PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group of young skateboarders from Seattle know all about teamwork and are in sync with the twists and turns they come across at each skate park they tackle.
The group, Sk8 the St8s, has decided to take their talent to several skate parks across the country; all while learning about different cultures and life skills before they head off to high school.
The third stop in their tour was Friday afternoon at F.D.R Park in South Philadelphia.
“We wanted the kids to see other parts of the county,” said Neal Thompson, one of the two dads leading the trip, and the mastermind behind the Sk8 the St8s cross-country adventure. The tour, which began in Charleston, S.C. on Tuesday and is expected to run until August 6th, can be described as a father and sons quest around the U.S. to dive further into the world of skateboarding and learn more about its history.
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The inspiration behind the adventure came from Thompson’s parents who took him and his brother on a cross-country road trip in an old army ambulance converted into a camper back in 1979.
In his blog, Thomson recalls the discomfort that came with being cooped up in the back of an old, hot and noisy van, traveling through several states, often fighting with his kid brother; but he had a good time visiting landmarks and National Parks with his family.
Nearly three decades later, and now a parent himself, Thompson understands the values his parents were trying to teach him during that long vacation and hopes to instill them in his own children, 14-year-old Sean and 13-year-old Leo.
“It was a really memorable time for me right before I started high school,” said Thompson. “So, about a year ago, I thought wouldn’t it be fun before my older son started high school to do something similar.”
Instead of visiting national parks, the kids will be choosing skate parks they want to visit. They are stopping at other attractions along the way and used CBSPhilly’s “Top Spots” guides to plan their tour while in the city of Brotherly Love.
“Skating is just really fun,” said Sean. “I love the feeling I get right after doing a trick.”
“It’s a good way to express your creativity, kind of a form of art to me,” said Sean’s friend and fellow skateboarder, Williem, 14.
After an hour of showing off their moves and mastering the curves and slides of the park, the guys were hungry and were excited to try their first, authentic Philly Cheesesteak before heading to their next stop in Pittsburgh.
As a journalist and author, Thompson will be chronicling every aspect of their trip and hopes to write a book about it and what it’s like being a skate dad.
“It’s different. There are some challenges, like ending up at a place like this, under 95 with trucks riding by, but its kind of fun,” Thompson said. “The boys are learning some life skills that they might not have learned playing soccer or baseball.”
Those life skills, Thompson says, include working well with others and adapting to your surroundings.
Lou King’s 14-year-old son, Niall, is also apart of the group of skateboarders. He says the boys are learning more about the skating culture in the different cities, which not only includes the way the parks are designed, but fashion and music. King hopes they grow from this experience.
“I hope that they’ll embrace the different cultures they will see around the country and just have fun with it.”
To track the road trip of Sk8 the St8s, click here.
Reported by Crystal Cranmore, CBS Philly