Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Skateboarding at the Olympics

The other week I was over in London soaking up the amazing atmosphere at the 2012 Olympics. I took my skateboard with me as I also wanted to skate some of the skateparks I had scouted out on previous visits. Jenna Selby from Rogue Skateboards, who I met when over at the Girl Skate Jam in June, had kindly offered to come to London to skate with me.  We met up at Finsbury Park Skatepark on a lovely sunny Wednesday. I was looking forward to finally skating here, as I lived only 5 minutes away from the park when I lived in London. However that was in my pre-skateboarding days so I had never skated there. I had been struggling with my skateboarding the last couple of weeks. I had hit a bit of a wall in terms of pushing myself to try new things. I was still trying to master my kickturns at speed but had completely lost the nerve to try rolling off bigger ramps or roll-ins. I was getting frustrated with myself and once more questioning my ability to get to grips with skateboarding at my age. This session with Jenna started of in much the same vain. I wasn't really able to do much. I was even struggling with some basic kickturning. I managed to stick with it and shortly after Jenna left, I finally managed to get some proper kickturns and a little bit of carving done.

Jenna and me at Finsbury Park Skatepark

On the Friday I decided to head down to Clapham Common Skatepark. This was the skatepark I had had my lesson in with Lucy Adams back at the beginning of May and I was keen to skate there again to see how I had improved. It was a really hot day and the park wasn't too busy. Clapham is a great park for beginners, it has lots of smaller ramps and its open plan layout gives you lots of room to manoeuvre. I could quickly feel how much I had improved since that lesson. Things that I struggled with back then I didn't even have to think about doing now. This gave me come confidence. I finally managed to push through the fear and roll down some bigger ramps. These ramps weren't particularly high but they looked steep. When I finally took the plunge and rolled down one, it didn't feel scary at all and I began to wonder why I had been so worried. With those ramps out of the way my confidence improved dramatically and I began to feel more at ease on the skateboard.
On the Saturday morning I went back to Finsbury Park with Jenna and managed to roll in on the side of the small bowl and carve around the other end (well when I say 'carve' I mean managed to get around without stopping, the style isn't quite there yet!). I was pretty thrilled with this development. After weeks of not being able to push myself, something finally seemed to have clicked and I was able to let go. After Jenna left I headed down to nearby Clissold Park to have a quick go in the smaller bowl there. As the bowls are fairly new the concrete is still nice and smooth and I was able to practise some kickturns. I didn't stay too long as I had to leave to head to the airport to fly back to Dublin. Those couple of sessions in London did my confidence the world of good. It was well worth the extra luggage charges to bring my deck over!

Gettin' my carve on in Finsbury Park. Photo by Jenna Selby

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