When it comes to the Biddeford community, skateboarding is an activity commonly seen. All around town there are kids boarding and trying new tricks. But how much recognition does skateboarding really get?
With the attention set on most other sports like football or basketball, kids that skateboard can be left in the shadows. Many students, like sophomore Kurt Black, find an interest in skateboarding, and have even been recognized outside of the community for their talent.
“I had a sponsorship with Zumiez for a year. I went in there with a promo video of me skating, and they gave me a sponsorship for one year, they wanted me to promote their stuff,” said Black. “I got free decks, free wheels, I got stickers…I got everything.”
Along with skateboarding, longboarding, another form of skateboarding, is another popular activity among students. Some students, such as freshman Breece Sleeper, have even made YouTube channels with friends for their skateboarding and longboarding.
We [my friends and I] have a YouTube channel, it’s called ‘maine skate’ and there’s a bunch of videos on there of us,” Sleeper said.
You can see Sleepers channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxFKH7pHi61jaGFcmtqPQvw.
While a lot of kids skateboard as just a fun hobby, others take it more seriously, even going to competitions to show off their skills. Although Sleeper doesn’t participate in these competitions, he recently went to New Jersey in hopes of finding a good place to practice his longboarding.
“We’re always looking for bigger and better hills to go to,” said Sleeper. “I went on a trip over vacation to New Jersey to go longboarding there with friends.”
But with as many students actively participating, Black and Sleeper say there’s still a “negative” connotation to the sport.
“People get recognized for skateboarding and they’re instantly thought of as someone that’s a bad kid and doesn’t go to school or doesn’t get good grades,” Black said.
Sleeper agrees, and even admits to looking down on skateboarding before he really tried it.
“It seems like a lot of people look down on it, as something that’s bad to do,” Sleeper said.
“That’s how I looked at it at first, but as I got into it I realized there’s a lot of really cool people and a lot of cool experiences you can have through it and it’s really fun.”
But with Biddeford becoming more and more modernized, and skateboarding becoming more and more recognized, the idea that all skateboarders are “bad kids” is beginning to change.
“When people see skateboarders they see some scrubby kids that are up to no good, but I feel like in this area it’s really changed,” Black said.
Junior Josh Dutremble believes that people “overlook” skateboarding and the effort that goes into the sport.
“They see skaters or boarders and automatically make the assumption that it’s just a bunch of punks messing around when we’re really just trying to have a chill time,” Dutremble said. “People don’t appreciate it and overlook the skill that it takes.”
Skateboarding may be more outnumbered than most other sports, but one things for sure: it won’t be disappearing anytime soon.