As a sophomore in high school this fall, he regularly hits the skatepark on Monday nights, sharing trails with aggressive skaters of all ages and skill levels. He recently started bringing his sisters. “We skate until the lights go out,” he said, adding that his fellow skaters encouraged him to try new moves.
At Houghton and other skateparks, skaters also practice alongside BMX riders and skateboarders. “You have to be patient and wait your turn,” he said. “There’s competition and you never know what’s going to happen.”
According to Julio, as skateboarding became more popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, interest in aggressive skating declined. The sport has a tangled history, he said, and it has not been without tension between skaters and skateboarders.
“I was spat at a lot,” Julio said. “There were fights, sure.” But these days, he says, skateparks are more like melting pots. “I think skating has evolved over the last few years through inclusivity rather than exclusivity,” Julio said.
Crowfield, who met Julio last year, now skates for a team at Pigeon’s roller skating shop in Long Beach. Crowfield won second place at the mini-ramp competition for skaters under 18 in April. braiding cupan event organized by Them Skates.
When Crawfield tells friends he goes skating, they sometimes think he’s referring to skateboarding. “If I say to them, ‘No, it’s rollerblades,’ they’ll say, ‘Oh!'” he added.