Skate parks are a fun substitute, but they ain't the same thing…
They recently built a free world-class skatepark near my house, perfect five-foot-low, nine-foot-high kidney bowl with vert extensions, a bunch of buttery quarters and corners in the six-foot range, and all the basic street staples, everything executed with a perfect pour that grips wheels and slides knee-pads magically. There are never cops, they don’t enforce helmet rules, and it’s lit into the wee hours. Other than the fact that it takes my old ass a long time to warm up for morning sessions, I can’t find a single downside to spending my AM playtime clicking airs at the skatepark and I find myself surfing less and less in the adjacent beachfront community where I spent my youth but can no longer afford to live. I used to surf every day, but now my strongest connection to surf is reading BeachGrit. What’s a beached surf rat to do?
The Plaque on Andy Roy’s Missing Teeth
Dear Rory says: I know I’m getting old because I don’t think helmets and pads are lame anymore. Now they seem like a very reasonable precaution. I’m sure all the kids still think they’re dorky, but I really couldn’t care less if some teen thinks I’m cool.
I definitely don’t want to be the guy in his mid/late thirties who all the kids think is awesome. That dude’s creepy. Like, childless assistant AYSO coach creepy. Let the neighbor kids drink beer in his garage creepy. Bring your bible to the skatepark creepy.
A church near where I went to high school set up a shitty skatepark in some derelict commercial space and let kids skate all they wanted. They’d try to preach at you, suck you into their faith.
As an adult it seems crazy. Setting up something to lure in children, then indoctrinating them in your beliefs? How is that allowed?
If I tried to do similar I think people would have a real problem with it. And rightly so.
“Oh hello, come inside all you unattended minors! You can play all you want, eat sweets until your bellies are fit to burst.”
Set up a sundae station, fire up the video games. Have a grand old time. No adults allowed!
Then, when all the little ones are comfortable, their guards down, I just slide in some of my own beliefs.
“Your parents have no idea what they’re doing and kind of wish you were never born.”
“Drugs are great so long as you don’t take too many.”
“Spend your twenties fucking everything that moves.”
“Life is pointless. There’s no god, no afterlife.”
“Never cross a picket line.”
“You should suck at least one dick, just to see if you like it.”
“If you earn below a living wage you have every right to rob your employer blind.”
“You can’t get pregnant in the butt.”
After a while I’d single out the most easily manipulated, buy a van, rent some office space. Put the kids in my van and drive around the country recruiting more children!
It’s a good system. I can see why they do it.
What was the question again?
Skateparks are a fun substitute, but they ain’t the same thing. Because they aren’t the ocean.
Which is really what makes surfing special. The fact that it takes place in water and the ocean is just pure fun.
Swim, bob around like a potato, whatever. Being in the ocean is always nice. Even when it’s cold.
There’s always so much going on. The way the currents move, the different worlds on either side of the surface. You can play in it, hunt in it. It can kill you. Never a dull moment.
But you’re an adult, so you don’t have to go every day. Just become a weekend warrior. Check to reports, sleep in if it’s shit. Miss swells, who cares? You’ve made the responsible decision by moving inland. Surfing every day isn’t something responsible people do.
Sure, it means you’ve kinda given up. Definitely lost a part of your youth that you’ll never get back. But that’s what being an adult is, isn’t it?
Caught in a jam? Stuck in a pickle? Send your life questions to [email protected]. Due to volume Rory cannot respond to every letter.