"Wheels" performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"

Life Rolls On Adaptive Athletes Demonstration

As a photojournalist in Hollywood, I have covered many, many events over the years. For a while there, 150 events per year was the average. How many events in total have I covered? I can’t possibly tell you. How many have affected me the way the Life Rolls On Adaptive Athletes Demonstration to Benefit Spinal Cord Research did last weekend? I can count them on one hand!

Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Christiaan “Otter” Bailey captured mid-cork into an “Otterpop” at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

So a caution now, this is a long blog with double the normal amount of photos. If you’re on a slow connection, be patient, this one is worth it! The photo gallery is in chronological order, just the way it happened at Venice Skatepark on the beach in Venice, California on July 25, 2015.

Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

To see these people overcoming such adversities in their lives to be able to participate and even compete at professional levels in such an athletic sport is simply awe inspiring. While many of them face challenges with mobility in their daily lives, it is clear the freedom of movement, and for some (Oscar Loreto! … Mike Shea!), it seems the sheer speed of the ride is exhilarating!

Oscar Loreto performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Oscar Loreto performs at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

Just watching them perform is sure to get your blood flowing!

Mike Shea performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Mike Shea performs at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

I was introduced to Katherine Beattie soon after I arrived.

Katherine Beattie on the way to perform at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Katherine Beattie on her way to perform at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

Katherine’s triumph over personal challenge was plainly evident in her celebration for the cameras, and for this photographer, it was definitely a high point of the day.

Katherine Beattie performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Katherine Beattie performs at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

Next up was a guy named “Wheels” who is absolutely maniacally energized … and completely fearless!

"Wheels" performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
“Wheels” performs at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

It seemed to be dueling handstands for a few minutes.

Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

After a few others, “Wheels” came out again … and went airborne!

"Wheels" performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
“Wheels” performs at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

Andrew Hale and Oscar Loreto (both in photos above) were showing off their moves when one of the most startling displays of skating control happened right in front of me. I had already mentioned to cameraman Sean Newhouse how impressed I was with his skills both as a videographer and skateboarder. He laughed saying it was the only way to stay up with the action. I completely agree!

Katherine Beattie performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Cameraman Sean Newhouse captures Katherine Beattie’s performance at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

While Sean was filming Mike Shea to my left, it seems one of the Venice locals decided he would like to show his skills (he is actually a very good jumper), as he came up out of nowhere on my right. You will see in the series of photos that Sean and the visitor made eye contact, adjusted their paths, and passed back to back on the narrowest part of the ridge within inches of each other … and neither one missed a beat!

Cameraman Sean Newhouse filming Mike Shea at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”
Cameraman Sean Newhouse filming Mike Shea at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

Next up was Jesse Swalley, whose energy seems limitless!

Jesse Swalley performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Jesse Swalley performs at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

Justin Beauchesne can skateboard upside down better than many can do so right side up!

Justin Beauchesne performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Justin Beauchesne performs at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

Co-MC for the day, DJ “Skatemaster Tate” (a/k/a Gerry Hurtado) did a masterful job on the mic.

MC "Skatemaster Tate" works the mic at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
MC “Skatemaster Tate”works the mic at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

Conner Millan is another inspiration. His determination to perform well here for the fans was emphasized just days later when he went in for surgery on his foot. Wishing you well Conner.

Conner Millan performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Conner Millan performs at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

The end of my day (6 hour limit on the meter was all used up) came with the rail rides. Remember I mentioned that “Wheels” is maniacal? Well, he did a hands-free jump, then followed that by landing a 180 spin in the air and finished it into a full 360 on the pavement. Unfortunately, his completed 360 in the air was blocked by one of the volunteers in their excitement … but I can tell you “Wheels” landed that one too!

"Wheels" performs at Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
“Wheels” performs at Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

Risking an expired meter and the wrath of the Venice Parking Police, I stayed for one last jump that I had to see. Evidently, one of the grommets decided he wanted to give the rail a try for the first time. Volunteers from Life Rolls on, who had been ever present throughout the entire day, leaped in to help.

Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

I can’t think of a better way to end the day … and this story. Stay strong little grom. You’re a true champion!

Life Rolls On "They Will SKATE Again"
Life Rolls On “They Will SKATE Again”

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