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I can still recall my first encounter with a skateboarder. I was 11, meandering along the pavement on my way to school, completely lost in my own little world as usual – until I was abruptly jolted out of my reverie, and rooted to the spot by the sight of a local skateboarder rolling past me, effortlessly weaving his way through parents and schoolchildren like a stream finding its way through a forest. Every detail of that first encounter is still etched on my memory: the rattle of the wheels along the tarmac of the road, the clack of its plywood tail as the rider jumped nimbly over the kerb and onto the pavement. It was as if the skateboard, with its special grip surface, was invisibly attached to his feet. I’d never witnessed anything like it before – and I knew I never wanted to walk to school again. After a few weeks of my constant nagging, my parents finally caved in and matched my savings with a similar amount – just enough for me to finally buy my very own skateboard, an impressive model with a huge lion graphic underneath, just like the one I’d seen that day.