Monthly Archives: August 2012

Night Moves

Night skating in Reno will always be the joint. Night skating during the summer in Reno is a whole other beast. From the bright lights of the casinos to the greasy dark alleys, there’s a whole city of things to skate. The fact that they were never designed to be skated makes it that much better. Watching Lance Mountain cruise around in Future Primitive sold me on what the streets had to offer. Besides, Street Skating just sounds cool.

This summer has been one of the best by far, the streets have been abused. Getting old friends out of the skate parks and back into the streets have been a goal of mine. We all started in the streets and there will always be something borderline rebellious about it. Trespassing, destruction of property, insurance liabilities, and “Can’t you read the No Skateboarding sign?” are things you get to hear while skating outside the confines of the skatepark. It’s amazing to be kicked out of spots to this day, Greasers vs Socs forever!

This past Tuesday a group of friends hit the streets and hijacked a little something to make an old Reno spot even better. We trespassed, destroyed private property, and were told to leave by a feisty Colonel Sanders looking rent a cop. The way it’s been for decades, the way I hope it always will be. Skating is popular enough, the day we are welcomed everywhere is a day we lose the fire. Thanks to all the homies who keep the streets unsafe! Street Sharks never sleep. -ERL

Mission Accomplished.

Scaught Bates DJ Hurricaner.

Scaught Bates Front Tail.

Scaught Bates Front Blunter.

Tom Bursill Blunt BIG pop out to fakes.

Tom Bursill Pop Shove Nose Slide.

Tom Bursill Blunt Shove.

Tom Bursill FS Flip.

Dane Haman Front Rock.

ERL Board Sliders.

ERL Front Rocker.

ERL Alley Oop Nollie Lip.

ERL Nollie D.

Shaun D Fakie 5-0.

Shaun D Back Lip.

Shaun D Back Tail.

Shaun D Front Blunt.

Shaun D Rocking & Rolling.

Steve Storm 5-0.

Steve Storm Back Lip.

Steve Storm Nollie Lip.

Steve Storm Nose Picker.

Steve Storm Smith Grind.

Photos by Kyle Volland.


Ramblin’ Man Spencer Benavides Words and Stills.

Spencer is one of the few people I know who I’ll never wonder why he quit skating. By every definition of the term, he is a lifer. I always liked the tricks he did and how he incorporated fun into every session. Even the “temper tantrum can’t land this trick sessions” he’d smile through a meltdown or make fun of himself. Opinionated has always been a way to describe him as well. I’ve never seen him back down when he believes in something. You have to respect a straight shooter when you’ve got scars instead of comprise. Throughout almost 30 years of skating, Spencer was a no brainer for the next Wheel Bite interview. We could use some Spencer from 1988-2005 to pull some of these kids cards these days. On that note, off we go. -ERL

1. What’s up Spencer, what’s your take on the skate scene these days? It’s a bit of a mess.

It’s pretty bitchin’, kids rip harder than ever, videos are a lot more diverse and people seem to be more well rounded. I really wish kids would stop calling anything with transition vert. Vert is short for vertical, look that shit up.

2. “I mostly skate vertical at Idlewild.” That’s so bad! What does Reno Skateboarding mean to you?

Friends, family, love, loss, success and failure. A different story for every corner downtown. Lifelong friendships and some of the best and worst events in my life. Try, try, try and try.



3. Well said, the best memories have been on the wooden toy. What is your favorite time period since you first started skating?

I have very vivid memories of Greg St. banks sessions and a few sessions at Skinny’s ramp that were amazing, when MK first found 293, the skate jams at the fair grounds, skating EMB and the marble benches in their prime… all of this happened between the late 80’s and early 90’s so I guess that would be it. A lot changed in a very short time, skateboarding died, skateboarders seized control of their own industry, vert really died, H Street made skating so raw and powerful and skipped the bullshit. I didn’t have time to watch stupid ass skits and videos aimed at 5 year olds, I wanted to see front foot impossible fakies on banks, backside grabs over crazy shit, flip tricks over The Gonz… real shit.

4. It was rough that vert died and retired so many dudes in their prime. “Punk is out rap is in” When did you first start skating around?

When I was around 7 a kid up the street brought his skateboard over to our house, as soon as I stood on it I did a Charley Chaplin to backside skull bongo on the sidewalk (smashed my head), I was in love. Next thing I knew I was scouring the neighborhood looking for my friends boards just laying out in their yards, I’d take it, go skate it and then put it back and go home in time for dinner. My mom wouldn’t get me a skateboard for a while but, I kept the nagging up and finally got a Street Surfer from Big 5 for my birthday. My cousins Jeff and Danny Cronin ripped and I looked up to them. They told me they’d put a cool shape on my board (back then shape really mattered) so I left it with them. I didn’t see that board again for a long time so I went back to stealing my buddies unattended boards and returning them until X-Mas 1986. My mom got me a Vision Gator with Indy’s, Kryptonic Wheels, NMB Bearings, Madrid Rails and a Powell Nose Bone and Tail Bone. Once I unwrapped that thing it was on… still going.

Gator, State Fair, 293, and fully padded ollies.

Gator, State Fair, 293, and fully padded ollies.

5. When you get hooked, it’s a hell of a ride. Keep it rolling! What was some of your spots you Sparks kids skated at?

Sparks was at the end of my street holmes, before I could venture out too far Sak N’ Save was it but, then they built the apartments at the end of my street (Pequop) and there were red curbs galore in that place, I met Kevin Vandersypen (R.I.P.) there when he first moved to town, he’d always give me Rebel Skates stickers and shirts, true ripper! Later on I started skating Arctic Circle and ShopKo and also K Mart had the super fun downhill curbs, Parkside Gardens with Chris Williamson, he had a bitchin’ launch ramp and they had tons of red curbs you could set up all crazy. Ben Dixon took me to the Sullivan Ditch for the first time, the stage at Sparks middle was a fun spot, all the cool older kids from Sparks Middle would skate there after school, Sunday Curbs in downtown Sparks was Scott Waters stomping grounds, we put some hours on that spot. Skating downtown Reno back then for me was serious business, I think I was about 12 the first time I got to skate it, Jason Bartlett and Mark Schuler had to meet with my mom and tell her they’d look after me. Hahahaha!

6. That’s a good Mom! Think about all the shit moms dropping off their brats at the skate park alone. Hey, did you ever groove? That was one of my favorite means of income.

For those who don’t know, grooving was taking clear packing tape and putting about a foot long tail hanging off a dollar bill. You insert the dollar into a soda/snack/stamp machine while holding onto the tail and as soon as the money registered you pulled it back out. You got the change and whatever soda/candy/stamp you pushed. That shit fed and funded many, many friends and skate trips back in the day. We had groove spots just like skate spots, you didn’t tell people where they were and you took care of your spot, only empty the whole thing out if you weren’t coming back for a while. It’s hard to believe how long it took them (the vending machine guys) to get hip to it. I didn’t do it as much as most of my friends (some of whom gained crazy record collections, got arrested, got kicked out of Nevada etc..) but, I had some really big heavy pants a few times. Plus, it’s incredibly funny paying for $30.00 worth of gas with quarters, dimes and nickels while you’re wearing size 54 waist pants and you weigh a buck twenty. God damn we were assholes.

Kick the boot.

Kick the boot.

7. What shop did you guys hang at? Everyone had one to lurk at for hours.

At first World Of Toys in Park Land Mall had the TV in the window and always had Streets On Fire playing so the planter in front of it was always packed with kids waiting to go skate Mayfare dock and 1 Hour Photo. Then they moved to Meadowood Mall. Excell was a little bit of a hangout but, mostly the pizza place next door was better. After a while this guy Mike opened up Bikes And Boards across from Hug High and that was super fun because it was close to my house and there were some heated sessions behind the shop because it was smooth and they had little manual pads and he sold uncut blank decks. You just traced whatever board on the wall you liked (Fishlips, H Street, Zorlac etc.) and cut it out, sanded it and skated it. After he closed down I started going to Meadowood more because Ben Dixon was working at World Of Toys, you could bum around for change and food till it was cool enough to skate in the evening. It’s ridiculous how much time we spent at that mall. Then Eric introduced me to Lisa and Allen at Addiction and they became like my second family. Eventually we moved Addiction downtown (where Sierra Tap House is now) and that was super fun in the summer but, we didn’t last too long. Not an ideal spot, just like my shop 50 50. Bummer spot means bummer sales.

8. I remember the zero days or the $30 days, brutal times man. What board did you have the most of in a row? Was there a Pro board that had you hooked?

At first I was all about Gator but, once I started really learning about concave and shapes and control I didn’t really hang on to any one deck. H Streets were on lock for a while with the Hell Concave bit. I guess the only board I consistently had a bunch of was the Think Flame Tag board, the shape just ruled for me. After about 12 years old, names stopped really meaning anything to me, function over fashion. The last time I rode a board because of the name on it was probably 1988 or 89. I’m always hyped to see a friends name on a board but, I don’t ride 8.5 boards, dig?

Momma said knock you out?

Momma said knock you out?

9. I see a bigger board in your future, you can’t ride minis for much longer! You and a lot of our friends were nailed to the X, what was the straight edge allure?

I saw from a young age what alcohol could do to someone and it made me hate it. All the kids I grew up with had some violent bullshit going on at home and booze was always involved. Around 8th grade I got way into Minor Threat. I didn’t know anyone that was into the sXe scene, it was just kind of my own thing. Around 9th grade my homie Dean started digging on it too and we heard Reno had a sXe band called Discipline so we made a point to see them. It was weird and cool to meet other kids that shared the same thoughts on drugs and booze, it was pretty rare back then. It didn’t take too long to see that it could also be used as a tool to be an asshole and get up in some shit just like the jocks and nazis that used to beat my ass. I did have great friends and the days of Left Hand Studios, Casa Margaritas, Fallout Shelter, Heritage Hall, The Tumbleweed and The Ice House were amazing but, after a while sXe was just an idea and way of living that was mine and didn’t involve anyone but me. I didn’t drink until I was 26. I still think it’s a great idea, I just became so soured by the stupidity and violence, not to mention the music just getting worse and worse and worse I took a nosedive into the beer pond but, kept the records.

10. I always thought it was because of Steve Steadham. Did you meet him? Did he give you Zinka?

I did meet Steadham at an Excell contest, I wasn’t interested in sXe ska and he didn’t offer any Zinka.

The very building David Lee Roth played with Poison. Steep ollie pop. KV Photo.

The very building David Lee Roth played with Poison. Steep ollie pop. KV Photo.

11. Steadham had Reno hostage there for a minute. Beyond Hell Concave! Can wood really bend like that? Who was your first sponsor?

Shop wise I think Excell. Company wise Gershon hooked me up with Grind Kings board company Haz Mat for a second but, I was an unappreciative little bastard so it only lasted one package. Plus, after having my shop and going to trade shows I learned really quick if someone offers you free stuff and it’s not good free stuff, it ain’t worth it. Thanks, no thanks.

12. Damn, a lot of kids these days need to learn that philosophy. I always saw you on the cusp of getting the sponsored thing going but not taking it too serious. Was it a conscience effort to keep skating fun? You could have made a run at it for sure.

I only really ever rode for one company and they were called Madkap out of SF. Super cool dudes! The sponsor thing was never really my bag, I was never really all that good and my style is busted. I skated in some C.A.S.L. contests for a bit and just being around people who want it so bad was a real turnoff. They were either total kooks with a couple tricks or just total rippers that made me feel like it was my first day skating. I’d rather just hear of someone cool getting hooked up, that’s way more exciting to me. My friends at Madkap told me they wanted to put their am’s names on boards and we’d get to design them but, I wasn’t into it. I was psyched when Scott Waters got on the team and he was hungry, always filming and handling his shit. After a while they finally talked me into it but, I hated it. I wasn’t pro and only pro’s should have their name on a board. It was nice to give one to my mom but, other than that, super bogus. Everything is trial and error, still love those dudes but, the name on board thing was definitely not for me.

13. It’s not for everyone, although there’s dudes that would cut off their face plate to have that opportunity. You have some serious miles under your belt, you travel a lot. Was moving to Florida to work at Addiction/Southern Boarder your first big move? How did that take place? Florida is 100% not Reno.

Yeah, that was my first time ditching Reno. It was fucking crazy. I went to a show at Casa Margaritas and this band called Bloodlet was playing, between bands I ditched out and went across the street and skated this little manual pad by myself. This dreadlock honky dude rolls up and starts skating with me and we get to talking. He ends up being Scott from Bloodlet and we became friends after that. Bloodlet comes back through Reno a little while later and Scott ends up asking if I want to go on tour for 3 months with them and Neurosis. I just graduated high school and can’t pass up some shit like that so I went. Bloodlet is from Florida and my friends who owned Addiction were living out there running a skate shop out there so I did the tour and had Bloodlet drop me off in St. Petersburg FL at the end. It was a trip and I’m still good friends with my buddies Joe and Jen Leonard and Jed Davis. St. Pete was fucking snorsville USA, driving 30 minutes to skate a plastic bench, a horrible Christian hardcore scene, insane race riots right when I got there but, Lisa, Allen, Duke and Tru ruled, I met amazing people I’m still homies with and I saw a Cannibal Corpse show at the State Theatre that was unbelievable. I believe this was 1996.

14. You came back to Reno and started 50-50, one of the most legit shops we had in years. No snow, wake, rollerblades, or anything lame. How did 50-50 come about?

I only lasted a few months in FL. I came back to Reno to visit (a 2 week Greyhound ride… no shit… 2 fucking gnarly weeks) and just ended up staying here. Got some shitty jobs but, kept bugging Excell to hire me. After months of nagging and being a janitor for Marshalls they finally hired me on. After a while I started forming plans to start my own shop (the people who owned Excell at that point were a fucking joke) because I knew I could do it right. I hounded anyone that had a spare dollar for about a year and no one was down (understandably) until one day Toby Riley tells me about this dude Bryan who used to skate back in the day and he’s got some money and wants to do a shop. Damn, I was just about to give up too. I meet with Brian and his partner is Gary Leeper and they’re ready to go all in. They put in the money and I run the shop with bonus/buy in ownership over time. We searched forever trying to find a Reno location, Skeeno was done, Excell was done and I couldn’t step on Kathy’s (Out Of Bounds) toes because she was cool as hell. I ended up going to a Fall Silent show in Sparks (across the street from Reed High) and noticed the spot next door was for rent and that exact spot used to be the Sparks Excell back in the day. I took it as it was cheap, I knew Reed had a lot of skaters and I had been working on the new Burgess park for a while too. It all seemed to be perfect.

Nothing impresses Scaught Bates. KV Photo.

Nothing impresses Scaught Bates. KV Photo.

15. Didn’t you break your nose on that mini ramp there?

Yeah, Greg Janess, Toby Riley, Scott Waters and Dean Christopher built a mini ramp in the shop, right next to the shoe wall. My very first run, all the kids and parents watching, caught my heel on the wall and shot face first like a bullet into to transition. I instantly grabbed my face and was fading in and out of consciousness. When I finally pulled my hands away blood went everywhere as I had a perfect hole in the center of my nose. Shaver later told me he dipped his hands in my blood pool I left on the ramp and was chasing kids around the shop with bloody hands. Really wish I’d of seen that one, what a jerk hahaha. It really messed my neck up, I still have problems with it today. Plus, just the other day, I did it again only skating street with you guys. I gotta stop stopping myself with my face.

16. It was weird because all of Reno/Sparks knew you were the face of 50-50, that respect level brought that place a following. It’s so damn hard to be a small privately owned shop. How did the ship eventually sink? I hated that, I wanted to secretly work there for a long time. I was definitely envious you had the more “core” shop going.

I think in our 2.5 year existence the shop turned a profit only 1 month. I did as many demos and movie premiers as possible and it just wore me out. It got to the point where I never skated, not even on the mini ramp in the shop. I lost sight of why I started the shop in the first place. The industry was changing, people bugging me for free shit when they never supported me in the first place, one of the owners became overly religious and I’m %100 not down with that shit, Copelands undercutting the shit out of all of us and no shopping center in Reno would even talk to me. As soon as I said skateshop as I was trying like hell to move the shop… it all just piled up and made me bitter as hell.

17. It wasn’t too long that you left Reno again for KC. What was the story with Escapist?

After 50 50 closed down, I had no direction or motivation. I lived on Sinclair with my homie Jake Griffin and a bunch of other people and none of us had jobs. Total pile out time because the shop just broke me down. My friends Dan Askew and Adrian Frost pretty much opened their shop in Kansas City the same time Bryan and me got 50 50 going. We would always talk about ideas for sales, events etc. and they had made some comments about me working for them some day. After piling out hard for about 6 months I was talking to Adrian and he said they were opening another Escapist and I should work for them. I had nothing going on here so 2 weeks later I was in Jakes mom’s truck with all my shit loaded in it towing my car to KC. Jake’s mom volunteered him for the job and he still brings it up every day. He made Beau Halvorson go with. Neither of them were very happy about it. Thanks Mrs. Griffin, Jake and Beau!!

Mr. Smith was there. KV Photo.

Mr. Smith was there. KV Photo.

18. Was there a bit of culture shock moving to Kansas City?

For sure, all my friends that lived in KC were either married, or didn’t drink and I’d never lived alone before. The skating was bitchin’ but, once the day was over I’d just be chillin alone thinking about all my friends here having a blast. Just another step in growing up. After a while though I made some really great friends, and it got to be really amazing. Escapist still is the best shop I ever got to work for. Dan, Adrian and Nick looked out for me and I will always appreciate that. Plus the kids that rode for them were serious rippers. The music scene there ruled and the city itself is beautiful. I really miss it and hope to return someday. The fact that the bars close at 1:30am really does make a huge difference too.

19. You met a young Sean Malto and Ernnie Torres at Escapist, did you know they were the next big thing?

When I met Sean he was a little kid that just destroyed everything, it was weird watching someone so little doing man sized rails and gaps, everyone knew he was gonna blow up and he’s one of the few prodigy kids I’ve met that truly deserves it and he’s cool as hell. Ernie was in the magazines already and he was super fun to skate with. He reminded me of Gershon in that he only skated for about 4 or 5 years and he was getting in magazines and just ripped super hard and he’s a super nice dude too.

All killer no filler.

All killer no filler.

20. How did you start traveling through music? I’m still so stoked you toured with Lucero, they are such a good band.

Well, the Bloodlet tour was my first tour in 1996 but, after that Fall Silent took me out with them and my friend Sean Ingram from KC started having me do some Coalesce tours wich turned into Casket Lottery tours wich turned into meeting Rocky Votolato when we toured with Waxwing so, I did some touring with Rocky. I remember telling a friend that I was done with touring and the only way I’d go out again was if Lucero was involved somehow. 2 days later Rocky called me and asked if I’d be into going on tour with him, William Elliott Whitmore and Lucero. That was my last big tour, 2 and a half months I think in 2006. All of those tours my duties included but, were not limited to: driving, selling merch and anger management. I really love driving long distances and the tours with Rocky were just me and him in a car. Some brutal but, amazing times. I really miss the road sometimes and really miss hanging with all them dudes.

21. Lucero was still relatively small, there must have been great little shows. Did any of those guys skate?

For sure, small shows are always better but, some of those shows were pretty big, Denver was 1,000 people but, then a couple nights later 200 people, you never really know what you’re gonna get. They were more BMX dudes when they were younger and Brian (guitarist) was an old sXe dude who hung out with the Raid guys (an old hardline militant vegan sXe band), he’s got a Stomp Crew tattoo. Super funny but, they were all really nice mellow dudes. William Whitmore used to skate, he did a kickflip on my board with his shiny old dress shoes, and he listened to gangster rap a bunch. Rocky was always writing in his notebook and I made him listen to David Allen Coe a bunch. Really it was like touring with my Reno friends for the most part.

Normally if it's not a make it's not mentioned. After sliding most of this, sticking, and head butting the ledge it made the cut. Blood in blood out Holmes. KV Photo.

Normally if it’s not a make it’s not mentioned. After sliding most of this, sticking, and head butting the ledge it made the cut. Blood in blood out Holmes. KV Photo.

22. What brought you back to Reno?

I had this master plan of moving back out west so, I basically said goodbye to everyone in Kansas City, if it didn’t fit in my mini van, I left it behind and drove to Reno, dumped all my stuff in my homie Andy McKennie’s garage, flew to Seattle to meet Rocky and then we drove straight to Memphis and crashed at the Lucero compound for about a week so Roy could practice with Rocky for the shows. After the tour ended we drove straight from N. Carolina to Seattle (that was a brutal one), got on a plane to Reno, chilled 1 or 2 days then drove to San Diego to crash on my friend Bryan Nolte’s couch and tried like hell to get a job in the skate industry. I ran out of money just before x-mas so I came back to Reno to try and save up to go back down to SD and while I was here one of my best friends Beau Shaver (R.I.P.) died. It really shook me and all my friends up and made me think about the years I’d spent away from them so, I decided to extend my visit… I’m still visiting. Along the years back here I have gotten to spend time with some other homies that have passed and I’m really lucky in that respect. Being here still kicks in memories of great times with them.

23. Reno is beautiful if you can balance all of the things that make it Reno.I know you have had the opportunity to work for some great skateboard companies in the past. What kept you from making the move to California?

I just kind of answered that above. Mainly no one would hire me and I learned that I don’t care too much for San Diego. Really great people for the most part but, I hate being called bro. A lot.

24. One of the many rad things about Reno is our skate scene and heritage, who was your crew back in the beginning?

Damn, I think Chris Williamson was my first skate friend, we were pups man hahaha, and then a little later Mark Schuler, Jason Bartlett and Ron White. Steve Gauthier and Ron Rash took me skating a few times, then Scott Waters, Dean Christopher Beau Bevier, Scott Brown, Josh Stockwell and then Toby Riley, John Ludwick, Justin Hay-Chapman… so many people and so many years. I do remember Rob Hostetter used to kick me some of his old boards back in the day wich really meant a lot to me, thanks Rob!! I spent a lot of time rolling solo, still do but, always dig skating with friends too, my time is just so limited these days.

25. How many of those guys do you still shred it up with?

Toby and Dean the most and I skated with Scott a few weeks back. All these dudes still rip it too! You and Classic have made a bitchin’ Sunday that’s brought some people out of the woodwork and it’s really great! None of us ever really quit, it’s in our blood. I play in a band with John Ludwick called Cathedral Ghost, a different kind of shredding but, he’s definitely shredding!!

Never question the magic of it all. KV Photo.

Never question the magic of it all. KV Photo.

26. Out of everyone we’ve seen come and go chasing the trends, I knew you would be in it for life. How is it skating these days? The ground gets harder with age right?

It still rules, having a blast! It is more scary because when you get hurt it takes much longer to recover and I pay my own bills… barely. I appreciate just being able to go skate, lot of people fucked their knees and backs etc. for life and somehow I’m still rolling through the mine field called luck. When I see Dean take the most brutal slams and still handle business, there are no excuses.

27. I dig the full circle effect you get after skating over 25 years, you remember why you started and appreciate it more it seems. What made you want to start skating and what made you a lifer?

I just knew that’s what I wanted to do from the moment I saw a skateboard, sounds weird but, true. All of my friends, music tours, moves, everything came from skateboarding. I can’t imagine what the hell I’d be up to without it. I’m sure I’d still be a scumbag but, without the glory. I have slowed down a bit but, I’m having more fun these days. Like The Gears said, “Gotta Keep Moving” man!

28. Glory and stories go hand in hand my friend! You’ve been in several bands with a big spectrum of styles. How is the music going lately? Talk a bit about your band.

I play drums in a band called Cathedral Ghost with John Ludwick on guitar/vox and Megan Kay on Bass/vox. It’s been super fun, we just recorded 7 songs we’re about to put out soon and we just finished a little 3 day tour with our homies Wuv from Oakland, they rip! You can check us out at

Beat Street.

Beat Street.

It’s rock n’ roll, punk, garage blah blah stuff so if you’re into that, check it out. I’m also working on a project I’m calling Killed By Reno wich is a youtube channel / wordpress blog where I’m gonna post demo’s of extinct Reno bands. I’d like Reno’s punk / hardcore history to be more accessable and give people a chance to hear our past. This spans decades so if you know of any old Reno bands or have old fliers, pictures etc. please let me know at This is a huge project but, I am making headway. Other than that, I DJ at Chapel Tavern or The Hideout from time to time.

29. Favorite video, favorite board, favorite Pro, favorite company, and your favorite spot. Drop knowledge son, spread the word.

I keep watching the new Real video (Busenitz’s part) to get hyped. That’s my skateboard Viagra. Escapist decks because they’re the same as Real, Anti Hero and Krooked. Pro’s Dennis Busenitz, Leo Romero, Reynolds, Sean Malto, Ernie Torres, Gershon Mosley, Koston, Mike Carrol etc. Can’t wait to see the new Escapist video with Malto and Ryan Pearce, Josh White, Rod Harper, Max Chilen, Joseph Lopez, Arthur Dachiardi, Dillon Aguilar, Tyshuan Johnson and Josh Crane. The Deluxe family tree is my favorite of the industry. Favorite spot???… San Francisco.

Never question the magic of it all. KV Photo.

Ain’t nothin’ changed. KV Photo.

30. Thanks Spencer, I’ve wanted to interview you for a long time. I’ve always liked the fact that you speak your mind regardless of the consequences. People hate that but, I like to know where someone stands. You and a few others are the blueprint for Reno Skateboarding, well done sir. I’d like you to close this one up with the standard thank you, and what skateboarding has meant to you since day one.

Thanks Eric, I appreciate it! So damn many people to thank but, they’ve all meant so much to me and I’m just stoked to be rolling. My mom and dad, Alle and Andy, Doug and Tracy, Benavides, Garrick and Cronin families, Jeff, Danny, Mikey and Pat Cronin, The Reno Outlaws, The SAPs, S.O.D.C., L4D4, P.R.L.J., Lisa and Allen Sprague @ Addiction / Southern Boarder, Dean Christoper, Eric Lantto, Scott Waters, Jake Griffin, Chris “Carnage” Carnell, Emma Fuentes, JT Gurzi, Eric Sasze, Chris Davis “Coonsley”, Jason Isidro “Dills”, Dan Askew, Adrian Frost, Nick Owen and everyone down with Escapist Skateboarding, Eric Lantto and Classic Skate Shop, “Good” Kyle Volland, Excell Skates, World Of Toys, Bryan Rosario / 50 50, Bryan Nolte / Baltic Ave, Bikes and Boards, Stan Byers, Lee Ellmaker, Reno Zoo, 292 and 293, Tri State, Sean D., Beau Halverson, Mikey Reno, John Colbert, Andy McKennie, Andytude Haney, Garret Lee, Mike Huntsman, Steve Gauthier, Ron Rash, Rob Hostetter, Richard and Randy Barr, Justin Hackel, Sean Ingram, Nathan Ellis, Nathan Richardson, Stacey Hilt, Gang Grenis AKA Jess Steineger, Scott, Charley, Matt and Art from Bloodlet, Rocky and April Votolato, Neurosis, Levi and Damon Watson, Brian Woog, Fall Silent, Unruh, Coalesce, Mother Fucking Titty Suckers, Gehenna, Powerchord, Esoteric, The Casket Lottery, Waxwing, Lucero, William Elliot Whitmore, John Ludwick, Megan Kay, Jared Isenberge, Nikkie Knuckles, Tom and Tiffany O’Shaughnessy, Josh Martin, Adam Anderson, Milton Bradshaw, Big Eyes, Belle Bloodcreek, Redrum, 601, S. Virginia St. Sluts, Huck, Mike Mechanic, Bindle Stiffs, Tate LaBianca, Ty Williams, Britt Curtis and everyone at Holland Project, Jawsh Hagemin, Duncan Mitchell and everyone at Chapel Tavern, Tim and everyone at Carter Bros. Ace Hardware, Kevin and everyone at Aces Tattoo, Valarie Bischoff, Blue Collar Press, Amber and Never Ender, Skate NV, The Gears, Wuv, anyone who’s ever supported the shop’s, bands and events I’ve been involved in, all the punks, rads, thrashers, skins, weirdos, dorks, dweebs, dickheads and righteous dudes that get down with the get down!! Not Bob Metz and his gray baby, I know I’m forgetting people, sorry, my face hurts and I can’t concentrate but, you know who you be!!!

Fuck heroin. Skateboarding rules ok.

My friends that have passed on, I miss you all and think about you all the time. Rest In Peace Beau Shaver, Kevin Vandersypen, Tony Hospital, Tom Incopero, Roger Colestock, Jon Grellman, Penelope.

Wheels of Change

Days of Future Past

Every generation that sees the path it created change too much seems to cringe. Change is a hard pill to swallow at times. About the time I started skating I heard tale of Duane Peters hating Tony Hawk. Tony’s tricks were deemed more of a novelty than true skating. This was because it was a changing of the guard. 9 times out of 10 the guard doesn’t necessarily want to be changed. The tradition of the 70s and low ariel tricks were being swept away by the next generation of skaters. Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Lester Kasai, Steve Caballero, and a handful of younger Pros were creating their own path. The foundation of tricks that were laid by the generation before helped to inspire the young guns to go higher, grind longer, and slide farther. The change was needed but, not always appreciated.

I always wondered what the OG skaters felt like after that first air by Tony Alva, that’s what set if off it seems. Once you see what is possible, you push it as far as you can to see what’s the limit. A great example is Alan Gelfand’s ollie to start off no handed airs and 30 years later look at Jaws. That kid is certainly pushing the boundaries of what the human knees and ankles can endure. Giant stunt jumpers are not my cup of tea, although I respect it for what it is. Another form of change that dudes a lot younger than me consider the norm. I’ll take some footage of Gino Iannucci, Guy Mariano, Mark Gonzales, Jeff Grosso, or Paul Rodriguez skating pretty much anything over most roof jumpers. Style counts to a large degree in skating, that’s the beauty. Want a great example of style? Watch Steve Olson push down the street.

Style over steeze has no shelf date.

Some change is unstoppable which may or may not be a good thing. Again, it depends of your generation and what path you helped create. Are print magazines going the way of the Rip Grip? The digital age is here to stay kids, kinda like that Boy Band music you thought would fade away. Every skateboarding publication is fully equipped with some great websites these days. There you can find out within a moments notice what your favorite Pro skater is up to. A new graphic or shoe model gets leaked, BOOM it’s online in a heartbeat. Team changes, gossip, opinions of a 13 year old mall rat, and lies are available to the masses. Video parts and pictures are available everyday on all of these sites. The overkill is almost deadening how special it all once was.

Gone are the days of wonder and the magic of it all. In the glory of it all you  would wait to see the latest Bones Brigade, Santa Cruz, Vision, or contest series video. They were so few that the rumors you would hear about a trick or a part would kill you with expectation. You would pick up a new Thrasher Mag and see an advertisement for the new “Street Shape” from your favorite Pro and anticipate its arrival at the local skate shop. Shapes were so damn sick. It was your heart and sole shaped out on a signature board you worked at for so long. Skaters would ask local shops when was the best Amateur turning Pro and shops would call companies asking the same. Amazing photos of Matt Hensley skating an overpass, Natas Kaupas board sliding the roll bar of a Toyota truck, and Steve Caballero blasting 12 feet at Raging Waters were torn from magazines and plastered on skaters walls. Print magazines are the pages of our Bible. Thrasher has been the Bible since day one. Print mags losing readership is the change I have no use for.

The “New Graphic Available” made for a lot of calls to the locals shop.

20 years from now I hope to see Thrasher Magazine, Transworld Skateboarding, The Skateboard Mag, and hopefully Big Brother back in the fold of print mags. I’ve seen a lot of change in skateboarding since 1984, even in the dark days of 42mm wheels and hobo clothing I wouldn’t change a thing. Actually, I liked the lack of ramps and the street direction it took. The late 80s and 90s weeded out a lot of people who lost the love of riding a skateboard. A large amount of those dudes ended up snowboarding and didn’t like change. Skate everything man! Change has always been such a key part of skating, it’s needed. No matter what direction skating heads towards, the heart of pushing down the street will always be the same. Adapt, change, mix it up and never stop skating. -ERL