By Jamie Belfer || Sports Editor
If you ever see someone cruising down College Ave on their skateboard or practicing ollies or kickflips at Buchanan Park, it could be John Magallanes, Will DeLince, or Thinley Wangchuck. In an interview with TCR, John, Will, and Thinley shared their skateboarding stories and debunked stereotypical associations with skateboarding. From their stories, you will get a glimpse of how skateboarding can be “nerdy,” “creative,” and “accepting” to all.
John, Will, and Thinley were all influenced by family or friends when starting their skateboarding journeys. John, a junior Computer Science major and an LA native, started his skateboarding journey in eighth grade. After watching his stepbrother skate, John wanted to follow suit and so he got a board of his own. With a big skateboarding community in Los Angeles, John was surrounded by fellow community members who enjoyed “riding down the concrete” as much as he did. John describes skateboarding as “an extension of walking” as it gives him a “different way to travel around and see the city” and simply “go everywhere.”
Will’s story also began in a city, but rather New York City. Will, a senior Anthropology major and Environmental Studies minor, was influenced both by the TV show Rocket Power and his older cousins when he made his decision to start skateboarding. Will enjoys how “natural” skateboarding is. He appreciates how skateboarding is not an organized team or club, but rather something to fall back on and simply do “whenever.” This past summer during quarantine, Will especially enjoyed going to his favorite place, Central Park, to skate every day.
Thinley’s skateboarding journey has transversed countries. Thinley, a sophomore intended International Studies and Film joint major, has only recently started his skateboarding career. Thinley grew up in Nepal, where skateboarding was not very big. However, he went to high school in India where he gained more of an interest in skateboarding, especially during his senior year when a friend of his also got a skateboard. Coming to college in the US and meeting fellow skateboarders at F&M further allowed his interest to grow.
John, Will, and Thinley describe the skateboarding community at F&M as “small but growing.” They, in fact, only met out of mere coincidence. One day, when John and Thinley were both printing out documents for class, Thinley noted John’s scuffed up sneakers (a tell-tale sign of a skateboarder) and asked if he skated. Will met John at F&M last fall, and after meeting they would practice different tricks together on the Buchanan basketball or tennis courts. Will described John as “the best teacher” as he helped him perfect a trick in only two sessions. Their coincidental but important meetings show that no matter where you are, skateboarding has the ability to connect people together.
While all are at different skateboarding levels, John, Will, and Thinley, love learning and mastering new tricks. Thinley, while only skateboarding for a little less than a year, described the amazing feeling of landing his first ollie after practicing for months. Landing this trick spurred his excitement to learn even more. Will’s favorite trick is Powersliding – which allows him to ride down College Ave and turn his board out so as to have control over his speed. Meanwhile, John described one of his proudest moments to be conquering his “Achilles heel” or the kickflip. After practicing it for almost a year, John described how “a miracle happened” and he finally landed it. Thinley emphasized how skateboarding is “underappreciated” as it is harder than it looks and can take months or even a year to land a trick.
All three skateboarders touched on how skateboarding could have a negative perception by society, yet they all discussed the many positives that come from skating. Thinley discussed how skateboarding helps one grow as a person as one can be knocked down many times trying to perfect a trick, but they learn to get back up and keep trying. He additionally commented on how skateboarding has the power to let him “have fun, forget about things” and just relax.
Will debunked the stereotype that skateboarding is “edgy” as he described skateboarding as a “nerdy, intimate, and niche” thing. Will appreciates skateboarding because it is “very forgiving” in the fact that you “don’t need a lot to get into it, you don’t need to know the right people” but rather you can simply “come as you are.” While some may think skateboarding comes with a certain look, attitude, or personality, he describes how skateboarding “is not about the brand” and “you don’t have to act a certain way” but you can simply be yourself.
Will and Thinley both discussed how skateboarding has so many layers to it that they did not expect when starting to skateboard. Will especially enjoys “diving into the artistic aspects” of learning about the design on his skateboard and the history of skateboarding. Thinley also loves the “creative” side of skateboarding including the filming and fashion sides of skateboarding.
A key point John reiterated was that “anyone can skateboard [but] how far you want to get depends on your will and effort.” As a self-taught skateboarder who just had a skateboard, sidewalk, and phone to watch videos, John was “tickled” by the possibilities of skateboarding.
All three skaters agreed that skateboarding can be for anyone from all walks of life. So, if you’re ever interested in hanging out with John, Will, and Thinley at F&M, feel free to join them on the Buchanan tennis courts on a warm, sunny day :).
Jamie Belfer is the Sports Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.