Saturday, 28 April 2012

Thursday, 26 April 2012

My first proper skateboard!

Of course if I wanted to start skateboarding I needed to get myself a skateboard. I had been half-joking to my colleagues for a couple of months that I was going to get myself a deck and start skating. Finally in December 2011 I decided it was now or never and went on a mission to get myself a board. I couldn’t justify spending €150 plus buying myself a full setup from the local skate shop, especially as I was unsure if I was going to last more than a week or two. So I decided to use my workplace to my advantage and ‘acquire’ what I needed.  I went to the MD and told him straight out that I wanted to start skateboarding and needed to get a deck. He picked one up from a collection in his office and told me I could have it.

This was just before Christmas 2011 and in January after the holidays I sent an email to the two UK sales reps I work with begging them to try and get me some trucks and wheels off their contacts.  Within less than a week one of them had got back to say he had managed to get me a pair of trucks and a set of wheels. After another couple of weeks gently pestering him to stick them in the post, the package arrived on my desk (thanks Adrian!). A brand new set of Jart 54mm wheels and a pair of IronTrucks.

As the two skateboards I’d previously owned were just toy store completes I wasn’t even sure what else I needed to put the skateboard together, so I got some advice from my skateboarder colleague Wayne Gallagher.  All that I needed now to get me rolling were some bolts, bearings, and grip tape. At the beginning of March, after several months of getting the components together, I went to Skate City in Temple Bar, where Clive Rowan (a legend on the Dublin Skate scene) sorted me out with the last bit and pieces, and put my skateboard together for me.  Finally I had my first proper setup and was ready to roll!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

How did I end up learning to skateboard?

How did I end up trying to learn to skateboard in my thirties? Well it’s one of those serendipitous stories. I had been living in London for four years trying unsuccessfully to launch my journalism and photography career. Eventually I had had enough and reluctantly decided to move back to Dublin to recoup and revise my plans.  I needed to find a job quickly to pay the bills and after dozens of applications and a couple interviews I inadvertently found myself working in sales support for an American skateboard shoe and clothing distribution company, Podium Distribution, whose European HQ is based in Dublin. I had actually never heard of the brands they did, I was only familiar with the mainstream skateboard shoe brands Vans and DC. I wasn’t exactly overjoyed at the prospects of working in sales support again but I was intrigued that I would be working for a company that distributed skateboard shoes. 

Within a few weeks of working there I found myself reminiscing about my childhood fascination with skateboarding. I got my first skateboard when I was about 11 or 12. It was from a toy shop and I remember it vividly. It had a black deck and plastic trucks, hot pink plastic nose and tail guard, rails, and wheels. (I’m trying to locate a photo of it but haven’t been able to find one yet. It was a typical 80’s skateboard set-up). I did a little bit of rolling around on it, rolling down hills in car parks and parks, but as there was absolutely no skateparks in Ireland then and I didn’t know anybody else who I could skateboard with, I never got any further than rolling around.  I grew up in what I always joke about being ‘the most boring suburb in Dublin’ Booterstown.  The average age of our neighbours was around 80 and there was hardly any other children living there. This being Ireland I also went to an all-girls primary, and secondary school and none of the other girls where interested in skateboarding.

By the time I was a teenager I had stopped, but I always retained a fondness for skateboarding. I would drop into skateboard shops every now and then just to look at the decks, and watch people skating whenever I got the chance.  When I was 24 myself and my then partner bought skateboards on a whim in a toy shop one day and spent a few weeks rolling around empty car parks for a bit of a laugh but that didn’t last long and it soon ended up in my parents shed (and eventually got thrown out in a skip during a clear out).  I hadn’t been near a skateboard since and I never really thought I’d end up trying to take it up again, but being surrounded by skateboard shoes and skateboarders in my current job has motivated me to give it a go once more, and this time I’m serious about it! So here I am at 34 and a half years old, learning to skateboard.