Sunday Skate Sessions

Sunday Skate Sessions

Words: Ryan Ford & Rachel Plotkin
Photos: Ryan Ford

I love skateboarding so much I want it to die
– Jason Jesse

How could one love skateboarding, yet want it to die? This confused the shit out of me. When you’re young, you think you and everything you love will live forever. You exist in two hour blocks. You don’t realize how long your life will actually last. In a best case scenario you can have 75 years. At 27, Jesse’s statement makes more sense. Over the past ten years I’ve seen pop culture try to adopt skate culture. Our future rests with those who are still in it for the love.

Our culture has been taken from us and made an easily digestible commodity for the masses. However, the influx of big box money and endorsement deals has brought some benefits. There are more public skateparks than ever before, for example. Even so, it feels like a hollow attempt to purchase credibility. It has all led to the bastardization of our culture. Brands that haven’t contributed anything to the community are now using it to appear youthful and ‘on trend’. Thrasher Tees have become the official uniform for off-duty models.” Go ahead and google Gucci’s Spring 2016 campaign if you don’t believe me.

So yes, I want skateboarding to die before it falls into the hands of suits who will discard it as soon as the margins drop below an acceptable measure.

Skateboarding is a community made up of millions. Progression has accelerated at a dizzying pace — what was considered impossible five years ago is commonplace today. All it takes is one person who has the guts to leap into the unknown. Some are in it for the glory, to have their picture emblazoned in the Skate Bible. Most do it because they can’t imagine a life not doing it.

I want skateboarding to die before it falls into the hands of suits who will discard it when the margins drop.

It takes a lot of heart to stay in this game for the long term. It changes you, it makes you better equipped for life. You look at the world in a different way. You approach things unafraid, knowing you will fail at first, and that’s normal. Falling is normal. You get good at falling as much as you improve skating. You learn patience and tenacity. You really have to be head over heels in love with skateboarding, for it is a cruel mistress. Injuries, snapped boards, stroke-inducing frustration, kick outs. Suffering in the pursuit of that perfect sublime rush. There is nothing on Earth like it. And that’s what all those suits don’t get: they don’t know what it’s like to jump off a stack of fifteen stairs and live to tell the tale.

Through that lens I’m reminded why I began skating. Sunday comes and I hop on the train with my camera on my shoulder. Fifteen core dudes plus or minus a half dozen meet every week at Stoner Park, a crew carrying the torch for the soul of skateboarding. They embody everything I love about skateboarding, the creativity and individualism. Fun is the ultimate goal and the hype and stoke is contagious. I am reminded that the business of skateboarding is not skateboarding. We are skateboarding. No matter what the industry is doing, as long as people are coming together and creating, the true spirit of skateboarding can’t die.