Exploring the inside world of skateboard culture at AHS
They’re quite a common sight, walking around campus with their skateboards tucked under their arms or skillfully maneuvering along the sidewalks on their way to school. They’re in your classes, walk through the same halls at school as you, and you might be friends with them. Yet what lies within the world in which these skateboarders dwell? Skateboarding may seem like a simple activity, but there is far more to it than meets the eye.
For many skateboarders, skateboarding offers a convenient and easy way of traveling to various places.
“It’s easy to carry around…I use it to get everywhere,” said Dylan Payurun (10). “[For example], I skate to school. I’ll skate anywhere. Getting places is much easier with a skateboard.”
In addition, a large part of the appeal of skateboarding is that, when compared to other forms of transportation, it is an especially effective and accessible way to travel for students who are unable to use other methods of transport.
“Many students can’t drive yet, so they must resort to other options,” said Andrew Wu (11), who often uses an electric skateboard to get around. “I think skateboarding is a great alternative if you are not able to drive.”
However, transportation and accessibility are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to skateboarding. Many skateboarders see riding on their boards as a fulfilling and enjoyable activity to devote their free time to.
“Skateboarding appeals to me because not only does it offer transportation, it’s also a great hobby to get into,” said Romel Pasta (11). Specifically, he explains some particularly enjoyable aspects of skateboarding for him: “Personally, my favorite thing about skateboarding would be the satisfying feeling of learning a new trick.”
Perhaps a more intimate side to skateboarding is revealed in the personal growth that skateboarding can bring about. For many, pursuing such a unique hobby has allowed them to learn and develop as individuals.
“I would be a much different person if I didn’t skateboard,” said Payurun. “[Skateboarding has] made me try a lot of new things—things that I’m not comfortable with—[and it has allowed me to] meet a lot of people who skateboard, including older people.”
Like Payurun describes, a major part of skateboard culture is that the skateboarding community is comprised of people from all sorts of different backgrounds, and their shared interest in skateboarding helps unite them, creating bonding opportunities between people of vastly different groups—opportunities that may not be able to present themselves in any other situation.
“I’ve met a large amount of people due to this common interest,” said Pasta. “There is a huge variety of people in the skateboarding community, [including] people of all races and ages.”
In these ways, skateboarding transcends beyond being a simple hobby and is able to unite people on a more personal level. Yet oftentimes, the personal aspects of skateboarding can bring certain drawbacks as well, especially when it attracts attention from people who view skateboarding based on negative stereotypes.
“Socially, I feel like people see [skateboarding] as a personality trait,” said Payurun. “I kind of don’t like [that], but skateboarding definitely gets you noticed.”
Wu echoes a similar sentiment, feeling that skateboarders can often be assigned negative personality traits due to over-generalized stereotypes. He is strongly opposed to this type of baseless assumption.
“Some think that skateboarders have a reputation for being irresponsible. However, I believe that you can’t decide a person’s character based on what they use as a method for transportation or for recreation,” he said. “It is similar to looking down on others for doing what they love or enjoy. Regardless of if a person uses a board for recreation or transportation, there is a story behind it and jumping to conclusions is not the right thing to do.”
In the bigger picture, however, skateboarding has allowed many people to witness immense personal growth as well as form meaningful relationships. For Payurun, the skateboarding community has shown him incredible support, and it has seen his formation of deeper, more emotional connections with others in the community that impact him greatly to this day.
“I love the people around [skateboarding]. The skateboarding community is [made up of] good people: they’ll take care of you,” he explained. “[When I first started out], I was very welcomed. As soon as I started skateboarding, [my current friends] became my best friends.”
Caption: Skateboarding is a very enjoyable activity for many students who pursue it during their free time. “My favorite thing about skateboarding is the adrenaline and rush I get traveling at high speeds,” said Wu. Skateboarding can also inspire a sense of unity among skaters. “Oftentimes, I see a group of people practicing their tricks, which shows how skateboarding can bond people together,” Wu explained.