Wednesday, September 21, 2011

skaters, pt 1

four score and seven years ago, when my feet first touched grip tape and i rolled my way to scars that took up half my leg on account of the asphalt getting in the way of my glorious (albeit unplanned) dismount from my deck, skateboarding was for surfers who had no water nearby, mostly skinny guys who all seemed to have flops, vans shoes, baggy shorts and oversize t-shirts.

i'm not a skateboard culture aficionado, but my casual observation from the world of l.a. transit seems to indicate skateboarding cuts across a lot more cultural lines than in my day.  here are a few of the folks i seen and, where relevant, a few words.  enjoy.

i wish i coulda gotten a better picture of the above guy's backpack.  it looked like he did some very cool artwork to make it his.

the skater above more or less embodies the skater of my youth, with one big exception: his bag.  well, that and his t-shirt is white and, though you can't see it in this photo, he has a world wildlife fund patch on his hat.

there's the cool backpack again.

without the skateboard, the long hair (ponytail not visible) and trader joe's bag full of groceries have me thinking this guy's more of a hippie than skater.  well, these days, you can be both.

the guy above (salvador, i think his name was) gets the biggest points for customization.  notice the gigantic (by skateboarding standards) wheels.  they let him glide right over cracks and rocks other skaters might have trouble with; and he told me he's even conquered a few nature trails.  such big wheels require a lot of risers on the trucks and he decided to shorten his board to get the overall weight down.

well, i hope to make this an ongoing series.  unlike "trash porn," which has a limited number of sites visible from the street, there'll probably always be another skater to photograph.  i will say that though much has changed, much remains the same.  skateboards are still principally for the young and, for the most part, boys.  and while there's a decent cross-section of subcultures, it's still mostly the marginalized.  but, then again, what do i know about what the youth considers marginal these days?

if anyone featured here wants to say a little more, please comment or email me at

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