For many years Professional skateboarder Neen Williams lived a life of sleepless nights partying while creating a name for himself in the skater world. Born in Chicago, Illinois and currently shredding street tricks in his hometown of Los Angeles, California Williams has managed to attract sponsorship from several brands including:
- Circa Footwear
- Thunder Trucks
He also has a line of board designs that are all pretty slick. Neen Williams says he’s been skateboarding since he was about 13 years old, and with the territory he found himself smoking and drinking alcohol on a regular basis. Now, at age 31 he has turned his passion into his point of reference for a more sober approach to life.
Sobriety and Skating
Williams admits that he used to have a very different perspective of the life of a skateboarder himself. In a recent video with VICE he states,
“Skateboarding forever was like ‘drink boozes, smoke, we don’t stretch we don’t work out,’ and later in the interview he explains, “Back in the day I used to wake up late, eat like a burrito and slam a beer; go out and skate, manage to get a trick, and it would just be party time again.”
“It would never stop. It was just like a vicious cycle. There were a couple nights I would wake up at 6 or 7 (PM) and it would be dark outside.”
In that vicious cycle, Williams talks about needing days at a time to recover from drinking and partying, and on the last day when he finally felt good enough to get back to skating he would immediately go back to the partying as well.
He goes on to say that he wishes he had known all of this when he was a teenager, but even at 31 years old he is still learning so much. During part of the video interview Neen Williams says that he knows if you take care of yourself, you can skate forever. That, he says, is why he now makes the effort to eat so well and train his body,
“This is why I do all this healthy stuff for myself… because that is what I want, is to skate forever.”
That seems like a really legit reason to take care of yourself; to do what you love forever!
Originally Williams said he decided not to drink for the 6 to 8 month healing period he was told he would need for a torn ACL. Since then, it appears his lifestyle has changed dramatically to make his dream work.
Health Food and Fitness
Even though some may not immediately associate a balanced and healthy diet, along with regular exercise, it appears to have become a crucial element to Williams’ evolution as a skater.
On VICE Williams prepares a breakfast of acai bowls that honestly look stacked with natural goodness. Williams tops off one of the meals he makes- serious serving of what looks like well-blended fruits and vegetables- with diced pineapples and what I would guess to be barriers, almond butter, and granola, it looks like heaven.
You also get to see Williams break out a yoga mat and start stretching himself out. From there he said since Saturday isn’t a week day, he warms up with a quick 200 in to start the day.
When talking about his workout, he compares it to any other athlete. He says football players train to do what they do and they are covered in pads and protective gear. While he admits football players have 300lbs of muscle falling on them, he says the pro skater is usually out in the bare minimum, if anything, fighting sometimes face-first with concrete.
The Deathwish Team Manager, Jay Thorpe, makes a cameo during a street-side video shoot and says it is “really rad to see” when talking about Williams cleaning up his act and committing to the thing he wants to do for the rest of his life.
Williams says that while he doesn’t judge anyone, and doesn’t regret his party days, he has seen a lot of people fall because of it and he likes what he’s doing now. Probably a big inspiring part of Williams’ story is that he says he is glad he went through it and worked his way out of it to be the person he wants to be.