#SKATETOFIGHT was born in the Spring of 2015 as an idea between friends James Harris and Beau Durrant. Both had suffered from Mental Illness, and both used skateboarding as a way to cope. They realized that they had the opportunity to spread a message of hope and healing through skateboarding.
Starting off with this website as a way to simply publish your thoughts, feelings, and how you cope, #skatetofight has grown to produce media, sponsor riders who travel the world racing and helping people, host events to teach people how to skateboard, and help people find and reach out to professionals in their respective fields to help those who suffer from their particular challenges.
#SKATETOFIGHT has grown to focus on more than just those who suffer from mental illness, but also those who have faced addictions and those who have fallen victim to sexual assault. Through this project, we aim to help those who struggle, and teach those who don’t know how they can help.
“#SKATETOFIGHT IS AN ORGANIZATION CREATED TO RAISE AWARENESS AND SUPPORT TO THOSE WHO STRUGGLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION, AND VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT.”
I grew up in Ohio and had a pretty average childhood. My Dad dealt with depression but that was kind of kept on the down low. I didn’t really know much about it. When I was 20, I moved to Logan, Utah to attend Utah State University.
In 2010, at the start of my second year at USU, I bought my first board: a Landyachtz Switch. I had had a couple pin-tails before that but I had learned about sliding and decided I wanted to try it . My exact thoughts were, “I just want to learn how to slow down and stop. And I don’t want to do any of those stand-up slides. Those are nuts.” I was soon eating my words. I met some other people who did freeride and down hill and soon, I was hooked. Standies became my slide of choice and I was skating every day.
I didn’t encounter depression until 2013 when I was on a two year service mission for my church. I had been on my mission for about a year and had no problems before that. But when it did hit, It was debilitating. I couldn’t get out of bed some days and I felt hopeless. After about eight months of struggling, I was released from my mission early so that I could get the help I needed. Because I had never really dealt with depression before, I had never seen skateboarding as a coping mechanism. It wasn’t long after I got home that I discovered this. When I did, it made a huge difference. Twenty minutes of skating helped me more than any medication or therapy.
I soon met others who also used longboarding as a means to cope. I realized that I wasn’t the only one struggling. I wasn’t alone. A deep desire to help others with similar problems began to develop. I realized that we don’t have to deal with our issues alone.
I can only hope that this website can help somebody who is struggling to find hope and community. I know it is hard to open up about such a personal thing like depression. Nobody likes feeling vulnerable. Just know I am always here to listen. I am not a professional of any kind. I can’t give you medical advice but I know the power of a listening ear.
JADEN BEAU DURRANT
I grew up in the little town of Morgan, Utah. I started street skating when I was pretty young, I think around 7 or 8 years old. I stuck with it for a few years, but eventually lost interest and moved away from it. When I was about 14 or 15, I had a surgery where I couldn’t get out of bed for a few weeks. One day when I was sick of Netflix, I started watching some Youtube videos, and somehow found my way into watching Mike Benda’s Demonseed video. As soon as I was able to, I went out and bought my first longboard, and I began to teach myself how to skate.
I feel like I began to experience depression when I was around a sophomore in high school, but I always was able to shut it out until I turned 18. I was serving an LDS mission when I began to have severe anxiety attacks and reach serious lows. It was eventually got bad enough that it led to serious suicidal thoughts and actions. I was released as a missionary and returned home to my family and to receive medical care. After a few months of being home, I moved to Logan, Utah to begin college at Utah State University.
After about 8 or 9 months without skating, one day I decided that I needed to get out and live again. It was really hard for me to do. I was living in a new town, I was going to college, and I knew nobody. I went out one morning, and skated by myself. By the end of the day, I had met another skater and was soon introduced to the entire skating community of Logan. This is how I met James and he told me about #skatetofight. It was at that point that I realized just how therapeutic skating was for me and how it was the same for many others.
One of the reasons why skating is so wonderful for me is the community. Skateboarding is all about spreading the stoke, helping others progress, and truly just having fun. Sure, there are those who hate on other skater’s styles and talents, but there’s no need to focus on them. With skating, you just do what you enjoy, whether it’s downhill, freeriding, freestyle, dancing, whatever. It’s truly all about you.
I’ve found that when struggling with mental illness, you must make the choice everyday to fight. Even more than every day, sometimes every hour, minute, even every waking second must be spent battling anxiety attacks, resisting intense depressive thoughts, fighting to keep on living. There are many ways to fight, and no matter how easy they sound, how enjoyable they are, they can be very difficult to get yourself to get out do them. I’ve found that for me personally, skateboarding, pottery, and being in the beautiful outdoors are my deepest passions, and some of my main tools to battle depression. Sometimes they don’t get the job done, and I work every day to find other things to help me get through it. The ultimate tool, for me personally, is my relationship with God. I believe that God has helped me in ways that nothing else can in my journey and battle with depression.
My hope with my work for this page is to help others find healthy tools to help them battle their challenges, whether it is something that I am passionate about or not. My main goal, and I believe James’ as well, is to spread hope, because hope is everything.