My name is Josh Whitson. I am a 41 year old skater from a town called Henderson, Alabama, USA. My skate name is Sketchy. It was given to me because I land all of my tricks and barely complete them. I noticed that landing like that caused excitement in the crowds so, I continued to do it. These days, I do not compete but, mostly play around.
I currently own a skateshop and am trying to relocate a skateboard manufacturing company to our town here. they want to come here but money is a problem. I have been a skater for 31 years.
I started skating because I liked to ride anything down hills as a child. I found my fathers old 1965 skateboard in a closet and well, that’s how I started. I opened my shop after my wife’s cousin found out I skated and drug me back into it. I decided to sell boards from my car. after 6 months of research I opened my shop. it grew from there.
Here, kids and young adults skate together. The people interact well. skating has been here since the 1950’s so, everyone is used to it. Public opinion ,however, is widely varied. some people think skaters are dope smoking losers. While some, thinks they are enjoying a great sport.
I hate the phrase “skateboarding is not a crime” it comes from the skaters that are problem to people. they like to go skate in areas where the property owners have forbid it. when they are arrested, the scream skating is not a crime. to me, it is not good. yes it is a crime if it is not allowed in the area you are skating. Here, skaters are our own worst enemy. the general public only sees the bad ones. As you know, one bad apple will ruin a whole bunch.
Over the next few years, I see skating declining in the USA but, growing world wide. I hope the Olympics bring skating. Real hope for vertical skating and megaramp. those are the two events I like the most. I hope it repairs the views and brings excitement back to the sport.
As far as skaters in parks and streets, I see no problem with it. The main thing is they have to watch for traffic and pedestrians just like any other vehicle would. if they become a problem, then they have to go.
I am excited that skating is growing there in Africa. I think it will be good for people there. it is a very fun, exciting activity that is somewhat inexpensive. Here we invented skating. its been here since the 1950s. It has peaked here.
My best advice to a young skater is to always respect the other people in the area you are skating. before you learn how to do tricks, learned how to ride the board. learn how to go both forward and backwards. learn how to turn at speed and learn how to control the board at real high speed. Then, learn tricks. if you learn tricks first, it is very hard to learn to ride at speed. most of all, HAVE FUN!
I am a huge fan of vert skating. it is one of the few events that can be watched on tv easily. it is VERY exciting to watch. There is more flash and flare in vert. each rider has his or her own style. you can tell who is riding just by the way they ride. I like watching mega ramp ( big air) in the xgames. the downside to it is each run is too quick. also one person cannot afford to build a mega ramp. you can, however, build a vert ramp or a mini ramp
One thing for you guys in Africa to remember, You are looked at as a group. if there is one person that acts poorly, all skaters will be seen as ones who act poorly. If you act well, you will be looked at as a positive influence in your community.
Most of my funny experiences while skating, usually involve drinking alcohol and coming up with something stupid to do. Onetime I tried to ollie off the roof of my house and land in my pool. Luckily my wife came out and stopped me. one thing we did that was fun, take a bicycle , tie a rope to the seat pole. pull each other around. that was always fun. as we got older, we started using motor vehicles like cars and motorcycles. I would not recommend using vehicles, Usually ends bad.
Remember, have fun and wear a helmet and pads if they are available.