The Board Blazers Blog


Outcasts Are The New In-Crowd

School was out. I walked up the bus steps after another silent, uninterested day of middle school. As I sat down in my usual seat, Megan came walking toward me. She was short, blonde, and held an “I don’t give a [expletive]” attitude toward anyone that wasn’t in her close-knit, popular friend circle. She wasn’t really a classically attractive girl, but how did I know, I was a closeted gay kid, uninterested in that whole “girl” concept.

She sat down in the seat just in front of me. To my left, Danny sat down. Danny was an enormously tall 6th grader. We didn’t talk much. If we did, it was in the form of the regular taunts that he would throw at me while I pretended not to care.

As the bus left the school I assumed my usual posture: disengagement. See, the goal was to look like you were in your own world, engaged in something else. If that posture succeeded, they would leave you alone. Today wasn’t successful.

Megan decided that today was the day to really wreck me. Danny would be there to her aid. She popped up over the seat in front of me and asked, “Are you gay?” Immediately my defensiveness arose, but I calmly replied, “No,” and continued to look out the bus window. Stay unengaged; that’s the goal. Without missing a beat, she disagreed with me: “I think you’re gay. You’re a faggot and you know it.”

This barrage of question and accusation continued for my entire 30-minute bus ride home. It became a sort of twisted game, really: Megan—now joined by Danny­­­—would insist that I was gay (or other words) and I would attempt to disagree or laugh it off. Over the course of the ride, it became increasingly clear that I wouldn’t be able to hold in my rage/sadness/awkwardness/shame much longer. I mean, I was gay, but no one would know that for another eight years.

My stop finally arrived. I got off the bus, attempting to hold my composure as it passed by me to leave the neighborhood. I knew they were probably watching me in hopes that they had finally won and would see me break down. I held my composure, but they did win.

I got home and broke down crying in my room. In that moment, I made a pact to myself that I would disengage. I didn’t need to be friends with the people at my school. In the years to come, I would resolve to become the hipster art kid—The hipster art kid that didn’t fit in with people at his school.

Maybe I felt like I was above them, maybe I felt like I was just too different from them. Maybe they just didn’t understand. Nevertheless, my life in school became a rejection of the norms that my peers so easily subscribed to. Thankfully, I grew up.

As I moved on to college and began to understand who I was more clearly, I channeled my disinterested, outcast mentality into a mindset that would hopefully do something useful for society. I was able to grab hold of my immature rejection mentality and harness it to be someone that actually sought to change things.

I don’t desire to do what other people are doing and I’m not sure I ever have since that day in middle school. If I do see people doing something, I’m inclined to ask the obnoxious question: “Why?”

Over the years, I’m learning that outcast culture—this culture that challenges norms (in whatever sense)­—can be one of the most transformative, creative cultures in society.

The truth is, people just don’t like to be challenged. However, people also don’t like to do the challenging. That’s where the outcasts come in. Challenging things is what we do best. The best part? Going against the grain usually intimidates people, but used correctly, the influence of those doing it can do so much more.

The outcast dresses differently.

The outcast’s wheels look different than most.

The outcast is producing films.

The outcast is making art.

The outcast doesn’t conform like we would hope.

The outcast wishes something different for society.

The outcast creates.

The outcast works harder than anyone else.

The outcast never stops questioning.

The outcast sees the world in ways that most just can’t.

The outcast is immersed in their unique culture and they’re living the hell out of their lives.

Growing up, we somehow believe that fitting in is what leads to our success in life. However, as they get older, the lucky few recognize the paradox of life: The people on the outside are often the influencers.

To The Outcast,

Embrace the communities you're a part of. However, challenge them every day. Ask all the questions and seek to make sense of it all. Turn the community upside down in hopes that you can influence it for the better.

If you don’t feel like you’re a part of your community, then create the community that you want to be a part of. Trust me, people will follow that kind of passion.

Go and shirk a stereotype, make people scratch their heads, create something and discover who you are.

I think you just might find that you're capable of something you never saw possible as the outcast, rebellious kids that you and I are. Outcasts are the new in-crowd.

 

About the author:

 

As a 25-year old gay Christian, Austin Pierce is learning how to navigate life as The Outcast. A former pastor and lifetime church brat, Austin has chosen to embark on a path that few are choosing take: helping the gay community and the Christian community begin to love each other.

Once enmeshed in Christian ministry as a straight man, Austin is seeking to re-engage the Christian community as an outwardly gay individual. While he’s not entirely sure how to do it, he’s blogging through his entire journey over at BetweenCommunities.com.

Connect with Austin on Twitter @austinpierce or on the blog.


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7 Benefits of Skateboarding

While we all know it’s fun, skateboarding has even more benefits that you might not expect. In fact, many fail to realize the potential and beautiful advantages that skateboarding can bring. Therefore, we’ve come up with some of the main reasons why you should skateboard and the benefits of skateboarding.

1. Staying Fit and Healthy

Like any other sport that encourages us to get outside and put our muscles to work, skateboarding is a way to stay fit and healthy. Constant practice can provide a heart-pumping cardio boost. It can also reduce stress and fatigue levels. If you have healthy joints and enough courage to take to the streets, skateboarding is a sport easy to master and requires minimal equipment. This Men’s Fitness article lists just a few reasons why skateboarding is such a good workout.

Skateboarding is a full-body, muscle-building workout. When skating you engage muscle groups throughout your body, as seen here:

Muscles Used While Skateboarding

Thanks to Brandon for providing his custom infographic, and learn more about the muscles used for skateboarding on his site!  

2. Transportation

Skateboarding is definitely linked with the urban environment and becomes a great way to explore it. As you switch between streets, sidewalks, or parks, there is no other means of transport more suited for the unpredictability you will find while cruising around the city. One of the greatest benefits of skateboarding is not skating at all: you can always walk and carry your board without the hassle of locking up a bike! For some commuters, skateboarding can be a practical decision, as you no longer need to worry about finding a parking space or a way to keep your bike safe from theft. Skateboarding thrives around college campuses as well as many pedestrian-friendly urban areas.

(Photocred: http://xgames.espn.go.com/)

3. The Ultimate Tourist Experience

Exploring a city shouldn’t be a “by the book” activity. Forget about the city tour that links some major monuments and the most iconic buildings. Pass on any guide telling you where to take a right turn and where you can find the best meal in town. Every city is much more than the sum of its highlights. One of the benefits of skateboarding is being able to see the environment around you in a different light, through the eyes of a local. Thus, skating around the streets of a new metropolis can be the ultimate tourist experience. While driving doesn’t offer the same intimate connection, walking is definitely too slow to allow you to cover enough ground in a limited amount of time. 

4. Learn Street Smarts (Literally)

Despite a reputation of danger, skateboarding can be much safer with the right safety equipment. For someone hitting the streets on their own for the first time (like a child), skateboarding is a great way to learn traffic rules. Therefore, another benefit of skateboarding is learning traffic interactions and becoming more aware of your surroundings. The more knowledge and experience that is accumulated from a young age, the safer driver you will become. Seeing the road from a different perspective than behind the steering wheel can be a blast, but here are some applicable traffic rules for those that bicycle or skate along the streets.

(Photocred: http://kroq.cbslocal.com/)

5. Meet New People

Needless to say, skaters are some of the most interesting, quirky, and inclusive people you’ll ever meet. At the skatepark, a shared love of a skating brings everyone together. Skateboarding can bring a child closer to his/her parent or even set the foundation of new neighborhood friendships. Where there is something free to be enjoyed together, friendships and other positive relationships flourish. Skateboarding can build bridges between generations and different social backgrounds, ultimately bringing people together and offering a great outlet to meet new people.

6. It’s Fun!

Regardless of the other benefits, we can definitely say that skateboarding is a major source of fun and quality time. The mix of speed, hanging with friends, and getting outdoors to enjoy your city are an awesome combo. Each ride becomes a new experience, a chance to see the city and its people in a different light. For some, skateboarding represents skateboarding provides an identity, a social group, and a creative outlet that is irreplaceable.

7. Skating’s Cool

For most kids, the idea of riding a skateboard has nothing to do with staying healthy, learning traffic rules, or exploring the city. Most of all, skating is cool! Skateboarding can offer acceptance, respect, and a peer group. Skateboarding’s not just a hobby or a sport – it’s an entire lifestyle.

Why do you absolutely love to board?

 

About The Author:

Yogin Patel HeadshotYogin Patel is a serial entrepreneur who currently attends Arizona State University. At the age of 16, Yogin became an independent marketing consultant, along with an avid blogger and online marketer. In the past year, Yogin has worked with several small businesses, including local restaurants, hotels, and personal brands. He builds clean websites, ranks businesses on the first page of Google, and manages social media for brands. In his free time, Yogin likes to read thought-provoking books and play basketball with friends. To learn more about Yogin, or to get in touch with him, go to YoginPatel.com, or add him on his LinkedIn. Yogin blogs at Doolid.com.


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Top 5 Summer Skateboarding Camps in the United States

Summer skateboarding camps are the best way to experience the best skate parks across the county. Summer for many kids means endless skateboarding, meeting new friends, and learning new tricks. We hope you enjoy our list of the top five summer skateboarding camps you won’t want to miss!

1. Windells Summer Skateboard Camp

You’ve probably already heard of this camp as over 150 professional skateboarders have been in attendance. The camp takes place in Portland, Oregon near Mt. Hood. Both day and overnight camps are available. Day camps include three meals a day and professional coaching. Overnight camps include 24-hour supervision, three meals, professional coaching, comfortable cabins, and tons of other activities. Windells Summer Skateboard Camp attracts skateboarders from all across the world from New Zealand to South Korea.

2. Ohio Dreams Skateboarding Program

Ohio Dreams is located in Butler, Ohio. What sets this camp apart from other camps is that the instructors will spend incredible time guiding and coaching you. They will record your tricks and even give you feedback on how you can improve.

Their camp was designed by skaters themselves, so they know how to create an awesome experience. With their huge indoor and outdoor skate parks, we are sure you will have one of the best summers of your life. In addition, they also have a pool, trampoline, and camp fires.

3. Camp Woodward

(Photo credit: CampWoodward.com)

Camp Woodward’s skate program is not only located in Pennsylvania, but also held in California and Colorado. Their program primarily focuses on skills, balance, and style. A typical day consists of fun group instruction sessions, followed by individual attention on skateboard tricks. Instructors are spread out throughout the entire area, each with their own experience and skills to share and teach.

Daily coaching is not only educational, but also fun for kids.  Two and a half hours a day will be spent with some of the best skateboarding staff from around the country. They will be going through the entire complex, which includes 22 unique skating areas. Plus this camp has a pool, water slide, go-karts, and paintball!

Camp Woodward has become almost another home for many of the world’s best professional skateboarders. Check to see who will be at camp when you’re there!

4. Ramp Camp

Ramp Camp, found in New Hampshire, has the perfect combination of instruction and fun for kids. There will be time for kids to freely skate, play games, watch videos, and hang out. One on one lessons are available at any time during the camp, instructors generally make announcements to begin the day for campers to sign up for one.

At Ramp Camp, campers don’t focus on learning the most amount of tricks, but instead whether or not they are improving. Instructors at Ramp Camp are constantly making sure that the campers are improving and learning. They focus on the small things and technical skills to build a solid foundation.

5. Blue Camp by Berkeley

(Photo Credit: camps.berkeley.edu)

This skateboarding camp, provided by University of California, Berkeley, offers a beginner’s camp as well as an elite camp. The beginner’s camp allows those that want to learn the basics of skateboarding to do exactly that. In the elite camp, skateboarders that have already matured will take on larger ramps, learn advanced tricks, and ways to minimize injury. Skaters will receive the needed skateboarding experience through this nationally recognized skateboard program. Campers will generally ride with skaters their own age and similar skill level. They will also have the opportunity to meet sponsored and professional skateboarders that will visit the camp and perform demos.

What’s your favorite? Comment below to let our readers know!

 

About The Author:

Yogin Patel HeadshotYogin Patel is a serial entrepreneur who currently attends Arizona State University. At the age of 16, Yogin became an independent marketing consultant, along with an avid blogger and online marketer. In the past year, Yogin has worked with several small businesses, including local restaurants, hotels, and personal brands. He builds clean websites, ranks businesses on the first page of Google, and manages social media for brands. In his free time, Yogin likes to read thought-provoking books and play basketball with friends. To learn more about Yogin, or to get in touch with him, go to YoginPatel.com, or add him on his LinkedIn. Yogin blogs at Doolid.com.

 


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How to Skateboard: A Starter Guide to Shredding

Most parents grew up playing the same sports their kids enjoy. However, not all parents grew up skateboarding, and that can make it tough to get your little one started when you first hear, "I want a skateboard." Those words can seem daunting at first, but this guide will help you learn what to buy, proper safety procedures, and how to help your young skater, or those of all ages, master the basics.

Buying the First Board

There's no definitive type or brand of skateboard you should buy as a beginner, but there are a few pointers you can use to find your child an ideal setup. Quality skateboard completes — those that come with a deck, trucks and wheels — cost upward of $100 for adults, but you don't have to pay that much cash for your child’s new hobby. Most major skateboard companies offer more affordable options for kids, which cost around $50 to $100. Shop for your skater’s new ride at a locally-owned brick-and-mortar or online skate shop, because the cheaper boards at big box stores can be poorly designed and dangerous. Ask a professional at the shop for help choosing the perfect entry-level board. Our earlier blog post also offers 7 helpful things to look for when buying your first board.

Safety First

Skateboarding, like most extreme sports, gets a reputation for being dangerous, but there's plenty of protective gear available to help your child advance more safely and with confidence. The following pieces of safety gear are essential for anyone learning to skate:

  • Helmet— The helmet is the No. 1 piece of safety gear in skateboarding. Purchase a skateboard helmet that sits on top of your child's head without rocking backward, forward or to either side. Always check to ensure the helmet is buckled before letting your kid ride.
  • Pads — Knee and elbow pads will protect your little ripper from scrapes, bruises and broken bones that can be extremely painful and deter your child from getting back on his board.
  • Wrist guards— Beginner skaters often use their hands and wrists to break their falls. Wrist guards will protect your skater against broken bones while he masters his new skills.

Know the proper safety gear: Helmet, pads, and wrist guards. Don’t forget Board Blazers too!

Still, you don't want your little one to rely only on his helmet, pads and wrist guards for safety. Instruct your child to crouch low when he feels off balance and to tuck his elbows and head in to his body when he starts to fall. Advise him to land on his bottom, back or sides, and to roll out of the fall whenever possible. Learning to fall properly is an essential part of preventing skateboard injuries.

Your child isn't completely protected from injury with safety gear and proper falling techniques. Teach your kid about the safe places to skateboard in your area, and don't let him ride where cars might drive. Encourage your skater to advance his or her skills at a steady pace and to take breaks when tired.

Start with the Basics

Skateboarding takes years of practice to master. Parents who are completely unfamiliar with skateboarding may want to enroll their child in lessons at a local skate shop or community skate park. Although, you don't have to be an advanced skater to help your child learn the basics.

  • Find your skater's dominant foot by letting him or her kick a soccer ball. The foot he uses to kick the ball will be his rear foot on the board. It will also be the foot he uses to push the skateboard.
  • Start by having your youngster stand on the deck of the board on the grass before putting it on pavement. This will help him get a feel for the board under his feet.
  • Advance your child to the pavement and consider purchasing a board for yourself. You can learn the basic of skateboarding together while keeping an eye on your child’s safety.
  • Take your skater to the skate park. The advanced skaters at the skate park can be intimidating to novice riders, but parks are a common place for beginners to make friends and advance their skills together, too. Make sure your youngster is outfitted in all of the proper safety gear and relax while watching him improve his skating.

Skateboarding is a sport that can teach your child healthy habits, patience, and the importance of diligently working toward a goal. Purchase the proper safety gear, provide encouragement, and help your little one advance at a steady pace to spark an interest in this lifelong sport.

 

About the author:

This article was provided by the staff at Windward Boardshop, They have been in business since 1982, and specialize in everything snowboarding, skateboarding, longboarding, stand up paddle and swimwear.

Interested in contributing a guest post to our blog? Contact us!


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Girl Skateboarders: Why Skateboarding Shouldn't be Limited to Boys

As all sports gradually move toward gender equality, there is no reason skateboarding should follow a different path. In an age where women are continuously conquering all areas of society, it is not uncommon to witness many breakthroughs in activities traditionally restricted to men. Skateboarding is a sport that has noticed increased popularity across both genders in the last 10 years and doesn’t show signs of slowing down.

(Photocred: mylifeonboard.net)

After all, the essence of skateboarding does not specifically apply to a particular gender. Not only is it a fun, healthy, and convenient activity, offering physical and creative development, but it is also accessible to everyone. For years, skateboarding has been about breaking stereotypes and expressing individuality, and it is now a sport embraced by the young and old, men and women alike. Girl skateboarders are becoming more and more common.

 

 

One reason skateboarding may seem limited for girls and young women is that it lacks the prominence of superstar female athletes. It’s easy to invest time and other resources in something which promises rewards. Every skater is familiar with Tony Hawk, but is there a woman equally noted to inspire more people to join this activity? You probably need to dig a bit deeper in order to uncover a female role-model for skateboarding. Leticia Bufoni is currently the most recognized and leading female skater, proving female skaters are on the verge of becoming the next sports breakout stars. Bufoni recently made history by becoming the first female skater signed by Nike.

 

Still, debate remains over the sexulization of female action sports stars. Recently, Bufoni has been featured scantily clad in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and Men’s Health. Surfers Sylvi Bodi and Janni Hönscheid have graced the cover of Playboy, and a search for Olympic gold-medalist Hannah Teter revels more of her than her accomplished snowboarding career. Does this advance women’s identity in the mainstream, or detract from their athletic accomplishments? Some say this is a logical career move and opportunity for these women, while others argue this is only another setback for gender equality.

Skateboarding has always been considered as a form of rebellion from the strict rules of society. This undoubtedly appealed to a large male audience, one which typically embraced this radical image. This allowed an entire generation of boys to set their own rules and try to go beyond those already established. However, skateboarding has continuously evolved from its rebellious roots. Skateboarding has traveled a long way from being a form of protest and it is currently a sport which has gone mainstream.

A mixed response from the media, fans, and sponsors will dictate how popular skateboarding will be among girls in the years to come. Nevertheless, the signal is clearly positive and the public wants to see girl skateboarders performing the same staggering stunts. More shops are building their stock of boards and accessories designed to appeal to women. The change in landscape is surely felt all around the market. Companies wanting to enter the market or engage consumers have no alternative than to be open minded for inclusion of women of all ages.

Skateboarding is an important social glue for today’s youth. An increased number of girls skateboarding is an encouraging sign that skateboarding continues to be on the leading edge of social change, this time by providing equal access to sports for women and men.

 

 (Leticia photocred: 20minutes.fr)

About The Author:

Yogin Patel HeadshotYogin Patel is a serial entrepreneur who currently attends Arizona State University. At the age of 16, Yogin became an independent marketing consultant, along with an avid blogger and online marketer. In the past year, Yogin has worked with several small businesses, including local restaurants, hotels, and personal brands. He builds clean websites, ranks businesses on the first page of Google, and manages social media for brands. In his free time, Yogin likes to read thought-provoking books and play basketball with friends. To learn more about Yogin, or to get in touch with him, go to YoginPatel.com, or add him on his LinkedIn. Yogin blogs at Doolid.com.


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