Shredding the Gnar With Luke Gatlin

  Seconds before dropping-in at the skatepark, the body and mind of someone who skates are nervous. Someone who skates takes risks because although he or she may be scared of trying something new, the result of excitement filling his or her body after succeeding is always worth the practice and hard work. 

  Senior Luke Gatlin  has been skateboarding for one year now. “The lifestyle interested me a lot,” said Gatlin. “The people are great and I really like the clothes they wear. Obviously my favorite part is skateboarding though.” 

  The skateboarding lifestyle can be tricky to jump into.“I’ve bought a few boards, but my main board right now is the Creature X Thrasher Collaboration,” said Gatlin. “Two different brands decided to come together and make the board. It was around $105. If you’re interested in skateboarding and you want to buy your first skateboard, then you’re going to want something better than a cheap Walmart skateboard.” 

  “You should probably buy a pre-made complete skateboard that costs somewhere from fifty to eighty dollars. The size of the skateboard is really important too. If you have bigger feet or if you’re taller, then you get a board with a width of eight plus inches. If you have smaller feet or if you’re shorter, then you should probably get a board with a width of 7.75 inches.”

  Skateboarding is much more than just buying a board. After Gatlin bought himself a skateboard, he was ready to enter into the world of skateboarding. “I work at Journey’s in park plaza,” said Gatlin. “It’s a store most people who skate go to for clothes. That way I have the chance to meet a lot of people who like skateboarding too. The best way for me to meet other people who skate is to just go to skateparks. When I go to a skatepark, I usually go to Kanis Park. Other times I just skate around. Most places are good places to skate, which is another reason why I like it so much. I can bring my skateboard anywhere and I’ll find somewhere to skate.”

  Some people might not be as interested in the lifestyle of someone who skates as they are interested in skateboarding in general. Although Gatlin started skateboarding just one year ago, he’s been dedicated to improving his skills. “A great way to start,” he said, “is to start on the grass. Get on the board and move around a little bit. That way you can get more comfortable with the movement. One thing people don’t realize is that skateboards are a lot harder to balance on than they would think. If you hop on a skateboard without being comfortable, then you’re going to fall off easily. After you’re more comfortable, go to concrete, but not just on the board. Try putting some tennis balls on the wheels if you don’t feel comfortable enough. Move around some more and become more comfortable. Once you think you’re ready, take off the tennis balls and try skateboarding around your neighborhood. Continue to work on your balance. When you feel like you’re comfortable and ready, try going to a skatepark.”

  The skatepark is an entirely new environment compared to a neighborhood or a street. Skateparks give the opportunity for learning specific tricks and moves. Before learning anything too advanced, a new skater must know the simple things to work on while a skatepark. 

  “Dropping-in is essential after understanding what you need to know from the basics,” said Gatlin. Dropping-in is when someone drops in on an incline very quickly. It’s important to be comfortable with the board before trying to drop. The most important thing, however, is to understand falling is inevitable. Being comfortable isn’t always an option when trying new tricks.

  The first trick anyone should learn is an ollie. An ollie is popping the skateboard in the air. The steps to completing an allie are as follows: 1) Push the back of the board down with the back foot so the front of the board is in the air. 2) Slide the front foot to the front of the board. 3) Stomp the front foot down on the front of the board. 4) After rehearsing those steps, try jumping at the same time so the board will be in the air.

  When Gatlin isn’t skateboarding with new friends, he tends to skate with his brother, Charlie Gatlin, and his brother’s friend, Jack Henry Johnson, both from the class of ‘16. “ I started skateboarding while I was a freshman in high school,” said Charlie Gatlin. “Bam Magera, from Jackass, is the skateboarder who inspired me to start. I don’t get into the style of skateboarders as much as Luke does, but I do know a few more tricks. The main trick I can do is grinding. Grinding is when you jump on a pole and slide across it with the middle of the board.”

  Johnson also started his freshman year of high school. “After high school,” he said, “I went to New York and continued to skate frequently. I still skate a lot but probably not as much as Luke.” Now, Johnson has the idea of starting his own brand of skateboards. He plans on calling it “Butter Board,” because it will feel fluid and smooth. He has started designing shirts so word of his new brand will spread. 

  There are many different ways to skateboard. It can be relaxing, but it can also be hard work. “It’s a great way to get your mind off of things,” said Gatlin, “and it’s very accomplishing when you land a trick. Remember falling is a big part of it though. It’s probably 90% falling, but it’s always worth it to get up and keep trying.”

+ posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *