Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer's Twilight

Walking is a little hard this morning. Almost all great mythology and religion teach spiritual redemption through physical pain. Skateboarding is no different. Especially when you are old. Last night was, what will probably be, my most remembered skate session from the summer of 2016. For that, I am limping around today, but it was worth every last second. In late August, the nights are starting to become a bit cooler. The days are beginning to grow noticeably shorter. That black day, the first bell of the 2016-2017 school year, is less than a week away. Summer is in twilight.

A few of us gathered at the local community center skate shop. We have made a regular thing of Wednesday Night Slappy Sessions (or "old guy skate night") for the last 2 months or so. We got a bit of a late start because we were trying to (unsuccessfully) convince Joe to put leopard print grip tape on his new deck. We eventually left. Todd (shop owner), Joe, Ben, and I made our way over to our favorite slappy curb. Josh, Nick, and a friend of Nick’s, met us over there. Seven guys, all in their 30s and 40s. A few of our other regulars couldn’t make it out, unfortunately. Once there, we got down to bid’ness, and by bid’ness I mean heckling. It’s far too absent from modern skateboarding, and can provide for side-splitting laughter. After about an hour, a security guard came out. He was probably in his late teens or early 20s. The irony of someone that young, kicking out skaters twice his age, was not lost on any of us, including him. He was actually quite sheepish in doing so, and even apologized. 

Some months back, a few of us made a DIY spot out of two jersey barriers that were nearby. We went over to fix an angle iron one night, and ran into these two other guys skating there. We skated with them for a bit, and then I asked them if they had been to our other DIY spot just up the road. They had not. I gave them all the info. In return, one them asked us if we had “ever skated the slappy curb around the corner.” We all said that we hadn’t, and that we were unaware of any such curb. They took as about 2 blocks away, and showed us a little slice of heaven; a long painted curb, that was just slightly slanted, making it a perfect “west coast” slappy curb. Slanted, skateable, curbs in New England simply do not exist. This was only the second one I have seen in my 31 years of skating around the east coast. Hence, Wednesday Night Slappy Session were born that evening.

After the teenage security guard kicked us out, we headed over to the DIY barrier spot, as it was close by. We ran into two other kids skating over there, and quickly made friends with them. When you hit a real skatepark, you always run into other skaters. Usually, you don’t end up talking with too many of them. When you hit a small DIY, and run into other skaters, you almost always end up becoming instant friends. The vibe, and the people, at DIYs are just different. Joe is a professional photographer, and he broke out the camera equipment, and started doing the whole photo thing. Some of the photos he took last night are at the end of this post. The skating isn’t all that impressive, but the photos certainly are.

What made last night’s session one of the most memorable of summer 2016? Hard to say. Like I mentioned in my last post—about the intangible elements that make up a good skate spot—there is also an undefined “mix” that makes up a good skate session. I had just set-up a new deck that afternoon. Nothing beats a new deck. There was a fun group of people, all of whom were in a good mood. The curb was grinding really well. We taught someone to do slappies, for the first time, ever. The weather was great. The heckling was hilarious. The skating was good, and fun. The irony of getting kicked out by someone half our age. Making new friends at a DIY, and telling them about the slappy curb, just as someone had told us about it. The laughter. Joe getting some cool pics to document part of the night. All of this, plus more. We’ve had sessions very similar to this almost every Wednesday night, but this one was just different, at least for me. Ultimately, it just comes down to the basics. Rolling around, with friends, and laughing. That, is the real essence of skateboarding, and the only one that really matters. And for that, I am limping around today. My old man Achilles and Patella (knee) tendonitis are bearing the brunt of last night’s fun. I prolly won’t skate again for at least a week, while things heal a bit. The pain I am feeling today will be gone at some point. The memories from last night…those, those are here to stay.

I don't know his name. He was one of the people we ran into at the barrier spot.

Me. Popping out of a backside blunt, on that crisp new deck. 

Ben, getting rad.

More of Ben getting rad.

Me again. Frontside pivot, in tribute to Neil Blender.

Austin. He was one of the other people we ran in to at the barrier. Frontside ollie.

Nose stall backside revert, by a person who remains unnamed.

Best for last. I love this photo. Ben, with the frontside boneless.



  1. I knew a blog was coming. those pictures way too good to not have amazing stories behind them... Great stuff...


    1. Thanks! Bikes and boards! Keys to life! I don't write much about bike stuff on this blog, but I'm also an avid cyclists.

  2. This article embiggins the soul.

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