Skateboarding is like surfing, it just becomes a part of your life. Once you take that deep dive into becoming the best skater you can be, always progressing, you'll always consider yourself to be a skater.
For many of you skateboarding is not about becoming a pro skater, even though you're probably good enough to turn pro. For you it's just a fun activity, that's challenging, creative, and often a great way to pass the time with your mates.
That's pretty much what it has always been for me.
I'm 47 years old and I still skateboard for fun but you don't want to aspire to be like me... and there are lots of skaters like me.
I started skating at 18 years old. Late in the game but 1987-88 was when skateboarding experienced a massive resurgence.
I used to skate virtually everyday, only skipping days if it rained, and even then I might find somewhere with cover to skate. I built ramps, including a 24' x 16' x 5' mini ramp in my backyard where all my friends would come to skate regularly. I even helped establish a skatepark in my local community.
My skating got good enough to impress beginners, and I was skilled enough to be considered an okay skater among my peers.
TET, Frontside Ollie, home mini ramp 1990-91.
Somewhere around 1993 life somehow got in the way of skateboarding. By that point I no longer had a backyard ramp and the skatepark, I'd helped set up had closed down to make way for a highway. Most of my skateboard friends were doing their own thing, and I was busy, in my second year of college, working on an Arts Diploma in Graphic Design.
I never actually quit skateboarding. I was just away from skating for so long that, by the time I got back, I couldn't even remember the terminology for buying a good set of wheels.
I remember getting back into skateboarding but I can't recall the exact year. I want to say 1997-98? I didn't have a skateboard so I went out and bought a really cheap deck, because I wasn't sure if I was going to get back into skating proper. I thought it best to not spend too much.
However, I knew I needed to buy proper skateboard wheels and bearings. Cheap skateboards always have shit wheels and bearings. Being able to roll well is kind of important.
Going to a skate shop to buy wheels I barely recognized any of the specific wheels. All the larger ramp skating wheels had given way to smaller street skating wheels with names I'd never heard of. I played it safe and bought a set of 96a Powel-logos because I knew the brand. To cut a long story short, I got back on this new board and discovered I'd unlearned almost every skateboard trick I knew. Not only that but also my confidence at landing even some of the most basic of tricks was almost gone.
Ever since I've been trying to get my confidence back. It hasn't been easy because, shortly there after, I moved interstate to a town that didn't have a lot of places to skate, and a series of homes that didn't have skateable driveways. In nearly 20 years I haven't really progressed that much further than when I decided to get back into skating.
Currently I'm in a home with a fantastic, skateable driveway, and this year I've been really trying to step up my skills. Really trying to get back to the level I was at all those years ago.
At age 47 you might aspire to still being able to skate, but don't be like me, and those like me, who let life get in the way. Try to make skateboarding at least a regular weekend activity, no matter what. It shouldn't be hard if you love it.
You'll have a much better time at my age if you're not remembering how good you used to be, and getting frustrated with feeling like a beginner at your local skatepark.
I'm happy being able to skate at this age but I just know I'd be having a lot more fun if I had kept up with my skating all those years ago.