Untitled Skate Portrait Project 

This is a rough draft of a my current personal project. The text accompanying these images is not complete, but a snippet of the feelings I hope to generate with this project. 

Rei Suzumiya (she/they) and Travis- Kei (he/they) 

"Skateboarding has made such a huge impact on my life. I have enjoyed pushing and rolling around on skateboards and longboards since childhood, but never had the right group of people to skate or progress with. It wasn’t until after I had an accident on my cruiser board where I broke my face and lost two of my front teeth that I nearly swore off skateboarding – as if it couldn’t get any worse! But while I was healing from the accident I met a really special and unique person that loved skateboarding more than anything and she constantly encouraged me to pick it back up again. Their name is Rei, and she never made fun of me for missing my teeth, which was pretty nice. I really liked spending time with her and she created so many opportunities to have fun with skating again. 

I never felt like I fit in, and I was always way too awkward to try until she made me discover what it means to push boundaries and progress even if it’s scary at first. She was literally obsessed with skateboarding. From fashion to skate videos and competitions to grip art and filming skate parts she had her hands in practically everything; and I was obsessed with her so naturally I lived and breathed her interests too. I learned how to film skate board clips with and learned names to skaters, and brands that I didn’t even know existed.

Skateboarding really opened my worldview to how much creativity it can inspire and how much fun people can have skating together. I’ve seen just how significant skateboarding can mold a person: teaching them confidence, and how to push themselves to try again even after multiple failed attempts, how to be creative and do whatever tricks they want on a board, how to work hard for themselves, and being supportive to anyone that’s trying something new no matter the skill level. I just really like being involved with skateboarding now, and having it as a part of my identity. It’s really amazing to be able to connect with others who have similar interests and make me feel like I belong when I never used to feel like I could anywhere else. 

Without my partner Rei and her acceptance of me on and off the board I don’t think I would have learned to love myself in a way that’s not just trying to exist and fit in a box that social pressures put me in. Without skateboarding I don’t think I would have as much confidence or trust in myself or even the world to give me a chance to try." - Travis-Kei 

Sarah Cobillas (She/They) 

"[Skateboarding's] given me confidence in myself that I’ve only felt when I was a kid doing karate. It’s given me my own autonomy. I grew up in poverty but went to a private school and experiencing racism and classism growing up kept me back from pursuing things I actually wanted to do. I was interested in a lot but lived in a survival mode mentality and just did what was needed to get by. I was too afraid to take risks and skateboarding has taught me that if you don’t take risks you’re never gonna know what you’re capable of."

Gloria Sandoval (she/her) 

"[Skate Camp] was absolutely amazing to see such diversity in people and skill, but also the total inclusiveness was something I've never seen. Kristen said, 'We are putting the toxic skate culture in the past, and this here is what we want the future of skating to be.' That really stuck with me and I am taking that mindset with me to my skateparks." 

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