By Brenda Paiz
Meet Spacoli, a local kid with a very modest outlook on life: do what you love and don't cave into the molds of society. And that's exactly what this 22-year old from Albuquerque is doing while he pursues his dream of becoming a professional skateboarder. His real name is Jared Bollen, but he's been going by his “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” inspired nickname since he was about thirteen years old.
Having about ten years of experience and practice under his belt, Spacoli opens up about how skateboarding served as an escape from his troubled home-life. “My mom was a drug addict so I was always trying to stay out of the apartment I lived in, at the time, with her,” he recalls. “I had a friend that lived in the same complex as me, in a similar position that I was in at the time, so he and I would always do anything to stay away from the bullsh*t.”
Having an unstable home and a mother who struggled with addiction, Spacoli not only made the best of his situation but found a healthy outlet to ensure that he would not fall victim to his surroundings. Starting off on a borrowed skateboard and utilizing public transportation, thirteen-year old Spacoli, soon found a healthy addiction of his own: skateboarding.
As time went on and his passion for skateboarding grew, Spacoli soon realized that THIS is what he wanted to do. “Skateboarding has always been about having fun! And when I was about sixteen, I realized ‘Dude, all I want out of life is to have fun and be happy,’” he recalls, “So I decided to try pursuing my dream to become a professional skateboarder.”
Having dipped his toes into music, modeling and acting, Spacoli says that nothing compares to the feeling he gets when he skateboards. And although skateboarding was recently declared an official sport which will even have its own event in the next Summer Olympics, Spacoli says that he does not see it as just that. In fact, he feels the constant need to defend skateboarding because it's more than a sport; it's a lifestyle. “It's my lifestyle. It's a taboo for society when you really break through the surface and go deep into the actual reality within skateboarding,” he discusses, “We do things that are often looked at as an act of crime, but really we just want to have that thrill [that skateboarding provides.]”
And in true 22-year-old-fashion, Spacoli reminds us that he's just like the rest of us when it comes to the heartaches and struggles that come with a relationship. He says that romantic engagements can definitely put a strain on skating for him and is staying focused on skateboarding for now. (Sorry, ladies!) But aside from the obvious struggles that come with being a young skateboarder, he says that the lack of exposure is a huge setback.
Late last year, Spacoli posted a video showcasing his talents throughout various locations here in Albuquerque, and since then the video has gone viral, with over 40k shares and views. After the release of the video, word spread about this up-and-coming-skateboarder from Albuquerque and the exposure has taken him to the next step of pursuing his dream. Spacoli says that since the video has been released, his social media following has grown a lot and he has been offered sponsorships from local businesses.
Being familiar with the importance of collaborative efforts with the community, Spacoli talks about how, in addition to doing what he loves, he also skates for different causes. His skate crew West Side Boyz, are avid about engaging in community events and helping out where they can. “We’ve thrown competitions to fight obesity,” he says, “I’ve also been in the All Nations Skate Jam since 2009 which uses its proceeds to better the youths lifestyles on reservations by giving skateparks.”
So what's next for Spacoli? As far as a long-term plan, he says that he's not one to really look too far into the future. “I can die at anytime so I just kind of go with the flow!” he says. But as far as within the next year, Spacoli plans to turn his dreams into reality as he packs up and heads to Columbia where he is going to film a skate video for one of his sponsors. “I was offered an all paid for trip… i’ll be in Bogota and Cartagena hopefully surfing, skating and getting into mad shenanigans with new people,” he explains, “I'll be there for an album release with Columbia's biggest hip-hop artist and skating with him as well!”
If it's one thing we can all learn from Spacoli, it's that no matter what life throws at you, use it to make you stronger and if you believe in yourself, the sky is truly the limit. We can't wait to see what's next for this Albuquerque Skateboarder! To check out more of Spacoli be sure to follow him on Instagram @SpacoliTheLion.
Published March 2017, ABQ-Live