Sebo Walker: Skateboarding has always been associated with outcasts, drugs and partying

Ten years ago, skateboarding was treated exclusively as a street style and expected negative consequences from it: injuries, connections with bad companies, a frivolous attitude towards life. Over time, the view of this sport has changed. He became more popular, free and even moved to the Olympic level.

Skateboarder from the USA Sebastian Walker has been confidently standing on the board for 18 years. During this time, he was able to see an amazing reincarnation of his favorite sport. After all, when Sebo at the age of 13 first took up a skateboard, his parents were against their son's new hobby. And now Walker performs at a professional level, shows an unusually wild riding style and a non-standard approach to the choice of obstacles. In addition, Sebastian teaches skateboarding to children and paints boards for them.

Sebo Walker: Skateboarding has always been associated with outcasts, drugs and partying

Photo: Polina Inozemtseva, Championship

We were able to meet with the athlete on the eve of the large-scale event Moscow Skateboarding Open 2019 , which took place last weekend. We talked with Sebastian about his sports career, creativity and how important it is to persist in pursuing your dreams.

- Sebo, at the age of 13 you first started skateboarding. Tell us, have you ever played any sports before?

- Yes, I have tried almost all sports. I have two older brothers and with them we played football, basketball, tennis ... I also did a lot at school. But when I tried skateboarding, I liked it a little more than everything else. So I was hooked. In fact, in other sports I didn't really like the presence of competition, and skateboarding turned out to be freer and more creative.

Sebo Walker: Skateboarding has always been associated with outcasts, drugs and partying

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- When did you know what skateboarding is - this is what the soul lies with? At what point did you decide to do it professionally?

- I was about 16-17 years old when I realized that skateboarding is something I'm really passionate about. But I never decided to do it professionally - I just tried to become a pro. Previously, this goal seemed like a big made-up dream to me, but now I understand that it was worth all the effort. Just don't give up!

- As far as we know, your parents were against skateboarding. How did you manage to find a compromise with them?

- 15 years ago, skateboarding was less popular and less accepted by society. This sport was more associated with outcasts, drugs, parties ... Passion for them was more like a rebellious act. But my parents saw that I really enjoy skating. So if I did well in school and got high marks, they would let me train. I didn't want to lose my hobby, so I did a great job.

Sebo Walker: Skateboarding has always been associated with outcasts, drugs and partying

Photo: Polina Inozemtseva, Championship

Over time, my parents realized that I was not in trouble. For me, skateboarding was a creative activity, an extremely positive moment in life. I just went out with friends, skated and filmed videos for local sketches - there was nothing rebellious about it. Then my parents believed in me and allowed my dream to come true. You know, if you really have a dream, you will be allowed to make it happen!

- Now you are a rider of Krooked, Mob, Indy and Bones Swiss - this is definitely a high level! What was the first team that you joined?

- It was called XL Real World and was located only in my hometown. This was my first sponsor and the team I made video content with.

Sebo Walker: Skateboarding has always been associated with outcasts, drugs and partying

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- You went to competitions many times and as a result became famous for your non-standard style and choice of obstacles. Was it a planned feature or did it happen by itself?

- It just happened so. I love to ride so much that I see the creative aspects and uniqueness of each rider in the process. Skateboarding doesn't have too many rules or structure at all. Therefore, I enjoy and take the opportunity to be more creative. Perhaps I see obstacles a little differently than everyone else. But it seems to me that I have never been too much of a rider. Therefore, every time I challenge myself and try to succeed.

- Name three words that can summarize your style in skateboarding.

- I I would call him free, creative and wild.

- Probably, every athlete has a goal for which he works. How do you like it?

- Initially, my goal was to become a professional skateboarder. It took a long time. You know, I lived in a van and slept on the couch, sometimes I had to sleep on couches or even on the floor. Making connections, finding sponsors and getting started is a challenge that requires tremendous work and some kind of sacrifice.

Now, as a professional, I want to try to make a good impact on children and teach them how to ride. To this end, I continue to show skateboarding in a positive light - as it is now. Many kids need a creative outlet and this sport is perfect for that.

My main goal now is to stay connected with young people and make a positive impact. Because when I myself was a kid, I looked at professionals and hoped to someday learn to do what they do.

Sebo Walker: Skateboarding has always been associated with outcasts, drugs and partying

Photo: Polina Inozemtseva, Championship

- Have there been times when you wanted to quit skateboarding?

- No. After such a long struggle, it wasthe lowest feeling I could experience. I know I will never quit my sport. Just because he gives me as much emotion as nothing else does.

- So you did not doubt even after big defeats?

- For me it's not about winning or losing, but about staying healthy and standing on your board. When I go down the street on a skateboard, I feel a sense of euphoria, freedom and a kind of electricity, you know? I've been skating for so long now that I feel more comfortable riding a skateboard than just walking.

Sebo Walker: Skateboarding has always been associated with outcasts, drugs and partying

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- What do you think is the most important thing in skateboarding? A quality board, the right technique, motivation, or perhaps some recklessness?

- I think the most important thing is to encourage kids to skate for the right reason. That is, focusing their attention not on always being the best or winning, but on loving to communicate with friends. So they can support each other, hone tricks, battle or shoot videos that will inspire other people.

- There are many professional riders in Russia, but there is also a stereotype that skateboarding is not serious entertainment for adolescents. How is skateboarding viewed in the US?

- I'm sure the attitude has changed a lot over the last 5-10 years, and it continues to change. I live in California and I know that there is still a negative connotation of skateboarding in some other places. But for the most part it is extremely popular now. I give lessons to children and I understand that they probably enjoy skating for the same reason that I do. Not because of competition, but because of creativity and the ability to express yourself individually. There is no right or wrong approach.

- For the first time, a skateboarding competition will be held in Tokyo as part of the 2020 Summer Olympics. How do you feel about your sport reaching the Olympic level?

- This is a really good question. I've been skating for 18 years and can see how skateboarding has gone from being unpopular and uncool to a mainstream sport. I think there are both pluses and minuses in reaching the Olympic level, but I'm used to looking at everything from the positive side. I hope this will encourage children from around the world to pick up a skateboard for the first time, help people preserve local skate parks, push them to build new ones, and show that skateboarding is generally a positive thing. But still, I see him a little differently. I love filming and working on the streets, and you don't have to be on the podium for that.

Sebo Walker: Skateboarding has always been associated with outcasts, drugs and partying

Photo: Polina Inozemtseva, Championship

- That is, you are not plAre you planning to participate in the Olympics?

- No, I'm not in business. I haven't participated in a lot of competitions at all, as I prefer to make content. Plus, I think a bit older than the middle age of Olympic athletes. Probably, the organizers of the competition are looking for athletes from about 18 to 28 years old, and I am already 31.

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- Moving away from the topic of skateboarding, let's talk about creativity. You are great at drawing graffiti. Have you ever seriously engaged in painting or is it a hobby that does not go beyond the streets?

- I paint more on canvas or on skins for the deck than I really do street art. But I draw a lot on skateboards, I even have an art page on Instagram with photos of my work. For seven years I have been painting boards for children and communicating with them in this way. But I don't like painting in the streets. My hobby is more like the art I do at home.

When we met with Sebastian, he drew a small motivation drawing on the first page of the sketchbook. And I decided to present it to our readers. Take part in the drawing in our group on Vkontakte and get a gift from the Championship!

- How do you get ideas for new drawings?

- Many ideas come from skateboarding but mostly I freestyle. More often than not, I just start drawing without any particular thoughts and, one might say, let ideas happen to me.

Sebo Walker: Skateboarding has always been associated with outcasts, drugs and partying

Photo: Polina Inozemtseva, Championship

- What three tips do you give to beginners who pick up boards for the first time and want to do the same cool tricks like real pros?

- Never get too serious and ride for fun, have fun! Try to learn a new trick every time you step on the board. And, of course, try to take care of your body: for example, pull up and warm up so that it doesn't hurt later. Because we all know injuries suck!

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