By Steve Hubrecht
If you think skateboarding is a young person’s pursuit, well, clearly you haven’t been to the Mount Nelson Athletic Park (MNAP) skate park early on a Sunday morning.
There you’ll find a group of dedicated skateboarders with greying hair and the wisdom not to push the boundaries like they did when they were teenagers. Sprained wrists and fractured ankles don’t heal as easily when you’re multiple decades past high school graduation, after all. That said, the group of men, who call themselves ‘the Old Man’s Skateboarding Club’ shred hard, and even though most are solidly middle age, in their 40 and early 50s, they are pulling the kind of tricks that turn the heads of onlookers of any age.
The oldest skater is 60 and he rides perhaps the hardest of all, outlined club member Andre Kreutzer.
“Skateboarding is not just for the young folks. It’s easy, it keeps you moving and it’s fun,” Kreutzer told the Pioneer. “When people see us out there, on a Sunday morning, most of them think it’s pretty cool that we’re still doing what we’re doing.”
The club numbers about eight people, although on any given Sunday you usually only find three or four of them in the skatepark. That’s because when you’re a teenager who have all the free time in the world to hang out at a skatepark, but when you’re in your 40s, most people have to squeeze skateboarding time in amongst adult responsibilities.
“Most of us have kids, families, careers — the usual juggle,” said Kreutzer. Hence the Sunday morning 9 a.m. meeting time; it’s perhaps the best time of week for a busy dad to sneak out of the house for an hour or so of skateboarding. Or a busy mom – Kreuzter emphasized that although the club is all male at the moment, it is certainly open to women as well.
The club began organically, when Kreutzer bumped into Jeff Collins (the 60-year old skater) at the skate park. “We started skating together and it grew from there,” explained Kreutzer. “It seems we keep finding more people.”
Most of the Old Man’s Skateboarding Club members, including both Kreutzer and Collins, skateboarded heavily in their youth, left the pursuit at some point in their 20’s, and have since returned to it in recent years, in part inspired by their own kids.
Are they more cautious than before?
“You do get a bit wiser in old age and you don’t skateboard the same way. You’re going for ‘smooth’ rather than ‘epic’,” explained Kreutzer with a chuckle.
“I’m not as reckless as I was once,” conceded Collins.
But Collins was quick to add, on the other hand, that “there is still an adrenaline rush. There are not a lot of things you can do when you are older that make you feel like you are 20 again, like skateboarding does.”
Collins told the Pioneer he thinks skateboarding in your 60s is no different than playing hockey, or for that matter skiing or playing golf, in your 60s. “It keeps you active, like anything else. You keep moving, you keep healthy,” he said.
Anybody interested in joining the club is welcome to show up at the MNAP skate park at roughly 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings.