“You don’t quit skating because you get old – you get old because you quit skating,” Jay Adams once said, and it’s true. Anyone who skates can tell you there is no age barrier at skateparks. Sure, it hurts a little more when you fall, but that’s no reason to stop. For the general public though, skateboarding is still a “kid’s sport” — something you give up at 12, or 18, or 25. Ben Rupp, a 40-plus-year-old skater and snowboarder from Washington is out to disprove that.
Ben and photographer Matt Scholz are in the process of making “My Knees Hurt,” which you can watch the teaser for above. “This project stems from me starting skateboarding again at 41 after spending years away from the sport (I never stopped snowboarding). As I ventured back into the parks I discovered that I wasn’t alone. Every day I met more and more older men and women that have either returned to skateboarding or never left the sport to begin with. I had been looking for a fun and interesting way to put my two decades of TV experience to use so I decided that I would tell their stories,” he explains.
The project is still in the beginning stages, and is definitely a labor of love. Between their day jobs, production is slow going, and the duo is not looking to make a buck. But like skateboarding, the project will hopefully have a greater effect than just another skate video.
“Keep in mind, although the teaser is full of bangers, we aren’t making the traditional skateboard movie, we want this to be about the skaters and not the tricks, why they skate. Basically I want to obliterate the stereo type of skateboarding as ‘Youth Culture,’” Ben said.
If you’re an older (40 plus) skateboarder based in the Northwest who would like to tell Ben your story, he’s looking for more subjects and help as well. You can contact him though his website, www.mykneeshurtthemovie.com.
Rather than have my own children, I’ve decided to adopt. And rather than risk it with a baby that could turn out to be a total piece of shit, I’m just adopting Joey. He’s 17, really good at skateboarding, and generally stoked. This video is the first stop on our Saturday skate tour (#holidayweekendsareforsuckers) and if you want to see pictures of the second stop at the Brooklyn Street Skate Spot, which turned out to be way cooler, check em out on Yobeat.
If you haven’t heard about Portlandia yet, you should first watch and enjoy this incredibly accurate portrayal of the fine city I call home. It’s true, this place is a freak show, which is what makes it such a great place to live, and I’m happy I’ve come here to retire. Speaking of patently Portland things, yesterday I finally checked out the new DIY ‘crete in Southeast. When I heard about this place (via the Mercury) it made me realize just how detached I’ve become from skateboarding in Portland. Seriously, how ridiculous is it that I only found out about this spot, mere feet from the former location of this ramp, by reading about it in the paper. (In defense of my belief that print is dead, I didn’t actually read it in the paper edition, but rather saw a link on a blog.)
Anyway, yesterday morning we wanted to snowboard, but apparently when you buy a $200 pass, it’s not good during “peak times,” including this week and next, so instead I took advantage of the brief sunshine and practiced my detached boarding. It’s still a lot harder than snowboarding, and this spot is not exactly user-friendly. Challenging, would be a good word. This is not to say that I will not be back, as it fits into my two-foot-or-less requirement, and also is just challenging enough that pulling off my half-assed tricks is really exciting. Please enjoy this iPhone photo of one of those half-assed maneuvers, which Jaredsouney.com was kind enough to capture as he froze his ass off waiting for our first trip to the new H & M.
I was sitting in my Macro Economics class at Plymouth State College when Matt Ruby and I decided we were bored with New Hampshire and would drive to Virginia to skate the new Vans park the next day. So we did, and I crossed the remaining states on the I-95 corridor off my list, circa 1999.
I hadn’t really spent much time in PA until Sarah decided she was moving there. I drove with her to Philly and we sat in her newly rented, empty apartment drinking the few Yuengling’s we’d picked up at a bar somewhere in the middle of the state (since you can’t just go the store and buy a six pack.) I skated FDR (actually for the second time, the first was on my random VA road trip) and had one of the best sessions in recent memory. My night ended with a cheese steak in an Irish pub, and I’d say I did things right in PA.
A pass through state. The only real reason I remember it is because there was a toll we had to pay. Someday I will go back and give Delaware some real love (ok, no I won’t.)
Sarah Morrison and I once tried to go to Baltimore but it didn’t work out. Luckily one got checked off the list right after Delaware. Yay I-95!
As stated above, my first trip to Virginia was in college, for the explicit purpose of skating the Vans Park in Woodbridge. We stayed in a weird Econo Lodge that I had to use my fake ID to check into. I made it back a few years later on a skate trip for SG, when I flew into and stayed in Norfolk and had a really fun solo skate sesh at the Virginia Beach park. The next day we hit up Trey Winslow’s backyard bowl in Chuckatuk, and yeah, it was awesome.
I hit the I-70 stretch on a road trip from Bellingham to Vermont for summer vacation. I recruited Orion to make it an epic skate mission, and then Malcolm signed on because he needed a ride to Boston. This was during my artsy black and white phase, so you’ll have to excuse these photos as they were scanned from a contact sheet as no one owns a film scanner anymore apparently.
We skated a couple parks in Kansas on the way across I-70. I honestly don’t remember the names, but I do remember bonding with a boy from Kansas years later over the fact that I had been to one of them.
On this trip we only did a quick tourist stop in St. Louis, but I actually spent the night in Kansas City years later. On that trip we ended up at Bucca di Beppo in downtown KC, which really could have been any city. But it wasn’t, it was in Missouri! Oh, I also was floored by the Columbia skatepark and can add Columbia to my list of college towns USA, which we skated on our 2002 odyssey.
I rerouted our drive several hundred miles to hit the Louisville skatepark, only to have it rain shortly after we got there. But I made it back years later when I was living in Chicago. We decided to drive there at 5 PM one night, got there at midnight, skated until 5 am, slept for a few hours and then skated again until we were almost dead. If I ever wanted to be a skate bum. Louisville would be on the top of my list.
My time here was spent on the Outer Banks, a hurricane-ravaged strip of beach with tons of random mini ramps and bowls. We stayed in a 4-story rental house and skated Wanchese, as well as some other sand covered mini ramps as part of an SG trip.
State # 38: South Carolina
I love South Carolina. I’m not talking about South of the Border, but real SC. I was somewhat over my hellacious trip for SG when we rolled into John’s Island, a small town outside of Charleston. This is the home of the legendary hanger bowl, which we skated as well as the clamshell bowl in the middle of the woods and an indoor birch mini. We stayed in Folly Beach in a really nice Holiday Inn right on the ocean, and I am pretty sure this is where I developed my affinity for staying in nice hotels. My time in SC also saved the trip.
I have a confession to make. I don’t really snowboard or skateboard anymore. I mean, I still go snowboarding and skateboarding, but not with the passion and vigor I once did. I guess it’s a natural part of getting older, busier, more self-involved, etc., but it seems it may be time to admit this to my 9 readers (up from 7 a few weeks ago!)
In high school I went snowboarding every day. Senior year I had my class schedule organized so I was done by 1 pm, giving me a few hours to get up to Killington and hike the pipe or lap the gondola. When we had to “job shadow” someone for a class, I was adamant I wanted to learn about ski area marketing and followed the head of the Park Crew. (Ok, I just wanted to go snowboarding.) I should also mention that my senior year was actually my junior year; I’d set things up to graduate a year early so I could pursue my snowboard career (I was once ranked 3rd overall in the Stimilon big air series, nbd) but a torn ACL and subsequent broken ankle had already shattered that dream. In fact, that entire season of 1998 was spent riding on said torn ACL. Oops.
By college I’d shifted my passion a bit to skateboarding. Yes, I went to college at Western Washington University specifically to ride Mt. Baker. As it turned out though, Mt. Baker was over an hour away, and the skatepark, which had literally just opened, was more like 5 minutes. I still would go snowboarding when I could, but skateboarding became my daily routine. I got really, really ok at skateboarding, and in the process visited skateparks like it was my job, driving cross country something like 17 times an planning my routes specifically based on which towns had parks. It took me to 49 states (the 50th of which I am hitting next week, full story coming soon.) And to this day people still call me when they find themselves somewhere random and are trying to find the skatepark.
My enthusiasm continued for a year or two post college, and like I said, I still go skateboarding, and snowboarding, when I can, but one day I woke up and realized I hadn’t done either in a month. Or more. Getting older I guess.
This weekend though, I’ve had a little blast from the past/re invigoration (sorry, it inspired this self-indulgent rant) when an old friend came to town. It was approximately 1:30 on Thanksgiving day (it was a holiday so I was already hitting the strawberry vodka pretty hard) when Matt (some of you may know him as JWBF) hit me up on iChat to say hi. Somehow this led to him driving to Portland from San Francisco the next day.
I met Matt five years ago at the Akron, OH skatepark. I was actually there for a snowboard video premiere, had had too much fun the night before, and was having a little trouble staying on my skateboard that day. I actually still have a scar on my right hand from where I hit a soda can (rather than ollieing over it) and proceeded to fall over onto the rough asphalt. Matt and I have stayed friends, and although we’d sort of lost touch over the years, when he said he wanted to come to Portland sometime, and I said do it, it was only a few hours before he was in the car. This is why I love skateboarding and snowboarding in the first place.
It was already set to be a fun-filled skate weekend, with an old friend who’d never skated Oregon concrete. Then Nick Lipton texted me. “Meadows night riding starts tomorrow. You wanna go?” Now I met Nick in the Mt. Hood Meadows park on opening day 2007, (and he jumped over a kid so I could take a picture) but to this day, we’d never actually ridden together. So this seemed like an amazing opportunity to do some YoBeat team building, get some content, and yes, even snowboard.
Matt had arrived earlier in the day and we skated Glenhaven (blown out with fellowbloggers and little kids) and then West Linn (the O.G. spot, where who would show up but the Dude Barn.) I tried to keep it mellow though (who am I kidding, I haven’t “tried” in years) because I was snowboarding that night. At quarter to 4 I got home to find Nick asleep in his car in front of my house.
Friday night was one of the most fun I’ve had snowboarding in awhile, mostly because it reminded me of the good old days, when snowboarding was just a part of my day (because the mountain was 20 minutes away) and not an all-day project. And yes, I’d not afraid to say the video turned out epic. Not even any hate comments (yet!)
Now I know what you are thinking. That was a truly extreme day (I don’t call myself an extreme journalist for nothing) but wait there’s more! Saturday Matt and I set out to actually skateboard. I was feeling pain in some muscles I didn’t know I had, but it was dry, and a Battle Ground mission was in order. Despite sucking down electrolytes, I was feeling a bit sluggish. It took me at least an hour to get warmed up (which may again, be part of getting older) but eventually Matt and I sessioned the little coping-less quarterpipe behind the big bowl and I landed a trick. It was cool.
Sweaty and satisfied, we got back in the car, Portland-bound. I checked my phone to find a missed call from Jesse, an old skate friend from Bellingham. He was in town, they were going to check out the new indoor bowl at Epic Snowboard shop in Northwest. It was one of those days, so we said we’d meet them there. A full story about the shop and bowl is coming soon, but for now, here’s a picture:
Needless to say, I am very sore right now. But maybe this will be the season I “get back into it.” Maybe I’ll drop everything and be a shred bum once again. But probably not, cause I’m sort of busy with work and running my other 18 websites. And I have new passions now! But hopefully there will be more weekends like this one soon, so I never forget how good it is.
I’m trying to figure out how to say this without sounding negative, but I can’t really do it. I hate events. Sure, they are a chance to see some of the best riding/skating, easy content, and a gathering of friends, but for me they are work! And not just work, but work that usually falls over a weekend! So instead of getting to work in my garden, go skateboarding, or do any of the other things I would like to do with my free time, I get to hustle for the shot then go home and edit until the wee hours so that I can satisfy my own personal insanity by having the first coverage of the event up.
That said, there are worse events to go to than the Trifecta (or Bi-fecta as it ended up being this year.) Both stops were near my house, and I took a mellow approach to my coverage, not showing up until the pros started skating. The Tigard event was more entertaining than Pier Park, and 12 year olds are better at skating than most of the older dudes. (Sorry guys, being too cool to wear pads isn’t helping your career after all!) Check out my full galleries on YoBeat here.
Next weekend Dew Tour is in town, and since I don’t even care a little bit about it, and attempting to shoot it is miserable due to over-zealous security, I will be skipping in entirely. And that, is my kind of event.
Everyone wants to be a skateboarder (except of course rockstars and Gods.) Luckily for me, I am totally awesome at skateboarding. That is of course, unless you put me in a video with people who are actually good. I guess since Jared’s video is arsty, I will forgive him for making my stunts look less cool by juxtaposing them against Ben and Scott.