I’ve been riding skateboards consistently for the last 48 years. Some might find that odd, as I’m about to hit 60 next year. The truth is that skateboarding is one of the most incredible things in my life. I’m proud to be a skateboarder and share my love of skateboarding with my family.
My wife and I have three children who range in age from 22 to 29. Most kids who take up skateboarding are usually 5 to 7 years old. But all three of our children were introduced to skateboards much earlier. I want to share some of the things I’ve experienced due to my decision to start our skate journey earlier than most.
Our first child, a daughter, only partially took to skateboarding. I never pushed her to take it up. The truth is, it just wasn’t her thing. However, introducing her to skateboarding at a young age helped her immensely with her snowboarding. Like all our children, she is resilient. While I can’t say 100% this is because she was skateboarding, it contributed to some of her strength.
My two sons took a different path. At 14 months old, I had my first son standing on the board. We first placed the skateboard on the carpet in our living room. He would gleefully jump on and off of it. Very quickly, he learned how to ride on asphalt. We always made sure he had a helmet and protective gear. Watching him maneuver the board and find his balance and flow was fantastic. At age 10, we took a father-son trip to British Columbia. I remember taking him to Hastings Skatepark. This particular park had a huge bowl that was challenging. My son bravely stared down the 10-foot-plus vert and joyfully dropped in. I was so proud of him. It’s now been several decades since he picked up a board. He has such tremendous power and style when he skates. As in my daughter’s case, skateboarding has made him a very capable snowboarder. At 27, he knows he will never stop skateboarding, just like his father.
My youngest son started with skateboards before he hit 12 months. Like our first son, he would stand on the skateboard and play with it on our living room carpet. Eventually, he graduated to the driveway. As there are five years differences between the two boys, it was quite extraordinary to see them skateboarding together at seven and two.
Skating with my kids in their 20s
Now that I’ve explained what it’s been like to see them grow up skateboarding, I want to explore what it feels like to skate with them as their father in their 20s. I have to admit; we sometimes get stares when we ride at the skate park together. People need help understanding how we are connected. One of the most extraordinary things about skateboarding is its magical way of connecting the generations. Sometimes we will play a game of S.K.A.T.E. together, similar to H.O.R.S.E. I can’t do any tricks they do, and what’s funny is they can’t do any tricks that I do (because they’re so old!).
Recently, the three of us have taken to surf skating. This is an offshoot of longboarding, and boards have responsive trucks. We found a perfect location, and it feels like surfing on asphalt. After less than one hour, we have smiles plastered on our faces. You may have heard the saying, “Small children, small problems,” But once your kids reach adulthood, problems multiply in complexity. Thankfully, skateboarding is an incredible mental health tool. The stresses of day-to-day life or dealing with significant problems can be helped with a ride on a skateboard. As you take the board and step outside, the feeling of freedom and flow is immediate. We laugh, talk, and bond when I ride with two sons. We encourage each other and hoot and holler. The years seem to melt away, and I feel like a kid again. This is why I call skateboards real-time machines.