Skateboarding: MVHS students’ stories in skating communities
A look at the skateboarding stories of several MV students
Miles away from the intensive hours of studying by MVHS students, a different and vibrant community of the South Bay can be seen. One where skateboarders can frequently be spotted pulling their tricks on the rails of grocery stores, where students hang out outside on a school night.
Senior David Truong notes that when he had lived in East San Jose, just a twenty-five-minute drive from the MVHS neighborhood, there was an immensely larger outdoor community, especially surrounding skateboarding. This community included schools like Evergreen Valley HS and Silver Creek HS. But Truong believes that the revolving spirit of skateboarding in those neighborhoods is what really connected students from different schools.
Some skateboarders in such communities even receive sponsorships for skating and get paid. But according to Truong, that’s not the reason they skate eight to nine hours a day.
“Despite knowing that opportunity, that’s not really a motivation,” Truong said. “They skate because they genuinely really love what they do.”
Back in MVHS’ student parking lot, Truong can be seen doing tricks on his board to kill time. And during passing periods behind the D Building corridors or on any blacktop outlining the school, senior Ian McCulloch often prefers skating to class rather than walking.
Both Truong and McCulloch began skating after being introduced to the sport by other skaters. While Truong picked up the sport in sixth grade after he would ride on his best friend’s board, McCulloch found his new hobby when his cousin gifted him cruiser deck - a skateboard not designed for tricks - at the age of eight.
According to McCulloch, Cupertino doesn’t have much to explore. There might be many boba shops, restaurants and nice parks scattered around, but skateboarding serves as an activity that doesn’t cost nearly as much as hanging out at Main Street every week.
“It’s just something to do, especially around here,” McCulloch said. “Once you actually have your board all set up, all you have to do is hit up your friends to hang out and skate, just have fun.”
The feeling when you’re cruising is super nice. It’s super relaxed, no effort going into it, you’re just moving along, and you’re also aware of your surroundings a lot.”
Although he skates for transportation on a daily basis, McCulloch finds himself using his board less than before after witnessing a friend’s collision.
While at Stevens Creek Canyon Road, which has a steeper slope that suited his type of skating, McCulloch watched his friend skate low at 25-30 mph when his friend crashed into a dirt wall, hitting his head and immediately dropping to the ground.
“The main thing I was worried about was his head because he hit, and then kind of just dropped [to the ground],” McCulloch said. “So his right shoulder was hit bad, strained the muscle and tendon and everything little scraped up. We were lucky.”
McCulloch’s incident occurred while he was riding his friend’s penny board — which is much smaller in size than what he was used to. It caused him a relatively serious injury that stopped him from riding for an extended period of time.
“I was looking somewhere else and wasn’t paying attention,” McCulloch said. “I was going pretty fast, and when I put my foot down on the cement behind me, I popped my knee out. I [fell] on the ground and my knee cap was out of my socket.’”
McCulloch was able to pop his knee back into its socket and straighten it out. The doctor gave him kudos for having done the right thing, but by popping his knee back in, McCulloch eventually had to wear a brace on his leg and stop skating for a few months until he recovered.
In his active days of skating, Truong traveled farther to experience more exhilarating adventures in skating with his friends.
“In eighth grade, I’d skateboard pretty much every opportunity I got, almost every day,” Truong said. “Let’s say I get home from school at three, I’d be skateboarding almost nonstop until 11 p.m., and then I go to sleep.”
On weekends, Truong and his friends would even take the bus to Santa Cruz or the train to San Francisco, spending all day and night there.
On the other hand, Truong’s injury is one that accumulated over time. At first, Truong stopped skating for a couple months because he joined high school sports, but has now developed a chronic knee condition that continues to restrict him in skating.
The injury, which he refers to as a “rare, young athlete’s version of arthritis,” puts restrictions on his physical activities. According to him, the injury was likely caused by repeated trauma from skateboarding and potentially football as well. Unfortunately, this led Truong to cut out the complicated tricks and obstacles.
When Truong looks back on his youthful skating experiences, he remembers and cherishes the little things of skating that fostered his bond with his friends.
“Some of the things I still look back on are just like the little things, like things you wouldn’t expect to be memorable, but years go by, and you’re like ‘That was a good time,’” Truong said. “Most of the things I learned from my friends, and I just remember all of us going to different skate spots in town, going to Santa Cruz, staying there till four in the morning, just skating nonstop … it’s just the things that I really miss.