52 Strangers Project | Strangers #13 | Oakland Lifestyle Photographer

Apr 14, 2021


A Stranger on a Skateboard

I met Ferny on a recent walk through UC Berkeley. The spring weather has made being outdoors even more enjoyable, and the campus was filled with couples and families spending time together on the lawn.

On the outskirts of campus, I came across a group of skateboarders. They were perfecting their jumps and tricks, some more successful than others. I stood and watched a while before striking up a conversation with one of them.


When I introduced myself to Ferny and told him I was a photographer, he told me he was a skater. He skates anytime and everywhere. I asked him why he liked this particular spot and he told me there is a skate shop nearby, and the neighboring businesses don’t seem to mind the skaters. On occasion, they will be asked to leave, but most of the time they are uninterrupted.

He and his friends had some impressive tricks, but I wondered if there had been mishaps. He told me he broke his collarbone as a kid, but not skating! That was surprising as I imagined broken wrists and other injuries.


As we stood and talked, I noticed that he had a tattoo on his arm that read, “When’s the last time you took a little time for yourself?”. We should all remember to take time for ourselves. I imagine Ferny probably takes time for himself every day!


When I asked what he likes to do besides skating, he told me he loves to fish. He quickly clarified though that he doesn’t eat fish, so he throws back everything he catches. He just likes the quiet and solitude that he finds when he’s fishing. I recently chatted with a fisherman who was fishing for Monkeyface eels, so I asked Ferny if he had ever caught one. He hadn’t, but he pulled out his phone to show me a guitarfish that he once caught.

It was time to let Ferny get back to skating with his buddies so we said goodbye. As I walked away, he was already back to his tricks. Thanks for chatting!

Be sure to check in next week to see who I meet.

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