This weekend was the My Culture Resurrection Jam. It was an extreme sports event, and there was a skateboarding comp that happened on Sunday. I met this guy on Saturday, and just asked him if I could take his picture. Now just a preface - I had never even heard of him before. He was just a cool looking guy with a skateboard to me. We chatted for a bit, and it felt to me like he was so stoked to just chat to me, just have some conversation.
So after some chatting I had to keep shooting, and after I left, I realised what a friendly, welcoming vibe I'd felt from this guy.
Then on Sunday, when it was the skate comp, I saw him enter the "Pro" division. As his turn came in the comp, I just watched him tear that skate park up, landing sick tricks back to back. His style was beautiful, flawless. His tricks were technical, and rock solid.
This is where it gets interesting:
After his run, I found myself chatting to him. This guy is sponsored by VonZipper, Volcom, DVS, Almost, and Red Bull. In fact, he's the ONLY skateboarder in the country sponsored by Red Bull. They flew him up to PTA from the Cape just to skate this comp, and he's been flown around the world to skate. He earns a salary riding a skateboard. Skateboarding is his career. When I got home last night I watched some footage of him skating, and in all my years of skateboarding, I've never seen a single skater in the country as good as this guy.
He went on to win yesterday's competition.
Was he arrogant about his status? No. If I hadn't seen him skate, I would have thought he's just a guy with a board. That's how humble this guy was.
I left yesterday feeling incredibly challenged by him, and the friendship and care I felt in the 36 hours I knew him was more than I can say for some friendships I've been in for years. Things need to change.