Last month when we visited my brother and nephew in Hawaii, they showed us some pictures from when they traveled to Japan. In some of the photos, they were skateboarding around the city and it looked so cool and fun! So, when we returned home to Texas, I decided that I wanted to get a new board and skate more. And… it would be cool to skate with my sons too! I bought each of them a new skateboard, and I upgraded my old setup with a new deck and wheels.

The setup that I was using was actually a strange combination of 7.75 inch wide deck, some Gullwing trucks and Vision wheels, circa 1995. The deck was given to us as a wedding gift from Mariko’s friend. So, that was a real frankenboard. I decided to first upgrade the wheels with softer and wider OJs (so smooth!), and then followed up with a 9 inch wide deck which I found at Fast Forward. I was surprised that that store had a deck in the size and shape I wanted (the tail is flat)! However, I had to get rid of the graphic on the bottom, so I took the orbital sander to it and smoothed it out to the wood. That layer of wood was actually stained a bright pink! Not my first choice of color, but I think it actually looks kind of cool especially with the translucent blue OJs. I am covering up the pink slowly with stickers though!

Bay Learning how to Ollie
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 20mm, f/6.7, 1/500 sec, ISO100
Bay Learning how to Ollie

The top of the deck was stained red, and I knew I wanted to customize the top and put clear tape on it. I think that it is such a great opportunity to customize your board, rather than just slapping black tape over the whole thing. I must be in the minoirty though, since only longboarders seem to care about the tops of their boards. Anyways, I went with a large seal design from a chop (hanko or stamp) I got in Hong Kong many years ago. And for fun, I put a small sticker up top that I found in Osaka. It’s very otaku.

I was so happy when Bay and Koa said they also wanted to customize their boards! Bay painted two white stripes on top, and “No. 1” since it is his first skateboard. Koa went with a hexagon pattern for his griptape. They both turned out great!

We are fortunate to live near a city-owned skatepark, and i’s really nice one! There is a street section, a small pool, and a large pool. Since the kids are pretty much total newbies, we started out practicing a lot at their school parking lots and basketball courts. But now we also like going to the skatepark and practicing going down the small ramps. We also go into the bowls and practice fakeys and pumping to keep up the speed. It’s so much fun! As for myself, I’ve been able to get over halfway up the side of the deep end of the pool. I still can’t drop in, but I am improving every time we skate, and so are the kids!

I’m really glad that the kids are enjoying it. I hope they continue for a long time! And inspired by Kevin and Taylor, we want to bring our skateboards when we travel!

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