Skateboarding is what gets Justin “Jay” Jablanski up every morning. Since adolescence, he has never lost the challenge of the sport and keeps tuned in to what makes it work for him and those he serves at the YMCA of The Palm Beaches' Oelsner Skate Park.
What are the odds that out of the 6.4 million skateboarders in the US, the top enthusiasts and professional skaters practice at the local Y? We can count Jay among that group as he has learned from the best, including Alex Sorgente (2019 Team USA Olympic Contender, Skatepark Division).
On any given day, fans of the sport can observe Jay in action jumping, sliding, and rolling to perform difficult stunts or demonstrating ollies to young skaters. There is never a lack of attention from him as to what might make the park a better place for kids, young and old. He focuses on keeping the action upbeat and safe for all skaters.
How daring are you?
A Passion to Learn
So how did Jay become such a skateboard aficionado? When he was 10 years old, Jay’s passion for the sport was influenced by a next-door neighbor. As he watched him from across the street performing amazing stunts, Jay’s curiosity drew him in. He started spending every summer day learning the basic skills from his new buddy who was only too willing to help him experience the challenge of skateboarding.
Jay also credits Mike Rogers, Founder of Grind for Life, with taking him under his wing to master higher level skills at the local Y. As Mike Rogers tells it, Justin came to the park an amateur with minimal expertise, but in just a little time he built his strength and stamina to become a competitive skater.
Both Mike and Jay would agree skateboarding leads to a positive and healthy lifestyle. Jay’s take from staying with skateboarding? It is the feeling of knowing you are good at something. Something hard to learn and persevering until you master it.
I was skating with friends in my neighborhood, and then eventually I was invited to go to the skate park with one of them. When I saw people flying all around - literally flying in and out of bowls - that is when I knew I wanted to do it. I wanted to figure out how I could get there and how I could fly. -- Tony Hawk
Kicking It and Feeling the Grind
Answers to Most Often Asked Questions
Here are some frequent questions about skateboarding.
What draws a person to the sport?
It is the challenge of mastering a trick. Setting a goal and pulling a trick safely without bailing. It’s learning how to make that next level work for you. It’s also the camaraderie you build with others in the sport. Everyone takes an interest in helping you learn skills.
Are there any dangers to skateboarding?
The sport gets people outdoors to enjoy a fun activity. You make good friends. But, it also comes with the potential for injury. It’s part of the sport. Skaters expect an occasional slam. I myself have taken a few hard spills but the goals accomplished, and skills mastered outweigh the threat of any injury. Here at the Y, we enforce wearing helmets where other parks do not follow this practice. Also, we monitor the park for safety—a good reason to use the facilities here.
What age is too young or old to start skating?
The younger you start, the better. Alex Sorgente was six when he came to the Y. I would say the ideal age to start would be around seven. Young kids do better because they are not afraid to fall, an important part of facing the challenges. Although, there are a few adults who have taken an interest in the sport and do very well. We do see more adults frequenting the park just because it helps them keep active.
Best skateboard to own?
My first skateboard was a Sunsport, a gift from my mom for my 10th birthday. I was not totally surprised since I had hinted for one almost every day that month. Today, there are so many choices out there, but I like those with good graphics, like Antihero (which is American made—another plus with me!). Which is best? It really depends on what you want to do with it. What types of tricks do you want to learn? Cruising or skateboarding? Basically, you want one that rides well and is going to take the hard landing from flips and spins.
What does a good skate park look like?
The ideal park has rails, pipes, stairs, a full bowl and all flows well. There are other skaters who you can watch and who can critique your skills. Music is a good backdrop for training and added hype. There are plans to develop a new 27,000-foot skate park here. The park will boost competitive style skating and gives skaters, especially the younger ones, a safe place to hang out.
Skateboarders portray themselves as drifters with questionable habits. The media shows them as drug users skating the streets. What is your take on this type of image?
Not every skater is like that. Skateboarding is an outlet for most. A fun activity. They enjoy the challenge of mastering a trick—it drives them. That is a positive outcome for most skateboarders.
How has skateboarding changed over the years?
There are a lot more parks, and the level of skating has increased. Girls, like skate pros Lizzie Armanto and Jordyn Barrat, have gotten into the competitions. They are great challengers. Skaters are starting younger now due to the hype and passion demonstrated by other skaters. Also, the International Olympic Committee approved it as a competing sport for the 2020 program in Tokyo. It is getting world-wide attention.
Skateboarding on the Beach
Top Five Reasons to Skateboard
The fresh air stimulates your mind and helps you re-focus. It can also boost your immunity. It's a great stress reducer as you exert physical exercise.
It requires you to use your hands, feet and eyes to balance yourself as you skate. This only improves over time as you continue to master tricks.
Full Body Workout
As you move you are using your whole body, which in turn gets your heart pumping. It's a great cardio activity. It also burns calories and keeps you flexible.
The challenge of mastering tricks excites skaters but it takes dedication and time to really excel at them. Skaters learn to analyze a move to perfection. Patience is the outcome!
The mental and physical exertion help eliminate diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Boost Your Mental and Physical Capacity
Perseverance Pays Off!
In spite of a late start and other personal setbacks, Jay has persevered to own the sport of skateboarding, defying the odds. He is an inspiration to many young athletes who frequent the skate park where he works. Watching him ride the rails or cruise the walkways you can almost feel his pleasure. He exhibits pure excellence at the sport and in his attitude.
Defying the Odds
© 2017 Dianna Mendez
Dianna Mendez (author) on September 09, 2019:
Thank you, Cynthia. I too am cautious and only enjoy the sport as a spectator. Those who skate are to be admired for their stamina and patience learning the sport.
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on August 30, 2019:
An excellent article that focused on the positive aspects of this extreme sport. I have always been slow and cautious, but i know people who have more joy in speed and i admire anyone who has the passion and patience to accomplish the skills that many skate boarders demonstrate.
I also enjoyed the interview style you chose for this article. It suited the sporty theme and content and introduced a fine proponent of boarding and encouraging youth to be active.
Ryan Murphy on August 22, 2019:
"that is when I knew I wanted to do it. I wanted to figure out how I could get there and how I could fly." -- Tony Hawk
When you really want to do something, you work for it, and learn it. Great article! Thank you for sharing.
Dianna Mendez (author) on April 14, 2019:
Linda, it is growing in popularity with all ages, especially with the first team entrance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Great sport for both mental and physical health.
Linda Chechar from Arizona on February 11, 2019:
This article is an in-depth look into the positive aspect of skateboarding. I never thought this sport would be so beneficial for mental and physical health. It does teach young adults how to cope with life as they mature.
Dianna Mendez (author) on October 17, 2018:
I agree with your view on these amazing athletes. If only we had started earlier, who knows what we could have accomplished on the board!
RTalloni on October 09, 2018:
What these athletes can do is stunning. I love to watch, and would love to try! Thanks for this look at the sport from an insider's view and thanks to Jay for sharing his insights.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 24, 2018:
There is a fantastic skateboarding park near downtown Houston and my husband and I walked around it one day watching the acrobatic skills of the youngsters using it. I am amazed at what they can do. At my age I would probably end up with broken bones if I tried it now. Haha!
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on February 01, 2018:
Goodness, I could never get on a skateboard. I think I would brake a few bones! But I love watching the youngsters on them, it's amazing what they can do on skateboards.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 19, 2017:
Very informative article. I've always admired the skill skateboarders have. Nice video.
Dianna Mendez (author) on October 06, 2017:
Larry, your words ring truth: the sport is underrated. The benefits are so beneficial to the entire human body!
Nell, I can't imagine you on a skateboard. Wait, I forgot you love taking a dare. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.
Jo, it is amazing what can be done on just a small board.
Christy, thanks for view on the sport. It is one that encourages a positive lifestyle for so many.
Christy B on October 04, 2017:
I liked learning more about the skateboarding sport! I think it's great when youth (or a person of any age) has something they're enthusiastic about :) And it takes some serious talent to pull off those tricks. Well written post, Dianna!
Jo Miller from Tennessee on October 04, 2017:
Cool article! I'm amazed at some of the skills these youngsters have.
Nell Rose from England on October 03, 2017:
My son is a great Tony Hawks fan, and he was always belting around on a skateboard. In fact there is a skateboard park down the main park in town. loads of kids are down there most days. Not something I could do as I fell of the one and only time I tried! lol! this was really interesting, and I will show my son when he comes over.
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on October 03, 2017:
Interesting read on this misunderstood hobby.
Dianna Mendez (author) on October 03, 2017:
Nadine, love those who remain active throughout their lifetime, such a good influence on their children! I do enjoy watching the sport too from my chair on the side.
Dolores, they do flow so smoothly as they skate. Wish I had taken an interest earlier in life. Your sons will only gain good balance and health using the boards.
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on October 03, 2017:
Love your article and I will share it with a good friend who goes around on a skateboard at the age of 56 together with her son who is 17. I love watching the sport.
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 03, 2017:
I have watched the younger skate boarder in the past and been amazed at their coordination. We bought one for one of my sons years ago and never imagined how he would take to it. He, and other young men in my area, often use skate boards for moving about town. It amazes me how comfortable he (and others) are with those boards!
Dianna Mendez (author) on October 02, 2017:
Audrey, it is a sport that builds balance. The ability to even stay on such a moving board is amazing. I appreciate your visit, dear lady.
Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on October 01, 2017:
I'm always amazed watching skateboarders. This is indeed an art. The balance, movement and sheer confidence is something to behold. Enjoyed this hub my friend.
Dianna Mendez (author) on October 01, 2017:
RD, If only we had tried this sport earlier! I think I would have enjoyed it as I was an avid roller skate fan at the time.
Chitrangada Sharan, your children must really enjoy the trill of challenges. Good job raising them to be adventurous!
Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on September 30, 2017:
Interesting subject :) I had a skateboard gifted by my cousin brother which I tried, but my mom was afraid of me trying, so she gave it away. It's quite fascinating. All the stunts are exciting.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 30, 2017:
Excellent article about skateboarding!
I am sure this will enthuse many to join the sport and your well written article also clarifies doubts through your most asked questions!
I have never done it myself but my children have done skateboarding and they enjoy it immensely. They are a big fan of adventure sports such as paragliding, surfing, hiking , trekking and so many of such activities. I really feel scared for them. But the younger generation finds it rejuvenating.
Thanks for sharing this wonderful information with nice pictures and video!
Dianna Mendez (author) on September 30, 2017:
Mary, I can only watch the beauty of these skateboarders myself. It is an art form I can appreciate.
Flourish, I would love to be so flexible and to experience the "flying" effect. I too think cities should provide parks and areas where these skaters can enjoy their passion.
Linda, I am so glad you found this article interesting and educational. Have a great weekend.
Paula, the sport is on the increase. It is a great way to get outdoors and increase your enjoyment of exercise while having fun. I know your son would agree on these benefits. I am with you on staying on the sidelines. I am way past participating in this type of activity.
Mary Wickison from USA on September 30, 2017:
When I watch skateboarding I find myself holding my breath until they land safely. I find some of the tricks they do frightening to watch but am impressed by their dedication.
I think any activity which gets people outside and moving is good not just for their health but also their attitude to life.
FlourishAnyway from USA on September 29, 2017:
They are fun to watch and I envy their athletic prowess on those boards. I enjoyed your interview. It's too bad that so many areas don't permit skateboarding on sidewalks or in parking lots, even when vacant.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 29, 2017:
This is an interesting and informative article. I've never thought much about the benefits of skateboarding. Thank you for the education!
Suzie from Carson City on September 29, 2017:
Diana, So good to see you! I love that you chose to write this article on skateboarding! I see these kids everywhere & it's obvious they love what they're doing. Nearly every town, park, YMCA, (even our school) has at least one popular skateboard area. No doubt it is a very popular activity.
All my grandchildren have boards, especially my eldest (21) who takes great pride in his abilities. I'm happy to know they're "outdoors" in the fresh air, moving their bodies, in a pleasant break from indoor video games!!
As for me? LOL. Really, Diana, I have to laugh at the thought of that! I would certainly keep the local Orthopedic clinic in business! As youngsters though, my sister and I were roller skating fanatics.....there's a huge difference!
I truly enjoyed this great read, Diana. Have a nice week-end. Paula
Dianna Mendez (author) on September 29, 2017:
Dora, I am of the same mindset: I enjoy watching. Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend.
Jackie, I can see how this would be the next best thing to the ocean with the feeling of surfing.
Eric, I remember seeing the kids hanging on the trucks at times when I was younger. I am thinking "Back to the Future!"
Susan, your sons know how to fly! It is seems like a great way to stay fit too. Enjoy your day.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 29, 2017:
It's beneficial on several levels, but still I'd rather watch and be entertained--and encourage those who want to try. Thanks for the information, inspiration and challenge.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 29, 2017:
If this had been around me at a younger age I would say I would have been right into it and for young people why not? We don't all have an ocean! Next best thing.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 29, 2017:
Fantastic article. You really did a great job here. Thank you.
It took me 20 minutes to argue for a lesser penalty for my eldest son ticketed for grabbing rides from the back of trucks going 40 or so. And the luging in a city park.
Otherwise he was/is a perfect son.
Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on September 29, 2017:
Two of my three sons are skateboarders and have been since they were young boys. They are now 29 and still love to skateboard. They've been injured a few times but thankfully nothing too serious. I thought that they would have outgrown this sport by now but no way, they love it.
Dianna Mendez (author) on September 29, 2017:
Bill, I can see you skateboarding as I know you are always willing to take a dare! Thanks for coming by here. Enjoy your weekend.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2017:
What an interesting topic for you to write about. Very cool, dude! LOL I am in awe of good skateboarders. I was pretty athletic, but I had a hard time skateboarding for whatever reason.