Gift of Skate

Gift of Skate

Bob Rennick, the founder and CEO of Swell Skateboards, gave me my first skateboard. Obviously, by the mere fact of me being here, it influenced my life heavily. I could’ve gone my whole life without a formal introduction to skateboarding, but I wouldn’t be better for it.

Last week I helped Bob pick out a skateboard to give to our UPS driver George, who runs our route. It was for his daughter. Over the past few months, George has catered time on his route toward picking up skateboards directly from our warehouse. He backs his truck up to the door and assists in the loading all of the boxes. In addition to the spoken ‘thank you’ that concludes our every interaction, last week George took home an unspoken one as well, and returns each week with stories of much his daughter enjoys the skateboard.

It is not the first time I have seen Bob gift boards to the community and its members. In fact, he does it quite often. Now, the neighbors skate, the gardener skates, the electrician and his two sons skate, the local school principal skates, and last I heard, Bob is still working on the dog. He has truly taken an interest in kindness and access that embodies what skate culture now means to me.

While we’re here, let’s talk about access. I grew up taking swimming lessons at the athletic club. Day one of swim team, I was separated into a group by age and then further separated into a group by skill and then was suddenly surrounded by three other swimmers who were my age, who lived in the same area I did, went to the same school I did, who’s family fit into the same social class that mine did, and oddly even kind of looked like I did. I would spend every afternoon practicing in the gated pool with my near clones until we had matching swimming tans and inside jokes about the time someone’s swim cap broke during a competition. It fostered a bubble that I very comfortably lived in all through school and up until recently.

Skating is different, and with Bob in the lead, Swell Skateboards is making a point of it. I like to think of it like the Pixar movie Ratatouille with its tag line ‘anyone can cook’. Anyone can skate– and everyone should. I took the time to include some pictures that I have come across that champion the expansiveness and wonder of this sport.

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