It’s a misty January morning in Arendal, Norway, and the snow has turned into big patches of ice since the temperature is constantly rising and dropping. But in two weeks, this ice and snow will be replaced by sand and oceanwater. In two weeks I will be on a plane to my dream destination of a lifetime, Hawaii. Where I want to really enjoy life, involving surfing, skating and making art. Going there basically blindfolded but with no worries at heart, since it is a pursuit of happiness. This is the first chapter of my adventure. But first I want to let you all in on how it all started!
I’m a regular girl with an american and latina heritage. Born and raised in the suburb outside of Stockholm, Sweden. Growing up in a scandinavian city, there are hot, lush summers and cold, long winters. When I was fourteen, I started hanging out with the local skatedudes. They would often skate around the trainstation or by the ramp at school and during the winter, snowboard on the local hill by the lake. Yes, I totally had a huge crush on one of them. After awhile that crush ran it’s course, but the secret crush I had to try skateboarding never really faded.
I asked my sister who had a toy skateboard, if I could borrow it. I soon realized I didn’t have the patience to try and do tricks. During that time I also noticed, that lately my skater friends had been cruising around town and hills with these enlarged skateboards, almost like miniature surfboards. It looked way easier. So I asked them where they had gotten the boards. When I found out, I asked my stepfather to take me to the nearest Toys’R’Us. To my joy they where on sale! Only four left in stock, we bought them all for 8 dollars each. They had a real simple design, a rounded nose and thinned out by the tail, approximately 1,20 m long.
I started pushing to and from school for a couple years. Slowly picking up speed, needing less time to get to school. I always went alone, because I never had the courage to skate with the guys. I always kept it safe, never bombing any hills. Soon I got a girl friend to try it out, and eventually she got her own board. We cruised a little together, but nothing major. We were kind of chicken. We also started going to these skate events, and one time it was for only girls and they introduced us to Downhill. Man, it seemed so much fun and badass. But we were still keeping it safe, and I never really wanted to trade in my Toy longboard for a real speedchasing one. After that summer the longboarding kind of took a pause, because life happened. Graduation was coming up and I had to think about my future, and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it. But once in awhile I would dust out the old board and start cruising around again, but never for long. I started picking up speed and trying to go down steeper hills, but I would always freak out when the board started to wobble. I never had the courage to just go in to a skateshop and ask them about it, and give me tips. I didn’t want to seem like a newbie and somehow associated it with being a coward.
In 2010, after I had been to art school, I was working at a job that made me pretty miserable. I was also fed up with not really feeling in place. I had friends and we would go out to party and have fun, host dinners and go to concerts. But it got kind of got old. I always had visualized being that rad skater chick, but the summers are short and I never pushed myself enough to start skating with others.
Two friends of mine where on a backpacking adventure and they asked me if I wanted to meet them up in Bali, Indonesia, in a couple of months. I started saving up money. During that time I also decided to move with a friend to Norway, to spend the summer working. But after the trip to Indonesia, of course. So now I had some future plans and when I had booked the trip to Indonesia and handed in my resignation notice at work, I swore to myself I was going to learn how to surf.
Spring came and right before my trip, I dusted of the old longboard and started cruising around again. Pretending that the pavement where the waves. There was one hill, right by the freeway, that wasn’t too much of a speedkiller, but long enough to enjoy, that became my goal to bomb before I left. My wheels where pretty beat and hadn’t been cleaned since I bought it, so I really never got in to high speed. But I loved it! When I had conquered that hill without any hesitation, I felt so good about myself. And at the same time so liberated and just amazing.
The stoke didn’t stop there. Paddling out for the first time to catch my first wave in Bali, I was hit with happiness and invincibility. Even if it was the tiniest white water wave, I felt like Moses crossing the red sea. It is something I will never forget. I got to surf a couple more times at a beautiful spot in Lombok, but a week in, on my month long trip, I was injured in a moped accident and couldn’t be in the water for the rest of the trip. I was super bummed. But it didn’t stop me from buying my first surfboard on the last day of the trip, and taking it back with me home.
After the trip I moved to Norway, in 2011. This is a land filled with mountains and hills. I hadn’t brought my longboard with me, but I soon got to know some local skaters here too. They where driving around trying to find diffrent hills and roads to slide down. They asked me to join them, but I always made up an excuse. But after I had been home for a visit, I took my Toy’R’Us board with me back, and started to cruise a little on my own again. I also found out that surfing was big in Stavanger, and I went on my own for a weekend and got to surf a little. It was much messier and colder than Indonesia. But the experience was mind blowing and gave me an even more urge to do it. I started checking out surf videos on the net, and fell across a surf documentary about the origins of surfing. Hawaii! I started to skate more and more, finding a route I really enjoyed. If I couldn’t sleep or wake really early in the morning I just jumped out of bed, put on some clothes and leap out the door and start pushing. If I wanted to clear my mind, I would just grab the board and take that route. It led to the ocean and I would sit down by the water and just breathe and daydream about surfing.
Soon, friends would tell me they had seen me riding, and told me I looked so happy. And the boys told me I should really join them. I really wanted to, so I agreed once. But when I saw the hill they where sliding down, I just gulped. I felt kind of uncomfortable and in the way. They where playing around and trying to pep talk me to just go for it. I tried a couple times, but I never really gave it my all. I found the speed totally scary. And there weren’t any spare helmets and it also started to rain. I kind of felt a pressure, that really was only coming from myself, to have to take this hill on one go. Maybe I could have, but I wasn’t ready mentally or by experience. I got mad at myself, because I really wanted to do it good and show off, but I just didn’t dare to.
Even if wasn’y my most glorified experience, it didn’t stop me from continuing. And soon an idea started growing in my mind. I really wanted to learn how to surf properly, and to skate more in settings that would inspire me to continue with my art. Surfing stems from Hawaii and there is a huge art scene, and of course you can skate there! So what the hell am I waiting for? I started researching and checking out what kind of budget I needed and how the Island life could be. I didn’t want to rush it either, and made it my goal to go there in the fall of 2013.
I started to save up money and just embrace the feeling that this is a dream that many probably would only dream about, and not make reality. But I am a girl, that doesn’t just talk the talk. I always wanna walk the walk. I put on an art exhibit where I used, surfing, skating, animals, graffiti and hiphop as my inspiration. Just to keep up the motivation, get some extra savings and inspire the cold little town I lived in. I sold out almost the hole exhibit and that just told me, that I’m on the right path. Eventually the months passed and I started getting fed up with living in the tiny town. I loved my job and I loved my friends, but there was something missing. And just looking at videocklips on the internet and painting wasn’t enough. In the fall of 2012, I got an offer to move to Copenhagen with my sister and her current girlfriend, and I jumped at it.
But when I was visiting a friend, to search for jobs and an apartment, it didn’t go well. I just sat down and thought for a minute. It was gonna cost so much money to do this move. And my main goal is to go to Hawaii. I suddenly started to count, and in 5 minutes I had booked my ticket to Hawaii. It all happened so fast! I made som phone calls and got a plan going. Staying with a friend to save up on rent, I got work an extra montth (I had already quit my job, since I thought I was going to move to Copenhagen) and then I had found this super cheap ticket to Honolulu in february. The universe was talking to me, that this is it. Just go for it, girl! There was no reason to wait any longer when I had everything I needed to get there. When I had booked the ticket, I suddenly jumped up with joy and made my victory dance. Laughing out loud and started to call my family. I’m going to Hawaii in a couple months!
Later on I found this series of short movies on the net, with a crew of girls that cruised around Spain. I was so fascinated and impressed. Because that is excactly what I wanted to do, and I want to become that good! I looked in further of who had made these videos, and I soon found out that it was Longboard Girl Crew. I found the website and couldn’t believe it! An international crew of fellow girl skaters, all around the world. I felt that this is was excactly what I have been looking for! I knew that girls skated all over the world, but I just hadn’t thought that there would be such a big community. And after seeing those videos, I’ve made another vow; to start and learn how to Down Hill and Dancing as well!
All these dreams and new goals, is excactly what I want to be pursuing. To make those activities my every day life, and enjoy it to the fullest. For so long I’ve been dreaming of being one of those surfing and skating chicks. Living fearlessly on a board and enjoying every minute of it. Even though I think I have a fear for speed and making a fool out of myself. It is still something I feel a longing for. And I’m sure that these things will give me my bliss. I take that back, I don’t even doubt it will! I’ve been skating on and off since I was fourteen now. But I don’t want to be pushing on the same spot anymore. It’s about time I chase that dream and make it happen. I might not know the lingo or anything about the equipment. But there is a drive and motivation now, that is stronger than ever, to find out. And I hope I can from my story, of going from a newbie to someone who can really rock out on board and enjoy it all the way, inspire more girls to pursue it. And somday in the future skate together and spread the stoke!
In two weeks I’ll be boarding that plane with a backpack and a small stereo vinyl cruiser, on the 20th of february 2013. Going on the quest of my life so far. My mom always says to me, ”Life is what you make of it”. And my sister has a tattoo that says, ”Love what you do, and do what you love”. Truly motivating stuff! I hope you will want to read more about my adventure, and where those roads take me.
Lorenza D. Walker