When the last bell rings at Madera South High School, no less than two dozen students convene at the back of the campus, skateboards beneath their feet.
They come every Monday and Wednesday to set up obstacles and ramps, from which to launch themselves and do their tricks. Sometimes they stick the landing — other times, their bodies make contact with the pavement. Their advisor, Adam Mena, an art teacher and skater himself, has his arm in a sling, the result of a cracked humerus from a boarding accident.
They call themselves the “Sk8 Club.” Started by Mena, it’s a club that lets students get together to meet fellow skateboarders, discuss their sport, and, of course, to ride.
Wanting to make skateboards, Mena had toured through the skateboard factories of Southern California, where he learned to make boards from scratch. He also worked in two skate shops while in San Diego, and started his own skateboard company in Fresno, before he began teaching at MSHS. While he was there, he met Joel Borstad, a senior fellow skateboarder, with whom Mena has built a close personal friendship. Their conversations, according to Mena, led to the creation of Sk8 Club...