Written by Justin Bright
Sometimes you go to a spot you’ve been checking out for a while and it ends up being super underwhelming. This was not one of those times.
Ever since I moved to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida last fall, I’ve had my eye on one particularly interesting bridge. Like any skater would do, my mind immediately wandered to the different ways I could skate this new spot. Would there be a crazy steep bank on the side? Would the pavement be any good? A year of hectic schoolwork and other skate trips would get in the way before I got answers to those questions.
Blessed to have an Original teammate who doubles as a classmate, I hit up UF senior Neena Schueller to finally get out to this spot. She’s always been down to put up with any ideas I have, good or bad. We recently wrapped up the production of a video filmed during the last school year where she tolerated my perfectionist style of filming and skating for several months. Her ability to hop on any idea whole-heartedly makes her my go-to skate homie in the area.
When we got to the bridge itself, we both got that special kind of stoke that makes you hop up and down with excitement. The interesting architecture seen from the outside of the bridge looked incredible from the inside. The tall sweeping metal “waves” created a very trippy effect when we skated under it.
We jumped right on our boards and got to it. I filmed a few lines of Neena dancing on her Pintail 40—the perfect board for this kind of spot—and she pumped out some creative lines right off the top of her head. You can’t win ‘em all, though; at the beginning of one of her slashy lines, she got chucked off her board and floated parallel to the ground before gravity won. Ouch.
When the foot traffic slowed, I lined up the camera for one of my favorite skate photographs I’ve ever taken. I swapped out my wide angle for a telephoto and got extra low; I tried my best to give this unique spot the visual justice that it deserved. Neena dug deeply into her carves and allowed her Original S8 trucks to take her for a little surf on a concrete wave that existed only in her head. I snapped a few photos and knew right away that I would have a new favorite skate shot.
Seeing little things come together can give me just as much satisfaction as the completion of a big project. I didn’t even have to leave my city for this experience. There were no legendary spots or jaw-dropping sceneries. No plane tickets or crammed backpacks, no cored wheels or backup boards. There weren’t even any cops to kick us out (but that was a welcome absence). In a sport that can take you across oceans to go to a contest or perfect spot, it can be refreshing to know that you don’t have to go far to find skate bliss. Always skate for the reason you started in the first place—for the unparalleled feeling of having four wheels spinning wildly under your feet. As long as that fire stays burning, things will simplify themselves and you’ll find that same stoke every time you hop on your board.