69 Years Old and Skating (Stephen Jepson)

on 20/10/2009, 14:32.

1) Being 68 years old what kind of looks do you get from other adults and kids as they see you cruzing around?

Many kids recognize the board and say “that is what they want”. They like my big wheels (ABEC 11 97mm Fly wheels). I hear people say “nice board” and “nice ride”. Women say “nice job”. Older men frequently do not look at me – it is a similar situation to when I was a teenager in the 50’s and had a hot rod show car (a 40 Ford Delux Coupe w/5 coats of hand rubbed black lacquer & a Mercury engine). When I was out on the streets other guys out w/ their girlfriends would not look at me- jealousy I suppose. Perhaps they wish they could do what I do.

(Kids stop and stare, I see a lot of people smile, look twice or double take, their facial expressions ask a question of puzzled disbelief like “wow, how does he do that”.)

2) What is the most commonly asked question you get while you ride?

What kind of board is that? Is it difficult to learn to ride?

3) What is your skateboard past? Did you skate on wooden boards with metal wheels or did you just pick this up recently?

I started skateboarding last year (after having major neck surgery to unparalize the right side of my body). I taught my self to ride switch (I am a natural regular footed). I can switch w/ relative ease. Last Sunday, I went 20 miles (4 hours of non stop skating… 2 hours switch and 2 hours of regular footed).

4) What motivated you to pick up skateboarding?

I do a variety of physical activities. Lately I have been focusing on things that improve my balance. I learned to snowboard the year I turned 60. I am going to learn to surf this year. I live w/in 1 hour of the best surfing in Florida. It was good enough for Kelly Slater. I think skateboarding ( especially carving on my loaded Dervish or my Vanguard) will dramatically help my surfing- I have heard that surfers like to face the wave and so being able to switch will make surfing easier. I will be able to always face the wave.

5) How did you hear about Loaded Boards and what is your favorite set-up?

I asked a young man in the skateboard shop, what is the best board you have? He went to a display rack and handed me a Loaded Dervish. I bought one. I was skating on a local trail when a young man passed me going the opposite direction; he was going very fast. As he went by me, he looked at my ride and said “nice board.” I was going much slower and I turned around to see if he was going to stop and come back to talk. He did something I thought to be amazing, he turned the board sideways and slid his board then he did a 180 and slid to a stop. I was totally impressed. He came back and was riding a Loaded Vanguard #5. He liked my big wheels but said they would be too difficult to break loose in a slide. He is a pro for Sector 9 and rides a Loaded! He was commuting 12 miles to college on his board. I went home and ordered a Loaded Vanguard #5. Several of my boards have Gullwing Sidewinder Trucks and ABEC 11 97mm Fly wheels.

6) What do you believe are the health benefits from skating?

I know what the health benefits of skating are the most important thing for overall health (the brain and the body) is movement and the very complex movements of skateboarding stimulates and enriches the brain & body in the most wonderful ways; one comes away from and intense skating w/a supercharge “runners high” because it is so complicated compared to running.

7) Some words of advice to other elders trying to get into the sport?

Well, anyone that would self describe themselves as an elder would probably never touch a skateboard- EVER! Even though I was born in 1941, I competed in 2007 at a high level in swimming- winning 44 gold medals, 8 silver, and 3 bronze. Plus 2 gold medals in canoe racing; in the salom race I posted the fastest tie in the 30 year history of the race. And 2 gold medals in bicycle racing. Over the age of 60, I have ridden a bicycle 100 miles in a day, roller bladed 28 miles in a day, August 13, 2009, I kayaked 26 miles in 7 hours. Anyone beginning to learn should wear whatever protective gear deem necessary for their comfort. I wear wrist guards always – having broken both of my wrists severely in several different skating accidents. I can walk up to a tree 25 feet apart and tie a rope to one tree and walk over to the second tree and tie the other end. Step up on the loose rope and walk on it. I throw knives like the man in the circus. I can juggle and ride a bongo board (a modern variety is called an indo board). I ride a unicycle. I ride a surf bike. I teach tight rope walking. How elderly do I sound to you? Skate boarding is for those who want to have an enriching new learning experience that is limitless in its ability to challenge both the body and the mind- it grabs the whole piece – it takes all of you. It will take your breath away. In the beginning, go slow, pick a safe place to ride, wear protective gear, practice frequently (or as you young guys say session regularly) go easy and have fun.

8) Other hobbies and passions do you enjoy?

I learned at a very early age to follow my bliss. Writing, teaching, cooking, photography, studying the future (designing: boats, skates, skateboards, tools, balance training devices). History philosophy and psychology unicycling kayaking, inline skating, sailing, traveling- been lots of places, snorkeling, public speaking… these are some of the things I do and enjoy.

9) Do you get the ladies while you skate or just barking dogs at your heels?

I carry a big stick when I skateboard to beat the women off. No problems with dogs, most every dog here is on a leash.

10) Final Thoughts

I think people should be bold when choosing to do new non-life threatening things. They should not hesitate to try new foods, go new places, meet new people, listen to new music, see new art, read new books, and on and on. However, I believe one should think long and hard about doing something that is life threatening like motorcycle riding. I have owned 3 a BSA Lightening Rocket, Triumph, and a Yamaha Superbike- Luckily I was never hurt. I could not stay off the throttle so I stayed off the bike. Jumping out of an air plane with a parachute. Think long and hard about engaging in these activities.

Master potter – founded University of Central Florida ceramic department as well as founder of The World Pottery Institite.

**Jepson Rolz**

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