Skateboarding saves lives

Brigham Edwards

Face it. Skateboards are expensive. And some kids who want to skateboard can’t afford to assemble a complete deck. That’s why the Doogood Conservatory wants to help provide boards for young at-risk kids who love the sport. The plan? Give away 20 boards in each of 10 cities in northern California and Nevada, says Brigham Edwards, 28, of Reno. Edwards, who’s been skateboarding since age 8, now competes professionally and has several California sponsors. Edwards and Doogood founder Ari Evan Gold, the owner of Trinity Skateboard Shop in Tahoe City, will be showing three skateboarding films, holding a raffle and auctioning off an original graphic skateboard designed by Jason Jesse of Driven Skateboards at a fundraiser for Doogood at 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at Ark-a’ik, 555 E. Fourth St. Live music by Lavish Green. The $6 admission includes a raffle ticket. The money will be used to buy hardware, grip tape and other needed stuff for donated decks.

Why do you say that skateboarding saves lives?

It keeps you off the streets, or, since it is a street function, it keeps you out of trouble. It gives kids from low-income families a shot to change their lives, and they can have fun with it.

What made you want to give away boards?

Ari came up with the idea. He’s a writer for a number of different snowboarder and skateboarder magazines. Because of the fun we’ve had skateboarding, we wanted to give back. He’s been doing it for about a year, out of his own pocket.

Talk about your board-sharing program.

Right now we’re trying to set it up in Grass Valley at the skateboard park. We’d get a lock box there and put three skateboards and three sets of pads in it. Kids can come in, sign papers and check out equipment, after [staffers] make sure the equipment is safe. As we change out old boards for new boards, we’ll raffle the previous boards out. That way there’s no need to be stealing them. If any are stolen, then the next shipment will be less the amount that was stolen. The programs teaches the honor system.

What do you like about skateboarding?

Freedom of expression. It’s—I don’t know—my lifestyle, I guess. It’s very free, train-of-thought, no boundaries. I’ve met all of my best friends through skateboarding, from here to there.

What kinds of skate parks do you like?

I have a strong belief in Oregon skate parks; they’re of a higher caliber [than local parks]. They have bigger, odd obstacles. Right now, a big thing is full pipes. They have those in Kentucky and in Idaho.

What’s your philosophy of life?

Have fun. Do what you want to be doing. If you want to be stuck behind a desk, then go for it. I’d rather be out meeting new people and doing new things. Try to do good and hopefully, good will come back to you. (Laughs) Live to skate; skate to live.