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A ˆ Jonathan Prather (above) and Ryan Smith hit the pavement at the Upper Cascades Skate Park

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sk Ryan Smith or Jonathan Prather what they love about skateboarding and they both begin to speak in half-poetry. “Just the feel of the wheels on the concrete,” Prather says, describing how fresh concrete feels different than old, worn pavement; the rumbling sensation of pushing across cobblestones. “It can become personal.” “You get to be really creative,” Smith says. “There’s really no rules to it. It’s yours.” Both Smith and Prather are part of the close-knit Bloomington skateboarding community and have been practicing the sport for years—30-year-old Prather since age 14 when he first saw a cousin do an “Ollie” (a basic trick that is the basis of many others), and 35-year-old Smith since age 9 when his older brother got a board. And when they talk about it, it’s easy to hear the intensity and passion that has kept them going for so many years. “It’s so fun,” Smith says simply. “It’s endless.”

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hough it can and has lead to life-long friendships, skateboarding is “do-ityourself,” Prather says. No set practices, no coach barking out orders and making you do your drills—individuals succeed in the sport because they keep putting feet to board. Friends are there for support and company, but everyone is at their own level. “There’s camaraderie, not competition,” says Prather. The competition, he insists, is with yourself, “overcoming fear ... battling yourself … [it’s] between you and your board.” And the success that comes with finally doing it, finally hitting that trick you’ve been working on—“that’s a great feeling,” Prather says. “When I figured out how to do Ollies, it was like when

Profile for Hoosier Times Inc.

Adventure Indiana | Spring 2013  

South-Central Indiana's Adventure Magazine

Adventure Indiana | Spring 2013  

South-Central Indiana's Adventure Magazine