|A group of professional skateboarders slid into Grants Pass, OR, to experience the art of technical tree climbing. After being on the road for several hours they arrived at the home of New Tribe, rested and ready for an afternoon of climbing.
Five of the eight climbers were pro skaters with Element, one of the top skateboarding companies. They were on their way to Portland, the last stop on the NW skate contest tour, as they cruised in from the Sacramento area.
After an introductory talk, gear issued and a brief tour of New Tribe, the gang was ready to go grab some air up on the climbing hill.
The Douglas Fir that would be our teacher for the day was pre-rigged with 3 ropes going straight to her summit. Two at a time would ascend into the lofty heights of her magical presence. The guide would be climbing between the two climbers helping them navigate the architecture of her delightful design.
With the ascending climbers on rope, the ground dwellers were practicing their wilderness survival skills by trying to create a fire by friction. The sound of squeaking wood rubbing on wood was the song of our ascent. Before reaching the summit we could smell the wafting of pine and fir smoke being filtered thru the branches straight to our nostrils and warming our bones. The sound of laughter filled the air while these city skaters found their peace in the wilderness.
After a few hours of climbing, the sun setting and the fire dying out, it was time to call it a day. We said thank you to our training area, the trees of the present and the trees of the past for lending their arms to us for climbing and allowing their ancestors’ arms to be used for firewood. All was Good!
Our spirits were filled with adventure but our stomachs were empty and hungry. A quick trip to a local diner gave us the fix that we needed. After dinner the skate team had to sign a few autographs for the locals and presented the diner with a signed skateboard which now proudly hangs in the restaurant.
It’s amazing how these skaters can catch so much air from the decks of their skateboards. I guess it is something in the wood that wants people to be aloft, be it a skateboard or a tree, let’s catch some air and hang out together.
For more information on Element and the bonding experience they are creating for inner-city kids and nature, check out their web site and click on "elemental awareness."