Reconnecting with Raddness

Reconnecting with Raddness

Was it ludicrous of me to dig out my skateboard after all these years? I didn’t know it at the time, but the universe was about to answer. While I’d taken the first critical step of unearthing my old deck from the pile of junk in my garage (and even given it a cursory clean-up), my initial burst of effort had come to nowt. 

It was the middle of the first lockdown in 2020—only, back then, I didn’t have the comfort of knowing it was the “middle”, of course. As such, I was tearing my hair out. I had good days and bad days, but one thing was for sure: working long days at the warehouse combined with nothing to do in the evenings or weekends, I really didn’t know what to do with myself. In my darker moments, it felt like my family had been placed under an indefinite and arbitrary house arrest. The more I thought about it, the madder I became. I needed to find an outlet—and fast! So out came the skateboard one dismal day but its appearance was quickly followed by an irrational anxiety. Merely the thought of heading outdoors with it under my arm made me feel weirdly self-conscious—a bit of a  middle-aged try-hard—so it stayed by the front door, gradually getting covered with shoes and the detritus of family life, a sad symbol of my desperation. 

Growing up in the ‘80s, I can faithfully trace my love of skateboarding back to Marty McFly and Back To The Future. After watching this movie hundreds of times, I was well and truly hooked, but it wasn’t until ’89 that I finally got my first proper set-up. By the late 90s, I had become a serious street skater. I should point out for younger and non-British readers that skateparks didn’t exist in Milton Keynes back then. Nevertheless, our small but dedicated skate crew improvised with whatever we could find—gloriously smooth marble ledges, janky pavements and stair sets outside grey, humourless office blocks. We got moved on and shouted at a lot—but that was all part of the counterculture and rebellious spirit I had fallen in love with. I remember the sheer exhilaration of landing a trick for the first time after weeks and weeks of trying and I hungered for just a whiff of that buzz to return. Still, my old skateboard sat sadly by the front door.

I’d all but given up on myself when, one day, out of the blue, a young man named Stu acid-dropped into my DMs on Instagram. Stu was looking to jump into organic growing and had contacted my business, Ecothrive, seeking some advice on how to get started and possibly to secure some sort of sponsorship. I was happy to give him advice and, after checking out his Instagram profile, it turned out that I was talking to none other than Stu Graham, a pro skateboarder! Okay universe, you have my attention!

Stu had heard great things about Eco-Life, our organic living soil, but wasn’t sure about irrigation techniques or the best container size to use. He also had a bunch of questions regarding how to re-use the soil for future crops as this was a major reason why he wanted to try organic living soils. After a bit of back and forth, it became very clear to me that Stu was a kindred spirit and it felt like the universe was telling me in no uncertain terms to send him a few boxes of soil to try. 

Long story short, Stu loved Eco-Life so much that he came to visit me in my hometown of Sheffield for a skate and photo shoot together! Boom! We got some great video footage too. That kick flipped me into action and, before I knew it, skateboarding was back in my life again! 

Being back on a board was such an amazing release and provided almost instant gratification. Why had I waited so long to get back on my board? OK, so I wasn’t tre flipping stair sets or grinding handrails. Car park curbs became my new ledges, and I stumbled across a group of ‘rad dads’ at my local skate spot who were to become my new crew. 

The whole experience has taught me a lot. I had killed the pandemic procrastination that was spreading over me like a mould and discovered the unique buzz of skateboarding once again! I now skate regularly and it has truly given me a new lease of life. What’s more, I’m proud to say that Stu has become an official ambassador for the Ecothrive brand and hasn’t looked back since switching to organic living soil. As a passionate advocate of organic growing, it’s natural for me to characterise our meeting as a symbiosis of sorts, albeit between creatures of the same species.

PS: Several crops later, Stu is still using those first bags of Eco-Life soil, replenishing it each time with Life-Cycle, our soil nutrition booster!

Check out our skate sesh video footage with Stu Graham on our Youtube or IG.

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