- Posted January 16, 2011 by
Venice Beach, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
My City, My Secret
The Sub Culture of the Skater Boys of Venice Beach, CA - USA
- rachel8, CNN iReport producer
The free public skate park at Venice Beach is a stunning work of architecture and art in and of itself. The park has several different sections, flat sections, tiered sections and curved depression pits running a full range of skill levels from, the most novice beginners, to the steep sides of the very deep and curving concrete pits that challenge and reward even the skill levels of an advanced professional performer. It is a world class skate park, very large, with many different courses in all of the different skill level sections Perhaps one of the very best free public skate parks in the entire country.
The fact that this park, is actually on the sands of the very famous Venice Beach, only makes it even more special and unique. The park attracts a wide variety of dedicated and masterful skaters, not only from local communities, but, skaters visiting from foreign countries visiting only to skate this very special and world famous park. This amazing piece of concrete sculpture, on the beach, is a magnet, bringing in the very best of the very best to practice and perform at this park. Many local youths, travel more than an hour, both ways, daily, just practice and refine their many, and numerous skills needed by this demanding, and sometimes dangerous sport. The dedication, tenacity, loyalty, and commitment required to archive excellance in this sport is humbling and awe inspiring. To watch these youths, and their adult mentors guiding them, perform there, is to walk away in amazement, understanding that this dedication to sport and pursuit of ever higher levels of excellence represents the very best qualities of skill and sportsmanship any person, of any age, could ever hope to aspire to.
There is a camaraderie among the advocates of this sport, rules of fair play, courtesy, and mutual co-operation and admiration that is truly rare in this world, and is nothing less than noble. The young persons are carefully guided, groomed, shielded and taught by the older boys who are at advanced levels. The older boys accept them into their brotherhood without prejudice of any kind. Any youth, who wishes to practice and master this sport is welcomed into their groups, the only requirement, is a desire to be dedicated to their sport and the fine principles upon which it is founded.
In the beginning years, and still prevalent in most communities today, Skaters were widely perceived by the general public as rebel, thug youths, a nuisance to their communities and to other persons. I suppose, in retrospect, I can understand how these rolling bands of youths came to be perceived that way. They seem on the surface, to be a gruff and scruffy lot overall, daring to the point of self destruction. Not having any formal places to practice, they took to the streets, and to large areas of public access concrete areas, such as the walkways of malls, major libraries, parks, even large open areas surrounding major business buildings were haunted by their tribes. Everyone perceived them in the light of a youth gang, probably using drugs, probably involved in criminal gang activities when they weren't busy invading public parks with their loud, and distracting antics. This perception has hounded them ever since.
None of the skater boys I observed and spoke with had any criminal inclinations at all, None used drugs at all, in fact exactly the opposite. Skating, is, after all, a physically demanding sport, and these boys are, amature athletes one and all. As is the mantra of all dedicated athletes, clean living, and a strong moral fibre are the cornerstones of their pursuits. All of them have the modified diets of a serious athlete, All are very concerned with only consuming clean, organic, very healthy foods. Many are devout vegetarians. Because their sport involves a means of transportation, nearly all are green energy advocates, preferring to travel by board, or bicycle, rather than by a fueled vehicle of any kind. Like all athletes, they have a strict code of ethics, a strict code of conduct. In short they are precisely the opposite of the negative stereotypes placed upon them by a society that largely regards them as a nuisance.
I am humbled and honored to have met them, honored to have been present to witness their art in practice, and grateful such fine young persons are members of our communities. Their performances can only be described as masterful and elegant expressions of perfectly timed and executed ballet, dance, acrobatics and gymnastics gliding on silent spinning wheels in an endless search for Nirvana itself. How they express their sport is an art
form onto itself that is hypnotizing, a nearly religious experience.
I am astounded and amazed by these young persons, and their elder mentors, they are a credit to their sport, and to our communities, and in no way should they ever be discouraged, by any community because they are members of an elite group of dedicated sportsman in pursuit of mastery. Every wave of their arms, every crouch, every breath and motion of fingertip, is practiced, and practiced, over and over, again and again, endlessly. Rarely have I ever seen such dedication and commitment in adults, the fact that these qualities are being expressed by youths, is stunning, rewarding, and miraculous.
I decided NOT to present a question and answer interview video. I chose to just format photographs of them hard at work at their sport, and to let their skills, and their sport speak for themselves.
If ever, you are in the area, I urge you to go there, bring your cameras, and be sure you have extra charged battery packs and spare memory cards. I spent several days there, documenting them, and took a total of over 5,000 digital photos, only a little over 200 are here, in this presentation. Please enjoy my submission, and please, support and encourage these fine persons in your own communities.
All of the works I submit to public online distribution networks, such as CNN IReporter, YouTube, MySpace, et all, are distributed FREE OF CHARGE under a "Fair Use" classification of U.S. Copyright Law. What that means is, all private, personal use of my work is allowed by anyone, any public work, as long as it is a non-profit, educational work, is allowed, free of charge. My works are copyrighted, and they are mine, but personal use is allowed by me as a gift to the public. You may view or download the actual HD photographs used in this set, approximately 1400 photographs, at; http://shootingstar1953.imgsrc.ru This set, and several other sets are available there. You may print them, transfer to t-shirts, take them to a specialty shop and have the photos blown up into a poster, wallpaper your entire room with them... As long as it is for private non-profit use, you may do what you wish with them. Any commercial for profit uses must be negotiated with me. I am not going to waste my time chasing down 12 year old kids for putting my images of leaping skaters on their bedroom walls, they or anyone else may have them for private use... However, if you are a sporting goods company, looking for advertising photographers or photographs, that is entirely a different matter.
The following downloads are available free of charge.
Description: Shooting-Star - Venice Beach Skater Boys Video
Description: Shooting-Star Venice Beach Skater Boys Zip File Pic Set
Description: Shooting-Star - Venice Beach Skater Boys Screensaver Installer