NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Jake Wooten’s love of skating started like a lot of kids his age.
“The second I saw Tony Hawk and Andy Mac (Macdonald) skating that vert ramp, I was in love.”
For Jake, it may have started that way, but it wasn’t just a fascination with a star. Skating was a much-needed escape.
The 20 year old wasn’t trying to be like his hero, he was trying to be his own hero.
“I realize that skateboarding literally saved my life. If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be here that’s for sure,” said Wooten. “I was so blessed to have this opportunity and just to have this outlet because I was in a very rough situation when I was younger and this was such a positive thing I could put my energy into.”
Jake’s parents struggled with addiction, so he was raised by his aunt and uncle in Gallatin, Tenn. His uncle introduced him to skateboarding and it changed everything.
“I transitioned all that energy that I had from negative things like getting kicked out of school and seeing the example my parents were leading, and I was able to put it into skateboarding. A positive versus just getting angry all the time. I could put that anger into my skating and learn new tricks.”
Turns out, he learned a lot of new tricks – enough to turn his hobby into a job.
“It’s a job now, but the core values of it haven’t changed in the slightest bit,” he said. “I’m still having as much fun as I did the first day I stepped on my skateboard.”
Now that Jake is a Red Bull athlete living in California, he partnered with the company to bring his love to the community he loves. Over the weekend, he loaded up the Red Bull truck and drove it across the Middle Tennessee area, delivering a mobile skatepark to friends and communities.
“We were just trying to think of brighter, more positive ways we could bring everybody back together and bring the community the skate scene, and put it back on the map a little bit. So we decided we would pull up to people’s houses I knew throughout Nashville and they knew throughout Nashville and it was a really good time.”
The tricked-out truck carries rails, ramps and a jam-packed stereo system.
“It was awesome to get to pull up with the truck and play some music and just put that little vibe into that little area of that little neighborhood of wherever we were. It was just a really awesome experience. To be able to be in my home city, a city I’ve been in for the last 20 years, and just put on for my city a little bit.”
The pandemic has touched just about everyone, but because Jake is no stranger to adversity, he knew what worked for him, might work for others.
“I know whenever I was younger, I would go skate. It would make me feel way better because it’s hard not to smile when you’re skateboarding.”
It’s hard to tell underneath his mask, but paying forward the “gift of skate” also sparked a smile.