A skateboard and a pair of Vans are the only two objects that sophomore Elliot Gorham needs in order to feel free and gain a sense of self.
Growing up, Elliot was inspired by his brother’s love of skateboarding and subsequently fell in love with the adventure and social aspect of it.
“You can do whatever you want, see whatever you want and there are no rules, which I like a lot,” Elliot said.
Elliot’s brother, Nick Gorham, described the way that skateboarding has taught them to work together rather than against each other, as they are united by their common passion.
“When we were younger I feel like there was kind of a competitive aspect about it, but not so much anymore. When we were younger I’d be bummed if he learned a trick before me, so we were pushing each other in that way,” Nick said.
The bond that the Gorham brothers share through skateboarding has created common ground for the both of them.
“I’ve always skated with him, and I started skating with him, so it’s pretty natural. It’s the thing that we do together,” Nick said.
Elliot’s best friend and former skating buddy, junior Tommy Freiburger, described the important role that skating has played in Eliott’s life, highlighting skating as a way that both he and Gorham de-stress.
“When I see [Elliot] in school it’s like he’s chained up with responsibilities that he doesn’t necessarily want, but when he’s out skateboarding, there’s a lightness in his personality that comes out,” Freiburger said. “He is more carefree, he seems freer, happier and excited about the world.”
According to Freiburger, Elliot’s necessity for a rule-free environment has been fulfilled through this sport.
“Skating is what gives Elliot the freedom that he needs. There’s something in his genetics that makes it so he doesn’t want to be subject to anything that is forced on him,” Freiburger said.
At least twice a week, Gorham spends time skating, placing one foot on the deck of the board and using the other to control his speed and direction. On weekends, Gorham travels to the city to skate with his brother and friends that he’s made through the sport or through Freiburger.
When completing the advanced tricks like the ones Elliot can perform, injuries are common, and Elliiot’s fearless personality contributes to his success in the sport.
“Elliot’s a thrill seeker; he likes to get dangerously close to getting in trouble. There’s a physical injury component to it, and yet still he’s pretty daring,” Freiburger said.
Nick echoed Freiburger’s description of Elliot’s daring personality and noted his significant improvement over the years.
“He used to fall a lot and he’s super sketchy and dangerous to watch, but like everyone [else] he’s just getting better,” Nick said.
Elliot’s deep passion for skating has served as a healing art form that has let him experience a taste of freedom.
“You’re not worrying about anything else but skating, and it’s kind of a form of meditation,” Elliot said.