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Wellbeing: Skateboarding is based on a supportive community

Editor’s Note: This column provides ideas and inspiration for using exercise as a tool for cultivating overall wellness. We highlight programs and people who create their own community through physical activity while also finding social, emotional, mental and spiritual fulfillment. If you have any suggestion, please send an email [email protected].

Since skateboarding exploded into popular culture in the 1970s, it has been a tool for artistic expression, skill mastery, and recreational fun.

Nate Kipnis and Aaron Kaplan are two members of Evanston Skating, a coalition for the local skateboarding community. They find the supportive environment, confidence and natural high of skateboarding unlike any other sport.

“Everyone takes care of each other and there is a relaxed atmosphere,” says Kipnis.

Nate Kipnis (left) and Aaron Kaplan find support in skateboarding. Credit: Joerg Metzner

Both longtime skaters, the two now practice their skills at Evanston’s skate park, located in Twiggspark. The facility officially opened in February and received strong support from the Evanston community. Kaplan sat on the advisory committee Kipnisa local architect.

Aaron Kaplan practices a new skill at the skate park.
Credit: Joerg Metzner

Kaplan said the social aspect is a big draw.

“I’m used to skating alone outside my house, so it’s exciting to come here and be around other people who are passionate about skateboarding,” he said. “I notice that I skate better around other people. It’s not that I want to be the best person in the park, but the energy is different and it’s more fun.”

Unlike many arenas, the atmosphere at the skate park is refreshingly supportive.