For some people it is just an annoying piece of wood, it is dangerous and makes a lot of noise. But for others, a skateboard can mean the world. It can give you confidence, it distracts you from your everyday struggle and it can make you believe that everything is possible. Skateboarding is fun, skateboarding connects. But it is not always that easy to even get a board or find a skateshop.
I talked to Lukman Abdulrahman, a skater from Abuja, Nigeria about his passion. About his love for skateboarding the struggles he had to face when skating in Nigeria and about his project GoSkateNigeria, with which he wants to make the people aware of the beauty of skateboarding
Yean, my name is Lukman Adbulrahman and I'm from Nigeria. I grew up there and just moved to Scotland last year for my Master's degree. And, yeah, I've been skating since I was a kid.
Skating in Nigeria was really tough. I was kinda like a lone wolf, a lone skater. Just me and my board. There weren't a lot of people skating there. It is just very odd. Nobody skates, there weren’t any skate spots. I used what I had like flatground and stuff. I also got a lot of negative things thrown at me, because of skateboarding. Even my parents were not really down with it. So yeah, most of the time I was just skating alone.
Yes! Three years ago I decided to find out if there are skaters like me in Nigeria. I wanted to find them with the help of social media. So I thought, why not create a platform where people that are interested or have been skating like me, alone and underground, could find each other and create a huge community. It all started that way. Just like anything you put your mind to and you just say "Let's start this thing".
Yeah, exactly. Two months ago I decided to design my own skateboard. That, for example made people aware that this whole project is serious, that skateboarding is serious. Skateboarding did come and will stay in Nigeria. Like, it is a thing now
I was shopping for a skateboard in Edinburgh and came across that board that was all pink with a sketch of a cat and a pussy underneath. haha. I thought wow, this design is really simple. I can just do my own version of it that could relate to Nigerians everywhere. And Nigerians relate to that term “na wa ooh” everytime. So I was like ok, let's do this. It actually means just "WOW".
Well, I had the idea to bring skaters together a long time ago. But projects like "Skateistan" and "Ethiopia Skate" gave me a lot of inspiration. They pushed me. They made me believe that this is really possible. There was a time when I watched the video, the Skatistan video, I think it was in Afghanistan, and It was really rough for them. The way the kids started to skate there, it was just really rough and tough. So I followed their progress and how they brought professional skaters in there from the US. It was just really inspirational how they pushed it.
We are making progress. But there aren’t any skate parks yet. Lagos Is a huge city but is is crazy there aren’t any skate parks there is nothing going on. So the next project is to get as many skateparks as possible. So get skateboarding out there! Like kids need to skate. They need to know the magic.
There are a lot already. People are picking it up really fast. But I think the lack of infrastructure like skateparks, the availability of skateboards and everything is really slowing down the process. Once those things are available there are a lot of people that are really interested like into the lifestyle, into skating and everything. Skateboarding is taking over around the world.
I hope after getting skate parks and merchandise we can teach kids how to skate and just do what Skatistan is doing. Just promoting positive vibes, doing good things for the community and letting people know that skateboarding is not that negative, pain in the ass thing.