Timbre #47: Give It Up

Do you ever think about what you’d give up or trade for skateboarding—for some trick or skill or expertise that you don’t currently have, but that you really, really want?

Would you trade your apartment for perfect frontside flips? Or maybe you’d give up your car for stalled inverts. While we’re placing orders, you might even get a little greedy: Like you’d get Silas’ entire skill set in trade for never being able to visit the state of California again.

Actually, that last one sounds kinda sweet.

This is gonna work out well. Silas Baxter Neal, back-to-Oakland talislide. Photo: Brian Gaberman

You’d have to set up some rules, though. Well, not rules, but some kind of guarantee of equal “payment,” tit for tat, or quid pro quo, bro—something for something. Yeah, sorry, you can’t just trade taking out the recycling for hardflips. It has to be a trade of something you already have that’s clearly of equal or greater value.

And that brings up the question: How much is a perfect five-0 worth? What would you pay for Sal flips? Would you have enough to barter for gap-strong knees and ankles?

Patrick Forster leverages a value-optimized Sal flip to fakie within the bubble of market speculation. Photo: Josh Ellis

Truth is, most of us have already made those deals, those ultimate sacrifices—either in blood, in time, or in both. Along the way, we’ve already given up a lot of bullshit, but like we said earlier, that bullshit doesn’t count. You didn’t want to be friends with those jocks, anyway. You didn’t want those old socks, anyway. You weren’t really attached to the gnarly acne, anyway. And your girlfriend was cute, but really more of a nightmare than anything.


While we’re on the subject of things that can’t and never would really happen … would you ever give up skateboarding for something else? And by give up, I mean never ever again—not one push, not one slide, not one turn or ollie or grind.

If you hesitated, well, bless you. You’re a skateboarder.

Of course, this is all hypothetical. But the thing is, the way most skaters are, we’ve imagined what it would be like to have what the good guys have. Not the rims or the cribs. We’re talking aptitude, dude. We’re talking flow, bro. We’re talking style, Miles. We’re talking the real value of skateboarding in our days and nights.

John Gibson lets go of everything and floats in on the wings of an early-release frontside deal. Photo: Grant Brittain

But most skaters—the ones who aren’t skating just because someone is begging them to, or paying them to, or forcing them to—also know that if we were able and someone asked us nicely, we might actually give up our no-comply for an end to suicide bombs, or all our flatground tricks for an easily brokered ceasefire somewhere east of Eden.

I’m also pretty confident that most of us, maybe even big, happy, organized groups of us might be persuaded—after that initial hesitation—to stop skating forever if it meant the reversal climate change or an end to all war forever.

But what would we do instead?

Play music? Paint? Write novels? Start businesses? Volunteer our time to some humanitarian effort? Maybe. Or things might just go the direction they’ve gone for some of our own blessed dropouts when they lose the urge. Drugs and alcohol, man—always threatening to break up the band.

I don’t know, really.

Tony Trujillo gives up the grab under that Barcy bridge, tho. Photo: Mike O’Meally

I mean, if we’re just making this up now, part of me thinks there might be a group of skaters who’ll give up skating all together, but then creep away to live a life of obscurity in someplace like Syria or Israel where they’ll negotiate a Nobel Prize-winning peace deal … sneaking in sessions when no one is looking.

I mean, now that there’s worldwide peace and harmony, who’s really gonna care if we steal back a little bit of what we’ve sacrificed?