Denham Hill - Nominee for Sporting Achievement Award

Have we ever seen a skateboarder nominated for a Sporting Achievement award? It's pretty much unheard of, yet here is Denham Hill, a 25 year old freestyle skateboarder doing just that.

 

I asked him to tell us more about his skater life and how he got to be nominated - so go have a read, then follow the link to the voting page and please vote for him.  As a community of longboarders and skateboarders, covering every discipline of the art, lets get his back.

"I'm Denham Hill and I'm 25 years old. I got into skateboarding in a big way about 10 years ago. I never really expected much to come from it, I just wanted to skate and have fun. Of course, I still do but I had no idea what profound effect skateboarding would have on my life. It became the single most long-standing and positive influence on my being and became a passion and an obsession.

A lot of people ask me why I skate. I could deliberate the answer to that for hours on end and still not feel I had covered every reason. To narrow it down a little - I skate because it's one of the few things I feel I simply couldn't live without.

Photo: Ry Swanton

Skateboarding spoke to me in a way little else could. This "fad" became my vehicle for self expression, my crutch and a cathartic release of energy. Skateboarding has given me the strength, commitment and determination to overcome many obstacles in life and asks for nothing in return. I've been given a sense of community and achievement that I couldn't find anywhere else.

I turned Pro, started entering competitions and got myself into the top 20 freestyle skateboarders in the World at Canada's World Round-Up. I could equally have not qualified and I wouldn't have cared. I was just happy to be there, to skate and share experiences with some incredible people.

I have always thought it is vital to give back to the skateboarding community. To leave a legacy for when the day comes that, God forbid, my body or my health won't allow me to skate any more. The world is unpredictable. You never know if your next session could be your last. With this in mind, I dedicate my time to introducing young people to skateboarding and this is part of what led to my nomination in the 'Sporting Achievement' category of the Yorkshire Choice Awards.

I work for Sk8 Safe, a skateboard coaching company, delivering sessions to young people across the UK, particularly in the North. Our key aim is to promote equality and diversity through skateboarding, giving kids the opportunity to skate when previously it may have been unavailable. At Sk8 Safe, I also educate brand new coaches through the Level 1 Award in Coaching Skateboard Sessions Qualification, a first of it's kind qualification legitimising the coaching practises, allowing them to deliver their own beginner's skateboarding sessions.

This isn't about making skateboarding another regimented activity. It's about introducing as many young people to skateboarding as possible in a safe and positive way. It's terrifying for a lot of young kids to rock up on a park by themselves. We aim to provide an entry point for those newcomers and give them the skills and confidence they need to develop as skaters. Part of the joy of skateboarding is discovery, and we encourage young people to find their own path, while providing a solid starting point and foundation.

We also help community skateparks with funding and grant applications, helping them take ownership of their park and developing their local facilities. It's vital to keep skateparks active and thriving, and we strive to connect with users to help them manage their park. Not only for current users, but future generations.

My purpose and my joy in life is skateboarding. My mission is, and always will be, to introduce as many young people to skateboarding as possible, ensuring the next generation have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a pastime that has given us all so much.

Go out there and inspire, there's a kid just like you somewhere who needs skateboarding. They just might need a little help finding it."

Vote here: Yorkshire Choice, Sporting Achievement of the Year

Video:  Denham on YouTube / Trailer to World Round Up by Brett Novak

Words by Denham Hill

Photos by Ry Swanton (skatepark) and Jim Goodrich (World Round Up, Canada, 2016) 

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  • #skatecommute365

    #skatecommute365 submission

    "Lots of people skate to work, school, the shops, to their friends house and back again. This skating goes unnoticed and unrecognised; this project intends to address this, and bring all those little victories of skating, all those stolen moments of fun that get lost along the daily commute, back to the forefront, to celebrate them and the skaters who tirelessly do them, come rain or shine.

    The goal of this project is to collect 365 skater commutes - it doesn't matter what you do it on, as long as it fits the description "skateboard". We're looking for penny riders, street skaters, electric Longboards, pintail cruisers or dedicated downhillers on their precision trucks. Whoever you are, if you commute by skateboard we want your story.

    365 days, 365 stories, 365 otherwise unnoticed acts of pure skating. You can't glamorise the drizzle soaked, leaf- covered pavements, the puddles, the short sneaky pavement bombs, the ungraceful duck and weave through gridlocked traffic like you can Cali hills. There's no shiny 4 minute glitch mob song follow run for this type of skating. It's tough, it's gruelling, but it's skating, and a core part of being great on a board: fast reactions, traffic sense,the ability to hold your balance, to tolerate any surface. To not flinch at short steep janky hills, to not think twice about braving roads the same as cyclists, to racing them and winning. To finding unrideable spots and proving anything can be ridden.

    This is your commute. One posted, every day for a year. And at the end, we hope to make a printed copy of the entire year. The scene is bigger than just downhill. It's the everyday skating that holds it together at the core. Be a part of that."


    Here's where you can submit your story about your commute - it can be a regular run to a place of work or study, the Friday night burn from home to the pub, your weekly shopping run route, whatever! Grab us a picture of you with your board, host it somewhere private (imgur has free uploads, google drive, dropbox, onedrive etc. Instagram images can be manipulated into a collage, and then linked if you want to get artsy)
    Whatever your regular commute, we want to hear of those little victories of skating you have every day:

     

     

     

    Name
     
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    Location
     
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    How long have you been skating?
     
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    Setup, and why you ride it
     
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    Describe your #skatecommute route: any good hills, any nice smooth bits, any janky bits?
    We love details; give us the emotions, the stress at junctions, the fun of carving a park, describe your route :)
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    The worst bits
    What's the least fun part of the journey? Is it seasonal like leaves? Is it a bit of road or a junction? Was there this one really bad time during a hurricane?
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    The best bits
    What part of your commute gives you that little buzz: is there a kerb your like to pop down, a banked driveway you carve up, a bus you skitch, a pedestrian phase on a junction that leaves the road clear for you to bomb?
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    Picture of you (and your setup?)
    (paste the URLs here: facebook photos are fine, right-click them and copy link):
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    Pictures From your route (paste the URLs here)
    (paste the URLs here: facebook photos are fine, right-click them and copy link):
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    Extra info to help us out
     
    Below this line is stuff that you won't see published, but helps us find out how to contact you, and how you found Thrill mag.
     
     
    Email
     
    Your answer
     
     
     
     
     
    How did you find out about thrill mag?
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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