Growing old fucking sucks, but even more so for a skateboarder, as you realise your days are numbered through the combination of a destroyed body and other disgusting grown up shit.
Skateboarding is still a relatively young sport, so we are only now seeing an older generation. There are of course a handful of pioneers that have maintained rollercoaster careers until today, but they’re as rare as successful white rappers. Then there are those few adults that often have no connection to the industry, yet somehow remain skateboarders nevertheless.
As a teenager all your friends skate, you’ve got a good crew to meet up with regularly that help keep you inspired. When you get older most people get distracted from skating never to return; whether it’s discovering weed, vaginas or full time employment, sooner or later the vast majority are lured into getting old.
But not everyone; some are so addicted to skateboarding that they make it their life, through families and jobs, despite periods of incarceration or drug addiction, even through fame and wealth - they still skate.
Is it purely Darwinism weeding out the faithful or are external influences to blame for the demise of the skateboarder? Is it the girlfriend that gets in the way or just a different set of priorities? For the select few that can balance their responsibilities and maintain an affair with their wooden wife, the rewards are better than your first blowjob.
With the Death Star destroyed, the Emperor had more time to roll. Westsiiiiide, motherfucker.
At some stage through the metamorphosis into adulthood your focus on skateboarding changes; thoughts of filming or trying to be sponsored are long gone, there is nothing but a love of skating to keep you hyped. Even the unspoken rivalries are lost, you become genuinely stoked to see your friends ripping with no subconscious jealousy; but that’s if you even have friends that skate. Many are left skating alone or become the only guy at the skatepark in his forties, pushing mongo and trying desperately not to look like a paedophile.
Come and session the ramp in my basement, boys.
On some Highlander shit only a few remain, but they look at skateboarding differently, they know that it can be a bitch but they will always love her regardless. They appreciate every flat-ground kicky like it may be their last, because it actually might be. Any remaining friends that skate are priceless, you understand each other’s struggles with lifelong injuries and real world issues, which in turn makes every session that much sweeter.
But it’s not all rainbows and candy floss, being an old skater has countless conundrums.
The most visible challenge is their choice of apparel. Do you continue to wear what is comfortable and feels right, aka baggy jeans and skate shoes, or do you adhere to society’s requirements and dress your age? It’s a tough call, you can either appear ridiculous to the general public as a 35yr old dressed like he’s 16, or you can try to skate wearing your shiny boots and knitted sweater; either way you look fucking terrible to someone.
Then there is the overwhelming temptation to become an asshole. As a kid, getting new shit was always a hustle that involved equal parts begging and stealing, but when you’re old you generally have coin to buy product. The unfortunate side effect, is an exponential growth in blaming your equipment for the lack of ability which old age bestowed upon you; which can result in purchasing new shoes every time you lose a trick until you have the shoe collection and trick selection of Imelda Marcos.
Elissa Steamer - 2014
Injury is the plague of the older skater; it often precedes getting fired for continual absences, breaking up with a partner who is tired of nursing your broken ass, or going bankrupt from the astronomical cost of healthcare. If you can survive all that shit you can look forward a steadily decreasing range of mobility, as your brittle bones turn into pink wafers. You get to an age when you wake up injured just from having skateboarding dreams.
Then alcohol enters the equation, no longer is it a bonus, it becomes an absolute requirement. Despite slowing down your progression in many respects, liquor is like anal lube for old skateboarders; allowing you to push through any injury, try shit you haven't done before and generally become the teenage version of yourself. Straight up, nothing gets an old body primed for skating like Nurofen and vodka.
But time becomes the least recognised asset of youth; old people do not have that luxury. An afternoon of skateboarding can involve permission from the wife, babysitter for the kids, time off work and synchronising an appointment with your equally busy friend. The whole coordinated process is like a sad, elderly version of Mission Impossible, all just to play on your wooden toy.
Faced with all these challenges, you might wonder how to maintain your self esteem as you age ungracefully; thankfully the New York Times created this extraordinary piece of journalism, teaching you “how to be a cool older skateboarder” and unwittingly, “how to get punched in the fucking face at the skatepark”.
If you need to know how to live your life, simply consult the internet. The endless wealth of knowledge from clueless cunts will lead you toward enlightenment.
As a kid you get teased for skateboarding, then as an adult you get openly ridiculed. Honestly, to the outside world you are a joke; a Peter Pan syndrome, mid-life crisis that can’t afford a convertible. There are numerous articles like this turd nugget from The Telegraph that are dedicated to humiliating old skateboarders, but this one is my favourite, aptly titled People over 30 shouldn’t ride skateboards.
Go run a nice warm bath, light some scented candles and settle in to read this piece of internet wisdom. As the words ease over you, firmly grasp your Gillette razor blade between your thumb and forefinger, slowly slice open your wrists and walk towards the light. You can die peacefully knowing that Garrison Frost no longer disapproves of your lifestyle.
This should end with an inspirational quote from Jay Adams or a motivational insight about staying young, but if you’re old and still skate, you don’t need that.
How old is too old?
On his way to MACBA kitted out in a perfect Euro outfit.