Enjoying nature and getting myself back in America

Text by Đineke Cornelissen – 8th of Dezember 2016 – 16:00

This summer I traded the Netherlands for California USA. I went there for five and a half weeks. Obviously I went there to skate and relax there with some friends. It is getting cold and rainy here in the Netherlands and I want to go back! So I will tell you about the adventures I had there and what inspired me.

We stayed mostly in Oakland. Where my friend lives. We also went on a holiday into the middle of nowhere. There we stayed twice, both times for a week. And it was in a beautiful wooden cabin and of course we had some beautiful mountains around us to skate and explore!

The nature around the cabin


Oakland is a perfect location to be, for skating. It’s close to San Francisco, where it is beautiful to skate next to the ocean or shred the sidewalks in the middle of the city. Oakland is also close to the mountains, just outside of the city.

Sunset view from the hill in Oakland

Many mornings me and my friends went to a skate park. We skipped breakfast, went there, skated in the skate park for a couple of hours and got a nice brunch after. In the afternoon we chilled or went to the mountains to downhill. This is such a different dynamic as in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands we only have a few outdoor skateparks which are way smaller. We dutchies can only dream about hills or we have to make a long drive into Germany, France or Belgium.

Well, enough about the Netherlands. In the morning when we arrive at the skatepark I’m trying to find a spot where I can dance. I don’t wanna be in the way of the skaters. I remember the first few times in a skatepark in America. It is already different because I’m on a different continent and then I’m the only girl there, who has the only big ass board there. It feels like everybody is watching you. Yes people look. Of course you would look too if you see something different then normal. But a few moments later everybody is back to focussing on skating. So why won’t I focus on myself and my skating? Just enjoy what I do myself and don’t be afraid of somebody’s thoughts. Just make that first step and then it gets comfortable more quickly. If I focus on my dancing and myself, I will also quickly forget about everything around me, I get into that flow.

Most of the time my iPod helps me to zone out and focus on my dancing. Also for other things that get me out of focus not only people.

One of the skateparks we use to go has a basketball field next to it where I go skating. It’s my favorite spot. People play basketball and there is a baseball field and a playground next to it. So you see a lot of people doing their thing and enjoying their day.

It is my favorite spot because of all the things around you and I still have a lot of space to practice my dancing on. But what I never expected where the positive reactions and the joy the children and teenagers had on my dancing. Most of them never saw such a big board.

They were interested in the different way you move on a dancer than on a small trick board.

One girl really liked that it looked like dancing. She was like “Woaahh you really dance on the board”. The joy I could give these children by showing them my dance moves and letting them try my board reminded me again why I skate. In the first place, I skate to feel happy, to have fun, to challenge myself – So don’t be afraid. Lately I’m way too much afraid. I don’t wanna live my life like that. I’m also afraid with skating. When I’m curious about a trick somebody did, I’m to afraid to ask how that person did it. With girls I have it less. So I’m really happy S*pin skate is here! But how those children at the basketball field approached me, with no fear and only curiosity. Reminded me to don’t let your fear stop your curiosity!

So focus on what you want – your goals! Don’t focus on how difficult or easy or scary it is, or what went wrong. Because then you’re in your own way. And even if you achieve your goals, you won’t feel satisfied, because you are focused on all the negative things.


The mountains

If we were heading to the mountains during the day or in the evening I skated one road the most, “Tunnelroad”. It is nice to really learn to turn and get used to skating in traffic. You can grip all the corners but they are tight and of course open road, you also have to watch all the holes in the road.

Skating Tunnelroad with all the holes and traffic.

The first time I went to this road I slided some of the corners. I didn’t know the road and I needed to get comfortable with that much traffic. My friends were in a car behind when I skated down. That also felt safe because then I don’t have to watch behind myself if there is a car coming. When I got used to the traffic and got to know where all the holes and bumpy parts where in the road, I started gripping the whole road. At the end I started playing a bit with the road, that was the most fun part – Really felt like I gained something!

And overall with the traffic: It is more busy but it felt more safe because it feels like a lot of people know downhill skateboarding, in comparison with the Netherlands. But it was surprising that lots of bikers were so positive when they saw me skating downhill. In the Netherlands the bikers are most of the time negative about you skating on “their” road. But in the mountains near Oakland cyclist shout positive raises at you like, “You go girl!” or they give you thumbs up and smile at you. It surprised me and made me feel more free because now I’m skating down with everybody who uses the road instead of skating in everybody’s way.

Bikers on the road

At the cabin we went to a road that was super long. Sometimes you saw nobody. And the pavement was super, almost no holes or cracks. It makes you feel free and forget everything skating through the forest with nobody around you. The only thing was, it was high up in the mountains so you had to acclimatize to the height for 3 days before you could do something without getting exhausted. But because of the height you learned to listen more to your body, what it wants, not only what the mind wants.

The first few days you couldn’t do much, you could think and relax. It feels nice to go away from everything you know and just do the simple things in life. Get back to yourself and see what you really want and stand for.

Road in the nature.

One of the last days we went to a beautiful spot to take pictures. There was this little girl which was skating on her scooter next to her parents. She followed us, chilled with us and didn’t stay with her parents because she wanted to skate with us. She was a pretty cool girl, what did what she wanted.

The girl who wanted to skate with us was looking at my dancing

It was a great five and a half weeks where I went back to myself, to get myself back together and figure out where I stand for. I needed this because since my mom almost died from cancer I wasn’t myself anymore and had to figure out again what life means for me. It is good to do this for yourself even if you don’t have a difficult patch in life. California was good for it because the culture is different from mine, but not too different. My manners are slightly different than this western culture. Because of this I didn’t do everything on autopilot, what we normally do with our daily things. Now I could see my actions, think about it and see what I want to be and how to bring that to the rest of the world.

Dineke from The Hague

About Dineke

Dineke is from the Hague and studies media design and love downhill and dance.

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Dineke's Freeride Setup

Deck  Omen spawn 

Trucks   Bear Kodiaks

Bushings   RAD Glides

Wheels   SP Momentum


Dineke's Dance Setup

Deck  Bastl Walzer

Trucks   Caliber 50’s

Wheels   Bustin 5 o’s

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