June 30, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

VIDEO: Life Rolls On at Venice Beach Skate Park

1:29pm

By Melanie Camp

It was a take over at the Venice Beach Skate park. Adaptive athletes dropped in at the 2016 Life Rolls On event, proving there is no such thing as limited ability.

Life Rolls on is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for young people affected by spinal cord injury. Believing that adaptive surfing and skating can inspire infinite possibilities beyond paralysis.

On March 1, 1996, Life Rolls On founder, Jesse Billauer was ranked in the top 100 junior surfers in the world. Three weeks later, a wave at Zuma Beach rendered him unable to stand again.

1 A Life Rolls On SteveChristensenPhoto
Life Rolls on Founder Jesse Billauer with one of the paraplegic stars from the reality TV show Push Girls, Tiphany Adams

However, this paralyzing accident would not keep Billauer from surfing. “About 15 years ago I started Life Rolls On,” says Billauer, who refused to listen to those who said he would never surf again. Pioneering adaptive surfing gear, and with the help of the loyal surf community, Billauer got back to the waves.

“We started the They Will Surf Again program and then we realized we could do They Will Skate Again, They Will Ski Again, They Will Motocross…whatever! Right now we just do They Will Surf and They Will Skate and you never know, we can expand that to other things,” he says

They Will Surf Again, has grown into a catalyst of hope for thousands of individuals throughout the world and has expanded to skate parks across the country under the banner of Life Rolls On.

3 Life Rolls On SteveChristensenPhoto
First woman to do a backflip in a wheelchair, Katherine Beattie says life doesn’t end with a wheelchair, it begins.

Katherine Beattie is a regular at Venice Skate Park. “It’s the best park in LA. I drive an hour before work to get here ‘cos I love the vibe.” She used to skate regularly until she was around 11 years old when she went on what she calls, “an extended hiatus.” In the 12 years she didn’t skate Beattie went through surgery, “I never recovered and couldn’t skateboard any more.”

4 Life Rolls On SteveChristensenPhoto
Beattie is a regular at Venice Skate Park. “It’s the best park in LA. I drive an hour before work to get here ‘cos I love the vibe.”

It was Life Rolls on that got Beattie back into the sport she loved. She started skateboarding on her knees and then moved into WCMX with her wheelchair, where she became the first woman to do a backflip in a wheelchair. However, she balks at the idea that she might be an inspiration to people.

“I’d rather just be a good skater, a good WCMXer. If people get motivated and stoked by what I’m doing that’s awesome but I’m really just out here, just like any other skater, to have a good time and push myself,” she says.

While Beattie may not see herself as an inspiration even Billauer says he is motivated by the people he meets at the Life Rolls On events.

7 Life Rolls On SteveChristensenPhoto
Wowing the crowds at Venice Beach

“We had the biggest turnout. A bunch of young kids in wheelchairs and a bunch of athletes came out to support this whole cause. I was just very inspired and super motivated to see people who just never want to give up, no matter what happens to them in life, they just follow their heart and follow their mind and they just want to do amazing things,” he says.

Abandoned at birth, Polina Skaggs spent the first 5 years of her life as orphan in an ‘Home for Invalids’ in Russia.  When her American parents, Larry and Kendra Skaggs adopted her, Polina’s paralyzed legs where broken in 2 places and she needed multiple surgeries. Early on she suffered Reactive Attachment Disorder, a condition found in children who may have received grossly negligent care early in life.

Now, fearless, 8- year-old Polina says the best part about honing her “skills” at Life Rolls On They Will Skate Again is “falling.” She says she practices at home “pretty much every day.” She even has a name for her bright purple wheelchair, “Plum Crazy…It’s a crazy fellow!”

5 Life Rolls On SteveChristensenPhoto
Polina has named her chair Plumb Crazy… “It’s a crazy fellow!”

Already armed with a slick set of skills Polina can Duck Walk, Hand Plant, and do Wheelies. Skaggs says Life Rolls On is a great opportunity for the younger kids to, not only make new friends, but also “push each other to their limits and learn new things” that they can take with them into everyday life.

“Today Polina learned how to do steps. So now when we’re out and there isn’t a ramp or an elevator, she can do steps and not be scared to do that and make her way around. Independence is really important.”

Skaggs says the biggest misconception is that being in a wheelchair is limiting. “Everybody always wants to know is she ever going to walk? But, walking isn’t that important. She has her wheels and she’s happy. We have opportunities that other people never get to do,” she says.

Beattie says that while able bodied people might think having an amputation or being in a wheelchair is a terrible thing she couldn’t disagree more.

“It’s like I have a bike strapped to me, like how awesome is that!?

I get to have my bike with me 24/7, have a good time, drop into bowls. Who wouldn’t want that!  Wheelchairs are fun. That’s my message. Don’t be afraid of them. It’s really just the beginning of your life. Not the end of your life if you have a wheelchair.”

You can find out more about Life Rolls On and donate, to help expand opportunities for adaptive athletes and those who aspire to live beyond limits, online at LifeRollsOn.org.

Related Posts

The Yo! Venice Interview: Erin Darling For City Council

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

First-place finisher & Venice local Erin Darling talks frankly with Yo! Venice about, homelessness, climate change and the upcoming runoff...

Column: Where Will We Shelter the Homeless?

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

By Jeff Hall Federal Judge David O. Carter is a hero, as far as I’m concerned.  He essentially forced the...

Column: LA Election Results Remain Tight, Close & Competitive Come the Fall Runoffs!

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

By Nick Antonicello The results for the June 7th Primary continue to trickle-in with not much change:  In that special...

Column: Centennial Park Update – Cleared, Cleaned & Fenced!

June 16, 2022

June 16, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Centennial Park, long a homeless encampment for months that had spilled out-of-control into a haven for open...

The New Math: How Does Caruso Get to Victory in a One-on-One Race With Karen Bass?

June 15, 2022

June 15, 2022

By Nick Antonicello After a $45 million investment in a race he was expected to win, Republican-turned, independent-turned Democrat Rick...

Column: The Endorsement Race!

June 13, 2022

June 13, 2022

With 40 percent of the CD-11 vote up for grabs and four months to go, Park & Darling will compete...

Column: It’s Caruso/Bass for Mayor, Darling/Park for CD-11, Rest of the Field Is Eliminated as We Brace for a November Runoff!

June 9, 2022

June 9, 2022

Villanueva/Luna locked in a tight battle for LA County sheriff! Hertzberg/Horvath headed for runoff for LA County Supervisor! Pullen-Miles leads...

The Yo! Venice Interview: Kevin McGurk for LA County Judge

June 6, 2022

June 6, 2022

By Nick Antonicello  With so much time in court litigating both criminal and civil cases, the position of public defender...

Population Loss: New Era or Pandemic Glitch?

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist The numbers suggest a major change is underway in California. It would take a Nostradamus to...

Column: Down the Stretch They Come

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

By Nick Antonicello  A “manufactured narrative” in this race to succeed outgoing,  “lame duck” Councilmember Mike Bonin is that certain...

Interview: LAUSD School Member Nick Melvoin. The Teacher That Puts Kids First!

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

By Nick Antonicello If you didn’t know any better, you would think LA school board member Nick Melvoin was twenty-points...

Keeping Kids Safe in Wake of the Tragedy of Uvalde, Texas

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

By Nick Antonicello In wake of the shootings that occurred in Uvalde, Texas I reached out to Allison Holdorff-Polhill, a...

Column: MAYOR ROBERT PULLEN-MILES, THE BEST CHOICE FOR VENICE REPRESENTING IN SACRAMENTO!

June 1, 2022

June 1, 2022

Lawndale Mayor uniquely qualified to succeed Autumn Burke in the California General Assembly By Nick Antonicello  On Tuesday June 7th voters...

Yo! Venice Sits Down With CD-11 Conservative Mat Smith About Homelessness, Rising Crime and the Quality-of-Life Conditions in Venice and Beyond!

June 1, 2022

June 1, 2022

By Nick Antonicello  It was only appropriate that Yo! Venice speak with CD-11 council hopeful Mat Smith over the long...

Column: “True” Democrat?

May 30, 2022

May 30, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Just what is a “true” Democrat?  It’s an interesting question in a non-partisan council contest where attorney...