Myster Holliman first stepped on a longboard skateboard as a Fresno State freshman. He borrowed one to ride around campus and use after track practice to go easier on his feet.
"It started as a mode of transportation, a way to get around," said Holliman, 22. "The last thing you want to do is walk after practice and conditioning."
Soon, he and his Fresno State track and field teammates were riding as a group.
"Longboard was our hobby," Holliman said. "That's what me and the hurdlers did together. It was our fun, our leisure, our relaxation."
Five years after first stepping on a board, the Hayward native will attempt to take that hobby across the country, hoping to skate from Seattle to Miami and become the world record holder for longest distance traveled by longboard. The record is 7,555.25 miles set by New Zealand's Rob Thomson in 2008.
Holliman left Fresno on Wednesday night and will officially begin his journey Saturday. It took Thomson 15 months. Holliman is determined to do it in eight or nine.
"I'll stick to what I've said, and my goal is to reach 10,000 (miles)," he said.
Some call it impossible, especially since Thomson took more than a year. But Holliman says: "When you want great things, you will have great challenges."
Holliman was raised in a single-parent home with mom Christina Finley, older sister Shoshanah and younger brother Harrold.
"She raised me well and raised me strong," Holliman said, "to not be afraid of anything."
He credits grandmother Pamela Birdsall for his competitive spirit and grandfather Gary Birdsall for his character.
"My grandma hitchhiked from Wisconsin to California, just because she always wanted to come," Holliman said. "My grandfather is the sole reason I grew up to be the man that I am. They taught me the importance of people, love and passion."
Holliman, who graduated with a degree in kinesiology last year, is now head track and field coach and a substitute teacher at Fresno Christian High. He is also a youth leader at the Peoples Church.
Matt Markarian, a student specialist at the church who works with Holliman leading the middle school tribe, knows Holliman is passionate about anything to which he sets his mind.
"He's influential to the young people around him because his passion translates to them," Markarian said. "He's a really focused, super-driven guy."
Holliman believes his motto -- "Love is the motive" -- translates not only to skating but to everything in life.
"Should love be the motive for everything that you do, then you can never go wrong," he said.
Traveling on a new longboard from Method Skateboards in Clovis, Holliman plans to travel lightly. He said he will fill his 44-liter backpack with a few extra clothes, spare wheels and tools, and two water bladders. He said he'll eat and lodge wherever he can.
Holliman doesn't have a specific route, but will track his mileage using a GPS. He plans to make his way to San Diego, then head east.
"I'm going to have fun," he said Wednesday at his send-off at The Boardroom in Fresno. "What I realized is what I'm doing isn't going to change. Longboarding is still kick, push, coast. It doesn't matter if I'm in Seattle or tiny little Taft, I'll still be kicking and pushing."
Follow the attempt @ThatMYSTERious1 on Twitter or www.mysterholliman.com.
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