California has been calling my name since I was a youngster. I heard the call right around age ten when I picked up skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing. I somehow knew I needed to be in the mecca of those activities, in a place where a lifestyle dedicated to chasing fun in the mountains and ocean is widely accepted, and encouraged. I got a taste of my passions growing up in a Boston suburb beach-town with little surf, terrible flat spells, tiny hills, short skate runs, smaller mountains, and unpredictable winters. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I come from, it taught me appreciation and dedication, my homies and I always found a way to get rad on the waves, pavement, or snow. That slice of the good-life I lived on the Northeast coast inspired me to seriously pursue an existence revolving around creativity, physical activity, exploration, and meditation. The west coast called louder as the years passed. There grew inside me a desire to exist amongst the rich history of surf/skate culture and become a part of it myself. So I went.
It’s important to look into the past to understand the present, as well as the future. Skateboarding has been growing and evolving for many years, and there have always been skaters dedicated to progressing every sector of it. Today’s top skaters are constantly blowing our minds by hitting bigger features, throwing faster and more technical maneuvers, and speeding more precisely and intensely than ever before. But how did skateboarding get to where it is today? I currently live five miles from Venice Beach, labeled as “Dogtown”, and I know it to be both the birthplace of surf-inspired skateboarding and it’s also my local hangout. There are almost always surf-able waves in the Venice breakwater and the flowy, skateboard-only skatepark right on the beach is definitely something worth experiencing. Some of the original gangsters of Venice still lurk there, including Jesse Martinez, a true Dogtown Z-boy who is the godfather of the Venice skatepark. He watches over and voluntarily maintains the beloved park—cleaning it of graffiti, sand, and litter. Jesse just recently found out about the advancements of downhill skateboarding—he’s stoked and 100% down. He actually got his paws on a proper downhill board and has been hitting the hills with our crew in Malibu and some other Southern California favorites. It’s a pleasing thing to see this kind of open-mindedness to all types of skating coming from a skateboard veteran such as Jesse. The surfers and skaters of the old days chased after the very same pipe-dream we do—they slashed it, shralped it, threw slides—put their hands down, board-walked on water & pavement, got pitted, launched off of jump ramps, and bombed hills—all with style. The more veteran skaters I speak with the more I understand that skateboarding is growing full-circle; these seasoned shredders are intrigued and inspired by our big boards, new styles, and high speed shredding. Open-mindedness is the key to all this. Skate everything! We aren’t the first and we certainly won’t be the last to get rad, but we’re most definitely following the path to “shredlightenment.”
I’ve been immersed in the California skate scene for just about two years now, and it’s been a hell of a ride. Surrounded by skate and surf culture, there are a million ways to shred—I’m willing and eager to try them all. I’m always seeking balance, so although I’ve been spending a lot of time on my skateboard in the canyons, skateparks, and ditches I’ve also been dedicating time to jumping into the ocean with my surfboard. A lot of the cruising, carving, cross-stepping and slashing we do evolved from surfing and began as skaters mimicked riding waves. My skating translates from pavement to water, and vice versa. My style of riding reflects my intentions: straight soul-cruising and having maximum fun. To be one with the ocean or one with the road, surfing the waves or the pavement or snow, we’re all just playing around in nature on boards—getting weird and radical.
I went to where I needed to be: the California coast. I’ve known for a very long time that it’s the perfect location for my interests and passions in life. You ought to explore too, or maybe you’re exactly where you need to be—that’s even better. Whatever your jam is—be it skateboarding, surfing, hula hooping, helicopter flying, photography, paragliding—get after it! Dabble in ALL of your interests. Open your mind, try new things, get weird, have fun, and always pay homage to those who came before you. There are plenty of pioneers in skateboarding and surfing who paved the way for us. They invented tricks, created styles, and grew a community for us to eventually become a part of and contribute to. The founders are among us and we ourselves are becoming trailblazers of our own kind! With that understanding we can continue to grow skateboarding into new and radical dimensions. Cowabunga!