There I was, 12-years-old, in all my fluoro-helmeted, knee-padded glory, pacing along the top of the biggest vert ramp in the country, as far as I knew. As far as it mattered.
The other local skate rats were laughing and taunting; I wasn’t much of a skater, and certainly had never proven myself to be any chop in a half-pipe. Why did I suddenly think I could drop into a 12-foot vert ramp?
But then I took one step forward, locked the tail of my board on to the coping with my back foot, stepped forward with my front, and dropped in.
I fell completely free of the curve of the ramp and hit the flat shoulder and head first.
My board, surely in its final death throws after such a drop, came to rest a couple of metres away, and once the wheels stopped spinning, sounding the familiar hiss of abec-7 bearings, silence fell.
After a few seconds the horde of skate rats burst into laughter once more, having momentarily lapsed into silence as I fell down the face of my destiny.
I was on my feet and laughing with them soon after, oblivious to the fact I had essentially just thrown myself from a second story balcony on to hard ground head first, desperate to live up to a mantra I have held close to my heart since those days at Sunshine Beach skatepark; pain is temporary, glory is eternal.
I’m sure the glory from that well-padded, ill-advised dive into the open arms of vert ramp still exists in some mildly gaseous aura around me at all times, but I’ve never been sure quite how to utilise it.
In January of this year I was again pacing at the top of a vert ramp of sorts, albeit more metaphorical than physical.
I was in a comfortable job with little stress and, accordingly, very little excitement.
I pushed my board over the edge and locked it into the coping with my back foot, lining up a job outside of journalism and, importantly, a lifestyle outside of that job.
I leant forward with my front foot and dropped, quitting my reporter job and moving my life to the WA coast in search of good times and inspiration.
I think I may still be in freefall; not yet having hit head-first or stuck the landing.
I have put a lot more thought into technique and balance this time around, but that’s no guarantee I’ll get away with only temporary pain or intact glory.