40 Years of Skateboarding and Friendship

February 15, 2024

Today is my birthday and an important anniversary. Exactly 40 years ago I got my first real skateboard. I had no idea at the time that skateboarding and its culture would change my life so dramatically! As my 14th birthday was approaching I told my parents I wanted a skateboard and they warned me skateboarding would take me down a path of delinquency. They insisted I earn half the money to pay for the board, figuring I’d never make the $60 needed in a month. I mowed lawns etc… and came up with my half of the dough, so they kept their side of the bargain. Feb. 15, 1984, my mom drove me to the surf/skate shop 30 minutes from Charleston S.C. to get my first board. While I was assembling that board, in a serendipitous coincidence, the shop was simultaneously unpacking and putting in the VCR, “Skatevisions,” one of the earliest skateboard videos which was soundtracked entirely by the band Agent Orange. I loved Agent Orange and wanted more music like that so I quickly borrowed and bought as many punk records as possible to supply the soundtrack to my new life. I loved skateboarding because of the creativity and exhilaration of progression with no sports team dynamics, but also because it led me to befriend other skate punk misfits. A lot of skaters were very creative and we bonded over music, building ramps, and making homemade t-shirts, stickers, and ‘zines. One of the skaters I became friends with in 1986 was Jason Filipow (@p1brand), who shot many of these photos, all taken between ’86 and ’88. Jason and I met at a skate contest on the day that the pic of me jumping off the picnic table was taken. Jason works with me as an art assistant and I’m very grateful that we have been friends and creative collaborators for 38 years. His ‘zine Streetscribe is where the last two pics appeared. Another friend, Jim Doar, appears in the first two pics, wearing the homemade PiL tee next to me in my homemade Hüsker Dü tee in the first pic, and next to me in homemade Clash tee at my 17th birthday party in the 2nd pic. I’m still friends with Jim too. I’m far from a happy-go-lucky person, so I’m moved by the authentic joy that can be seen on my face in these pictures. Today is a good day to say thanks to skateboarding and my skater friends who have been kindred spirits for so many years! Thanks!