Where is your skateboard taking you?

By Jamie O'Toole, Columnist

When kids, teens, even college students were forced to stay indoors to avoid the global pandemic, there was free time to pick up a new hobby, and without guilt, take more time to enjoy the finer things in life. As skateboarding and roller skating became a larger trend, many decided to pick up a board and give it a shot.  

It’s become a late night activity, a way to keep a distance while adventuring with friends and a means to stay distracted while freeing the mind. 

Large groups of skateboarders in various cities recently gathered during the Black Lives Matter protests to show their support, gliding up and down streets, and using it as a way to stand with black lives in their own fashion. 

Skateboarding has made a pack. Although belongingness is crucial to human life, claiming your individuality in a group of people doing the same activity with the same tool is important. 

Designing your board is an easy way to personalize a hobby many are taking up and make it unique to your experience. 

Picking a board

If you’re a beginning skater, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start with a cheaper skateboard from Walmart, but by all means go somewhere professional to get a quality board and wheels. 

Typically a board from places like Walmart will have an undesired design painted underneath, whereas at professional places you have more of a say on what design you like best. The cheaper you go you get what you get. 

Getting started

Recommended spray paint

Start by sanding the paint on the bottom of the board if the surface isn’t smooth, however, spray painting over the design works just fine, but be sure to spray on two coats. 

This spray paint can also be found at Walmart, and there are a large variety of colors to choose from, including rainbow colors and more muted undertones. Try to stay with satin spray paint, as it will provide a glossier look, but if you want to go for a matte look, go for it. There will be some air bubbles after spray painting, so take a thick brush and wipe them evenly and in the same direction all over.

Two coats of spray paint





Once the paint is dry, use a marker to trace the design you want, and decide on the best placement, because almost all markers will wipe away on satin spray paint, whereas going for it right away with your acrylic paint is permanent, and it’s one shot and done. 

Now that the idea is down, pick the acrylic paint colors of choice and get to it. Some people are better at expressing themselves with colors and pictures and portraying their message through drawing, and others get their message across better with words, so get creative with whichever way you express yourself best.

Some inspiration for designing 

Whether you do choose to combine colors with words or draw an image, keep in mind what a skateboard enables for you when designing.

When designing mine, I chose words, as I am at times artistically challenged, but I wanted to keep in mind how a skateboard makes me feel, and why I enjoy riding it, as well as the thoughts I tend to have on a much needed cruise.

Creating the river before painting words

My favorite time to ride a skateboard is just after a rainstorm, when the clouds are still crackling and the sudden lightning threatens a round two storm. 

Although the street is wet and makes it harder for the wheels to grip the pavement, the street lights overhead bounce off the puddles, creating an illuminated, but shadowed reflection of yourself and ripples as the damp wind disrupts the calm water. The leaves on the tree begin to shake and if you’re lucky enough a droplet of two will fall on your hot sweaty skin. 

Everyone that would usually be out walking their dog in a quiet suburban town at this time of night are inside waiting until the storm passes, the news on their television keeping them updated with where the storm is traveling. You watch them sit on their couch as you pass their window. The roads are clear and they are yours to skate down uninterrupted by bright headlights stopping at stop signs. 

While alone, but certainly not lonely, the events in America and life before it suddenly stopped on a random Friday in March clutter your mind, but pass with each swipe of the leg to move the skateboard forward. All you can do is move ahead as you acknowledge what’s bothering you and instead of dwelling on life before, or messy mistakes you made during the stay at home order, you decide to pocket those lessons and apply them later in life.

While the ticking time bomb that is life is at a pause, now is the time to reflect on life so far and use this time to work on yourself and transition in private to live healthier and happier once life picks back up again. Its not everyday we get a restart button. Gliding on a skateboard is an almost perfect way to process character development. 

“Though the river flows, what’s below will always know.”

The finished product

This is a little rhyme I made up based on an almost ancient metaphor that many writers have contemplated in their own writing. It is said that the location, structure, even length of the river in most cases will stay the same and remain grounded in where it was discovered originally. However, with the current of the water, the amount of people swimming throughout the years, and ecosystems claiming their home throughout, the water forever shifts. The water, you’ll come to find, is never the same and forever circulates. The water you swam in last family vacation will never be the same water following years. 

Humans are much like rivers, because while we are the same being, the lessons we take, our personalities that people influence and traumas that change us overnight forever breed a completely unrecognizable person compared to last year.

When I decide to grab my skateboard for a night drive, or a chance to descend into the sunset, I want to go over what might have affected me or changed me inside my head, embracing my growth and leaving any minor or major regrets in the puddles beneath the phrase painted on my board for the sun to evaporate the next morning.