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‘What’s the Rush?’: Film on La Jolla native Nick Broms’ skateboarding career to screen at L.A. festival

Downhill skateboarder and La Jolla native Nick Broms in action.
Downhill skateboarder and La Jolla native Nick Broms in action. “It’s a cool feeling you can’t get anywhere else. You feel like you are floating,” he says.
(Courtesy of Donovan Griffin)

Growing up in La Jolla, skateboarder Nick Broms had made his way down some of the area’s steepest hills and most serpentine roads — except one. It’s a street where some people are reluctant to drive, let alone ride a skateboard at full speed.

But to provide the dramatic conclusion to a documentary based on his life, Broms decided to conquer his personal Mount Everest: Via Capri.

The film, called “Nick Broms: What’s the Rush?” will be screened as part of the Dances With Films festival in Los Angeles on Friday, June 17.

The film, which discusses Broms’ life in La Jolla and growth in the sport of downhill skateboarding, documents a trip he took across California, skating some of the state’s most challenging hills. Director and La Jolla High School graduate Donovan Griffin had the idea to end the trip in La Jolla.

“I had never skated Via Capri, and Donovan decided we were going to film that,” Broms said. “I had gone faster on other roads, but Via Capri was definitely the most dangerous. There is nothing that can top it.”

He joked that when the idea was first broached, “I thought ‘Hell no.’” But when he realized he could “skate down Nautilus Street in my sleep, Via Capri was the last frontier for me. It was the one road in my stomping ground that I hadn’t conquered. I was definitely scared, but I thought I could do it.”

In two heart-racing runs, Broms skateboarded the length of Via Capri, all of it on film, in March 2020.

Pro skateboarder Nick Broms grew up near Bird Rock and attended La Jolla High School.
(Courtesy of Donovan Griffin)

Broms grew up near Bird Rock and went to La Jolla High. He skateboarded from age 8 and became a professional in his early teens, competing across San Diego and the world. By the time he was 15, he was a junior world titleholder in stand-up downhill skateboarding.

“Nick’s story was always an inspiration to me,” Griffin said. “And we wanted to get the story out there … of this young man doing this great sport for no other reason than his passion and love for it. Even when he wins, it’s a small amount of money.”

Broms said he is “still in La La Land” about not only being the focus of a documentary but having it screen as part of a film festival. “I don’t think it has registered yet.”

La Jolla native and professional skateboarder Nick Broms is the subject of the documentary "Nick Broms: What's the Rush?"
(Courtesy of Donovan Griffin)

Broms, 18, is now at UC San Diego in La Jolla majoring in ocean science. He continues to skateboard and wants to draw more attention to the sport.

“Downhill skateboarding as a whole needs a little more notoriety,” he said. “People think we’re just a bunch of lunatics. But skating is actually safe. I’m in control. I’m as safe as a cyclist. It’s a big thing with a bunch of athletes that travel the world. It’s a cool world that not many people know about.”

Griffin agreed, saying he wanted to make the film to promote the sport. “Our end goal is to promote it enough to get downhill skateboard into the Olympics,” he said. “I went into filmmaking because I feel like it’s the best avenue to create change in the world. ... I want to enact change with every project I do.

“I’m really proud of how it turned out. I’m in love with the film.”

“We wanted to get the story out there … of this young man doing this great sport for no other reason than his passion and love for it.”

— Donovan Griffin

Griffin said the hope is to inspire those who see the film “to pursue one of their passions that they might have thought was unreasonable. This film shows the joy in doing something you love just for loving it.”

Broms described downhill skateboarding as a “freeing feeling.”

“It’s a cool feeling you can’t get anywhere else. You feel like you are floating,” he said. “You are a part of your board and are not moving your body, but you are going so fast. ... You can’t think about what you have to do later on, you are in a Zen mode and focused on the next turn and getting over the pothole and getting to the bottom of the hill. It’s a special place and a good escape.

“If people took the time to understand the sport, they would see it for what it really is.”

After the documentary screening, the production team will look at distribution options.

Tickets for the film can be purchased at danceswithfilms.ticketspice.com/dwf25-nick-broms-whats-the-rush.

Learn more about the film and watch a trailer at whatstherushdocumentary.com. ◆