Growing up in Southern California, one almost takes for granted the surf/skate culture. Beautiful beaches like The Wedge in Newport Beach, The Pier in Huntington Beach, and Trestles in San Clemente have drawn millions of surfers to ride their epic waves.
On any given day, you can drive down PCH and see a line up of surfers waiting to catch the perfect wave, and during the summers, there’s always the big surf competition. There are surf camps in nearly every beach city along the coast, allowing anyone to grab a board and lesson.
Back in the day, you would find kids skating empty pools and parking lots, being chased out by neighbors or police. Today, companies like Vans and Etnies have built state of the art skate parks in Lake Forest, Orange, and Huntington Beach, giving the community a place to congregate. Even hosting major professional competitions.
“You can meet me where the music meets the ocean” | BOB MARLEY
In Jamaica, the gorgeous beaches boast beautifully carved waves that host local surfers who have learned by spending countless hours with friends, chasing the perfect wave. When the community isn’t surfing, they are out skating the same empty pools we did so many years ago. You see, they don’t have the luxury of many surf camps or skate parks.
In this month’s YouTube docu-series release of Bob Marley: Legacy Ride Natty Ride, we are introduced to the beautiful Jamaican coastline with its’ epic waves and the incredible people of Janmesia. And, we learn just how deeply Bob’s music has influenced their surf and skate culture.
This episode details the importance of community, self-expression, and the feeling of freedom within the surfing and skateboarding cultures while drawing parallels to Marley’s music.
Passionate interviews with the impressive “Godfather” of Jamaican surfing Billy “Mystic” Wilmot, owner of the Jamnesia Surf camp, and Jamaican skateboarders Froggboss WellRaggedy and Kayla Wheeler share how surfing teaches character to take on the earth, elements and mastering one’s own destiny.
WORDS of WISDOM
“”The spirit of community is the greatest feeling of humanity”
They all grew up listening to Bob’s music; they got older and began to listen to the music’s words and messages and realized how powerful they are. It has influenced them to encourage the younger generation to realize their true potential. When they aren’t surfing in the morning, they are skating empty swimming pools. It is a beautiful, tight-knit community, teaching the younger generation of athletes that might not fit in with traditional sports.
It’s clear how the community respect and depend on each other. Willmot points out, “When you have a country that is full of a lot of people who don’t have a lot of resources. The person next to you becomes a lot more important than just your neighbor.”
In an interview with skateboarder Kayla Wheeler, she shares how difficult it has been to grow up poor. Her mother thought skating was a waste of time, yet skateboarding allowed her to become herself.
Skating is difficult on the island with no official existing skate parks. In Bull Bay, the government planned to build a sewage plant to discharge sewage into the ocean. The community protested against it, and the operation was called off. In the drainage system, the community has built the first unofficial grassroots skate park. There are ramps and rails, all designed to still allow for proper runoff from storms. There are plans to continue to grow the park and improve it, unifying the community just like Bob’s music.
The Ride Natty Ride episode follows the release of the digital EP, “Songs of Freedom” Rarities’, featuring new mixes of “Iron Lion Zion,” “Is This Love” and “One Love/People Get Ready.”
As part of Oakley’s 2020, For the Love of Sport Campaign, the company revealed their remake of Marley’s song “One Love”, in early September.
The new verse was co-written by powerful Oakely athletes like Ryan Sheckler, Caroline Buchanan, and Diamond DeShields. It was performed by American-born, British-Jamaican singer-songwriter, Celeste.
In continued celebration of what would have been the Legends 75th birthday, this October, Rizzoli will release Bob Marley: Portrait of a Legend.
This book plans to showcase over 150 photos, curated by his son Ziggy, of the life of Bob Marley. Documenting some of the most intimate moments of his life, sharing glimpses into his creative process, both in and out of the studio, and his sociopolitical movements as well as private moments with his family.
Check back next month for the next installment of the docu-series and find out what other surprises the Marley has in store for fans.
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THE LEGACY SERIES
With all these beautiful tributes, it is safe to say that while he may be gone, Bob Marley surely is not forgotten.