Skateboard Community - Interview with Domantas from Lithuania
What makes them united? A community with full of joy!
Interview with skateboarder Domantas Antanavicius, 21 years old, Lithuania.
Domantas started skateboarding when he was 11 years old. With some help from his brother and online videos, he has spent days exploring the possibilities of a skateboard. Ten years later, he is still actively involved in the skateboarding community and does not plan to stop.
How would you describe the skateboarding community in Lithuania?
It’s a rich and colorful community that has been evolving and maturing over the years. As I’ve been skateboarding for over ten years, I’ve currently taken up the role of watching over the other skaters and sharing my knowledge. There are a lot of young skaters who are practicing every day, but it’s more than tricks and jumps. We are exploring the art, the performance of it, paying attention to the dress code and other details. In general, the Lithuanian community is quickly catching up on international trends. Skateboarding has been recently added to the list of Olympic sports and we are preparing for it. The Lithuanian skateboarding federation supports me and others in the community to go and represent our country.
How and when did you start skateboarding?
I started really young when I was around 11. My brother had left me a skateboard and I was using it to go to my tennis practice. One day, I had a thought... “What if I don’t get off that skateboard?”. That was a very important “what if” that pushed me to keep going and exploring. I started watching videos, learning some tricks, some jumps. I was very excited to see what can I do with it, how can I push the limits. I also would spend a lot of time by myself, I didn’t necessarily have many friends, so I enjoyed putting on my headphones and go for a ride on my skateboard.
So is it more individual than a team sport?
In a way yes, you are practicing and riding by yourself. However, the community is there and it is a very important part of skateboarding. There are people who practice just because of their friends and the community.
Can you describe your learning, practicing process?
I have learned most by myself, watching videos, tutorials, and just trying things out. Even when you are practicing with friends, there are usually no coaches, but you can learn a lot from each other. I would learn a lot just by observing and then trying it out. It’s very addictive, you start by learning one trick, and then you just want to keep going. You can easily spend 5-6 hours a day practicing because it’s so fun.
Skateboarding is a real street sport, there are not a lot of teachers, official clubs. It seems like a very organic sport. However, there seems to be a lot of falling and getting up. Have you experienced some more serious falls, traumas? How did it affect you?
Yes, there is a lot of falling. Mostly it’s legs, knees, and feet that get hurt. The most important thing is to learn the right way to fall. You have to fall in a smooth way to avoid getting hurt. Me, I have experienced many different falls and traumas. A couple of years ago, I have had an ankle injury that took me off practicing for half a year. It took a lot of rehabilitation and strengthening to get me back on my feet. But all sports have traumas, there’s no way around it, you just have to take care of yourself constantly to prevent big ones.
What is the way to take care of yourself?
The keyword here is routine. The good thing about skateboarders is that we spend a lot of time outside, walking, practicing, it automatically helps us to stay very active on a daily basis. Food is also very important, finding a suitable, nourishing diet. Finally, taking care of your body regularly, especially strengthening and stretching, you have to make your body strong and flexible to be able to do this sport in a sustainable way.
Is it possible to earn a living from skateboarding?
It is. The main component of skateboarding is accepting that you have to fall and rise constantly. This is a very formative experience that helps you later in life. Skaters realize that in life you will be constantly falling and getting up, so if you want to make it a full-time job and earn your living, you have to keep that in mind. Here in Lithuania, we’ve started many initiatives, our inside space where we invite other skaters to join our team. Many of them have other talents that we try to incorporate - taking pictures, videos, sewing, and many others.
For people who are in their 30’s, 40’s or older, is it not too late to start skateboarding?
You can definitely start at any age. In our community we had people from various backgrounds and ages coming to practice. The main issue is that the older we get, the less trust or self-confidence we have, we don’t trust our movements and our body. We fear ourselves and that gets in the way. In reality, anyone can do it and get the benefits out of it, you just have to not let your mind get in the way, age is no limit. For tricks, it might take more time, but if you just want to stand on it and go for a ride, you can easily learn to do it in a month or so.
What would be your suggestion for attracting more girls to the skateboarding community?
There are more and more girls starting to skateboard, and the best way is to show through example. When girls see other girls, they want to join. I think, in the next few years, there going to be many more girls in the sport. There’s space for women to join, practice, get better and go to competitions.
What is next for you? What are your plans for the future?
I do want to keep practicing, getting better, and live from my passion. Over time, without a clear plan or direction, I managed to find like-minded people that pushed me to dream and create. Now those dreams start coming true, things start to happen. My biggest dream is to keep evolving and travel the world with skateboarding. I want to travel, meet my fellow skateboarders, get to know what’s happening around the world. I want to get experiences but I also want to invest my knowledge in the local community, leave something for the next skateboarders. Many skateboarders are more introverted, often artistic people, I want everyone to not be afraid to show themselves and their art. Currently, we are working on opening our studio, collaborating with each other through sport, art, and creativity.
Finally, what is your advice for people who want to start skateboarding?
Start now! Don’t wait, don’t delay, go and start now!
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