The Alhambra Youth Feed is investigating how the recession is affecting what local young people do with their free time. James Ho spoke with David Payan, a senior at Alhambra High, who spends his free time filming and skating in the San Gabriel Valley.
I hear you’re a “skate nerd.” What does that mean?
I devote at least an hour each day to looking up new videos, and I usually film every weekend. As far as events go I'm always down for them — the only time I miss out on filming an event is to actually go skate myself or when I'm unable to find a ride.Why do you like skating so much?Skateboarding is my escape, it's my creative outlet that keeps me occupied and relieves all the stress I currently have. At first skateboarding was just a hobby, I did it because it's what all my friends were doing but as time progressed it grew on me and now it's more of a lifestyle than a hobby. Skateboarding has also allowed me to become friends with a very diverse group of people from all walks of life. I know people who live in areas surrounded by nothing but gangs and drugs, and I know people who grew up in wealthy neighborhoods with hardly any worries at all.How would you describe the skateboarding scene in Alhambra and SGV?In the SGV the skateboarding scene seems more popular with young teens that are barely going into high school rather than teens my age. When I was like in 8th grade the skate scene over here was at it's peak and it started to die in my second year of high school. Many of the people I started skating with quit, however, I'm starting to see a lot of young teens cruising through the streets of Alhambra again. I don't know many young skaters here that take skateboarding as serious as the older heads but as long as they're skating and having fun with it then it's all good.Have you felt the effect of the recession on the skating scene in Alhambra?
Most definitely. I've seen kids skating with huge holes in their already duct-taped shoes. I've had homies that I hit up to skate with but can't because they snapped their boards or damaged their trucks and don't have the money to buy new parts. I've even lost touch with many homies I used to skate with on the regular because they haven't been able to buy a new board to go skate.In your observation, could Alhambra provide more for its skaters? The skate scene is so big in Alhambra that it's surprising that the city has yet to build a skate park. I've known of kids trying to petition for one since I first started skating. When police officers pull me over in other cities they're constantly saying that Alhambra needs to build a park already to keep kids like me off the streets and out of trouble. Many citizens here complain about the skating done outside of houses and apartment complexes and many business owners constantly complain about newly damaged property cause by skateboarding and the only proper way to alleviate these complaints is by building a park, owners can put those fancy "skatestoppers" on their property but through my experience these don't work because skaters just get creative and think of a different way to skate on the property.
Interview was edited and condensed | for more photos of skaters in the SGV check out Michael Landon's flickr page at flickr.com/photos/drippy_eye