Where it all began starts with Community and Unity
When I started skating at 5 I was a clueless towheaded little boy with a fish-shaped Nash board that was as flat as the South Florida streets I rode…
Zero concave board, zero hills, zero skaters, zero skate parks.
I had never seen anyone skateboard in my community back then, and my only point of reference was watching the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles skate on Saturday morning cartoons.
I surfed with my dad a few times a week, but he was as clueless about skateboarding as I was. I think he bought me the skateboard thinking it would help my balance & improve my surfing.
At first, I didn’t skate much because I had no idea what I was doing, but eventually, I started to look at it as an opportunity for creativity.
Every trick I did I thought I had invented. I was super proud when I learned to manual (although in my head I called it popping a wheelie).
Then I realized I could nose manual (MIND BLOWN!!!)!
I started to look at my board as a brush (or spray paint can), and the asphalt an open canvas. It wasn’t until I was in fifth grade that I found other kids that skated. For 6 years I rode alone, and then I found my people.
One day, after a session, we went to my homie’s house to get some Kool-Aid & AC, and he popped a copy of Propaganda into his VCR.
That was it; I was hooked.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – The possibilities of what you can do with a board.
Shit, I had never even seen a concave board before (which at that time we called a double-dip board because we were clueless).
That Christmas I got a new setup, and I stole the half-used candles from the family advent wreath to wax the curbs at the local elementary school.
I had found home. This was home.
We just Strive to Help the Community
When I started Skater Claus I was a clueless 30 something with a high-paying corporate job trying to find a balance between my 9-5 and that longing for a more simple time where all that mattered was Friends, Music, and Skating.
I started feverishly hoarding skateboards and parts looking for the perfect setup when my wife started to say things like
“Hey, I’m glad you’re back into skating, but what are you going to do with all these boards? You can’t ride them all, and I want my living room back.”
In an effort to appease the love of my life I randomly said the first thing that popped into my head which was: I don’t know, I guess I’ll give them out to kids or something.
From there I built out a network of people to help me realize this dream (I didn’t even know I had) of giving kids in need skateboards, which evolved into also feeding our homeless brothers and sisters in the community.
I started out with my punk rock DIY roots & handed out flyers in my hood.
I quickly learned how to harness the power of social media, and became friends and partners with many other like-minded people…
Many of whom I have never met in person. Not only did we establish genuine relationships, but we helped each other to enact positive social change through our passion for skateboarding.
Enter Skateboarding Saves.
In my attempts to grow my own cause through Instagram, I came across a lot of other people that were trying to do similar things, had the same passion for skating I did, and had similar ideas about how we need to protect our culture from corporate interests focused on money and not people.
Folks that knew the importance of building a community to enact real social change.
Folks that knew you can’t help people if you don’t know them and what they are going through. Folks that know there is more value in buying local to support those that are building the community and not just selling a commodity.
I was honored to be invited into the Skateboarding Saves community, and to become a contributor to the site (which is in the top 10 bitches!).
For 3 years I did Skater Claus alone, & then I found my people.
I don’t know exactly what Skateboarding Saves is just yet, or Skater Claus for that matter, but I know we started a community that has come together to help each other in our endeavors to share and grow skating culture to places that it has yet to penetrate.
To try and ensure the culture maintains authenticity in an environment that is actively seeking to commodify our way of life and put it in a box on aisle 3.
To try & give back to the skate community, our local communities, & to help others to establish a culture of brotherhood and sisterhood on their block.
I ride for a lot of things, but I’m proud to ride for Skateboarding Saves.
Skateboarding saved me, and a lot of people I know….
And now we’re trying to pay it forward!
Together we WILL rise up.
Even if skateboarding isn’t your particular passion, I know from experience you can find or establish a community based around your passion that can enact positive social change.
Take what you love, share it with others, find a way to positively impact the community. It might not be easy, but you’re not alone. Find your people, I promise they are out there. You just gotta look.
Take what you love, share it with others…