Liberty Skateboarding Culture Culture Fosters Faith and Community
Skateboarding is much more than a wood deck attached to wheels; the sport exists as a universal language across the world. Skate culture has established a strong presence at Liberty University as student skaters invest in not only their passion for skateboarding but their love for the Lord and one another.
“My love for skating stems from a lifelong admiration of the culture surrounding skateboarding,” Bo Kirby, a junior student and avid skateboarder, said. “It doesn’t matter your skillset, your style, or where you come from, everyone is really intentional, encouraging and deeply relational.”
Kirby began skateboarding at the beginning of his freshman year at Liberty. He had admired skateboarding as a sport, but decided to make it into a personal passion by buying a board, and diving into the skate community on campus.
“It started out with just me and my board,” Kirby explained. “Eventually, it evolved into a lifestyle that I am living with lifelong friends and a whole lot of love for our craft.”
Just as students are passionate about skating, they are equally as passionate about the community of people that love the sport. Vessel ministry, a skate ministry established five years ago by Liberty student alumni, offers community for those who are looking to learn more about the Lord while also doing what they love.
Liberty Mountain Skate Park, an off-campus university funded skate park, hosts the skate ministry every Tuesday night from 7 – 9 PM. Vessel Skate Ministry welcomes anyone interested to gather, skate, and break to go upstairs and study Scripture.
“This Bible study opens the door for us to talk and dive deeper in our relationship with the Lord,” Kirby said. “It truly builds a really strong connection of faith outside of skateboarding itself.”
Skateboarding allows boarders to experience growth and liberation and embrace self-expression. Kirby fell in love with skating because of its unique combination of athleticism and artistry.
“There is a strong artistic presence that exists in skate culture,” Kirby said. “Skating, particularly skate culture, makes my heart beat faster because of its combination of two things I’m passionate about: sports and fashion.”
Kirby said skating does not discriminate against any type of person. The ideology that exists in skate culture, in fact, is accepting those who are considered to be misfits and outcasts with open arms.
Kirby, however, is just one of many who are deeply involved in the dynamic skate culture at Liberty.
“I skate because growing up, I’ve always been looked at as more of an outsider,” Alexander Luke, a freshman skater at Liberty, said. “And skateboarding is the most accepting community and family I have ever found.”
What makes Liberty a particularly impactful place for skaters to grow is the community that exists here.
“There’s a deep and tight culture that exists at Liberty that’s really like nowhere else I’ve ever experienced,” Luke, said. “There’s a solid group of guys that are passionate about riding this plank of wood and mastering their skill.”
Luke has been skateboarding since he was 5 years old and his involvement in the skate community at Liberty has pushed him further in his skill and relationships.
“Skateboarding has always been an outlet to express and digest things going on in my life, and it continually brings me genuine joy,” Luke explained. “You have a deeper connection with random people you meet that grow to essentially feeling like family to you.”
Jessica Green is a Feature Reporter.