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Skateboard Legend Brandon Turner Masters the Mother of All Hardflips

Brandon Turner

Skateboard Legend Brandon Turner Masters the Mother of All Hardflips

As its name attests, the hardflip is one of skateboarding’s most difficult moves. So when the move is seamlessly executed, the boarder gets lit with accomplishment. The same goes for going sober. In fact, you could call flipping from addiction to sobriety the Mother of all Hardflips. And if the glow of his roll is any indication, skateboard legend Brandon Turner has it beautifully mastered.

It wasn’t easy though. Not even close. Then again, few worthy moves are. Turner had enough hardflips under his cap to know that. He also had more than enough bumps and bruises, not to mention consequent breaks. The kind of gifts given to those who stay on the board too long.

Thankfully, Turner finally learned when to bail.

The Rockstar Boarder

Bailing had always been pretty much anathema to Brandon Turner. Sure, he knew a well-calibrated bail could be the difference between break and skate again. But there was something about jumping off before succeeding which rankled him. Especially since Turner never once figured not to succeed. See, Turner’s thing was commitment. When he committed to a trick, the trick got did. Period.

That make-or-break attitude helped make Turner one of the most accomplished skaters of his age. “Lil B” (as he was known) was all of 12 when he landed his first sponsor; all of 13 when nestled under then-phenom Peter Smolik’s proverbial wing. Through Smolik, Lil B rode out his mid-teens tricking for Voice Skateboards. By the time he turned 18, the newly-minted pro was more then ready to have Shorty’s Skateboards ship him around and around the world.

It was a whirlwind — and then some. And Turner’s commitment intensified with each and every dizzying spin. Why wouldn’t it? A whirlwind of extremely high paid skating and partying in a different city every week? The problem was Turner started committing to the partying more than the ‘boarding. Then he forgot to bail. Twice.

Afraid of getting arrested for underage drinking in a park, he jumped off a bridge near Mission Beach and broke his leg. A year later, he had a second leg snap, as well as a Near Death Experience.

“It got out of hand with the partying” Turner told San Diego Union Tribune reporter Pam Kragen. “I started losing control of myself and making bad decisions.”

And how.

Turner explained to Kagen that the “‘street lifestyle’ of using and selling drugs and cycling in and out of jail took over his 20s and early 30s.” Then, a year or so after getting out of prison, he finally got sober.

That was over four years ago. Turner’s been on off the booze and the drugs ever since.

The Rockstar Recovery Coach

Turner may have bailed from the partying, but he didn’t bail from the ‘boarding. His true love of the sport wouldn’t permit it. Neither apparently would the true love of his fans. It turned out many of those fans were also having trouble with the hard partying. And they needed someone who knew their struggle inside and out.

Turner was that someone. Healthy Life Recovery saw that. And the San Diego rehab center appointed Turner activities director as a result of what they saw. Now, every Tuesday and Thursday, Turner and a group of sober-seeking skaters meet at one of the city’s skate parks and learn how to master the Mother of All Hardflips.

“There’s almost nothing that I haven’t experienced in that world, so I can relate to them,” Turner told People‘s Jason Duaine Hahn. “What you feel a connection to is relatability. And in this world of people who are suffering through the same things that I do, it’s a no-brainer, you know?”

Dylan Phillips knows. The 27-year-old traded South Carolina for the shores of Southern California so that he might finally free himself from addiction’s grip. He told Hahn it’s the closest to feeling happy that he’s been in a long time.

Then again, Phillips should feel happy. After all, he left multiple run-ins with the law and a handful of overdoses in his wake, including one overdose his fiancee didn’t live through. He’s also enjoying the end of eight years of revolving door rehabs. Mostly though, Phillips is digging his connection to a true inspiration.

“Brandon really cares about us,” Phillips told Hahn. “He doesn’t allow my fear or my anxiety or anything like that to stop me from doing what I’m capable of. He pushes everybody to that level.”

Looks like Brandon Turner is no longer just a rockstar skateboarder, but he’s also a rockstar recovery coach.


Brandon Turner and the Hardflip

Healing Properties applauds Brandon Turner and his mastering the Mother of All Hardflips. We know sobriety is an incredibly difficult move. We also know that it results in unending reward. Apparently Turner now knows it too. And he’s determined to share that knowledge with anyone who needs it.

It takes a true legend to live up to the tag “legendary.” Brandon Turner is that legend.

We’d also like to thank the Union-Tribune‘s Pam Kragen and People‘s Jason Duaine Hahn for providing the reporting that spurred this story. Their acuity helps make the world a sharper, more knowledgeable place. And for that we all are grateful.

We’re also grateful to Dylan Phillips and all the sober-seeking San Diego skaters. Sobriety takes guts, real guts. So does sharing your story with others. We thank you all for sharing the courage of your convictions.

What about you? Into skateboarding? Seeking sobriety? Looking to get on the good foot — and stay there? Help is around you know. In fact, it’s nearly everywhere. All you’ve gotta do it call. So please. Pick up the phone. Hit the digits. You’ll be damn glad you did.

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