Ride with DU skateboarders

We all notice the students skateboarding to class, landing tricks in the middle campus, or just attending class holding a board. The skate life is prevalent at the University of Denver, but what lies behind the curtain of everyday use are people who skate for a deeper reason. People who skateboard as a muse.

Three students at DU describe the skateboard culture, explaining why they love to skate and why it is such an important aspect in their lives.

Jack Hessler, senior and regular skateboarder at DU, describes his skating career beginning at a young age after he saw his older brother do it, “it looked super fun,” Jack says. “I picked up a skateboard, and Jack mini ramplearned how to drop in.”

The University of Denver, although a well-respected and high-performance university, retains the stigma from some of a privileged community with a large population of pretentious attendees. Jack Hessler references Dr. Dre, “I’m not too damn big to listen to the rumors it’s just that I’m too damn big to pay attention to them,” to describe his experience of the pretentious-vibe at his school. Jack has noticed his peers “flex” their money and privileges, and adds that such values are completely irrelevant to skateboarders.

“There’s definitely a lot of kids that I take classes with that’ll have their boards in class and you know they’ll hit the skate park for real,”  says Ben. “So yeah I’d definitely say there’s a big community here”.

Ben trickBen highlights the fact that there are some skaters who just use their board to travel to and from classes, but also ones that put in more time get better and learn new tricks.

Erick Shimokawa, DU senior and skater, also has noticed the growing population of skateboarders at the university.

“I’m always a little astonished at how many people I see skateboarding around,” Eric says. “It’s pretty dope”.

Shimokawa attends skate parks regularly as a way to let go and enjoy, “it’s a chance to work on new tricks. It’s what I do for fun.”

To other skateboarding might be understood as a hobby or a simply activity, a way to get from one point to another quickly, or as a professional career. Although many skateboarders do skate for such reasons, Hessler skates for a different, deeper meaning. He describes how skating helps him through tough times; if he is not feeling good or going through tough times, he’ll pick up a board and have fun.

“There’s no one way to do it, you can’t say this is how you do it and if you do it a different way you do it wrong, because there’s no rules.

Hessler recognizes the culture of skateboarding, describing it as “relaxing”, and how things that are important to the general population are not the same things for skateboarders. The sense of relaxation also derives from the loose feel to skating, “there’s no one way to do it, you can’t say this is how you do it and if you do it a different way you do it wrong, because there’s no rules.” Eric skating

“It’s more like less worried about what clothes you’re wearing and more worried about how long you spend skateboarding and how much fun you’re having,” Hessler says.

In the end, skateboarding can have multiple meanings. Whether you do it for a good time, to ride out tough times, travel, or get sponsored, Jack Hessler and the skateboard community at DU understand the true essence of the sport.

“Skateboarding is just like expression”, Jack says. “It’s just having fun.”

2 Responses to Ride with DU skateboarders

  • Matt Stallone says:

    Hey guys, just want to say that I love your video and the story. I think skateboarding at DU goes under the radar for how many people actually board around campus. The interviews you have here do a good job explaining the culture. You guys have some great video of skateboarding, every shot is in focus and not over exposed.the audio quality all around is good too. The only thing I would have liked to know more about is the process of building the ramp, thats it though.

  • Justin Cygan
    Justin Cygan says:

    This is an awesome video guys! As a skateboarder, it was cool to see a video about how widely adopted the sport is around DU. You guys had great audio and footage, and every shot was pretty much perfect in terms of exposure and composition. Also that miniramp looks really fun!

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