|Skateboarding in Afghanistan - pic courtesy of Skateistan.|
Freedom is a skateboard.
Freedom to roll, freedom to defy gravity, freedom to both create and destroy.
A few years ago I made the decision to ease off skating and replace it with surfing - I could foresee that slower reflexes and older bones would limit my ability to be free on a skateboard. During my last year of serious skateboarding I felt the balance between freedom and fear slipping too heavily towards the latter. So I now spend any spare time I get surfing. It's just not the same...
Surfing is reliant on way too many factors to be truly free in the way that skateboarding is. There has to be the right conditions; tide, swell, wind and even daylight must be considered.
Suddenly get the overwhelming urge to bomb some hills at midnight - no problem. Fancy going for a surf after dark - good luck with that.
Surfing doesn't even feel particularly free either - not where I live anyway. Carparks and kooks are just two elements that clutter up the experience. The only way to avoid them is by living right on the beach or getting up really damn early.
Skating is both singular and plural. If you wanna just cruise on your own, then grab your stick, walk out your door and go skate - simple. If you want to be social, that's fine too, skaters are incredibly friendly and inclusive. Surfing doesn't really give you the choice. Catching a solitary wave is wishful thinking mainly. Surfing by its nature is exclusive. Making friends in the line-up, sharing waves, taking turns, spreading the stoke - all fine in theory but in reality it's every man, woman and child for themselves.
I'm the same in all honesty, even though I try and be as mellow as possible in the line-up I can all too easily become a rabid wave-hunter seeing my fellow humans as obstacles rather than compadres. To me that doesn't feel like freedom, it feels too much like all the other shite that I tried to leave back in the carpark.
Freedom is a choice, freedom is a state of mind - I need to remember that.