Grabbing his skateboard to head towards the park, sophomore Ethan Lombardo pops in his Airpods to listen to songs by Mac Miller. He puts his feet on the board and lets it take over. His problems slowly start to dissolve as his board begins to drop due to the steepness of the hill and he feels his troubles roll away with every gliding moment.
For the last three years, Lombardo has been on his board almost every day after school.
“I knew I had to try skating because I was amazed after seeing a close friend of mine do a kick-flip,” Lombardo said. “The first time I got on my skateboard, I was terrified. I couldn’t balance and could barely even stand on it without help, but I continued to practice everyday.”
Watching videos of Jamie Foy, a famous American skateboarder, Lombardo started picking up on certain techniques, such as foot placement. These videos helped Lombardo because each video taught him a different lesson and he started to see progression in his tricks.
“Not only does [Jamie Foy] sponsor my favorite brand ‘Deathwish,’ but he is a very talented skater that has the same style of clothing and skating as me,” Lombardo said. “The Baker series is another place where I can usually look towards to get my inspiration for tricks. My first ever board was a complete from Zumiez, but now looking back, I can’t imagine using it due to how terrible it rides compared to Deathwish boards.”
Lombardo uses skateboarding to relieve stress he gets from his classes because of homework or upcoming tests. Skateboarding also gives him purpose.
“Whenever I feel all of the stress building up from school or from other personal issues, I’ll go out and skate a little to clear my mind,” Lombardo said. “When I am on my board, I primarily focus on improving my skating and it has helped me cope with so many things; pretty much every problem in my life. By skating almost everyday, I realized that skateboarding requires practice and I needed to let go of all the tension I had built up and focus on what I was doing wrong to make my tricks work otherwise, the fear and stress wouldn’t let me perform well.”
Over the years, Lombardo has explored different styles, such as street skating, where skaters mainly perform flat land tricks in an urban environment, and park skating, where they can do tricks at an incline, and have obstacles such as a small hill.
“I enjoy street skating and looking for random spots to skate usually later in the evening when it cools down and the weather is always perfect,” Lombardo said. “My hardest trick was the 50/50 grind because of the fact that it was the first grind I had ever attempted.”
Facing many difficulties in the beginning, Lombardo has learned to stay committed because he knows giving up is not an option.
“I faced a huge obstacle when I first started skating because I didn’t commit to practicing my tricks, which made them weak,” Lombardo said. “Committing is the most difficult part of skateboarding for most people because it is a very dangerous sport, but if you commit, it will improve your skating drastically.”
Lombardo’s friends have been able to help him become a better skater by motivating him to learn new tricks .
“Skating can be very tricky when you start,” sophomore Maxamiliano said. “But, if you’re with friends it makes things ten times better. Ethan and I go to the skatepark and continuously help each other out whenever one of us needs it and we influence each other a lot. I’m glad to see how much both of us have improved since we started.”
By frequently practicing, Lombardo has seen drastic improvements in his skating, which has motivated him to keep trying.
“My proudest moment of skateboarding was when I was able to land my first ollie, which took me eight months to learn,” Lombardo said. “The last few days that I was practicing, which were leading up to my first ollie, were brutal because I just felt like it was taking forever, but when I first landed it, I knew I was in love with skateboarding.”
Lombardo plans to become a better skater through facing challenges such as his foot injury, which led to a minor set back because he could not skate for several days. He wants to learn from these challenges and correct any mistakes he makes so he can be the best at what he does.
“Skateboarding has taught me a lot because I learned how much effort you need to put in to become the best and it really taught me that even if I feel like I will never be able to do a trick I need to continue to work hard, which is why I want to become the best and prove to myself that I am the best at what I do,” Lombardo said.