United States | West

Skating on the Sunset

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We could’ve moved to California.
Once we’d pressed the button on that exciting one way ticket from Auckland to Los Angeles the next move was left open to decide where we’d settle for a while. It was a toss up – East Coast or West. While in my heart I know I have to live in New York – at least try it for a while – the proximity to the sea and mountains and the steady warmth of the West Coast are still on my mind.

There is so much to love about that slightly grimy vibe of Venice. It smells like the sea, weed and hot chips. Palm trees touching almost-blue sky, bikes, buff muscles, poke bowls, classic lifeguard boxes dotted along the coast. People with stories shouting over boomboxes and tiny dogs with fancy collars. Cute houses with ornate ironwork meet those climbing plants with papery pink flowers. If this part of Los Angeles was a colour palette it’d be pastels and grey and gold. In all it’s urban tropical glory it’s easy to forget that winter exists here and it surprising when the sun sinks into the Pacific while you’ve still got your toes in the sand at 4.45pm.

I remembered the way the light turned bright golden at that hour and decided to mission it over to the beach on a stopover at LAX recently to capture it. The Venice skate park has these curves which catch the light in different gradients, a design that honours an old school skate tradition of the 1970s and built to reference the days when the kids would ride an empty pool. The concrete waves are art in themselves, mirroring the ocean in behind and giving this impression that people are skating on the sunset itself.
The park was packed with spectators and skaters the day I was there but the vibe was chill. The youngest guy probably about eight and a pro already, his Dad and fans cheering on from the sidelines.

After the sun goes down I head back to the airport feeling a little lighter, like I’ve had a holiday, if only for a few hours.

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Listen to a great podcast on stolen Palm Trees.

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