Chances are you’ve probably heard the name Serge Murphy by now after a shocking YouTube video of the Dracut skateboarder getting nailed by a delivery truck went viral. The accident, which Serge miraculaously walked away from without any broken bones, happened about a year ago but since the video post, Serge’s phone has been ringing off the hook from press. The 21-year-old appeared on the Today show last week. This week, he gives the lowdown to Howl scribe Nickolas Tsui in a Q&A that touches on his harrowing day and teaches us a lot more about Serge — one crazy talented boarder.
Serge Murphy is one of the chillest people I’ve ever known. After a horrific accident that would have killed most people, he enlightened me on his future plans, goals, meeting Tony Hawk, the accident and what keeps him going.
Q: What made you pick up a board?
I would watch others do it. Some of my friends boarded so I ended up trying it. I was hooked the first day and just kept going.
Q: Who are some skaters or people that have inspired you?
Well, my mom, family and friends for sure. They’ve always been there to support me. They all work hard on their own ventures just like I work on mine. [National skaters] Andrew Reynolds and Jamie Thomas are huge influences. Manny Santiago & Dave Bachinsky from Lowell are also incredible to board with.
Q: What was it like meeting Tony Hawk?
It was funny and it surprised me. I walked into the house and he was getting his makeup put on. He was a really nice guy and we just talked for a while. It was shocking. They even drained the pool so we could do the interview in it.
Q: What are your future plans for skateboarding?
I just want to keep going; making demos and sending them to sponsors. We get a lot of equipment and stuff from our sponsors but I want to get picked up by one of them fully and turn amateur or pro.
Q: Are there any good places to skate locally?
Hadley and Bartlett skatepark are good places to go. Downtown Lowell offers a lot as well. Hadley includes a vert ramp, mini ramp, and a street course. It’s free, concrete, and open from 8:30 a.m. to sunset. Bartlett is located at 1-69 Wannalansit St.
Q: What makes Lowell a good place to skate?
There’s lots of parks. Downtown offers a lot of different settings for tricks; there’s lots of benches. Most people don’t care if we skate, usually they’re pretty accepting, but we get the occasional person who isn’t. We know boarding has a bad rep sometimes so we try to be respectful. It helps break the stereotype and promote our culture on a positive note in the city at the same time. Aside from that, it’s fun and easy to get here with a group of guys and there’s so many places to go.
Q: What do you think would help improve Lowell artistically/culturally?
It would be great if they could fix all the mills. It would revamp Lowell’s history and incorporate that more into everyday life.
Q: Were you ever on a skate team?
Right now I’m on the Eastern Boarder team. I’ve also got a couple of sponsors. Not on their teams yet but that’s what I’m working towards.
Q: You won a sponsorship with Bones recently. Can you tell us more about that?
The Bones team picked up the three of us who entered. Originally, it was an online contest and the best of the three entries was gonna get in. So we’re sponsored by them now, but I want to work my way towards trips they have. They give us shirts, wheels, bearings and other swag.
Q: Name a trick or stunt you’ve done that sticks out in your mind.
One of my favorites was a heel flip down 15 stairs; definitely one of my best and I’m surprised I landed it.
Q: What went through your head before/during/after the accident?
I remember I had a rush after landing a trick. I had done it once, but the second time I did it I kept both feet on the board and just went straight. I knew I was headed for the road but I didn’t think. I didn’t get knocked out [on impact] but just the feeling of being hit; it hurt so bad. I couldn’t breathe for five minutes. I just kept thinking over and over again “Do I have internal bleeding? Broken ribs? They must be broken and puncturing me.” This all came after I got hit. I went to the curb and waited for the ambulance to come. I could have been dead.
Q: Skating is a work in progress like anything else. When will you be able to say you’ve “made it?”
Not sure. Who is it up to really? People that sponsor me would have to think I have enough to produce. I think you’ve made it when you’re recognized for what you do. There’s a lot of work involved especially being on the other side of the country, but it’s possible. I’m not gonna give up trying unless I physically can’t do it anymore.
Q: Do you have any advice for skaters who are just starting out?
I do. If you’re gonna be serious, it’s an awesome experience. It’s better to be out there and active. Possibilities are limitless and you get to choose what you wanna do. There’s nothing to hold you back and no one will tell you not to attempt a stunt. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done and one of the most free feelings I’ve had. Stay away from the streets or you will get hit!