This photo shows an abandoned highway somewhere in the USA. You might be able to find it, but there is a good chance you won’t. Its location isn’t a secret; it’s more a mystery. If this photo inspires you to go on a search and hunt for skate spots, then I wish you the best of luck. As a skater, my curiosity compels me not only to explore new places to ride, but to go out and experience new things. I truly believe that’s one of the reasons skateboarding keeps you young.
Andy Warhol famously said that in the future everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. Thanks to things like YouTube and Instagram, his prediction seems to be coming true with each passing year. But the flip side is the idea that mystery is a scarce resource nowadays. The digital footprint we leave behind every moment on our cellphones demolishes mystery. It’s not so much that we’ll be famous for 15 minutes, but rather we’ll be unknown for 15 minutes. Generally, that’s all the time you need to find out about someone you’ve just met.
When you think back as to how you first discovered skateboarding, chances are it was a mixture of joy and puzzlement. It requires a little bit of support to navigate. For many of you, you might have learned about it through a family member. A brother or sister could have lent you their board. Perhaps your father or mother pulled a long-forgotten skateboard from the deepest recesses of the basement. Maybe a friend let you try his or her board. Or maybe a video grabbed your attention.
Whatever drew you into the world of skateboarding, you didn’t have all the answers at first. There was undoubtedly a sense of mystery about where those four wheels would take you.
As your experiences with skateboarding unfold, you begin to understand that participation is very different than being a part of a soccer or hockey team. It’s not so much that skateboarding is a secret society; it’s the fact that if you stay with it long enough, you might be taken to a secret skate spot. This means fellow skaters trust you. It’s vital that you maintain that trust.
So please, don’t blow out a spot, and keep things a mystery.
The very last footage of the Vancouver Island icon Jamie Collins (1979-2012) skating his top secret DIY project deep in the Tofino rainforest, plus Instrumental Skateboards remembers their fallen comrade with a team trip back to the spot.
Filmed and edited by Jason Picton. Special thanks to Michael Brooke of Concrete Wave Magazine.