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As we get older I think most people start to look back at their life and its path.

It’s natural to start to analyse the journey (and possibly disappear up your own rear end, so stop me if i am!). With time comes perspective and it’s amazing to see how major directions in your life can hinge on small seemingly innocuous events.

In my case, my friends younger brother getting a “Pacer Road Hog” skateboard for his birthday started a path that has led directly to my current situation some twenty years later

I had a pretty comfortable middle class upbringing with great, supportive, loving parents who sacrificed much to send me to a private school in the nearest city. I was never especially good at the normal school sports but enjoyed being active. A happy but somewhat protected existence.
Enter the Road hog, my own Variflex and my first copy of RAD magazine. I can still picture it, Ken Park eggplanting on the cover, Hosoi advertising aquamarine Chuck Taylors inside and pictures of people grinding things, ollieing off things and how to “Hail Mary” inside (full marks if you 1. know what that is and 2. can still do them!)
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It was a whole new exciting world that my school friends knew nothing about and frankly looked down upon when they did. Ultimately my taste in clothes, music, culture and people were based on my skating experiences. All of a sudden i was meeting kids from all sorts of backgrounds as well as some older ne’er do wells i would never have met otherwise. It gave me self confidence and a sense of place and i am sure that i am a more well rounded and grounded person as a result. It instilled a sense of adventure and an openness to new experiences too. All this at a time when skaters were generally regarded with the same sense of distrust that surfers were twenty years earlier. Full credit again to my parents for supporting me in my obsession and letting me find my own way.
As an aside, i still find it entertaining & gratifying how acceptable skateboarding is today with lots of council built parks and a sense that it is a worthwhile activity for todays kids. Sure there are issues around it’s commercialization but skating, like surfing will always have a core of people stoked on the act itself with no interest in the lifestyle hoopla that goes with it.
From there I can trace a direct line through snowboarding obsession, back to skateboarding, to the friend that convinced me to give surfing a proper go, to sacrificing big bucks in my career in favor of living by the sea with an older car. What’s more, I couldn’t be happier. I have an amazing family, some very close friends and a focus on fun in my life. Not everyone can boast that. I know I’m not the only one with this sort of experience, I know for sure there will be those of you out there that have been turned from a much more destructive path than mine by the stoke of sliding sideways on something. Sure life can be cruel at times but tiny moments like these remind us how awesome it can be too.
Makes you wonder if it would all have been the same if Rob had wanted a Scalextric that year!

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