‘If it weren’t for skateboarding, I’d be dead.’ I’ve heard some variation of those words uttered from more mouths than I can put a face to, from people of all walks and circumstances.
It’s an escape, it’s a community, it’s a vehicle, it’s a motivator, and shit, if you’re a masochist, I guess it fills that void too. For Emily, one of hundreds of children living on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, skateboarding ‘teaches you how to be tough on [an] isolated reservation.’ I was out there when director Greg Hunt shot and directed his new film Skateboarding in Pine Ridge, and to say that the rez is isolated is an understatement. It’s a place with minimal job opportunity, brutal winters, and epidemics of both youth suicide and alcoholism. But it’s also a place with a powerful past, and the Sioux people are aware of that and want it to continue, despite immense adversity. Through intimate portraits of a few local rippers, you’ll get to see their survivalist instincts at work, as the phrase ‘skateboarding saves lives’ is put to the test in a place where lives are so desperately in need of saving.
Be it Detroit, West Africa, or South Dakota—skateboarding is an antidote to whatever’s hard about living life. The Lakota people got it pretty rough, as rough as I’ve seen in the U.S., but they’re doin’ their best. And that’s all that you can do, right?