Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk was 9 years old when he received his first skateboard, an old, beat-up blue fiberglass one his older brother handed down.
According to Hawk’s bio on his website, he rolled down the back alley of his house, got to the end of the road and turned to his brother and shouted, “How do I turn around?”
Hawk went on to become one of America’s most famous skateboarders and a role model for skateboard enthusiasts.
At Liberty County Recreation Department’s skate park, several skaters can be seen every day trying to master a hard flip, ollie or board-slide.
Justin Paraday, 17, said he was able to nail a hard flip while skateboarding with friends Monday in Brunswick.
A student at Liberty County High School, Paraday said he started skateboarding about four years ago.
“My friend Jordan Thomas he taught me a few things, and he makes me want to skate and got me into it,” he said. “He is my role model.”
After a few failed attempts, Paraday landed an aerial hard flip Tuesday afternoon, grabbing a little speed off a half-pipe and good height to complete the flip while leaping over concrete steps.
In a hard flip, the skater pops the tail of the board on the ground, becomes airborne, uses his front toe to kick the board into a spin —in this case, a front side spin — and lands on the board without falling.
The act of popping the board’s tail to the ground for the lift is called an ollie. These maneuvers comprise a small sample of the tricks and spins that have made skateboarding popular.
Paraday said he would like to compete someday, but for now it’s a great way to blow off steam.
“It’s a hobby. And when I get mad I just come out here skate it off,” he said. “It’s fun right now, but I would want to compete, just never had a chance to.”
Lequan Madison, 20, also tried a few aerial hard flips and spent time board-sliding down obstacle rails and grinding across the concrete platform.
“I just enjoy doing it, ever since I saw (rapper) Lil’ Wayne do it,” Madison, a nursing student at Savannah Tech, said. “It’s something I wanted to be into.”
Madison said he started teaching himself how to skate about seven months ago.
“Of course, my friends helped me learn some tricks,” he said. “I’m out here every day when I’m not in school.”
According to fitness blogger Gillian Markson, skateboarding provides flexibility, increases coordination and builds cardiovascular stamina. Many of the tricks engage core muscles of the abdomen, quadriceps and calves, according RedOrbit.com, a health and science website.
Madison agrees. “It’s good exercise,” he said.
Snelson-Golden Middle School student Marcus Johnson had already completed an aerial hard flip, a stationary hard flip and was busy working on other skills before popping the board into his hand and taking a break.
“I love doing it for fun, and it keeps me in shape,” he said. “I come out here every day.”
The skate park at the LCRD is adjacent to the basketball court at Liberty Independent Troop Park and is open daily.