My buddy Steve likes to skateboard. He is pretty good too, giving lessons on the side and spending a lot of his free time at various skate parks around the Circle City. I haven’t had the chance to see him shred, but I know he is active and has a passion for boarding. He is also into fitness, and spends a lot of time running. Good thing… because Steve is about to skateboard across the state of Indiana. Steve spent some time in Haiti a few years back doing some work for Christian World Outreach. The organization still means a lot to him, and Skate Across Indiana will help support other CWO initiatives. Steve is raising money to fight the AIDS epidemic in Zambia and Zimbabwe. 100% of the money he raises will go toward funding CWO efforts. I was so impressed with his determination to do this, I figured what better way to tell his story than to let him tell you… an interview seemed fitting. I took some time and sat down with Steve Hill to learn more about Skate Across Indiana.
How long have you been skateboarding?
I got my first skateboard for Christmas back in 2000, so about 11 and a half years.
Do you ever fall? Have you ever gotten hurt?
I fall all the time, it’s just sort of the nature of the beast. I’ve had a few bad ankle sprains over the years, but my worst was when my skateboard popped up and hit me in the face. I was trying to do a trick, landing on it wrong, and got drilled just above my left eye. It split my eyebrow open and I had to get stitches. Fortunately, I’ve never had any broken bones or concussions.
What kind of board do you use?
I ride a bigger board. Talking purely specs here, it’s 8.5″ wide with Independent 149 trucks, 54mm wheels, and Bones Swiss bearings. Indianapolis’s local skateshop, Rise, has always been super supportive of my skating and makes sure I get good deals on equipment.
Guys like Tony Hawk get a lot of attention. What does it take to get to that level?
I would say talent, but a lot of it comes down to marketability. A guy like Rob Dyrdek (Fantasy Factory star) is one of the most visible skateboarders ever, but he’s actually not one of the most talented guys out there. At the end of the day, if your personae can get kids to buy the boards, the clothes, and the shoes, you’ll probably end up getting a lot of attention. Talent gets you on the radar, but marketability is really what gets you notoriety.
Tell me a little bit more about Skate Across Indiana.
Skate Across Indiana is a 2-day, 160-mile skateboard ride happening on June 8th & 9th. It’s designed to raise money for HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs in Zambia and Zimbabwe that are run by an organization called Christian World Outreach. These programs teach thousands of people each year how to remain HIV-negative, where to get treatment and testing, and how to react to people with the disease. They also care for orphans of the disease and makes sure that those kids grow up in a stable environment they’re familiar with.
You have a sweet video to help promote that. Who shot that video?
Thanks! The video is up on Vimeo for your viewing pleasure. My colleague, Shane Trowbridge helped me film it.
Why did you pick to help Christian World Outreach?
I actually have been involved with CWO for a few years now. I went to Haiti with them back in 2010, so existing relationships were a big factor. Another reason is that they’re a non-denominational ministry, so they’re not as susceptible to getting wrapped up in the politics of helping people. They simply focus on addressing the needs of an individual both physically and spiritually. I’ve had the opportunity to witness they’re work first hand and I wholeheartedly believe that their operations are extremely effective and frugal.
Where will you be starting your journey across the Hoosier state? Where will you be ending?
I’ll be starting on the Illinois state line in a town called Perrysville and I’ll end in Richmond. I’m looking at about 80 miles of riding each day.
Are you going to have anyone behind you with water or to help in case of an emergency?
Yes, I’ll have a support vehicle along with me. We’ll have all kinds of drinks, food, repair parts, and first aid supplies in it.
How else are you promoting this?
I have a lot going on in terms of promotion. I’ve been using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Vimeo to get the word out. I’ve also emailed a lot of my friends and family members for help as well. Other than that I’ve done interviews with bloggers like you as well as media outlets like local newspapers and magazines. I’m hoping that the local news stations will feature the event as we get closer to the actual day of the ride.
You have a couple of corporate sponsors for this. How did those come about? How are they helping raise awareness?
So far Hanger 3 (a necklace company) and Cash Doctors (a short term loans company in Australia) are my sponsors. They’ve contributed financially to the cause and Hanger 3 even gave me some of their necklaces to use as incentives to donate. My website has information about how to get a necklace if someone is interested in donating to the cause.
This entire thing reminds me of Forrest Gump… where he ran across the country. Would that be a goal in the future, or is this just a state-to-state thing?
Ask me again when I’m done with this one! Honestly, I’m really not sure. It would be cool to do other things along similar lines, but I’ll just have to assess that when this one is finished.
You did some mission work in Haiti a few years ago. How did that change the way you view the world today?
People come away with all kinds of realizations from experiences in third world countries. I had been exposed to poverty before so I can’t say that I wasn’t already grateful for things like food, clothing, and a roof over my head. The thing that I did realize was how much opportunity we have here in the U.S. to pursue our dreams. In Haiti, you can’t just apply for a scholarship, go to school, and get a job in a field that interests you. We’re truly blessed to have as many opportunities as we do here.
Is there a hashtag people can use to follow along on Twitter?
What do you hope to learn from this experience?
I’ve had a few people ask me if I’d want to do this on a regular basis or try to do rides across other states. I’m not really sure what the future will hold for this event, but I’m getting plenty of experience from this first go-around.
How much money have you raised? What is your goal?
My goal is $2,000. I have a matching sponsor so realistically I just need to get to $1,000 to hit that goal. Right now about $200 has come in so far, but it’s still early.
Good luck on your trip across the Hoosier state. In all of the interviews I give on my blog, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Thanks so much for featuring Skate Across Indiana. I’d also like to thank the sponsors of the event as well as everyone who’s contributed to the cause. People who are interested in learning more and/or contributing to Skate Across Indiana should go to http://stevenahill.com/give. Contributions are tax deductible and really will go a long way in making a difference in the lives of others.