Venice Beach is colorful. Buzzing. Beautifully chaotic. And it is home to its very own unique form of art: skating. Venice skating is a lifestyle. Here on the southern California coast, you find a little world of dedicated expressionists. Kids, teens, adults, all exuding the skate style in the famous Venice Skatepark. And skating is so much more than just a few tricks.
Skate Philosophy – Dedication
It looks and feels like flying. Gravity is overcome for a short moment. They feel weightless for a split second as they lose the connection with their boards, to only, like a magnet, get their feet back on them. Trick successfully performed. But without having the time to enjoy the thrill of the moment, they have to keep going and continue their run.
Ever since I was a young skater, I’ve been working my way to these big jumps. – Nathan Chen
As a skater, you need to either have the skills or whole-heartedly put in the time to develop those. A lot of work and effort go into new tricks and many don’t see that. We might have a certain image of a skater in mind: very casual, cool, just “hanging out” and not doing anything with his life. Wrong. It’s what we might see on the surface. But as all too often in life, we should not judge a book by its cover. We have to encourage ourselves to look beyond the surface.
Skaters might be a subculture. Yet, they are far from being “outcasts” – especially here at Venice Beach, where they can live and perform in true form. And that’s what skaters are: performers. Yes, even artists in their own way. They have their own skater philosophy that is equally applicable to mainstream life. Work hard. Follow your passion. Be determined. Succeed eventually.
Their boards are their buddies. They go with them through new tricks, failure, success. The life lesson is clear: You have to start and keep trying. You have to fail numerous times. And then, you will be able to see and taste the success that comes with years of hard work.
Seeing Possibilities Not Obstacles
Skaters are outsiders, but in the positive sense of the word: They practice their art in outdoor skateparks. As fast and buzzing as this place at Venice Beach might be, it can slow down during sunset. The world holds its breath for a second. Skaters take in the fresh breeze and pause for a moment – only to jump back on their boards for a few more minutes before the last rays of the day disappear behind the horizon.
They become one with their boards, the concrete, their surrounding. Their skateboard is their means of self-identification. It’s an integral part of their lives. More so: It’s their style. And they own it. With it comes positivity.
The unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates
This saying goes wonderfully with skate culture. Skaters are acutely aware of their environment as they look for obstacles, ultimately turned into possibilities for new tricks. They have the ability to turn something seemingly negative into a positive. They see clearly – and this spirit they carry on into other aspects of their lives.
Community and Self-Expression
Against a beautiful setting of a sunset the outlines of spectators at the Venice Skatepark are visible. This image exudes peace. Yet, it also shows a very valuable thing: the community you’ll find in the skate world. Skateboarders are tight-knit and, ideally, supporting of each other. They understand their lifestyle; they accept other skaters’ skills – or those who are still eager to learn – and certainly love to be respected because of the tricks they can show off to those who really appreciate them.
Skating is a form of self-expression; it has something artsy. But most importantly, it shows that dedication can have different faces – as long as you live and breathe what you are doing, fully emerging yourself in it.