June 25th @ Venice Skatepark
I was invited to shoot an event by the crew at Ezekiel that they were sponsoring on June 25th. It was unlike any event I had ever shot before. Life Rolls On is an amazing organization. Since I can’t describe what they do better than they can, here is their mission statement:
“Life Rolls On, a subsidiary of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for young people affected by spinal cord injury and utilizes action sports as a platform to inspire infinite possibilities despite paralysis.”
They have a few different programs they run to help benefit those affected by these injuries. Their flagship is called “They Will Surf Again.” It is a no cost program where individuals with spinal cord injuries get an opportunity to surf. No surfing experience is necessary and they always provide lifeguards, experienced water assistance, and emergency services.
The event I had the opportunity to shoot was a variation of “They Will Surf Again” called “They Will Skate Again.” The folks at Life Rolls On teamed up with Shoe City, Ezekiel, and KROQ among others, to have the 1st annual Shoe City Open featuring individuals with disabilities such as spina bifida, amputations, and birth defects. The competition is dubbed an “Adaptive Skateboard Competition” since not all of the competitors can ride on a skateboard.
We began our trip to Venice by stopping to pick up a few of the Ezekiel pro riders so they could participate in a pro skate demo prior to the competition and also lend a hand to the participants in the “learn-to-ride” clinic in the morning. When we arrived in Venice I was amazed to see quite a crowd of adaptive skaters had already showed up and were ready to learn how to navigate the hips, quaterpipes, and even drop into the bowls.
I shot throughout the day, watching, thinking, and being blown away by these people.
In the face of what we able-bodied people call “disability,” they have learned to push fear out of their minds and accomplish physical feats that none of us would attempt. And they smile from ear to ear the entire time.
Thanks to Ezekiel and Jayson Diebel for asking me to shoot this event. Thank you to Life Rolls On for having a vision for creating inspiration in people with disabilities to be active and enjoy aspects of their lives that most couldn’t imagine.
Here are a couple of my favorite images from the event. To see the rest, click here.
|Steven Reeves. If you don’t go, he will.|
|Steven is from Portland, land of many concrete bowls and pools. As you can see he felt at home in Venice.|
|Cutest kid on earth.|
|Hitting the coping with a little assistance from Dad (left) and dropping in the box for the first time (right).|
|Evan Strong. Evan still rock climbs, mountain bikes, and skates regardless of losing his leg at 17.|
|Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, does backflips on the regular and has also front flipped a mega ramp. Nuts!|
|He says he “rides a wheelchair” instead of rides in a wheelchair. I get it. I agree.|
Honestly, I can’t say enough about this event.
All images copyright Craig Norris, 2011. For further information about my photography or information regarding image usage, please contact me at email@example.com or 714-599-0179.