Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Top Five Reasons To Go For A Skate

  1. To take a lime with the boys
  2. Good time to clear the head 
  3. You’re feeling hyped after watching a good skate video 
  4. It’s a Sunday (P.o.S is empty – a skater’s playground) 
  5. It’s 4:00 p.m. (perfect time to skate in the tropics)

skate crew trinidad

Q&A With A Trini Skater

Q: When did you first start skating and what is your first memory of skating?

A: My first memory is witnessing my cousin doing an ollie on Christmas morning, when I was around seven or eight, but my first experience of skating was short-lived. After a few falls and some bloody elbows, I had had enough. At the age of about 12 I encountered skating once again; visiting my cousin’s house, I was surprised to learn that the new thing to do was ride skateboards, and everyone was in it. The big trick of the day was a shuv-it. On my first try I slipped out, landing squarely on my left hip. Determined to land, I began a process that is now engrained in my being: to get up and try again. And on my second attempt I made the trick.

 

Q: What made you want to pick up a skateboard and give it a try?

A: Seeing others manipulate the board always amazed me, but very early on you realise that what really keeps you coming back is the fun you’re having with your friends, sharing in the same experience and vibing off each other.

 

Q: What did you gain from skating as a teenager?

A: Skateboarding kept me out of mischief as a young boy; with skating consuming every moment of the day, there isn’t much time to get up to anything else. It taught me to get back up and try again, giving me a sense of determination and belief that I can succeed.

A sense of identity is important growing up as well, so being part of a tight-knit community was always a blessing. Finally, it taught me to really look at my surroundings and see things differently, a trait every skateboarder will attest to: that set of stairs is not just for walking, for example. There are many ways to perceive one’s environment.

 

Q: Why have you continued to skate over the years?

A: Something about skating that most people won’t know, and maybe some skaters don’t consciously recognise, is the need for stillness of the mind. When you are rolling up to any obstacle, your mind has to be empty and your body able to react to changing circumstances of balance, speed and orientation. Much like people talk about their yoga mats, you leave your problems when you step onto your board; you become responsible for you alone. So for me it is a form of meditation, an escape to a sort of innocent space that hasn’t changed much for me between the ages of 12 to 23.

 

Q: You lived in Canada for two years; how is the skate scene here different from the one over there?

A: The most obvious difference would be skate parks and skate shops. Canada also has the training facilities to push the boundaries and the space to provide a home for skaters. After my experience in Canada, though, I came to truly appreciate skating at home: the ole talking, the good friends and even the heat. However, one thing I do envy of the Toronto skate scene was its ability to take over completely as a lifestyle. Skaters in Trinidad—myself included—follow a trend of skating like crazy until about age 20 and then once they realise that no one but their small circle of skate friends care, move on to other things. I think it’s natural considering the landscape, but as skateboarding is evolving in Trinidad, the future might hold different possibilities.

 

Q: Where do you envision the future of skating in T&T?

A: I would like to see a stronger community of skaters, where there is a thriving industry to help provide jobs that can keep skaters doing what they love to do. With a skate park and shop come the need for people to work them, and providing a place for skaters opens up the market for newcomers. With more people skateboarding, the demand for boards grows, eventually leading to the manufacturing of our own locally made boards. I think Trinidad is maybe too small to sustain an industry of its own; the real vision is for a connection across the Caribbean and into South America. 

 

Q: Why would you encourage a young person to try skating?

A: I would encourage a young person to try skating because it’s fun and it’s something that you can work at for yourself. There isn’t anyone to tell you what to do, and the freedom to make whatever you want of it is liberating. Each person’s experience is their own, but hopefully reading this interview provides some level of insight into what one person has taken from riding his wooden toy.

 

Watch Justin’s section in the M88 Project, a video series by Mikul Elcock highlighting skaters in and around the Caribbean region.

some of the Trinidad skate crew

some of the Trinidad skate crew