Take a good look at the photo below…
That’s Dave “Science” Maxwell ripping it up on a 24″ California Free Former board. The board was purchased at a garage sale and is well over 28 years old. While it may seem incredible, Dave’s pulling a four-foot aerial out of the twelve-foot-deep Hangar Bowl.
Of course, this is not the only skateboard in Dave’s quiver – but it is his way of making people think a little differently. If you showed this plastic skateboard to skaters, many of them would laugh. The idea of someone using this pathetic board to ride on the street, let alone do aerials in a bowl, borders on insane.
Why use such a board when we have cutting-edge technology?
For them, the board is as worthless as it is limiting. And yet, there is Dave, busting a huge air! Clearly, this photo shatters a lot of skater’s preconceived notions about what can be accomplished on a “crummy old banana board.”
So, now that you are sufficiently stoked on this photo, think about your own experiences with skateboarding and what types of preconceived notions you encounter. The times in your life when people don’t quite seem to connect with what you are doing. Maybe you’ve run into non-skaters who question why you still skate. I routinely get hit with “aren’t you a little old for that?” and “funny, you don’t look like a skateboarder.”
Once I take the time to explain that I’ve been skating for over 27 years and it still remains a key focus in my life, people begin to understand my passion. When you go out skating and you change people’s perception about skateboarding, you are doing something extremely positive: you’ve got them to think differently and perhaps even alter their outlook.
Even within our own skate community, I have encountered some preconceived notions and a fair amount of tunnel vision.
Do any of these questions sound familiar:
“Why is your board so wide?”
“Where’s the kicktail on this slalom board?”
“Can you really ollie with that board?”
“Why do those trucks look so different?”
“How come the wheels are so soft?”
Of course, my favorite is “How old are you?” I am always pleased to answer these questions, since I know I’ve got the skaters to think a little differently and, hopefully, explore new areas within skateboarding.
Changing skater’s perceptions is something I am very much committed to-it’s one of the reasons I started this magazine. I’d rather be riding in a tunnel than have tunnel vision. But I don’t stop at skaters. Kudos to those stores that make the effort to offer a wide variety of products, and make older skaters feel comfortable. However, I still believe there are a number of shops that need to expand their horizons, and start catering to older skaters. We have the passion, we have the knowledge, and, yes, we have the cash to pay for what we want!
As skaters, we must strive not to be boxed in by our own preconceived ideas. Thinking differently is a cornerstone of what it means to be a skater. Expressions like “that’s not possible”, “I’m not going to try that”, or “we would never carry that”, should be banned from our vocabulary.