Category: General Article
GPS Coordinates to Bearings Skateboard Academy: 44.050597, -121.298874
For Gordon Boehm, the hardest part of skateboarding is also the best part.
“I think what drew me to the sport was how challenging it was to learn new tricks,” he told the Oceanscape Network. “But also how rewarding it was when you put the effort in and accomplished that new trick.”
Gordon is a coach and co-owner of the Bearings Skateboarding Academy (BSA) in Bend, Oregon. His love of skating goes back to when he first tried it at age 11. He spent his teen years and early adulthood skating at different levels, including competitively, and now teaches the sport full time to others. His office is a 3,500-square-foot warehouse located in an industrial park in the heart of the city. From the outside, you’d never know the interior had been retrofitted with wooden ramps, half-pipes, quarter-pipes and pyramids. All of this makes BSA a safe, controlled environment for those who are just learning to skate, or those who are working on perfecting their skills.
“We never have more than two lessons being taught at a time,” said Gordon, “so it’s a very laid back, no pressure environment where students can learn without having to worry about being judged or running into other skaters.”
James Stewart, 15, has been training at BSA for several years and recently started assistant coaching beginner camps for the facility. “I never really thought about skating until my parents bought me a skateboard for my eighth birthday,” he said. “Once I had my board, I signed up for classes here and have just been coming ever since.”
For Marley Snavely, age 12, skateboarding has been more of a group activity.
“I started skating because almost all of my friends skate,” she said. “I wanted to learn so I could do it with them and now we all skate together.”
When asked about the biggest challenges and rewards of the sport, James and Marley had similar answers.
“Everything about skating is awesome,” said James. “Just the fact that you can get on a skateboard and do whatever you want is awesome to me… But the biggest thing you have to overcome is fear. We wear helmets and pads but there’s always the chance you’re going to get hurt, especially when you’re learning new tricks.”
In fact, James sustained a serious foot injury two years earlier while demonstrating a trick for novice skaters during a class.
“I still think about getting hurt again every once in a while, but you can’t let that trip you out. You just need to keep skating and you’ll get over it,” he laughs.
Marley chimed in: “I’m still learning so I fall a lot, so I really like wearing my helmet.”
BSA prides itself on helping students overcome fear and self-consciousness. Gordon noted that most of their incoming students have rarely, if ever, been on a skateboard.
“It’s all about creating that safe learning environment for our students,” he said.
In addition to the indoor skatepark, BSA offers one-on-one lessons, group skates, summer camps and special events. Recently, BSA partnered with a surf school in Seaside, OR and now offers four-day excursions in which students visit multiple skateparks en route to the Oregon coast, then spend 3 days surfing before returning to Bend.
To learn more about BSA and its programs, visit them online at bearingsskateboardacademy.com.