If you think you’re too old, not good enough, too different than others on your skate spot, or whatever might be stopping you doing what you’d like to do -only thing, that is time to stop are excuses.
Here’s an example:
Today in Brussels weather has been like a bride (as we say in Finland, sayings usually don’t translate, but I assume this Finglish makes sense), and I wanted to start it by a short mini ramp session. So first thing in the morning, I headed to mini ramp in my neighbourhood being sure it will be empty, as kids should be at school on Thursdays. Well, they weren’t. After seeing there were three teenage boys already on the mini (what time does kids wake up these days!) I almost turned my bike and headed back home. It might have been the sunny, warm morning, or me being persuaded to learn kick-turns, I still went on a mini. Politely (or more like stupidly making myself lesser) asking would there be space for me to skate too. Bien sûr those kids said yes. They’re skaters, and during my 1,5 years skating career, I have not met many skaters who do not give me respect and support for trying, even though my skateboarding attempts are not perfect. This happened today too. As you can hear watching the video above with sounds.
Weather in last week, as well as the weather forecast for this upcoming week, has not allowed skateboarding, neither have I had a chance to go to any indoor skate park.
Whilst waiting weather to be more suitable for skateboarding, and to have fresh skate stories to tell, here’s one I published about one month ago on my Facebook wall:
“There has been a couple of months break since I’ve been in one of my favourite skateboarding spots (Antwerpen Park Spoor Noord). It all started well. I was able to do all I had learned to do there. Even better, was faster in corners than ever before. All was perfect until I needed to do a pee (I do not want to give too much information, just saying there’s toilet facilities for boys, but not for girls). After a break I tried another corner, which I have tried before, not very well, but at least somehow. Now I couldn’t do nothing there, it felt too scary.
Unfortunately, that fear stayed with me. I was not able to do what I had done 10 minutes before thinking :”Superfun, this is my favourite place in Belgium.” I was too scared to go down from the bank. Some primary fear hit the brains again and again, forcing me to jump off from the board. I felt like crying, was p****d off, felt like a looser whilst slowly pushing on flat outside of the bowl. Finally sisu (a Finnish term meaning something like stamina. You should google it, veru useful when skateboarding) grew big enough, and I went back to the smaller bowl, which is in my comfort zone – if that’s a term I can use about me and skateboarding. All went well there, and got courage to go back to the scary bank where the fear had hit me. And it still did; the primary fear just came back immediately when speed got faster and I jumped off. Untill I discoverd: when fear hits, instead of jumping off from the board, I will scream. After a while screaming and skating, the fear went off, and all was fine again.
Now being safely in my bed, I am thinking why am I, who has always been a wuss & scared of everything in my 40’s, still want to skateboard…
It is good to face your fear and even better to win it. Tomorrow again if weather allows.”
I work as a freelancer, and to a certain limit, I can fix my own schedules. I worked on Saturday, Sunday was too wet to skate, so I decided Monday morning would be my perfect skating time – miniramp would likely to be empty at that time, and skateboarding would give an energetic start for the new week.
A day started grey, pavements were wet, but the weather forecast said cloudy, not rain. Optimistically, I put the skateboard on the back of my bicycle, and headed off to Vilvoorde. It is a small city just next to Brussels, only about 11 kilometres from where I live. There’s a miniramp under the bridge – that I thought would be wide enough to have kept the miniramp dry. So had I seen it before. Raining, but still nice clean and dry miniramp.
Just when left home, it started to drizzle. Ignored it, and just kept going. After all, there’s a big bridge covering the ramp. Had a tiny worry will the rain be bad for my lovely new cat board. Of course had not covered it, cause it did not rain when left the house…
Got to Vilvoorde. Took even a happy selfie and sent it to dude, to show off how brisk I am: out and about on Monday morning. Then the reality hit: wind blew drizzling rain to every direction and to everywhere, and the miniramp was all wet. Not on selfie mood anymore. Also, cat skateboard was bit damp!
I got obsessed to keep it dry, so started the hunt for a plastic bag, which turned out to be a mission. I was in an industrial area, no usual supermarkets around. First stop was some kind of electrical equipment shop. I can assure you, I looked very different that all the other customers. They were all workmen in their work clothes, and well, I was me: wet hoodie and leggings, wearing helmet, carrying the cat skate board, nose dripping (after all, I had been cycling in the rain quite a while already). Queue were too long, lost patience, so it was time for stop two: shop for tiles and likes. Very nicely dressed and nice lady advised: “We are not actually a shop for plastic bags.” I got lucky on a third shop (for office supplies) after the language barrier – Dutch/French/English – was sorted out.
Then only needed to head back to Brussels, and for that direction wind was against me.
I missed skating today, as spent most of this ‘sunny would have been perfect weather to skate’ Saturday indoors teaching kids Finnish language and culture. Happy now to have a blog – a perfect place to do something skateboard related even couldn’t hop on board today. The theme of the day was educational, so will post a list what is my goal in 2017 to achieve with skateboarding.
First something about what I already can do. I mostly skate in skateparks and have developed an obsession on pool / bowl skating. Actually, I am dreaming to become a female Pedro Barros; or at least it helps me sometimes when skating that I imagine I am Pedro Barros, as cool, fast and fearless. All is allowed in love and skateboarding 🙂 I am pretty good with backside carves (that’s when one rides a ‘corner’ of bowl back facing the wall side), but it depends on the bowl, and the new place is always a struggle. Me saying I am pretty good means I feel good, but it looks slow and not very cool. I can not drop, so it has to be a pool / bowl where I am able to have a speed some other way. I love backside carving, so mostly I am just repeating doing that. I am in the process of learning the frontside carving – that I call pedro or pedroing (it’s just my habit to give own names to things), and can do it somehow if the bowl is easy.
My tick-tacking is poor, but I manage it somehow. Should practice more.
I am okay with fakie turn (on flat). I am ashamed that after this time I still suck with kick-turns. That is something I am determined to practise now everytime when on wheels. After a long-ish pause, I am doing it on miniramp. Yes on miniramp I can ‘swing’ back and forth, but still afraid going to the highest.
I ride things down and up. Pyramids, banks, pumps – it depends on a day how high or fast. Sometimes I am scared of the smallest ones, sometimes I can go SCARY ones with no problem. I know I can do it, my balance is okay. It is just fear that makes me jump off. Annoying.
Another shame is my pushing, the basic skill I am not that great. Well, I’ve been focusing more on taking speed in the bowl, but now with different wheels pushing, as well pumping speed on corners, will be on my list.
Here’s the list dude and me made after new year’s eve. The pink scribble say what I will try to master by the end of 2017.
After making this list, I discovered old school 1970’s skateboard surfing tricks, and I am so adding those to this list. Not too techincal, not too high or fast – so it is something I should be able to learn. I am dreaming that one day it will be my skateboard style to show off 🙂 Surely will at least write more about that soon.
Speaking about education and showing off, allow me to share this pic from last summer. My PhD graduation took place in Queen Elizabeth Hall (London) just above the famous Southbank skatepark, and I just couldn’t resist sneaking out and asking some skateboarder to borrow his board and to take this snapshot (thank you so much anonymous London skater).
One day I will add videos here, so you’ll see not only read or see still pics of what’s going on. I just need to learn more about blogging and all settings here. Hmm, seems like learning really is a lifelong process.
Also, if you’ll wish me to explain more what the skateboarding terms means, I am happy to. I promise will use the proper names of them.
I got my first skateboard when was totally new in skateboarding. I just walked into to the skateshop in Paris where was staying at the time and explained I would like to buy a board. My first try of skateboarding took place in Helsinki, Finland (that’s where I come from) with the board that was nicknamed as a ‘shopping bag’ of the skateboarder who owned it, cause it had soft wide wheels, and was meant more for cruising (or going to grocery shop) than for doing tricks. As a beginner that felt safer for me than a ‘proper’ skateboard, so in skateshop I explained, I’d like to have a skateboard with cruiser set-up, and that’s what I got. You can see it in my header image – the Girl-board with Skid Row sticker.
Of course I fell love with it, because I fell in love with skateboarding. Soft wheels indeed made me feel safer whilst doing my first skate attempts on my own at a parking lot near of my flat in Brussels (that’s where I moved and at the moment am). The minus side of those wheels is that they don’t encourage me to learn to push or pump speed, as they wheel so easily anyway. I am also convinced I would learn better to do kick-turns and other things with the harder wheels, but I am aware that is just an excuse 🙂
No space for those excuses anymore, as you saw already: I have a lovely unique cat skateboard now. It started when I got kitten trucks (I wanted to have them for long!) as a present. Then the dude, who’s anyway helping me a LOT with skating (heh you didn’t think it was me doing the hard work of getting rid of the old griptape), gave one of his old boards, as well as wheels, to get pimped (as cheaply as possible) to be my new board. The board is (well, was) very masculine Chris Cole Zero P2 board with pic of gun and blood and something stupid – if you’ll ask me. After sandpapering, spraycanning, getting and gluing some stickers & griptape on it, I got the perfect board for me. So terrible it is terrific!
I made a first try with it on the other evening and despite of my fear of ‘it will take ages to learn to skate with different board’, it went well. I do need to adapt to it, as it always is with new things, but I already was more aware of how to use my body – that I need to use it more to get things done. Skateboarding definitely isn’t just wheels taking you somewhere.
And yes skateboarding also is not about the graphics on your board. Still I am sure it psychologically helps to have a board that just generally makes you feel good. It’s good to be silly.
New skateboard* and time for this crazy cat lady to transform herself into the crazy skate lady, and to move my skate stories from skate parks and streets also into the world of blogging.
I have been skating now bit more than 1,5 years. Starting when 40, being afraid of heights and speed keeps me probably always on a level of a beginner. At least for the outside world (and for me too if I happen to watch a video of my skate sessions!). Still I feel I have learned so much, not only about skating, but also how to face my fears, to be comfortable outside of my usual comfort zone. I have met wonderful new people I would unlikely have never met otherwise (including my boyfriend, who’s known as a dude in my writings). I have visited tons of new places in a search of good skate spot. With skateboarder’s eyes I have seen familiar spaces in a new light.
All those mentioned above will be the content of Crazy Skate Lady blog. Surely I will write about other things too. The style of my writing is very personal, so it is inevitably this blog will gather bits and pieces from other parts of my life as well. Actually I am already looking forward to write about how I think dance, running and skateboarding (all three being my passions) have a lot in common. And if skateboarding is a lifestyle, so can be said about my job (I am a visual artist). And I lead pretty nomad life carrying a skate along, so…
It comes without saying a woman in her 40’s on a skateboard is quite rare creature. My point of view for many of my posts will come from that fact. It is not that I necessarily like it to be so, on the contrary: I wish this blog reveals some of the presumptions such as ‘who can skate’ or ‘what skateboarding is’ or ‘what is suitable for a grown up (woman) to do’.
I have learned that most of the skateboarders give you respect, if you just keep trying & doing something you enjoy – no matter of your skills or age. I think that is something to respect of.
* new for me, pimped from dude’s old one, more about that in next post.