For those of us who grew up skating, it’s obvious after some reflection that skateboarding has given us a lot. It’s something special when you could be skating downtown, see another skater, and instantly become friends for life. It’s a community that looks past simple superficialities and really takes care of its own. 

We don’t often think about it, but there is a reason skating became a bastion of camaraderie. Whether we did so intentionally, skaters have built a community like no other. 

I recently palled around with 25-year old, Shane Carter—a skater who has intentionally taken the time to give back to his community—for to delve into some simple ways that every skater can contribute to making his or her community a better place. Carter’s currently working on a degree in Economics at UNF and can be found showcasing his abilities atop a skateboard in various locally produced skate videos. But outside of his career ambitions and thrashing prowess there’s plenty more to this skater. 

Here’s a list of simple, mostly fun, ways every skater can do good that Carter and I came up with. 

Don’t Focus Boards
It’s a sight we see all too often. Caught in the heat of battle with a specific trick and the frustration gets to be too much. In a fit of rage you stomp the board in the center, ending it’s usefulness to you or anyone else. While this may seem like the best option to many, think about this: Many skaters (especially younger ones) don’t have the funds or spon’o’s to keep them supplied with good boards. Instead of focusing that deck pass it on to someone who needs it. Besides, temper tantrums are a bad look. 

Don’t Do THIS!

Support Your Local Skate Shop
Skate shops are the backbone of the local skate scene. We are very lucky to have a skater-owned shop on nearly every side of town. These shops put in great effort to be a part of community projects, support local skaters, put on local contests, and serve as a hub for the local skate community.  So before you go online ( or worse, the mall) for a new deck or shoes, go check out your local skate shop and tap in to the scene. Here’s a short list: Permission, The Block, Sunrise, Aqua East, Kona, Skate City. 

Make a Zine 
Homemade skateboard magazines or “zines” began to take strong form in the late 80s. It was a way for skaters to communicate with other members of their community or region. Often be crudely xeroxed and stapled together, zines would contain shots of backyard ramps, interviews with local punk bands, and (occasionally) ads for local shops. Today zines serve the same purpose. They are a great way to showcase local skaters, new spots, and local bands. Not to mention, anybody can make one. For an example of a great local zine, check out Heshrat Zine available skate shops across NEFL. 

Zines are cool.

Do D.I.Y.
Instead of waiting around for the city to build a new spot or a company to come out with a full-length video, make it yourself. A spot can easily be made skate-able with a tub of Bondo and a can of clear-coat. You could even build a brand new spot with some Quikrete and the right location (wink). It also doesn’t take much filming to put together a short video of your homies. When you’re done, invite us all to your premiere at your local skate shop… please?

Be Cool at the Local Park 
The local park is a glorious safe haven. Give back to the place that has taken such good care of you. Don’t leave trash behind after your session, you should even pick some up on the way to the car. Help kids out. We’ve all been that youngster standing atop of a quarterpipe, too scared to drop in. Take the time to give them some pointers that will help them overcome that fear. It will last with them the rest of their lives.

Ed Note: After this article went to print, a lone gunman opened fire at Sunshine Skate Park in Jacksonville Beach, injuring one person. A 16-year old has been arrested in connection with the shooting. We hope that the community can come together to ensure that skate parks and other public places remain safe spaces. 

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 2019 issue of Void Magazine (Vol. 10, Iss. 7) “Do Good.” under the headline “Push Forward.”