Tuesday 1 January 2013

Once a skateboarder, always a skateboarder.

   So if you haven't guessed it already "Athlete in Transition" is a bit of a double entendre, well triple to be exact. As a skateboarder I've spent most of my life in the transition of a ramp or bowl, launching myself into the air via its' perfect curves. Now at 38 I find myself transitioning into the entirely different sport of triathlon which itself contains a "transitioning" from one discipline to the next.

   Let me first say I'm certainly not "quitting" skateboarding.  Skateboarding isn't something you just do after more than a quarter of a century, it's who you are.  Once you become a true skateboarder you are one for life. I still skate when I can and leave Sundays open on my schedule for my weekly session. Ah yes schedules... a skill in it's own right for triathletes, but I'll get into that a little later. As a skateboarder you crave progress. It's the lifeblood that keeps you going and thriving. I was at the point in skateboarding where the level of tricks I needed to perform in order to progress was outside of the reach of my resources. What I mean to say is not that I don't think I have the talent, skills or determination, but that working 10-12 hours a day with a body that needs more recovery time now has made it nearly impossible.

Bailing out of one of my last McTwist attempts.
   The last big trick on my list was the McTwist, a 540 degree inverted spin/flip of sorts performed on a vert ramp. CJ's skatepark in Toronto has such a ramp, but costs $15 a session and is a 45 minute commute each way. Two years ago now I made a concerted effort at this trick, allotting the time and money. After several months I had been put out of commission twice, once with a serious hip bruise from landing on the coping - hard and the second a total right knee blowout. The latter of which left me out of sports for over 3 months. My doctor said at my age and with my history of injuries (a previous partial ACL and meniscus tear) I was finished as an athlete and needed to "slow down". Doctors ALWAYS underestimate will and determination. I rehabbed it myself, slowly, starting with a lot of icing and stretching, then weeks of pool running, stationary bike training and finally light resistance training. I returned to CJ's a few months later with a new steel knee brace which I still wear to this day when skateboarding. I was able to skate the ramp, but I needed to re-train myself to butt slide instead of knee sliding when I bailed. Even so, I was not the same skateboarder and I knew it. My knee capsule had a great deal of laxity and worse than that I knew this trick was out of my reach. Another injury like this one could actually put my out of sports for a very long time and wasn't worth the risk any longer. I had attempted this trick off and on for two decades and I had finally let go.

   This story is my attempt to convey the fact that I was no longer progressing in the way that I needed to obtain those feelings of deep satisfaction from my sport. I truly love and am still passionate about skateboarding and continuing to do so, but I needed to look elsewhere to get my "progression" fix.  I will be taking on this new endeavor as a skateboarding triathlete.


  1. Welcome to triathlon! You'll certainly have lots of chances to progress, especially in the first years. Have fun!

  2. Nice to see you kicking the habit Ryan how clear dose the world look now :)keep progressing dude xx