News Article Details

Skate to fight

The Herald Journal - 5/2/2017

For Beau Durrant, downhill skateboard is an outlet. A way to free his mind from the “darkness” that creeps in.

After returning early from his LDS mission, Durrant, along with friend James Harris, formed #SkateToFight in the hopes of helping those battling depression and other forms of mental illness.

“We both returned home from our LDS missions early because of depression,” Durrant said. “We both used skateboarding to cope with our depression. We realized what could be done with that and started Skate To Fight to create a community of healing.”

Durrant said the duo created a website and a social footprint to tell their stories along with others who might skate through life without connecting to others “battling illnesses.”

With nearly 1,500 Facebook followers, the message of #SkateToFight has reached “hundreds of thousands” through some of the video stories published featuring Durrant and others. The stories recount their personal battles while offering hope and understanding.

“Simply by going though depression, you understand it and those around you dealing with it a little better,” Durrant said. “It is a special kind of illness and darkness in your life. Skateboarding has been a way for us to connect with others to build a community of skaters and help people open up in healthy ways. This has helped create a safe space for a lot of us.”

Durrant said they have been able to create video messages and have articles published in skate industry magazines that engage people from around the country.

With the group’s growing network, they have started to expand beyond depression and mental illness to include messages related to addiction and sexual assault.

“We really want people to know they are not alone and learn of the healthy ways to heal,” Durrant said. “A lot of people might not consider this healthy because it’s skateboarding and you could get injured, but when you think of the unhealthy ways of dealing with depression or other issues, this works for some. It’s what works for me and the others who are here.”

Durrant stressed that while though their community is “strong and a good support group for those dealing with demons,” it doesn’t replace the help of licensed professionals, medication or other avenues.

As the #SkateToFight community has grown, so has the desire to create outreach events to connect with different groups, Durrant said.

Through a partnership with Northern Utah Downhill — a local “tribe of skaters” — they have starting hosting a series of clinics to educate those interested in the sport.

Perched in the hillside subdivisions above North Logan, nearly 50 downhill boarders assembled to learn about #SkateToFight and develop fundamentals Saturday.

Through the clinics, organizers hope to develop skilled, safer riders.

“This event is to teach them how to safely skate the boards they own,” Durrant said. “It also helps those out who are a little more skilled to hone their abilities with some of us who have been skating for years.”

With their $10 entry fee, participants could demo downhill boards that were configured in “super flexy,” “really turny” or even “super slidey” setups, to use some of the skaters’ terms.

Having helped at group’s clinic last year, Korby Beckstead said it was good to see interest in the sport and those learning about Northern Utah Downhill grow.

“Northern Utah Downhill is a community of skaters here in Northern Utah and specifically Logan. We all live here and skate here,” Beckstead said. “We really want to teach people and help them learn how to stop safe, which is a big deal. A lot of people will bomb a hill and not know how to stop without getting really hurt.”

For more information about #SkateToFight visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/skatetofight, or their website, www.skatetofight.com.

Dylan Whittier rides a longboard down a hill of a North Logan subdivision during a Northern Utah Downhill and #SkateToFight clinic on Saturday afternoon.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

Dylan Whittier rides a longboard down a hill of a North Logan subdivision during a Northern Utah Downhill and #SkateToFight clinic on Saturday afternoon.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

Korby Beckstead speeds down a road in a North Logan subdivision during a Northern Utah Downhill and #SkateToFight clinic on Saturday afternoon.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

Korby Beckstead speeds down a road in a North Logan subdivision during a Northern Utah Downhill and #SkateToFight clinic on Saturday afternoon.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

A pair of sliding gloves are seen during a Northern Utah Downhill clinic in North Logan on Saturday afternoon.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

A pair of sliding gloves are seen during a Northern Utah Downhill clinic in North Logan on Saturday afternoon.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

Beau Durrant, center, talks with skaters during a Northern Utah Downhill and #SkateToFight clinic on Saturday morning in North Logan.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

Beau Durrant, center, talks with skaters during a Northern Utah Downhill and #SkateToFight clinic on Saturday morning in North Logan.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

Chris Bland speeds down a road in a North Logan subdivision during a Northern Utah Downhill and #SkateToFight clinic on Saturday afternoon.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

Chris Bland speeds down a road in a North Logan subdivision during a Northern Utah Downhill and #SkateToFight clinic on Saturday afternoon.

John Zsiray/Herald Journal

 
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