BY BRENDAN MAHONEY
Seven years ago, Lewis Arnold founded New Blood Skateboard Shop in Vero Beach to make a difference. The Fort Pierce native and resident spent his years after high school skateboarding, bouncing from job to job, and committing what might be called lewd behavior.
“I started feeling guilty for everything though,” he said. “There was a time I didn’t want to live with myself anymore. Then it came to me I needed to stop with all the nonsense and man up.”
Arnold took all of his money and told a friend about his idea for New Blood. The friend opened up a skateboard shop in Fort Pierce and Arnold went to Vero Beach.
Arnold has been skating for 20 years and still rides his board every now and then with the guys who ride for his shop. He sponsors local skaters, some of whom have made it big in the skateboarding realm.
“Whenever the New Blood team comes to the park, it always makes the vibe better,” said skater Max Harttman. “Everybody stops taking breaks and gets back on their boards and really starts trying some crazy stuff. They’re like our local legends and we get so stoked when they skate.”
Scotty Hausheer, who has been riding for New Blood for the past four years, says that Arnold is “a rad dude. You know, he can be a little too lax on himself when it comes to opening the shop, but he is a great guy.
“He is just like one of us, except that he is 36 has a wife and a daughter, but still thinks he is 19. He’s the kind of guy you would expect to own a skate shop, and I am glad he does.”
Arnold had never dreamed of New Blood while he was in high school. The store was a to keep himself in the real world and be involved with skateboarding.
“Being a skateboarder you always kind of wish you owned a shop so you could get stuff cheaper, hook your buddies up all that good stuff,” he said.
“So it wasn’t really something I had ever deeply thought about. Now that I am a skate shop owner, I see that it is not all helping out your buddies and stuff like that. It is still a business no matter how much I wish it wasn’t.”
Arnold has made a large impact on the world of skateboarding. Zach Raulerson said. “It is hard to go to a skate park and not find at least one kid with New Blood grip tape on their board.”
“Arnold takes local skaters who ride for him to contests around the country to be seen by representatives from board companies, shoe companies you name it,” he said. “It is like football scouting but skateboarding.
“This is a great opportunity for all local skaters. Kids see that other kids they skated with or went to school with and magazines and think, ‘Hey, I could do that.’
“This gets more kids wanting to skate, and more kids skating is good for skateboarding. Lewis and New Blood inspires many local kids and older guys to go out and skate and have fun.”