By VIVIENNE WONG
Treat every setback as a comeback. Every time you fall, get back up and continue on.” That’s what 19-year-old Singaporean skateboarder, Farris Rahman always tells himself after he falls off his skateboard or fails to complete a routine.
Farris is the first skateboarder from Singapore to be signed to Red Bull and has travelled the world, representing his nation in skateboarding competitions such as the 2011 X Games Asia in Shanghai and the 2012 Maloof Money Cup in South Africa.
“When I found out that the (Maloof Money Cup) was in South Africa, I was shocked. It was really an eye-opening trip to see that there’s an actual skating scene there and seeing how good the people from other continents are, it makes you feel like you have to buck up,” said Farris, who started skateboarding at the age of four after watching his brother in action and decided to give it a go.
According to Farris, the atmosphere and experience is what sets the skateboarding scene back home apart from the international arena.
“For local competitions, you go up against your friends and you know what they are capable of so it doesn’t really push you. But when you compete on an international level, you don’t know what to expect so you have to really focus and give a 100 percent or 110 percent, if possible.”
After dedicating almost all his life to this extreme sport, Farris explained that he views skateboarding as a form of exercise and self-expression. So he feels that it’s really unfortunate that people have a misconception that skateboarding “is a very ‘rebellious’ sport and a waste of time.”
“When I first started, I know my parents were like, ‘are you sure this is what you want to do?’ and I was like, ‘yeah!’ and my dad said, ‘if you really love the sport then why not? It’s better than doing something unproductive’.
“So I’m really lucky to have my parents’ support because I know it can be quite difficult to get parents to understand these days,” said Farris, whose goal is to turn professional by 25 and be one of the top players in the world.
Even after accomplishing so much and coming this far, he wishes to go even further in his career. However, if things don’t go as he wishes, Farris has a back up plan.
“I’m studying so at least I have some papers because in this day and age, it’s almost impossible to survive without one.
“I always try to balance it out and not to miss class,” said Farris, who is currently a Diploma in Outdoor And Adventure Learning student at Republic Polytechnic in Singapore.
Farris, who was recently in Malaysia, said that he hopes for more professional skateboarders from the US to come here and help the local kids learn the basic moves as well as some decent tricks.
“Kids these days try to learn (the moves) from skate videos, which might look easy but when you actually try them, (are pretty) tough. It was hard for me. So being able to let the kids skate with pros would be great.”
Farris was here to help build a skate park in Tasik Taman Jaya, Petaling Jaya and had revealed that it was a childhood dream fulfilled.
“To be able to do it now, knowing that what I’m doing here will impact other skaters, I want to do the best for them,” he said.