Chad Caruso skateboarded cross-country, starting from Venice Beach, California, and ending in Virginia Beach. It took 57 days for the East Farmingdale resident to perform the solo feat, which he undertook partially as a self-challenge and also to meet others who share similar battles with sobriety. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca; Debbie Egan-Chin

Just a guy and a board.

That’s how East Farmingdale resident Chad Caruso envisioned his quest to skateboard across the United States. It took 57 days and stretched 3,162 miles, before Caruso, 36, recently lived out his vision.

Starting March 24, he skateboarded solo from Venice Beach, California, before arriving May 19 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Since then, he has contacted Guinness World Records, hoping to earn a spot in the record book.

As a teen, Caruso petitioned Babylon Town to create the skate park in Tanner Park. But after knee injuries, “alcohol kind of filled in the spot” that skateboarding had taken up in his life, Caruso said.

The Long Island native said he stopped drinking after two drunken driving convictions and refocused, starting a YouTube channel with skateboarding tutorials. He said he has been sober for six years.

Skateboarding, Caruso said, appeals to him because it requires physical and mental focus.

“It’s all about you and you overcoming your limitations,” he said.

For Caruso, the challenge of a cross-country trek mixed with fundraising for a cause he believes in was the perfect combination.

Caruso, who works as a waiter, spent months training by skating 50 to 60 miles a day along Ocean Parkway's bike path.

He mapped his route, then flew West with a knapsack filled with one change of clothes, an extra set of wheels and bearings and basics including sunscreen. 

He started a GoFundMe page to help with expenses and raised more than $14,000 for Natural High, a nonprofit that helps kids find activities that uplift them in an effort to fight substance abuse.

"Skating across America is pretty legit," Natural High founder Jon Sundt said. "It's wonderful when we have organic people like Chad that have the courage and willingness to make a statement and give back to the community."

Caruso skated 50 to 80 miles a day before finding a hotel, editing and posting videos he filmed along the way before starting the cycle again.

He pushed on through blistering sun and torrential downpours, shin splints and worries that old meniscus tears would sideline him for good. 

His only doctor visit involved a critter that flew into one of his ears as a YouTube fan pulled up to skate with him in Tennessee.

“I was like, OK, I guess this thing lives in my head now, [and] it’s coming along on the trip," said Caruso, who soon was joined by two more fans.

“I Googled ‘Is it OK to have a bug in your ear?’ and ‘Will it leave eggs?’ ”

Two hours later, Caruso skated to an urgent care center — where a live moth was flushed from his ear.

Other skaters who joined Caruso along the way shared their own addiction struggles.

“That gave me energy throughout the whole trip,” he said. “Every interaction I had was full of humanity, and people just being honest and vulnerable.”

One man drove two hours to find Caruso, bringing him water, grapes and $50 "from the skate family" for dinner.

“God bless you,” another man told Caruso on his trip's final stretch. “I lost four homies to addiction."

Another fan, Sam Samuel, 70, of Livingston, Texas, said Caruso’s stories “really hit home” for him as a recovering alcoholic. While vacationing, Samuel and his wife drove 40 miles to meet up with the skater in Arizona to bring him a bagged lunch before later buying him dinner.

“At first I thought he was a little off his rocker," Samuel said of the trek. "But then I thought it was pretty cool. His cause is a just one."

Skateboarding enthusiast Benji Smith, 54, of Memphis, Tennessee, saw about halfway through Caruso's trip that he was burning a hole in his sneakers.

Smith called skate shops near Caruso’s route and arranged for someone to bring him new sneakers before meeting up with him to skate.

“It was just so moving to be able to chat with him and hear more about his story," said Smith, a ballroom dance instructor who has been sober for 16 years.

Dozens of supporters lined the road during Caruso's approach to Virginia Beach. Other skateboarders joined him, including a uniformed police officer on his own board.

When he arrived, Caruso plunked his skateboard in the sand, sprinted toward the ocean and flipped into the surf. Mission accomplished.

Virginia Beach's mayor declared it Chad Caruso Day.

Caruso said he spent most of the time on the road — sometimes 12 hours a day — alone with his thoughts.

“I learned pretty quickly, being in the wilderness for long stretches of silence, that under all the noise is just silence and peace,” he said. “Once you strip away all the chatter and opinions and things you think you have to do every day, life is actually pretty simple.”

Just a guy and a board.

That’s how East Farmingdale resident Chad Caruso envisioned his quest to skateboard across the United States. It took 57 days and stretched 3,162 miles, before Caruso, 36, recently lived out his vision.

Starting March 24, he skateboarded solo from Venice Beach, California, before arriving May 19 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Since then, he has contacted Guinness World Records, hoping to earn a spot in the record book.

As a teen, Caruso petitioned Babylon Town to create the skate park in Tanner Park. But after knee injuries, “alcohol kind of filled in the spot” that skateboarding had taken up in his life, Caruso said.

The Long Island native said he stopped drinking after two drunken driving convictions and refocused, starting a YouTube channel with skateboarding tutorials. He said he has been sober for six years.

Skateboarding, Caruso said, appeals to him because it requires physical and mental focus.

“It’s all about you and you overcoming your limitations,” he said.

For Caruso, the challenge of a cross-country trek mixed with fundraising for a cause he believes in was the perfect combination.

Caruso, who works as a waiter, spent months training by skating 50 to 60 miles a day along Ocean Parkway's bike path.

He mapped his route, then flew West with a knapsack filled with one change of clothes, an extra set of wheels and bearings and basics including sunscreen. 

He started a GoFundMe page to help with expenses and raised more than $14,000 for Natural High, a nonprofit that helps kids find activities that uplift them in an effort to fight substance abuse.

"Skating across America is pretty legit," Natural High founder Jon Sundt said. "It's wonderful when we have organic people like Chad that have the courage and willingness to make a statement and give back to the community."

Caruso skated 50 to 80 miles a day before finding a hotel, editing and posting videos he filmed along the way before starting the cycle again.

He pushed on through blistering sun and torrential downpours, shin splints and worries that old meniscus tears would sideline him for good. 

Help 'from the skate family'

His only doctor visit involved a critter that flew into one of his ears as a YouTube fan pulled up to skate with him in Tennessee.

“I was like, OK, I guess this thing lives in my head now, [and] it’s coming along on the trip," said Caruso, who soon was joined by two more fans.

“I Googled ‘Is it OK to have a bug in your ear?’ and ‘Will it leave eggs?’ ”

Two hours later, Caruso skated to an urgent care center — where a live moth was flushed from his ear.

Other skaters who joined Caruso along the way shared their own addiction struggles.

“That gave me energy throughout the whole trip,” he said. “Every interaction I had was full of humanity, and people just being honest and vulnerable.”

One man drove two hours to find Caruso, bringing him water, grapes and $50 "from the skate family" for dinner.

“God bless you,” another man told Caruso on his trip's final stretch. “I lost four homies to addiction."

Another fan, Sam Samuel, 70, of Livingston, Texas, said Caruso’s stories “really hit home” for him as a recovering alcoholic. While vacationing, Samuel and his wife drove 40 miles to meet up with the skater in Arizona to bring him a bagged lunch before later buying him dinner.

“At first I thought he was a little off his rocker," Samuel said of the trek. "But then I thought it was pretty cool. His cause is a just one."

Zachary Volovar, left, welcomes Chad Caruso home with a hand-painted skateboard he...

Zachary Volovar, left, welcomes Chad Caruso home with a hand-painted skateboard he made for him to express his admiration for Caruso's 57-day cross-country skateboard trek. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Life Lessons

Skateboarding enthusiast Benji Smith, 54, of Memphis, Tennessee, saw about halfway through Caruso's trip that he was burning a hole in his sneakers.

Smith called skate shops near Caruso’s route and arranged for someone to bring him new sneakers before meeting up with him to skate.

“It was just so moving to be able to chat with him and hear more about his story," said Smith, a ballroom dance instructor who has been sober for 16 years.

Dozens of supporters lined the road during Caruso's approach to Virginia Beach. Other skateboarders joined him, including a uniformed police officer on his own board.

Once you strip away all the chatter and opinions and things you think you have to do every day, life is actually pretty simple.

—Chad Caruso

Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

When he arrived, Caruso plunked his skateboard in the sand, sprinted toward the ocean and flipped into the surf. Mission accomplished.

Virginia Beach's mayor declared it Chad Caruso Day.

Caruso said he spent most of the time on the road — sometimes 12 hours a day — alone with his thoughts.

“I learned pretty quickly, being in the wilderness for long stretches of silence, that under all the noise is just silence and peace,” he said. “Once you strip away all the chatter and opinions and things you think you have to do every day, life is actually pretty simple.”

WHAT TO KNOW

  • East Farmingdale resident Chad Caruso skateboarded across the country in 57 days
  • He covered 3,162 miles, sometimes skateboarding 12 hours a day 
  • He raised more than $14,000 for a nonprofit focused on preventing youth substance abuse
  • Caruso is hoping to earn a spot in the Guinness World Records book
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