Surfing Scrap

Why the griptape scratching through my fingers feels like home.

As a result of growing up surrounded by poverty and civil war, my grandfather has always had a thing for scrap. He collects all sorts of old things in order to create new ones.

©Ara Madzounian

For us small town working class kids, exploring the depths of his workshop was the equivalent of going to an amusement park.

On one of our expeditions we found an old tractor ride-on hidden in one of the darkest corners of the garage. I must admit it wasn’t love at first sight, it was broken and had large amounts of dust on but that didn’t really matter, it was by far the best thing we had ever found, after the Pamela Anderson playboy number, that is. He still asks me about that one.

We soon discovered that it was too small for us to sit and pedal on, and also, one of the wheels always ended up coming off, revealing a metal bar that produced a rain of sparks as it came in contact with the ground.

It was awesome.

Me and my friends used to surf that thing: two would push as one stood on top of it. I was always trying to be the one on, also ended up next to it a lot, on the ground.

I don’t know if it’s because I come from a broken home, but I’ve always had a thing for pain. It’s not like I look forward into falling, I just get back up with a big bad smile.

©Harvey Mills

It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I got my first skateboard.

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