North Texas Daily

From skateboards to film

From skateboards to film

From skateboards to film
August 08
15:05 2014

Nicholas Friedman / Senior Staff Writer

With only three days to film a documentary, German Torres knew exactly what he needed to do.

It was June 21 and Torres, an RTVF junior, was taking part in the UNT Short Film Club’s first documentary film race. It also happened to be National Go Skateboarding Day. Torres had the idea to tell a story of skateboarding in Denton by highlighting the perspective of local skaters. Torres, who has been skateboarding for five years, believes the sport can thrive as a culture of its own and coexist with the campus’ prevalent longboarding scene.

Torres enlisted the help of a local skate shop and some friends to make “Skate Denton.” The film won him the competition’s top prize of a $100 Amazon gift card.

One of the primary purposes of the film was to convey the story of Denton Skate Supply’s co-owner Christopher “Crit” Kyley, Torres said.

“It was about having a normal conversation with him, how he started skateboarding, and his journey through making the shop what it is today,” Torres said.

In the documentary, Torres mixes numerous sound bites of Kyley detailing the struggles of opening up a skate shop coupled with action shots of skaters attempting to perfect tricks.

Torres said he believes the film illustrates the idea that skating is about perseverance and confidence.

“The struggle to learn a trick is like overcoming any obstacle in life,” Torres said. “Like having the confidence to ask a girl out for the first time. It’s in the nature of the way you learn through skateboarding.”

Competition with commercial stores has been apart of the struggle for Denton Skate Supply, Torres said.

“They are just in it for the money,” said Sam Durbin, one of the skaters featured in the film. “Denton didn’t have a legitimate skate shop until Denton Skate Supply, and if we don’t support it, then the skate scene is gone.”

Durbin said he hopes the skate scene in Denton will expand in the near future, hopefully bringing new parks or spots to the city.

Aside from winning the prize, Torres said, the film was mainly intended to publicize the local skate scene in Denton as well as the shop that fuels it.

“They are reliable and they know what they’re talking about,” Torres said. “Like Chris said, anyone can get hired at a skate shop but getting hired based on being a good worker isn’t getting hired because you’re a good skateboarder.”

Torres said he started skating at age 14 when he noticed a neighbor pushing up and down the street. After spending a day taking turns on his neighbor’s board, he bought one of his own.

Now, at 19, Torres sees no signs of stopping. But after rolling both of his ankles multiple times and dislocating his knee, he said he finds himself in a love-hate relationship with the physically demanding sport.

“Some days I’m having so much fun, but the next day I’m holding my shin in the most brutal pain ever,” Torres said. “Every time that happens I just think to myself, ‘This is what I like to do.’”

Torres said he hopes one day to give back to the skateboarding community by providing a chance to join the skate world to kids who can’t afford a complete skateboard. A complete skateboard costs around $150 and usually lasts one or two years.

“Whenever I get to the level where I can completely support myself, I do plan to hold events where I have skate goods giveaways,” Torres said. “I’d like to own my own shop and I always dream about being able to stack a bunch of complete skateboards and pass them out. Free skate for Denton.”

While Torres sticks to strictly skateboarding, many new skaters are turning to longboarding, a brand of skating more focused on getting from place to place rather than landing tricks.

“People always talk about the rivalry but that’s never been the case for me,” Torres said. “It’s not that I don’t understand. It’s just that I’ve never done it.”

RTVF senior Kavon Zamanian who’s been longboarding for three years said that the community is usually very tight-knit, not unlike the skateboarding scene. Zamanian met Torres as part of the UNT Short Film Club.

“Since I’ve started, [longboarding] has expanded and it progresses at a mind-blowing pace,” Zamanian said. “Not only does the sport multiply in popularity every year, but the riders themselves improve exponentially.”

Torres said even though longboarding is the root of skateboarding, he’ll stick to short boards and street skating.

“But when I see a longboarder I’ll always give him a nod and skate on by,” Torres said. “Skateboarding is my roots. That’s where I come from and that’s what I enjoy.”

Feature image: German Torres attempts a tail grind on a concrete wall in between the tennis courts and the Physical Education Building. Photo by Edward Balusek/Visuals Editor

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he's had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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