Photo provided by Evolution Skateboard Academy

Daniel Segal shred-ucates New Hampshire at Evolution Skateboard Academy

Liv Pierog




Daniel Segal’s skateboarding career began on Christmas Day, 1986. 37 years later, he proudly displays a tattoo of that first board. 

He recalled that in his Southern Massachusetts upbringing, being on the Rhode Island border, he spent a lot of time in the Providence skate scene growing up. As kids, Segal and his friends would put together their skate features to practice on in driveways or anywhere they could skate. When an indoor skate park opened up in his area, 14-year-old Segal got a job cleaning the place, recounting that it got gross at times but was still a blast. Years later, the owner of the skatepark was looking to sell, and Segal was looking to buy. “The rest is history,” he laughed.

Segal spent several years running the indoor skatepark, skating every day, and earning sponsorships. However, the landlord of the skatepark decided to not renew the lease. “[the landlord] opened up a skatepark 5 minutes down the road, kicked me out of my building, rented it for more money, saw what kind of business I was doing… took my business model, took all my kids [students], like took my life”, shared Segal.

When Segal initially lost his skate park he was around 27 years old, he remembers feeling like his whole world was shattered. He was at a low point, something we have all experienced in our own lives. He says “Skateboarding kept me out of it. You know, skateboarding kept me sane.”

It was at this point that Segal started answering ads looking for skateboard instructors on Indeed and whatnot. He recalls the first instructing experience he had, it was set up by a third-party company outside of the U.S. connecting all kinds of instructors to all kinds of students. The lack of background checks on instructors was a red flag for Daniel, “..I was like, this is weird. Like I don’t want to do this, you know? Like if something bad ever happened, like these are kids, and I’m the random stranger. You know what I mean? I didn’t want to get caught up in that. And plus, I’m like, why am I doing this through somebody else?” he asked himself.

“So I opened up Evolution. I paid $100 for the LLC… about three years ago. Yeah, this coming summer will be the fourth season.”

2020 was a tough year for many business owners, but the COVID-19 Pandemic didn’t seem to phase Segal, “[COVID] was completely irrelevant. I just love to teach, and skateboarding has given me so much. Without it, I don’t know where the hell I’d be, probably either dead or in jail. 

Photo provided by Evolution Skateboard Academy

He credits his survival to skateboarding, “Without it, I don’t know where the hell I’d be, probably either dead or in jail.” He shared earnestly, “I’m a skateboarder through and through, always have been always will be.” As part of Evolution Skateboard Academy, he now dedicates his life and his time to giving that gift back to his students of all ages. 

Segal recounted one of his most memorable clients. He’d gotten a call one day from a Mom, saying that her 14-year-old daughter wants to learn how to skateboard. “I might cry during this” Segal chuckles, “As they were talking to me, she told me that her daughter is blind. She can see a little bit of color, she could tell a little bit of distance, but she’s mostly blind… And I was like, alright, I don’t care, we’ll figure it out. You know, we’ll find a little gradual thing.” 

They met at a skatepark, but to Dan’s disappointment, she was wearing Crocs (not safe skate shoes). So the mother asks her husband to bring their daughter’s skate shoes down to the park. When the father arrives he and Segal get to talking. It turns out that the father had recently come home from Military Service out of the country after a 10-year run, and the daughter’s blindness onset while he was in the service. The father watched as the daughter practiced standing on the board and rolling down a small hill, and he made a comment about how some of the stances she was learning looked like military stances that he knew. Daniel asked if the girl’s dad would get on the board and try something but the father was reluctant, especially to try the board while his daughter was practicing. 

“Long story short, I gave him my own board and the father and daughter were able to roll down this hill together in tandem, holding hands. It wasn’t like, first try. And I was like, it was super, super, super fuckin sick. And like, he had good balance. And I was like, Dude, you need to get a skateboard. He’s like ‘Oh man, I just got back, things are kinda tight.’ and I chucked him my board. I was like, Here, take it. Like I don’t even care about the money.”

Another of his students as a young girl who was an Afghan refugee. Living in Manchester, NH, she had a number of lessons with Segal, simply to learn how to push around and ride. According to Segal, she can still be seen longboarding around the city to this day. “I gave her something she never had. That’s what it’s all about.”

Segal goes on to say how it is rewarding to him to give the gift of skateboarding whether it be lessons, old gear, or even his board under his feet in the right circumstances. “I do this shit all the time. I have my old used boards, my old used wheels. And they’re not good for me because I’ve been skating since ‘86. Right, but for another kid, they’re brand new.” 

Like many kids, skateboarding is both a mental and physical escape, Segal shared that he grew up in an abusive household, and skateboarding was his way out. He didn’t need a license, permission, or any money, he could just take his board and leave. 

Evolution Skateboard Academy is a by-appointment service for people of all ages wanting to learn skating. For more info check out their Instagram @evolution_skateboard_academy

1 thought on “Daniel Segal shred-ucates New Hampshire at Evolution Skateboard Academy

  1. Thank you so much for the write-up I appreciate it big time. Correction though my last name is not Nathan that in fact is my middle name. My last name is Segal

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