Scoot over, skateboarders


Rhys Wheaton

Even when senior Ben Woods ended up with a broken leg, five broken bones in his feet, two broken toes, a broken heel and a chip off of his tibia, and even though he had to go to last year’s prom on crutches, nothing was going to interfere with his love of scootering.
Woods documents his scootering on Instagram: @booterben

It all started when Woods was with his friends riding BMX bikes at Calabazas Park five years ago and saw someone with a dirt scooter doing tricks that he had never seen before.

This sparked his interest immediately and he practiced tricks in his driveway to try it out. Though his friends started playing around with scooters too, he was the only one that stuck with it and he hasn’t given up since.

“I enjoy pushing myself and learning new things, so that’s what keeps me going,” Woods said.

Woods has found that he prefers scootering over bikes because of the wide array of tricks that one can do.

“Because scooters are a lot easier to fling around than bikes, you can also do things like bri tricks — front scooter tricks where you fling it over your head,” Woods said.

For Woods, scootering is not only fun but meditative.

“The whole process of thinking about a trick, thinking about a combo and trying to get that through and actually land it is very satisfying to me,” Woods said.

Every weekend he goes to skateparks across the Bay Area and spends around four to five hours there, and during the week if he has the time he’ll scooter in his backyard where he has a flat rail.

“If I’m looking to improve, I’ll have a trick in mind before I get to the park and won’t leave until I land it. Sometimes it takes me a couple hours,” Woods said.

He says that he also uses scootering as an escape from the world when he is stressed or overwhelmed. When things get tough with school or friends, he heads to the skate park to relieve any tension in his life.

Woods has also been able to gain a network of friends through his scootering, even though many of them don’t live in the area. He has created friendships with people from Southern California, San Diego, and even with a fellow scooterer in Shanghai. According to Woods, the scooter community is bigger than some may think, especially in Australia, where it is the second most popular action sport behind surfing. Woods says that if you go to any major city, you will see a skatepark full of people scootering and doing tricks.

“It’s kind of a niche thing, so when you see someone else at the skatepark doing the same thing, you connect with them pretty much immediately.”

Video courtesy of Ben Woods

Woods recognizes that scootering as a sport is a new concept to most people.

“There’s kinda a stigma behind it that it’s kinda dumb, which I get, I openly admit that it’s very weird and strange,” Woods said.

Even though Woods thinks that many people don’t consider scootering a valid sport, Woods has continued to pursue his passion. It has become a major part of his life and it is one that he wants to share with the rest of the world.

“When I started in middle school it didn’t really make me cool, but I stuck with it and people respect me for the fact that I did,” Woods said, noting he wrote his college admission essay about his personal growth through scootering.

The main thing that Woods wants people to know is to not quit on the things that bring you joy.

“Stick with the things that you love, because you’re going to enjoy them more than trying to fit in with everyone else,” Woods said.

Video courtesy of Ben Woods

This article was originally published in the October 26, 2018 issue of the Oracle