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Carving Coronado’s Isabella Avenue

“I actually enjoy falling, because then I didn’t die.”

Leah surfs the concrete ocean!
Leah surfs the concrete ocean!

My buddy Kevin and I see her just about every time we head for what until recently we called our polar bear ocean swims. Because every day, she’d come swooping around the wide curves of Coronado’s Isabella Avenue on her swivel skateboard, doing slaloms among the special event pole holes, weaving, snaking around nonplussed oceanfront drivers, so graceful and sylphlike and ephemeral we just called her “The Spirit.”

Then finally, one day we spotted her resting on the curbside with her skateboard. We screwed up courage to actually approach her.

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“Uh, just wondering if you’re a ballet dancer?” I stuttered.

“No, I’m a sushi chef,” she said, “and I used to work at a bike repair shop. I do this when I can’t get surfing.”

Oh, right. So, not a Lorelei, tempting men to their doom by taking their eyes off the road. The name’s Leah. She’s 21, and her reasons for haunting Coronado are more, well, pedestrian. “In the summer it’s really hard to park in Coronado, so since I had to walk 15 minutes every day to work and back to my car, I got a skateboard to make my life a little easier. And then I started using the skateboard in the morning for exercise, just to get some of my extra energy out. If I don’t get exercise in the morning, then I’m extremely clumsy, and I drop things all day, and I don’t want to cut myself with my super-sharp sushi knife. Instead, I skateboard, and make sure I’m tired when I get to work.”

Why Isabella? “Isabella Avenue is my favorite place to skate! The street’s so wide, and it’s not always super busy. They have holes for poles. I just weave between the holes like a slalom. I haven’t fallen off at the poles yet. But I actually enjoy falling, because then I didn’t die. You’re always so afraid to fall. And then when you finally fall, you get up and you’re like ‘Hell yeah! Here I am. Just got to keep moving so I don’t get all tense.’” She said what she’s doing is called surf skating. “Flat days on the ocean, a lot of surfers will come ashore and ride their Carver skateboards, for training. Carvers have a front truck that swivels. It’s a whole different thing than regular skateboarding.”

But is she worried about cars? “I’m not super concerned about cars. I have gotten cut off pretty good a few times and I’ve had to throw my skateboard to save myself, but I’ve never gotten hit yet. I also like to scare people while they’re driving, keep them alive. I get real close to them and then I make a really loud noise, with my wheels, carving. People honk at me, ask me what the hell I’m doing. I just throw them a peace sign, because it’s not that deep.”

Why Coronado? “I do spend my time in really beautiful areas. I like to be visually stimulated while I’m skating, because the whole experience for me is that it’s a dopamine thing. It just makes me super happy and excited to be out skating. Specially when the sun is shining. I’m photosynthesizing while I’m skating.”

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Leah surfs the concrete ocean!
Leah surfs the concrete ocean!

My buddy Kevin and I see her just about every time we head for what until recently we called our polar bear ocean swims. Because every day, she’d come swooping around the wide curves of Coronado’s Isabella Avenue on her swivel skateboard, doing slaloms among the special event pole holes, weaving, snaking around nonplussed oceanfront drivers, so graceful and sylphlike and ephemeral we just called her “The Spirit.”

Then finally, one day we spotted her resting on the curbside with her skateboard. We screwed up courage to actually approach her.

Sponsored
Sponsored

“Uh, just wondering if you’re a ballet dancer?” I stuttered.

“No, I’m a sushi chef,” she said, “and I used to work at a bike repair shop. I do this when I can’t get surfing.”

Oh, right. So, not a Lorelei, tempting men to their doom by taking their eyes off the road. The name’s Leah. She’s 21, and her reasons for haunting Coronado are more, well, pedestrian. “In the summer it’s really hard to park in Coronado, so since I had to walk 15 minutes every day to work and back to my car, I got a skateboard to make my life a little easier. And then I started using the skateboard in the morning for exercise, just to get some of my extra energy out. If I don’t get exercise in the morning, then I’m extremely clumsy, and I drop things all day, and I don’t want to cut myself with my super-sharp sushi knife. Instead, I skateboard, and make sure I’m tired when I get to work.”

Why Isabella? “Isabella Avenue is my favorite place to skate! The street’s so wide, and it’s not always super busy. They have holes for poles. I just weave between the holes like a slalom. I haven’t fallen off at the poles yet. But I actually enjoy falling, because then I didn’t die. You’re always so afraid to fall. And then when you finally fall, you get up and you’re like ‘Hell yeah! Here I am. Just got to keep moving so I don’t get all tense.’” She said what she’s doing is called surf skating. “Flat days on the ocean, a lot of surfers will come ashore and ride their Carver skateboards, for training. Carvers have a front truck that swivels. It’s a whole different thing than regular skateboarding.”

But is she worried about cars? “I’m not super concerned about cars. I have gotten cut off pretty good a few times and I’ve had to throw my skateboard to save myself, but I’ve never gotten hit yet. I also like to scare people while they’re driving, keep them alive. I get real close to them and then I make a really loud noise, with my wheels, carving. People honk at me, ask me what the hell I’m doing. I just throw them a peace sign, because it’s not that deep.”

Why Coronado? “I do spend my time in really beautiful areas. I like to be visually stimulated while I’m skating, because the whole experience for me is that it’s a dopamine thing. It just makes me super happy and excited to be out skating. Specially when the sun is shining. I’m photosynthesizing while I’m skating.”

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