On a roll

Senior finds a passion in skateboarding and teaching others


An attachment to a Tech Deck, a miniature skateboard for fingers, from McDonald’s is how senior Emory McClellan describes how he grew to love skateboarding, a pastime and sport that’s become a major part in McClellan’s life.

“I think it’s something different that a lot of people like the idea of doing,” McClellan said. “People don’t do it too often, but it’s really fun.”

From being a fifth-grader with a toy to a senior with the real thing and skilled with different tricks, McClellan has found himself mentoring his friends and helping them master the hobby that he began as a kid.

Junior Robert Smith, who knows McClellan from track, decided to start skateboarding under his own influence around two years ago. However, McClellan has taken Smith under his wing and Smith refers to McClellan as his “personal trainer.”

“I think he has potential to be one of the greatest,” Smith said. “I think of (his passion) as unique.”

While he’s been working on his own tricks, McClellan has also taught some less difficult ones to Smith as well as Senior Robinson Kee, who just started last semester. An “ollie,” a foundation trick that involves getting the tail off of a surface, followed by bringing your entire board up off the ground, has been taught to both Smith and Kee.

Currently, switch tricks are the trend with McClellan. A switch trick is essentially the opposite position in which one normally rides. Difficult tricks such as a Switch Tre Flip that requires heels to be inverted is what McClellan has been working on the most.

Senior Emory McClellan helps friend junior Robert Smith and guides him onto a ramp on Mar. 8 at Northeast Park. McClellan helps his friends learn skateboarding tricks here often. photo by Darcy Leber

Out of all the tricks that McClellan has learned and performed, his all-time-favorite has to be an inward heel flip. To do it, one must “pop” their board up like the start of an ollie, then flip the board with their heel while scooping it, so that the board rotates. 

“The satisfaction after you land something you’ve been working on for so long,” McClellan said, “it just feels really nice.” 

He now owns three different skateboards, all being 8.25 inches wide. While they all might be the same size, they have different uses such as cruising, street and park. 

The best spot to skateboard, according to McClellan, is a parking garage in downtown Indy, as it has a lot of good spots to practice his tricks.

McClellan spends 2 to 3 hours every day doing different flips and tricks, spending an average of 15 hours every week. When first getting into his skating routine, he starts out in a “transition area” because there is less impact. Gradually, he rolls over into the “street section,” where it’s more likely to get roughed up.

While McClellan’s passion for skateboarding is so much stronger than Kee’s, Kee says that skateboarding with McClellan is causing his admiration for the sport to rub off on him.

“He’s really into it,” Kee said. “I don’t really have a hobby for skating, but after he introduced me … , it (made) me want to skate more.”

With all the tricks that McClellan has learned over the years, he still thinks his biggest accomplishment is simply that he is still skateboarding, even though it’s a hobby extremely easy to fall out of. 

Just thinking of skateboarders, one might group them with the stereotype that they’re mean to beginners. Nonetheless, McClellan assures that the community may be underground, but skateboarders are always welcome to help and invite others to come join their hobby. 

“I know a lot of people try but they fall or it’s too hard, so they just give up,” McClellan said. “I just think sticking through it is good enough.”