[ARTICLE] Underwolrd dans la Gazette de montreal

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[ARTICLE] Underwolrd dans la Gazette de montreal

Message  Yann le Ven 26 Mar 2010 - 2:46


Skate Geezers

They're the 'old' men of skateboarding, the guys who get called 'sir' by other skaters. They're in their 30s and 40s, with no desire to quit


Rob Barnes used to frequent the old Taz Mahal skateboard park. He rode the vertical halfpipe, a wooden Ushaped structure more than 10 feet high that intimidated most of the park’s regulars. Like all skaters, he sometimes fell hard. But his spills on the behemoth ramp drew special concern from some of the park’s young est locals, perhaps because he seemed old enough to be their father. He was in his mid-30s. “Kids would come over (and ask), ‘Are you okay, sir?’ ’’ Barnes said. “That was the rude awakening. ‘Are you okay, sir?’ That little group of words, put together, felt really sad.”

Barnes, now 45, still skates. These days, however, the day trader and father of one is hardly an anomaly.

Long considered a teenage pastime, skateboarding now counts among its participants a growing cohort of adults who, despite having children, full-time jobs and mortgages, see no reason to retire their boards.

Indoor parks in Montreal are known for their unofficial old-timers’ nights, which tend to attract skaters in their 30s and older, and it’s no longer unusual to spot someone with a few wrinkles or greys pushing down the street. Skateboarding has grown up. Few among the old guard are surprised. This story is “not man bites dog,” said Michael Brooke, the 45-yearold Toronto-based publisher of Concrete Wave, a magazine he planned to call Skate Geezer before deciding the name would repel younger readers and that others wouldn’t find it as funny as he did. “Older skateboarders are real. It’s not a novelty anymore.”

Unlike previous generations, his did not dismiss skateboarding as a fad. “A lot of people forget that not everybody grew up in Woodstock. Not everybody is a baby boomer that remembers just (riding) a skateboard for the fun of it in 1965,” said Brooke, who started skating in 1975, when he was 11. “There are a ton of people who grew up with skateboarding who are still ripping.”

When Barnes was in his 20s, other adults derided his penchant for skating.

“But I’m getting that a lot less now,” he said, “because now there’s a whole older generation out there who experienced skateboarding – either their friends did it or they did it, whereas it was a completely foreign thing to a 45-year-old (or) 50-year-old 20 years ago.”

Alex Bastide, who owns Underworld Skateboards, a store with locations in Montreal and Vancouver, says he has noticed a rise in the age of his clientele – especially in Vancouver, a city renowned for its public skateparks.

Older skaters often arrive at his shops with their significant others.

“They come with their kids, sometimes,” Bastide said.

These skaters have traded their allowances for paycheques, allowing them to buy high-end boards and accessories more regularly than they did as teens

“A number of very niche skateboard companies are now making (skateboards) that absolutely suit the needs of an older skater who remembers his youth” and the boards that marked it, Brooke said.

Reissues of older shapes and graphics usually cost a bit more than a conventional $80 skateboard deck, by which many old guys still swear. Setups designed for downhill riding can cost hundreds of dollars.

A personal income also lets veteran skaters travel to spots they fantasized about as kids. At his job as a software test engineer, Ri Abderrahmane, 38, gets four weeks of paid vacation. With neither a wife nor children to consider, he devotes three of those weeks to skateboarding and one to skiing and snowboarding. Naturally, California, where he can ride outdoor parks and spots year-round, ranks among his favourite destinations.

“I try to go at least twice a year, if not three times a year,” he said.

“I even get some of my old friends that have, like, three kids to come with me on vacations. And their wives want them to go, because, (if not), they sit at home, being all bummed that they’re not in California skateboarding while Ri’s there.”

Last year, Barnes opened his own park, No Damn Good, in N.D.G. Two other indoor parks, the Taz in St. Michel, and South Parc in Brossard, were both a hike from his Westmount home.

He now runs his day-trading business from the same building as his park. Around lunchtime, when trading slows, he steps out of his office and onto his ramp.

“Sometimes it’s too tempting, actually,” he said. “I’ve noticed my production at work has gone down a little bit.”

The park boasts a fast but forgiving bowl-style ramp that appeals to older skaters.

“There’s a huge contingent that are 35 to 39,” Barnes said. “I would say a good 40 per cent of our people coming in are in that age group.”

Barnes skates more cautiously than he did as a teen, donning pads and a helmet to avoid injuries that take longer to heal and have broader implications. He pulled the tendons in his shoulder a couple of years ago.

“It was a bad, bad sprain,” he said. “I couldn’t pick up my daughter. And I realized (skating) is affecting my family life as well.”

Abderrahmane says he’s now more likely to bail out of tricks when he feels something might go wrong.

“I never planned on being a bigger chicken, but it just kind of happened.”

But he still speeds around ramps and bowls with teenage abandon. He sports kneepads so he can coast out of falls, rather than run.

“My doctor told me I’m going to need a knee replacement in, like, 10 years,” he said.

Giving up skateboarding won’t change that prospect. And he’s certain surgery won’t sideline him permanently.

Barring serious injury and tighter time constraints, Barnes figures he’ll always skate, too. He hopes one day to share the sport with his daughter, now almost 4. He’s sure not to be the only dad teaching his child the basics.

“I mean, it’s a new sport,” he said. “There’s going to be a time very soon, probably, where three, four generations of skaters are in the same family.”

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Bouffeur d'uréthane

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Re: [ARTICLE] Underwolrd dans la Gazette de montreal

Message  Escagasse le Ven 26 Mar 2010 - 7:49

... Long considered a teenage pastime, skateboarding now counts among its participants a growing cohort of adults who, despite having children, full-time jobs and mortgages, see no reason to retire their boards.

Héhé! . Heu, j'ai peu d'hypothêque parcontre...
Gnar Shredder

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Date d'inscription : 20/03/2006

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