“Follow Ed Templeton from his house in Huntington Beach, California, to nearby Costa Mesa, and accusations that Orange County is a cultural wasteland gain some credence. The roads are all massive boulevards, lined on both sides by perfectly planned, gated neighborhoods and chock-a-block strip malls filled with nothing but cheap Mexican food, dry cleaners and pawnshops. The median can wall you in for a half mile before a left turn is allowed, and then always and only at a precise 90 degrees. Just driving around here can be soul crushing.

“Templeton was born and raised within this vast grid and, despite all that’s happened in the 36 years since, he refuses to leave. You can argue that he owes his twin careers—a skateboard pro approaching legend status and a fine artist with a growing international following—to this place. You could just as easily argue that he’s earned the right to live in a place that better suits his quirky sensibilities, a place that lacks the troubling personal baggage this one carries. Templeton has these arguments with himself all the time. He’s still not leaving.

“He pulls his Toyota Prius up behind a generic, low-slung warehouse that’s surrounded by square miles of other generic, low-slung warehouses and emerges from the car. Flashes of grey in his beard betray his age and a few extra pounds suggest all the hours he now spends in a studio, but Templeton is otherwise indistinguishable from the teenager who first took to these streets on a skateboard. He takes a board out of the trunk and rolls toward the front door. The muffled sound of urethane and wood colliding with steel and concrete suggests that the place is more interesting than it looks.”

Continue reading the story over at ESPN.