Thoughts on my recent 'Epicly Later'd' series binge.

Owen Cassidy

3/19/20243 min read

Below is an excerpt from an Instagram post I made in the Summer of 2018:

'It’s different now. Due to lack of tendons in my left ankle I can’t do tricks that involve much impact or certain balance shifts. Those days are far behind me now. But you know what? I’m having fun just riding the concrete waves, meditating, thinking and breathing deep. It feels good to push hard and go fast, fighting and feeding off the winds.

I’m nostalgic for the long summer sessions, and I miss the days of jumping gaps, doing arguably out of style varial flips and hitting launch ramps, tweaking mute grabs and judos. The days where you could fall hard ten times and still skate the next day. Now a hard fall puts me on the DL for a day at least.

I have a very dear relationship with skateboarding, and though I may not always be faithful entirely, I will always return to it. I see it as a great way to practice self expression and exercise will and mental toughness. It’s an art form. I mean, you’re literally fighting with hard surfaces. You can’t win. You will fall. You will fail. It’s about failure to me. Just like life.'

I wrote that about 2 months before I cleaned up and I've been clean since. But I can only count the number of times on one hand I have been skating since then.

Recently, I've been rewatching this Vice series called 'Epicly Later'd'. It was created by skate journalist Patrick O'Dell, and has been around for years. But basically, it details the lives of mostly professional skateboarders, usually ex-pros, those in the twilight of their careers, or are in the midst of an epic comeback of some sort.

There are some exceptions. For example: Harmony Korine gets an episode. Note: I can't really recommend this one, it's a tightrope (more like slackline) of captivating vs. cringe.

Then I watched the Ali Boulala episode. It was painful to watch, but not because he has some of the undoubtably hardest bails of all time.

I won't bother to tell the story of what happened to Boulala. The whole skateboarding community who witnessed that era of the early 2000's is familiar enough with what I am referring to, so I will leave all you non-skate-nerd-rats to investigate for yourselves. I will say it's a sad and unfortunate tale. But an idea that maybe is now more universally accepted than in years past has become super clear to me.

And it's this: That this event could have/would have/should have happened to quite a few of us. In this regard, I see myself as lucky, and grateful it didn't happen this way or similar for me.

Ali CANNOT skate like he used to, for reasons made abundantly clear in this minidoc. He reflects on this, how skating now is different for him, and that he has to learn to accept that. He also talks about it will continue to be part of his life in some capacity, whatever works, whatever's fun.

This idea I still identify with, deeply. Skateboarding or not. It applies to life, to failure, to learning, to accepting. I'm not, nor have ever been THAT good at skateboarding, so I will just keep dreaming about what my episode of 'Epicly Later'd' would be like. But I know I would want it to be life-positive, accepting of who I was then, and proud of who I am now.

Watch: Epicly Later'd