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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Half-Pipe Dreams

Posted by Rick | December 30th, 2006 | Filed under Outdoor Sport, Personal Reflection


A few weeks ago, my friends and I purchased a used half-pipe off craigslist for $250 bucks. I haven’t owned a skateboard since I was 13 and now, at 35, I’m planning on taking up the sport again. It’s only four feet tall, but standing on the platform, peering over the coping, the drop looks like suicide. Am I crazy? When it stops raining, we’ll find out.

Portland’s Department of Skateboarding has an “old man” night (over 30) on Mondays from 9-11.

23 Responses to “Half-Pipe Dreams”

  • January 3, 2007 at 1:33 pm | rr says

    awesome. i’m 32. and i really haven’t been on my board since i was 17. although lately i’ve been considering picking up a new deck and getting back into it. cool to see that you’re doing the same.

  • January 3, 2007 at 4:39 pm | Rick says

    Yeah! As a matter of fact, we put the thing together last weekend and skated it. Well, actually, my friends skated it properly (as they actually owned halfpipes in their youth – muscle memory), I just pumped back and forth on it. Got my wheels up to the coping, but trying to turn at the top put the fear of God in me. Hopefully the weather will dry out again and I’ll be able to try again.

    Keep on trucking (and wheeling)!

  • January 3, 2007 at 6:37 pm | eugenie says

    hey rick – when I was in college I would go to the skate park in Colorado Springs at 7 in the morning, when I knew no one would be there, so I could try to get over my own fear of dropping into a bowl without anyone else around to laugh at me. I still have scars on my elbows, and no take-home Congratulations-Girl-You-Dropped-In trophy to speak of.

    In other words …can I come over and play?

  • January 3, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Rick says

    Of course you can! This ramp is an equal-opportunity slammer… We’ve purposely kept our shredder friends away so we could practice up a little before they hotdog on it.

  • January 5, 2007 at 4:34 pm | nathan says

    hey y’all,

    i grew up skating in the rain in portland, ollying into puddles and wrecking bearings as quickly as my jack purcell sneaks. When i lived in bozeman, MT 5 years ago i got a free ramp from the bullitin board at world boards. i hadn’t ever skated a ramp before that and it was the coolest thing ever. it was a 4-footer just like this one, about 12 feet wide. cost a 6pack to get a guy to haul it in his truck to our A frame. we had it for the spring and then when i left to fish guide in AK for the summer my roomates panicked when the bozeman skaterats began showing up and bumping jay-z until dark.

    so much for my ramp-skating career.

    now there’s a brand-new concrete park here in telluride and my friend craig is forcing me out of skate retirement. i’ve aready found some wristguards in the freebox and i’m waiting on some new wheels. i still have eugenie’s old deck that she gave me when she left town. i can’t wait to hit it this spring. viva los 30-something skaterats!!

    enjoy your new ramp!


  • January 5, 2007 at 5:01 pm | Rick says

    Next time you’re in town visiting Eugenie, swing on by… I really wish our ramp was wider. 8 feet feels tiny. You can bring your wristers, we’ve got one set of knee pads and a helmet that we pass back and forth… which is a hassle.

  • January 12, 2007 at 10:34 pm | brett says

    yo – same thing sort of thing brought me out of retirement. sacramento just opened one of the biggest concrete parks in the country. it was too much for me to stand by and watch, so i dusted off my Vision Old Ghosts and dropped in the kiddy pool. I used the same early morning strategy as eugenie. it’s a trip to think that my board is older than most of the kids at the park.

  • January 17, 2007 at 2:06 pm | Greg says

    What a coincidence… I took my 4 year old boy to the local skate park last weekend and caught the bug, at the age of 33. I haven’t skated since sometime around my 14th birthday, probably. But here we go again… off to break a bone or two!

    Keep us posted on the ramp and the laughs.

  • January 17, 2007 at 2:29 pm | Rick says

    Greg, funny how your story and mine are so similar (minus the son). I was never good at skating, so going to the ramp with my bros who have a memory of what it was like to turn at the top and drop in is always humbling. I have hilarious evidence of our first attempt on the ramp, though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3Ivl9Zjnts

    Keep shreddin!

  • January 18, 2007 at 3:01 pm | eugenie says

    rick – I’m thrilled to see that you’re wearing a helmet, what with all those crazy arms you’ve got flailing about. – eugenie

  • January 18, 2007 at 3:16 pm | Rick says

    That’s actually the helmet I wear in day-to-day life. You should see the one I wear when I actually do maneuvers on the ramp – it’s the size of a large watermelon.

  • January 18, 2007 at 3:26 pm | Jack says

    Hey Rick,

    Stoked to see what you’re up to. I just turned 50 and still race in slalom skateboarding events around the country. One of the best events is in Hood River, not too far from you. Check it out if you can, you’ll find a bunch of guys and gals your age having a blast.

    You’re never too old to skate, in 2003 myself and three friend skateboarded across America to raise awareness and research funds for Lowe Syndrome, a rare genetic syndrome that claimed the life of my fourteen year old son, Jack Marshall Smith, in May of 2003. Here’s a link to an online journal about the trek: http://journals.aol.com/oldskateguy/SkateboardingAcrossAmerica-OnBoa/

  • January 18, 2007 at 4:02 pm | Rick says


    It’s totally inspirational to follow the adventure you went on – and for such a good cause. Thanks for raising my awareness of Lowe Syndrome, and for raising others’ awareness through your cross-country skate. That’s an inspiring story… one that makes me feel like a bit of a softy as I flail around 15 years younger than you, blaming my ineptness on my age.

    Thanks again,


  • January 24, 2007 at 8:04 pm | \ Wíll / says

    Wow, great response to the Shake n’ Skate ramp.

    For everyone who likes just cruising (or can’t wait for snow) check out Freeboard, SF-inspired snow-skate hybrid boards.

    They straight-line some serious hills at the end of the “Watch The Ride” video:

    Roll Out,
    \ Wíll /

  • April 4, 2007 at 2:34 pm | David says

    Hey Rick,

    How’s that ramp comin along now that it’s spring? Any “open oldies” day? lol (I’m 37 and have not ridden a ramp yet… all street so far)


  • April 5, 2007 at 5:59 pm | Rick says


    The ramp is finally drying out. It actually has a few holes that we’ve patched. I think it was dry rot. Anyway, we’ve been skating it and are hoping to install skatelite finally for when we get serious about hurting ourselves this summer. You’re welcome to join in!

  • April 6, 2007 at 3:29 pm | David says

    Cool, I’d love to check it out. Perhaps I can contribute to the skatelite fund. :-) You can email me offline if you want.


  • May 7, 2007 at 12:36 am | Chandler says

    Moved to Richland, WA last year and here is a 37,000 sq ft conctrete skatepark I used to dream of back in late 80s/early 90s. Here I am 36yo, new pool deck and havn’t skated transitions for 12 years! So now that I just got over my wrist fracture from Oct, me and my PROs wristguards are back to carving the bowls. Each day I skate I find a little more of my old lost skills. These guys keep me pumped up; http://www.oldschoolskateboarding.com

  • May 7, 2007 at 10:00 am | Rick says

    Chandler – thanks for the note and the link! Good luck to you and your wrists. Update on our ramp: just put skate lite on the half pipe for spring time! I’ll be checking out old school skateboarding when they are back in action this fall…

    L8R SK8R,


  • August 14, 2007 at 12:03 am | Gage says

    omg lol those are waaaay to close that is “suicide” leaving them that close because if you don’t fall by the time you get your balance back you’ll be half way up the other ramp and ready to fall… I’m a sk8er and ill be turning 16 real soon and Ive been sk8ing sense i was 8 so i should know this manly form experience lol, but anywho the best of luck to you!

  • June 4, 2008 at 2:56 pm | jr cayman says

    thats great! I work at one of the biggest skate parks in the world. Black Pearl in the Cayman Islands. check out our website..
    when your ready come down to cayman and i will give you a week free!
    ask for Jr.
    cheers and good luck!

  • January 20, 2009 at 10:43 pm | Will says

    You know I went through the same phase a few years back and even attended the Adult skate night. I too looked over the copping scared like most 35 tear olds and then I just went for it…
    As I laid on the floor smashed and grasping for air I noticed no one was around to help me up it was a very painfull reminder of my age.. So I gave up skating and that was that.

  • May 22, 2009 at 9:17 pm | seespow says

    mm.. luv it )

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