Hi, I'm Justin Lind, a writer, coach, skateboard engineer, and builder of things.

I'm building Skate & Create, a skateboarding and art based after-school program in Ventura County, CA launching summer of 2024.

I write essays, mostly about humans, culture, and why we do the things we do.

I've called many countries and US states home, but currently live in my native southern California.

Please introduce yourself via email or Twitter. I'd love to hear from you. One of the best things about writing online is that its a beacon for amazing people — people like you!

Head shot of this sites author, Justin Lind, wearing a white t-shirt, dark green jacket, standing against a red brick wall.
Last updated: 2024-03-22


Skate & Create

Skate & Create is an after-school program that brings a mobile, modular art studio and skatepark right to the kids at school. Our mission is to:

As of March 2024, we are in the pre-launch funding phase with an intended launch for summer 2024. Our long-term goal is to expand into a physical location and to open an independent school. You can learn more and follow the progress at skate-create.com


My Substack, Extracurricular, is the current home for all of my writing.

I'm mostly interested in humans — why and how we do the things we do. My essays tend to focus on topics like the two-way relationship between our thoughts and actions, how we organize and connect with each other, learning, education, growth, and creativity.

Often I explore these topics through deeply personal stories from my own life. A diary-entry shared when I think it shows a broader lesson.

I began writing online in 2013. The main seasons are:


I've been a strength coach for over 15 years. I specialize in kettlebells, gymnastics strength training, and CrossFit. I've also coached youth gymnastics, snowboarding, and skateboarding. This phase of my life is fading out but it is a dominant part of my background and values.

Check out my coaching website to learn more about my coaching philosophy and training specialities. I no longer offer long-term coaching or program design but I would love to chat with you for free if you want some guidance on your fitness journey. It's still some of my favorite stuff to talk about. Please reach out if you think we're a match!

The Longer Story

I love to find a long self-authored bio of someone who's work I enjoy. I always want more context for what they have to say. I wrote this section for those of you who like that extra context as well. I also learned about myself during the writing.

Timeline for context:

An overview of the pivotal times in my life, as I see them. The early stuff might not be exact but they're included because they feel important to me.

  • 1987: Born in California
  • 1992: Got my first skateboard, first love
  • 1993: Started gymnastics
  • 1996: Built my first proper skateboard ramp, minor injuries and major obsession to follow
  • 1999: Learned to snowboard and surf, second and third love
  • 2006: Started at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo for Mechanical Engineering and the triathlon team
  • 2010: Won the only skateboard contest I've ever entered. It was small-time but still makes me smile.
  • 2011: Graduated from Cal Poly, began work as an engineer, found CrossFit
  • 2012: Became a coach, competed at SoCal CrossFit Regionals
  • 2014: Quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Istanbul, began writing on this site. Best two decisions I've made.
  • 2015: Returned to the US after visiting five continents, became a full time fitness coach and freelance writer
  • 2016: Moved to Santa Barbara. Met Marika. Met Shane
  • 2017: Followed Marika to New Zealand. Began IHD with Shane. New top two decisions I've ever made.
  • 2018: Returned to the US with Marika. We built a camper van. Travel, rock climb, repeat for the next 13 months. I also coached a high school snowboard race team in Mammoth and took a 70-foot rock climbing fall.
  • 2019: Moved to Telluride, began coaching skateboarding at Telluride skate camp, then moved back to Santa Barbara
  • 2020: Moved to Boise, ID
  • 2021: Moved (home) to Ventura, CA to become an engineer for a legendary skateboard manufacturer.
  • 2022: Asked Marika to marry me, she said yes.
  • 2023: Got married.
  • 2024: Big plans. Probably a new top two decisions I've ever made...

I'm obsessed with learning

I am a serial-specialist, a term I prefer to "jack of all trades," which to me implies a dilution of effort and focus. On the scale of my whole lifespan I might be spreading my efforts across way too many things, but in every moment it feels like hyper-focus. I'm obsessive and find extreme pleasure in the early phases of a learning curve. It's natural to love learning, but I seem to have an above average appetite for new knowledge, new skills, novel experiences, and a dynamic life. My loved ones tease me about my constant stream of obsessions. I've had a lot of favorite things.

I love beginnings, where connections and leaps forward come quickly. In both physical and intellectual pursuits, I obsess and go from complete novice to relative mastery quickly, but then often lose interest as I reach diminishing returns. Despite early dreams of being a professional athlete, hyper-specialization has never worked for me. I used to see this as a shortcoming because I would never reach "world-class" status in any single thing. I questioned my ability to lean in and commit.

I now understand that my role is not to be a master in any one area, but to be able to walk seamlessly between different groups and cultures. I am fluent in the language of countless sports, niche communities, and subcultures. My ever-growing list of former obsessions allows me to connect a shared passion with almost everyone I meet. Connecting ideas from seemingly disparate ways of life is a fundamental theme of my writing.

I love novelty and a true test

I agree with Helen Keller when she said that "life is either a daring adventure or nothing." All of my most vivid and positive memories are of times when I was tested to my limits. All of my darkest times are when I don't feel that I'm being push.

I like extreme physical tests. But while these are fun challenges and I won't ever stop seeking them out, ultimately they are manufactured experiences. Meaning comes from real stakes. I need to feel that I am being tested by my life path itself.

Every few years, I seem to make a massive career pivot and extreme lifestyle change. I like the novelty and the thrill of leaping and growing wings on the way down. I've sold all of my possessions that don't fit into a small backpack and left the US on a one-way ticket...twice. I've chased a girl across an ocean (and brought her back) and lived in a van. Now, I'm beginning another career shift based on a radical mission to reform education through skateboarding.


We are all products of the culture that we grew up in. It's impossible to understand this until you leave your culture. This is why I love travel, and not the see-the-sights, vacation style travel. I prefer long-term, immersive travel that probably shouldn't be called travel at all — staying many months in a place and living my local rhythms. I'll rent an apartment, shop at the same local market, make a few friends, and walk. Lots of walking. This allows me to quickly make a home in a new place. I've been to nearly thirty countries and through these long-term, indefinite stays, I've made a few of them into homes. Past homes: Reykjavik, Barcelona, London, Auckland, Wellington.

My cultural imprinting

Travel and living abroad are mirrors that reflect back to us the things about ourselves that we could not otherwise see. They helped me understand how much I am a product of my upbringing. I learned how most of my current way of life is simply the way that my country, my town, and my family do things.

Here are the aspects of my background that seem to follow me the most.

I grew up in southern California, in a suburban, coastal town of around 50,000 people. My family is middle-class and I am the oldest of three boys. I climbed trees in our large backyard, walked to school, surfed and skateboarded, and never understood how abnormally harmonious my home life was until I went to college. White-picket fence meets fun in the sun.

In many ways, I am a stereotype. As an American, I value individuality, I eat quickly and often too much, and I cannot shake the tendency to attach my work to my identity. I think I look like an average guy but apparently my appearance and accent reveal a stereotypical surfer/skater from CA. Once, in London, someone knew I was from CA before I even opened my mouth. They told me it was my walk.

In other ways, I am an outsider, an ex-pat in my own culture. I see many of my familial, regional, and cultural biases for what they are and I feel some bit of alienation from almost everyone I encounter in the US. Often American culture, feels like an itchy, ill-fitting shirt.

I regret the way I approached school

I "won" the game of school, graduating at the very top of my large public high school, and I regret it. Getting the high score isn't bad, but the way I did it was. The implicit lessons that I took from school feel more like cement blocks than the winged-sandals one might imagine a valedictorian gets.

I learned to play the game. Complete assignments to the letter of the grading standard rather than in the spirit of deep learning. Ace the test at all costs. Internalize the deeply entrenched norms of the school system and optimize my behavior to succeed within them.

I graduated with the highest honor, but I was risk-averse, entitled, and disconnected from my innate creativity. I learned to trust external validation over my internal compass. All of my proudest adult accomplishments came from unravelling my school programming not from applying it.

I'm grateful that I found skateboarding at such a young age and had an entrepreneur, architect father that taught me how to build things.

Deep learning comes from self-discovery, following our curiosity down meandering rabbit holes, and collaborating with others who share our passions. I've built these values into the core of my life now. My true education began as soon as I left school.

I *try* to stand for, not against

I actively combat my tendency for cynicism. Identifying problems is only helpful to the point that it motivates action. Anything beyond that is just cynicism porn, and boy, can it be fun.

But cynicism is not wisdom. It's nihilistic and comes from a lack of rigor and clear thinking. Both in my personal thoughts and my writing, I choose focus on what I stand for rather than what I stand against.

I believe that public education is failing it's mission to transform kids into adaptable, creative adults who can rise to the challenges of a rapidly changing world. It's easy to dwell on this and many other failing cultural institutions in the modern world. Calling out problems is cheap and easy but I choose to focus on positive possibility and the ways that I can help bring it into reality.

I'm focused on creation

I want to make lots of things. Essays, books, and websites. Programs, courses, and ways to help other people learn. Physical things that leave my hands covered in glue and my hair full of sawdust.

I've had several periods of my life when I felt something was missing but I didn't know what. I now know that it was making things.

As I write this, I'm in (another) major lifestyle re-boot. I suspect that many of the drastic upheavals I've made in the past were a symptom of being creatively unfulfilled. This time, I'm optimizing my life for learning and making.

I'm aiming to structure my life to provide both the creative dynamism that I know I need and the stability to raise a family.

Questions, Comments, Updates?

I revise and update this page as I continue to uncover little things about myself. It's a fun little introspective experiment. Check back once in a while if you're curious.

I also maintain a Now page, with more frequent updates about the things that are currently filling my time and focus.

If you've read this far, I hope that you'll email me to introduce yourself. I love meeting everyone who has found my little corner of the internet.