The Skateboard Moms' Blog

A Blog by Women Skaters, for People Everywhere.

Moms: learning to carve well is just like having a baby. August 14, 2013

by Patti Hurst

“Are you having a contraction?”  My obstetrician was peering at me through my splayed legs with a quizzical look on her face.  “No,” I grunted in response.  “Then why are you pushing?” she asked, with exasperation in her voice.

I had good reason to push, I thought to myself at the time.  I had been in labor by that point for many hours, my first and only daughter was almost here, I was exhausted and I wanted her out of me!  I thought that, by pushing as hard as I could, even when my body was not contracting, I could speed up her arrival.  But, I was wrong.  As any woman who has been through labor knows, no amount of pushing is going to help move things along without a strong uterine contraction.

“What does this have to do with skateboarding,” you ask?

It occurred to me as I was skating my home bowl tonight that learning to carve well is really all about learning to sense when it’s time to push, and when it’s time to hang on and enjoy the ride.  Like a laboring mother, you have to time your effort precisely in order to achieve the flow every skater searches for during a run.

I’ve been skating bowls for seven years, and I like to think that I can carve fairly well, even if I don’t have a whole lot of tricks in my bag.  I remember what it was like when I was first learning, when I was unable to read the terrain in front of me, and had no sense of when I needed to exert myself in order to nudge my board ahead of me and gain speed.  I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, no matter how hard I tried.

I see so many skaters, both men and women, who struggle to carve well.  You’ve probably seen them too.  It’s not for lack of trying.  They thrash and swing their arms as they navigate the bowl, grunting and grimacing with the effort, coaxing their seemingly uncooperative skateboards to carry them forward.  Some even look like they could be in labor themselves!

Learning to carve well is about backing off on all that effort.  It’s about lightening up.  It’s about reading the terrain in front of you.  It’s about noticing when it’s useful to exert yourself, and when it’s not.  It’s about learning to anticipate the next opportunity to gain speed.  It’s about positioning yourself within that terrain to take full advantage of the next opportunity.

If I could go back to the day my daughter was born, I would tell myself to ease up a bit, to relax, to notice what my body was doing, naturally, to deliver.  I would tell myself to go with the flow, just as I do now, every time I drop in on my skateboard.

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Patti carving a bowl at the park in Arvada, Colorado.

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A mind of its own February 9, 2011

Filed under: extreme sports,humor,kids,moms,mothers,skateboarding,women — skateboardmoms @ 8:38 pm

by Hilja

Today, my car decided it wanted to drive by itself to Lower Woodland Skatepark in my hometown of Seattle during the workday.  As a good car owner, I wouldn’t let it go by itself and had to accompany it.  The car wouldn’t leave until the work day was over and I was forced to stay.  Because of my phone being in the car, I missed a call from my 12-year-old son.  When car was ready to go home, I called my son, but I did not let the boy know where mom and the car were.  I pretended I was still at work.  No information is not a lie.  He would have been bummed that he was stuck at home while mom skated. 

It was sooo much fun!!

Skatemom Hilja, from Seattle, learning to carve at Etnies in California, in December 2010.

 

… so, that’s why i decided to start skateboarding. January 28, 2009

pattiwheeling

i watched shaun white win his gold medal on the halfpipe at the winter olympics in nagano. he looked like he was having so much fun!  he was always laughing and joking around, even during the stiffest competition of his life.

i was 39, and i was tired. i had spent my whole life working 60-80 hours a week, volunteering in my off time, and raising a kid. i rarely laughed, and i yelled at my 6-year-old daughter more than i wanted to admit. i wanted to have more fun, and be silly like the Flying Tomato! i thought about learning to snowboard, but there’s no snow here. then i saw shaun do a mctwist on a skateboard, and that’s all it took! i wanted to know what it was like to fly in the air like that. i knew i’d have to work hard. i figured it would take about a year to learn to skate like shaun white. 

one day, i asked my dad to take care of my daughter, and drove to the local skate shop. i parked the car and took a deep breath. i prepared myself for ridicule. i didn’t know anyone who skated, and i was sure there were no adult skaters in my area. i walked in and told the 17-year-old street skater behind the counter that i wanted to learn to skate ramps and bowls. i had no idea what to buy, i had never set foot on a skateboard. the store clerk stared at me for a good minute (or what seemed like it), and then went to work. he showed me different boards, trucks and wheels. he explained the virtues of each, and let me choose after narrowing the selection down to two or three. an hour later, i had a really nice first setup. he suggested that i buy a helmet and some pads, as well as some special shoes. i thought all of that might be unnecessary, but followed his advice anyway. the store owner rang me up. he said that i’ll fall a lot at first, and that most women prefer longboarding.

i took my shiny new board home, and stood on it for the first time in the living room, on the carpet. i fell almost immediately, and my dad laughed. my wrists hurt! i laughed too.

see? it was already working. 

in the last three years, my job has been on autopilot, i’ve quit most of my volunteer work, and i’ve suffered more injuries than i have in all my other years put together, all the direct result of skating. it makes me sad sometimes when i think of what’s gone, but i can’t say that i regret any of it. for the first time, i’m being true to myself. i’ve laughed more, learned more and loved more than i have in all my other years put together. and i don’t yell at my daughter anymore.

 

Better Parenting Through Skating April 2, 2008

Filed under: extreme sports,kids,moms,mothers,skateboarding,women — skateboardmoms @ 4:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

by Karen Rennie

I have been asked many times why I let my young son skateboard. People suggest he might pick up bad habits or foul language from the older kids who skate. My response is always that hanging out with skaters has made my son Chris a better person.

“Isn’t he missing a lot by not playing TEAM sports?”
I hear that question all the time. We have done the soccer and baseball thing. We paid the money to join leagues that other parents didn’t want to volunteer for. We learned that the soccer commissioner was hiding money, the baseball commissioner was stacking his team with the leagues best players only to be certain that that the opposing team cheated when his “superteam” lost. When adults started expecting their kids to “toughen up” (There’s no crying in baseball) while they coached them with loud voices and pointed fingers in faces, we decided that this team sport thing was really cutting into our family time and values.

Watching Chris’ continued attempts to use a pitching machine long after her son gave up, a playmates mom asked me how I taught Chris to persevere. I am certain that he learned perseverance at the skatepark. He learned at a very early age that the key to success is practice. At age 4 my son would try all day to land the same trick. If he didn’t succeed, he would return the next day to try again. You don’t walk into a skatepark and drop into a ramp the very first time. You have to fall. You have to pick yourself up. You have to figure out what you did wrong and correct the problem.

When Chris did finally land a trick he had attempted for days, the other skaters would cheer- not because he was doing something no one else could do- but because he achieved a personal best. Skateboarding teaches you to set personal goals and to cheer on those who achieve them. It doesn’t matter if you are landing a 720 over a 20-foot gap, or you are landing your very first kickflip. If you have tried to achieve something you set your mind to and practiced again and again- the skate community is there to cheer for you and congratulate you. People that skate together often are a team; they are a team of people working to achieve their personal best.

“How did he learn to skate like that?”
Skaters share secrets. Skaters teach each other. Skaters seem to only complete seriously with each other for money, and usually in a friendly manner. Ever watch a televised skating event? Notice how the people competing seem to know each other and cheer each other on? That’s because when big business isn’t involved in offering tons of money to these skaters to skate against each other, they are usually skating with each other. They were probably together at a backyard ramp or pool the week before the competition skating together.

In backyards across the neighborhood my son has developed an understanding of protocol, hierarchy. He shows respect for elders- and just people in general. You can’t just walk into someone’s backyard and drop into his or her pool or ramp. You have to be invited. You have to show respect. You don’t just assume you have a right to skate there. No one owes you anything. You have to earn the privilege to skate there by showing respect and waiting your turn. You have to be a good enough person for someone to invite you along in the first place.

In skateparks it’s a little more difficult- but the end result is usually the same. There are those parents who use the skateparks as “concrete babysitters”. Parents who drop their kids off at the park on their way to the manicurist or to go have a beer at the sports bar. These are the same parents who don’t want to do their volunteer work for the soccer league. The difference is that eventually the skate community will teach these kids how to behave. Even if the parents don’t want to watch their kids to cheer them on, the other skaters will, and eventually the kids will want to be accepted in the skating community. If they continue to have a bad attitude, they won’t have anyone to skate with. They won’t be invited to the backyard ramp, or they will be vibed out of the park.

I’ve been asked so often if I am afraid of him getting hurt. Of course I am. As a mother I am afraid every day for his safety. But I have to say; he has gotten hurt much more severely just walking off the back porch and not paying attention. When he’s skating he wears pads and a helmet and he has a deep mental focus on what he is doing. I believe it is safer than chasing a ball at high speed during an intense competition with no pads.

“What about the older kids he is exposed to?”
In team sports the kids are grouped together by similar age. I have to say that I’m not sure if competition among similarly aged kids is a good thing. When each kid is expected to conform to a group and vying for the coaches or parents attention, there can be a lot of bullying. In skating- the older kids are just happy to see a young kid getting excited about skating. I have been told more than once by these older kids that they wished they had a mom that supported their skating.
I tell them someday they will be better parents through skateboarding.

At schools where they are trying to find a way to have “sports” without competition- skateboarding is the answer. If we want to build confidence in our kids, and get them involved in a physical activity, we should have skating as an after school activity in our elementary schools. The best thing we can do for our community is build more skateparks.

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Karen, her husband, and her son Chris in the Ridiculous Pool!

 

 
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