OldManSkateSesh — Who, What, Why?
I grew up skateboarding. I loved everything about it. The “kakunk kakunk” of the wheels on the cracks in the sidewalk. The curbs and launch ramps. The cuts and broken bones and scars. The endless pursuit to do that next trick. Everything.
The 80’s were the years of my youth. I grew up in the Bones Brigade era with Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Rodney Mullen, Mike McGill, and Lance Mountain. Christian Hosoi, Lester Kasai, Steve Steadham, Kevin Staab. There were demos on weekends and contests at local parks. Animal Chin was missing and the Chin ramp was in my city, Oceanside.
I went to school and hung with people who would become pro skaters and skate company owners and skate team managers. I was never quite good enough to be any of those, but my love for the sport and culture kept me skating into the 90’s after high school was over. I would skate to work and school and even when my car was not in the shop.
Then life and work and bills and responsibilities and dating and marriage and kids and diapers and lack of sleep and rinse and repeat and rinse and repeat and preschool and kindergarten and this and that and more bills and more work and more responsibility hit. Hard. Free time was a thing of the past and the skateboarding everyday became weekly became monthly became something I used to do as a kid.
I still watched the contests online and on TV and read the magazines to stay up on the world of skate but always from a distance. I always dreamed of getting back on a board but never seemed to “have the time”. Soon my kids were older and my career allowed me some freedom and still I was all talk and no action.
I wanted to teach my kids how to skate and learn to love it the same way I do. Better yet, I wanted to lead by example. Friends of mine were getting back out there and relearning how to ride a board and their crew was meeting on weekends. We went to the Bones Brigade: An Autobiography premier at the La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas and sat in a theater with the legends of skateboarding. It was like the X Games threw up in the room and I was energized more than ever to skate. I mentioned that I wanted to skate again (a lot) and my wife listened.
For Christmas (many years ago now) my incredible wife bought me a gift certificate for Mike McGill’s Skate Shop. I had no excuse now. My daughter wanted to buy a board with Christmas money and we went that weekend. The shop had the most helpful and friendly staff and a great selection. I wasn’t judged for asking questions like, “what size board should I get?” or “what trucks/wheels/bearings are good?”. They were really busy so I left my board, trucks, risers, wheels, bearings, hardware, griptape, and rails to be assembled.
I came back to find one of my childhood legends building my board, Mike McGill himself! His daughter was helping too. Mike gave me tips about riding pools and getting back into it after a while. He suggested pads and a helmet (my wife agreed). The experience was surreal and perfect and I had to skate. Had to.
I had a board, pads, helmet, and a drive to relearn what I had sadly forgotten. My kids were stoked to join me on the journey and we made the plan to join my friends of fellow 30-somethings and their kids at the local skatepark on Saturday morning. Early. Real early.
We go early so we have the place to ourselves, free of the chaos of good kids and aggro teens and 20-somethings who take over the park all day. Sure, it’s cold. Sure, it’s early. But we have no pressure or judgement or angry people to contend with. We only have support and encouragement and freedom to skate and the ride. We leave the skate spots better than we found them and have a community of friends and like-minded men and women who genuinely LOVE skateboarding and everything it is.
#OldManSkateSesh was the hashtag we used for our pictures and posts about the sessions and it spun into an idea to make a website dedicated to those Dads who want to learn to skate with their kids. This is a place for stories and pictures and video of the journey and the passion for the culture. It's grown to form the community we are now and continues to grow.
I am not a good skater. I wear pads like I am riding the MegaRamp in the X games. I fall down. A lot. I am a great Dad and a man who wants to stay young by learning all over again. Years after getting back on a board and I still am not good. Who cares!?! Not me. I ride and cruise and do what I can when I can and don't give two shits what others think. Funny part, no one cares if you are good or bad or great. The fact that you are there sharing the stoke is all that matters. Come skate. You will thank yourself. Join us, would you?