Society editor Mary Lumley sat down with Mohsan Lin, a third year Digital Media student and president of Skate Soc, to ask how his society keeps things fresh, and how students can get on board. A skater for ten years now, Lin is aiming to bring the same passion he has for the sport to the society, and to take it to new heights.
Can you tell us a bit about Skate Soc?
Skateboarding came about in the 70s’ from surfers in the U.S. They wanted something to surf when the waves weren’t good enough, so they put together roller derby wheels and old boards to “surf” on land. Since then, this form of art has grown so much. It’s easy to see skateboarders as a bunch of gnarly, concrete eating dudes. But it’s such a unique, diverse culture that is open to everyone and encourages creativity.
We’re a society that aims to indulge in the spirit of skateboarding, which is having fun! We have about 50 active members who meet up once a week to skate at The Works Skatepark down in Hunslet (South Leeds). Our sessions simply involve getting together to skateboard. Nothing else to it. We meet up to skate, have fun, take a fall or two, and learn something new.
What is the best thing about being part of skate soc?
Apart from the free membership, I think it’s getting to learn everything about skateboarding with other people who are starting out as well. Everyone is so supportive of each other in getting them to try new things and push themselves out of their comfort zone. It’s such a thrilling and fulfilling process to watch and be part of.
Is skating a dangerous sport?
I don’t think skateboarding is dangerous. It’s what people do with skateboarding that’s dangerous! Ollieing off buildings, grinding 20ft rails, you name it. The footage of skaters doing these ridiculous tricks is surreal.
But at whatever level of skateboarding you’re at, you have to accept that you’re going to take a slam at some point. It’s part of the game and what skateboarding will teach you is to never give up and to try again. I know plenty of skaters who have slaved hours to landing one trick. Myself included. We’ll spill some blood sure, but that won’t stop us. When you want something that badly, you’re just going to keep trying til you get it.
What are you plans and ambitions this year?
With the new committee this year, we’re looking just to keep things simple at this point in time. Skate sessions and socials will be a staple in our agenda. But we’re also looking to organise trips to other skateparks in the UK and maybe even abroad. We’re still a relatively new society, so we’re still in the process of working out what’s best for the society and the people in it.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I’d have to say for this year, it’ll be organising our Give-it-a-Go. We had over 65 people join us to skate The Works and it was truly a sight to behold. 65 people doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was so rewarding to see people come down, try out skateboarding, and have a good time.
What’s your favourite ‘trick’ of the trade?
For me, it’ll have to be transition skating which is basically grinds, grabs, and airs on ramps. It doesn’t involve too much popping of the board, but it’s instead about flowing with ramps to do grinds and slides. It’s one of favourite styles of skating and it honestly makes me feel like a surfer haha but I’m cruising concrete instead.
What’s your opinion on none skaters wearing van’s as ‘cultural appropriation?’
I don’t have a problem with people wearing Vans if they aren’t a skater. People should be able to wear and style themselves how they want. It’s just such a shame for us skaters though. We see people wearing Vans or Thrasher then talk to them to find out they don’t skate. We could’ve hung out!