Updated: Jan 5
Ep. 1 By Kane Horspool
Have you ever wondered what the average citizen thinks of skateboarding? I don’t mean the finished product, like the highlights of the mega ramp that turn up on their feed or the Richie Jackson part from three years ago that still gets shared around by mall grabbers the world over.
I wonder what they think about the actual act of skateboarding. The gangs of skaters marauding around our cities and neighbourhoods searching for cheap thrills in the most unusual of places. From a complete outsider’s point of view, it must seem quite strange to see grown adults gathering in numbers around a waxed curb, a bent pole or even just the slightest elevation in a footpath. No one sees the un-natural world the way skateboarders do. We can get utter enjoyment out of the most mundane of things. And to the plebs of the world this must seem almost surreal.
Even when we are not rolling a group of skaters can draw the attention and puzzlement of your average John Citizen. Look at any group of skaters and its not exactly a collection of cookie cutter individuals. A single ensemble of skaters could include people aged from their early teens right up to their mid-forties. In skateboarding this is nothing unusual. Age is no barrier to friendship when the common language is stoke.
Our nationalities, clothing, personalities and politics can be so extremely varied in a single group of skaters, we should be collectively awarded the international peace prize.
But as harmonious as skateboarding can be it can also be completely destructive and chaotic. Urethane wheels rolling through a Zen Buddhist garden can be an earth-shattering sound depending on what state of Nirvana you are in.
So, when seven skateboarders rolled into a tranquil courtyard attached to a Buddhist temple on a calm Sunday afternoon our presence was immediately known. The reason for our incursion was for Jarryd Rees to film a quick trick with lens of Ben Laxton and for the rest of us to enjoy some ambience and skateboarding with some pocket beers from the discount bottlo. This is how we meditate.
It didn’t take long, maybe two tries before a very passive and polite caretaker was attempting to usher us away. He was a beast of a man who could have, if he wanted to, man handle all of us out of that courtyard. But I had the feeling he was a gentle spirit who would feel utter remorse if he accidently caught a cockroach under his shoe.
Jarryd has this trick in the bag, a wallie nose manual with a frontside 180 out. But it was taking a few more tries than usual to get it. I think its easier sometimes to ignore the abusive concerned citizen trying to kick you out than it is a kind, polite, and oh so patient Buddhist caretaker. So, I think Jarryd was a little rattled by the calm demeanour of the situation, far from the raucous and callous streets he is used to.
After a while the calm gentle giant was joined by another example of peaceful Buddhism at work. A small softly spoken women wearing a clean crisp apron joined the gentle giant in politely asking us to leave. Even her round rimmed glasses were petite and unassuming. Her facial expressions jumped through a range of slightly shocked and annoyed but she radiated a peaceful aura like the morning sun shimmering off freshly laid concrete.
To Jarryd’s credit he was meeting their patient politeness with his own P’s and Q’s. Jarryd is the kind of well-mannered gentleman that your mother would love, maybe more than she loves you. But when he needs to get a trick he will plead, beg and borrow to convince the human skate stoppers in his path to relinquish their grip.
The back and forth went on for a while. With Jarryd pleading for a few more goes. He would have an attempt here and there between the negotiations. The two Buddhist caretakers were in a world of confusion. I’m sure their day to day lives were a lot simpler than dealing with the Excitement Gang.
Meanwhile the rest of us were kicking back enjoying our beers and soaking in the tension and entertainment. We were definitely more subdued than we would be in a less spiritual situation. We all refrained from smoking at the request of our hosts in the hope it may garner Jarryd a few more tries.
But it didn’t take long for the air to get thicker. As the atmosphere grew more tense Pete Dalmer approached me to discuss the current situation. This was during Pete’s full bearded experience and he was looking like the gang leader with a Budweiser hanging out of his breast pocket. He said something along the lines of “this is starting to feel a bit shit”. I had to agree. The entertainment had ended and I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for our polite adversaries.
It was at this point the lovely little Buddhist said the most amazing line I have ever heard from someone attempting to kick skaters out of a spot. “I’m sorry but I call Police”. I don’t think anyone has ever apologised for call the cops. Pete and I looked at each other and through non-verbal communication we both agreed it was time to go. So, we all started making a move towards stage left. And then like clockwork, like scenes from a movie script Jarryd landed it right on que to subdued applause and great relief to all concerned.
The Coma Girl had spoken and the Excitement Gang packed up and shifted off. We quickly packed up the cars that were parked off site to avoid the CCTV’s. We all exchanged our combinations of handshakes and fist bumps and broke off in different directions.
It would be at least a couple of days before similar scenes would transpire again. In another location, another trick and another set of adversaries and obstacles to overcome.