Sam Bolton really embodies the hometown hero. When we first met her at 2nd Nature, we were instantly in awe of her skate style and incredibly kind personality. Sam is supportive and determined in and out of skateboarding. Whether it’s stacking clips for her sponsors, or painting beautiful portraits of her friends on old decks – we’re always excited to see what’s next for Sam.
How did you start skateboarding?
I got into skateboarding through my older sister. I basically used to copy everything she did. I first picked up a skateboard maybe 13 years ago, but I’ve been actually skating and learning tricks since I was nine (so that makes 11 years!) I grew up mostly in Plainfield, New Jersey but moved to Elizabeth, NJ when I turned nine. Elizabeth is where I really started learning how to skate.
What made you want to pick up the skateboard? What inspired you to keep skating?
Seeing my sister skate really made me want to do the same. We did everything together when we were little. I stuck with it because I found skating to be really fun and sort of a sense of freedom. There are no rules to skateboarding so I really get to be creative with it.
When we first met you, you came to our mini competition with Trophy Griptape. How did you get connected to them?
Wade, the owner of Trophy, reached out to me through instagram. My friend Nico had put in a good word to him. Wade seemed to like my skating and asked me to be a part of the team.
What is your relationship with sponsorship in skateboarding?
Do you feel pressure to get sponsors in skateboarding or maintain these relationships?
Before having sponsors, I’ve never really felt pressure to get them, but now that I do have a few, I always have that feeling in the back of my mind that I’m not doing enough for them. I know this feeling is probably irrational, but it’s hard to shake the feeling. I don’t have someone to film me at all times so it’s hard to stack clips when I find the time.
What do you see/wish for your future in skateboarding?
What I see and wish for my future in skateboarding is progression. I have a list of a few tricks that I want to learn and goals I have for myself to achieve, and once I reach those goals I’ll make even more for myself. I just want to work on getting better, and whatever comes along with that is icing on the cake!
You paint these beautiful portraits on old skateboard decks. How did you start doing that?
I came up with the idea to paint these portraits with my girlfriend as a Christmas present for some of our closest friends. I thought it would be cool for them to have a picture of them skateboarding on a skateboard. It took a really long time but I love how they came out and hope that everyone who got one feels the same.
Do you feel like there’s a connection to artists and skateboarding?
Yeah I think skateboarding and art go hand-in-hand. In a lot of ways, skateboarding is art. Like I said, there are so many ways to get creative on a skateboard. You can practice to learn all these very technical tricks or just mess around and do something that no one else has done. There really aren’t any boundaries. And I’ve noticed that people who make art are usually the type of skaters to do really unique tricks and find new ways to utilize a skateboard. I think anyone who skates is an artist.
How do you express your creativity in skateboarding?
I try to constantly learn new tricks and push myself to expand as a skateboarder. I try to express my creativity with every trick I do and every obstacle I skate; through my style. Most of all, I think I do so by just doing whatever is fun for me.
When I was younger, I used to stay out in front of my apartment complex with my sister and friends and we would skate all day. There were no skate parks close to us so we always had to come up with new things to do.
Over the years I have learned that you don’t have to skate a particular way to have fun, nor do you have to skate a certain way to be perceived as a “real” skateboarder. I think that being able to do a little bit of everything really shows that you can be creative.
I really love that sentiment. Your style is so fun to watch. Speaking of watching, we’ve seen you posting more and more videos and edits lately. Are you getting into filming skating more?
I’ve always filmed for my friends, but now since we’re all stuck in the house, I’ve been putting together clips more! As much as I love skating, I love to see my friends land tricks they’ve been working hard to land, and capture these special moments.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start skateboarding?
To anyone who wants to start skating, I would say to not be afraid of looking “stupid” on a skateboard (for lack of a better term). Before you’re comfortable, you’re going to be uncomfortable. It takes a lot of practice to get used to the feeling of riding a skateboard, let alone learning tricks. Also, it helps to not care what others think about you when you’re skating. This is way easier said than done, but focusing on yourself and not everyone else will help your confidence in skating. More often than not, the other people at the skatepark are more worried about themselves than what you’re doing. And skaters know more than anyone else how much dedication it takes to learn, so I’d say to keep all of this in mind when starting. The fun of skating is definitely worth the effort.
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