With bright red pants, and the skill set and ambition of a skater half his age, it’d be hard to tell avid skateboarder Mark Simpson, a 42-year-old Costco employee, apart on his first run through at the skate park.
Last week, Simpson marked two years of keeping a skateboarding streak alive.
Since Jan. 1, 2013, Simpson, a skateboarder for 30 years and Sequimite for 11, has made an effort each day to do an ollie, a move snapping the board while jumping and keeping the board to his feet.
Simpson’s attitude toward the streak: “People should do something everyday they love.”
As a former semi-professional skateboarder and instructor, Simpson won multiple skating contests but hasn’t stopped what he loves as he reached his 40s.
Simpson said taking 15 minutes to skateboard puts him in the right mindset and it has helped his health. When Simpson began the ollie streak, his right knee, that he uses to kick off for the ollies, would pop out but as he went along with the streak his knee no longer was an issue. Now his jumps rival his time as a teenager, he said.
The idea to start the streak came to Simpson in 2012. He looked online to see if any skaters documented something like this before. His search only showed a man named Ollie who documented a “selfie” a day but it had nothing to do with skateboarding.
“I figured there are millions of skateboarders in the world, so I want to see if I can do it,” he said.
The response from family and friends online in 2013 was good, he said, so for 2014 he decided to take a photo each day of his efforts.
In two years, he’s ollied through the elements of pouring rain, snow or it being so windy that it makes it hard to stand on his skateboard.
“There are some days where you are so sick it throws off your equilibrium, but I still get it done,” he said.
Simpson has done ollies at home or nearby in Dungeness or at Sequim Skate Park and even on vacation in California and Mexico. To finish his second year of a performing an ollie, Simpson went to the Sequim Skate Park in near-freezing temperatures on Dec. 31.
While looking back on his two-year experience, Simpson said he started the streak more for himself but along the way he has met people whom he’s inspired. He’s also discovered a large online community of skaters in their 40s and 50s still skating across the nation.
During his journey, his friend Gary Barss of Seattle plans to include a snippet about Simpson in his upcoming motivational book about goal setting. He’s branded Simpson’s ollie-a-day “The 365 Day Challenge” and shows how people can develop discipline.
Barss writes, “The ollie move in skateboarding opens the doors to other aspects of the sport. If you can ollie, then you can leap your skateboard up onto a curb or a rail or perform all kinds of other tricks. Like Mark choosing to perform this move everyday, you can choose one simple idea to act upon everyday and you too will create the discipline to open the doors to other areas in your life.”
Sometime this year Simpson plans to turn his documented ollies into a video. He doesn’t plan to capture each ollie in 2015 but he doesn’t intend to stop skating anytime soon.
“I’ll probably do it everyday the rest of my life,” he said.
Local Skate Park options
• Sequim Skate Park, 202 N. Blake Ave.
Built in 1999; 21,900 square feet
Allowed: BMX, rollerblades, scooters and skateboarding
• Port Angeles Skate Park, E. Fourth Street and South Race Street
Built in 2005; 10,000 square feet
Allowed: rollerblades and skateboards
• Port Townsend Skate Park, intersection of Monroe Street and Jefferson Street
Built in 2006; 10,000 square feet
Allowed: BMX, rollerblades and skateboards
• Forks Skate Park, 437 Tillicum Lane
Built 2008, 6,000 square feet
Allowed: rollerblades and skateboards