My board was a gift from my wife for Christmas of 2013, and she bought it from a longboard enthusiast coworker for $150. After looking online, I’m pretty sure that was a bargain.
However, like the kayak, I’ve already spent much more than that in gear. Helmet and slide gloves ran me about $120, then I bought a full-face helmet for $70. Elbow and knee pads were graciously donated by Melinda Weathers. Padded shorts were another $70. Finally, there’s an almost weekly supply of $20 cargo shorts from Target. They get shredded after a few aborted slides.
All told, the hobby has probably cost me around $500 at this point, or about 1/2 the up-front cost of the kayak. If you want to go cheap, you can skip the pads and helmet, but you’ll definitely regret it. You will get your use out of the protective gear, likely on day 1 when you fall on your face just stepping onto the board.
The number one pro is just how cool skateboarding is. All the cool kids did it when I was younger, but I was too busy reading fantasy novels, playing D&D, and being nerdy. Now all the cool kids are taking care of kids of their own and otherwise behaving in a totally non-cool manner, while I’m out there shredding. Oh how the tables have turned!
Besides being badass, It’s also actually fun. That may be hard to imagine when you’re watching me sliding across the pavement in slo-mo, but riding the board and pulling off a good slide is really exciting. When I finally started succeeding at the slides, I pendy’ed my way down an entire hill to the dead end at the bottom. It’s hard to explain how fun that was and the sense of accomplishment I felt at the bottom. Plus, having other skaters there to congratulate me was pretty great, too.
The videos have been an unexpected pro as well. I like being in the limelight, and it turns out that a lot of people enjoy my slide videos. I’ve learned that when I release one, especially one with some brutality, it’s enough to stop work in departments at both Vitrue/Oracle and Turner Broadcasting. In the picture below, daily scrum is put on hold so everyone can watch me wipe out attempting a standup heelside 180. The crash was brutal, but being famous is nice.
As cool as it is, it’s actually much harder than people realize. I’ll be riding down the street and kids on the sidewalk call out, “Do a trick!” They don’t realize that just riding the damn thing and not wrecking is a trick!
The level of practice and skill required to just look proficient is pretty high. I’ve spent months learning the basic slides, and I’ve lost quite a bit of skin doing it. Plus, by most measurements, I still suck. By contrast, most people can learn to ride a bike in an afternoon and their skill grows very quickly at that point.
I had also hoped to be able to ride it around for short range transportation, but that’s no good. The effort required is high, and going uphill is basically impossible. A bicycle will always be faster, easier, and better than a skateboard for transportation. ALWAYS!
Finally, the worst part is how lonely I get. None of my friends do it, and the people I’ve met online are all on the north side of Atlanta. I’d have to drive for an hour to meet them and skate. So instead, I go alone to a few hills nearby and shred solo. It’s still fun, but it would be way more fun with some friends.
Overall Grade: B+
The loneliness is what brings this down from an A. If I had friends nearby that I could skate with, it would be a lot more fun. As it is, I just have to record the videos and post them for everyone’s enjoyment.
The constant falls and injuries kind of suck, but you’ll hurt yourself less as you get better, and seeing noticeable improvement is very nice.
Click below for a video of one of my better slides (at 2:40)…
Next Time: Singing Lessons
I’ve always wanted to be a better singer, I (or Sarah, in fact) signed myself up for singing lessons. In the next installment of Rich Teenager Life, I’ll explain the what and why.