Kick. Push. Coast.
An art form, a way to exist, a lifestyle. Skateboarding culture emerges in swift glances of skateboarders weaving through streets in Newark. Of many hues and styles with backpacks seared to their back like wings, a hat and some low top sneakers, they zig zag around potholes, cars and pedestrians with precision.
Two of those who are fairly new to Newark’s skateboarding is Gil and Ahmed.
I met Gil affixing wheels back onto to his skateboard at the Underground Skateshop 2. Rarely speaking or looking up, he prepared his board for a ride in NYC with Ahmed, a 2016 graduate of Rutgers-Newark who described the local skating scene as “popping.”
“There’s so many spots and if there’s no place to skate then you find something to skate from almost nothing because [Newark] is so hilly,” says Ahmed.
Gil discovered skateboarding almost 10 years ago. “One of my friends that always skateboarded. I was never really the type to skateboard, but one day it caught my eye and saw the challenge,” he explained.
Considered a recreational sport. Skateboarding encompasses many elements, including learning how to master skating techniques and the performance of stunts and tricks. “Honestly, we all love to skateboard, but you have to have a lot of time to sacrifice to always skate,” comments Gill. “We have to carry on weight. We gotta work and still have time to skate.”
Gil shyly explains that he is not used to describing his passion of skateboarding and Ahmed is pressing Gil to leave so that they can catch some light while riding in the city. Politely, they excuse themselves.