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.