On a day not too long ago, in a damp and gloomy oak forest, I was treading up-stream in a babbling brook; lost and searching with a skateboard under arm, a helmet on my head, and gloves fitted to my hands. While on this journey I met a woman in a cave nestled underneath a waterfall. She asked me why I had my board with me in such unskateable terrain. I told her the meaning of my journey and its destination. I told her that I was on a search for the next great downhill run—that I was hoping to meet some others like me so that we might share in this journey, together, and find atop this mountain a road leading back to fulfillment. Still, she did not understand so I told this mystical, sexy, womanlike figure about the Spirit of the Downhill Board. The following is what I bestowed upon her that fine spring day:
“Riding a board downhill is so very complex yet simple at the same time—this concept is basic: Stand on board, ride down hill. The enjoyment is simple as well, and is manifested through comradery between riders, on and off the hill. It can also be experienced as the rush of adrenaline the rider receives while pushing his or her limits. Riding a board is equally complex in the things unseen. The Downhill Rider is constantly making judgments about where other riders are in the pack, scanning for upcoming obstacles, correcting speed for a given corner, and performing many other instinctual actions that help keep them on their board and connected to the carnal desire that put them on the board in the first place.
The Spirit lies in the connection between the rider and his board. When you experience this unconscious connection with your skate apparatus, you unlock its full potential. If you ever get the pleasure of watching an experienced downhill rider you will see that they have a sense of timing that nears perfection—every move is given a purpose. The rider never has to think of the board under foot, but rather, plans the next few moves ahead subconsciously, and enjoys the ride. It is an extension of the body—the synapse connection to the road. When hitting a canyon run you feel the vibe of the curves and synchronize to it in a beautiful dance. Other riders build on that vibe, raising the excitement level, and create synchronous lines. I’d have to say that skating with one or more people is very much better than skating alone. This can be expressed also in a quote from Chris McCandless just before his death in the Alaskan wilderness, ‘Happiness is only real when shared.’
Whether you are riding for your first time, riding slalom, speedboading, freeriding, garage bombing, dancing or tech sliding; you are interacting with The Flow. In order to manage an incline you must match your flow to its flow. Only then will you compliment each other and succeed in keeping the Sacred Steeze. Connecting with the spirit of these good times will help you to enjoy it to the fullest. Every rider brings their own flavor to the mix and something new to offer so skate with all different types of riders.
In the end, it is all about having fun. Legendary downhiller, Ryder Bourdeux, once said: ‘if you’re not having fun skateboarding, then why are you doing it?’ This holds true today. Go out; connect with your environment. Make sure that you have passion. Pour yourself into every slide, carve, spin, and statue like tuck. Feel the Spirit.”
-Peter Grant Eubank