Skateboarding in and of itself can be a pretty dangerous activity. I mean, just standing on the thing and shifting your weight slightly can cause the skateboard to shoot out from under you and you are on the ground. Add something like ‘lack of sight’ to the mix and you now have a volatile time bomb on your hands.
The above statement is absolute crap and invalid. On December 28, 2013 the folks from AZPX/iSkateboard.org proved it by gathering a group of kids with different levels of visual impairment at an awesome skate facility along with flying in from Chicago their inspiration for wanting to skateboard, Tommy Carroll. Tommy has been blind most of his life and just happens to be a pretty big skate rat. Not only is he a skate rat, he shreds HARD. The kids were from the local branch of Foundation for Blind Children. Kids that Rip! Skateboard School opened up their facility to us for three hours and it was on.
“How the heck do you do a blind skateboard clinic?”, you ask. That is a good question and total lack of planning on my part and the ‘ol ‘flying by the seat of our pants‘ came into play. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? We had lined up a bunch of homies to come out and volunteer their time and skateboards so we could have every kid skate and be spotted at the same time. A majority of the experience level of the kids was a cool zero. But, being skateboarders we take the DIY ethic, toss a kid on a shred sled, keep him/her upright and they’re SKATEBOARDING. Young rippers Mason Locker and Drake Hendrix took Skateboard Education to the next level with some students but that’s an entire other story. Their white knuckle curriculum will soon be standard.
Basically, here’s what went down: Tommy was running a little late and the kids got there before him. This was perfect opportunity to let them just wander around the park without boards so they can assimilate their surroundings. When Tommy arrived we gathered everyone up to listen to him and answer questions, which was pretty awesome and Sam Keeley captured perfectly in the accompanying video. What I didn’t know was this type of event was a first for Tommy. He usually does demos and everything is usually surrounded around him. He really wanted to make sure he was available to the kids and did a lot of one-on-one time (as much as he could). What is all boiled down to though is these kids just wanted to SKATE!! The stoke was thick and kids seemed to have a blast, (some doing mind blowing things on a skateboard) to point of being worn out. Lunch was had and we parted ways having made a ton of new friends. Skateboarding rules.
The rest of the day consisted of an insane sesh at the Lennyland Ramp with Tommy and friends but that is another story and another video coming soon (Hippie Steve teaser photos below)…
The vid is long but Sam did a heck of a job telling the story of an incredible day..
There are so many people to thank for helping to make this event happen, I can’t even try to call everyone out, but you all know who you are. You made a lot of kids happy and inspired.
Check out some photos from Michael Cornelius and Hippie Steve: