Monthly Archives: October 2012

29 Year Zinger

Everybody gets zinged from time to time. You might be having an off day and someone verbally checks you and you’re speechless. The worst thing you can do is try and rebut with a half ass retort. Bad news for you if the other dude is on his game. Decades ago I was zinged and it was legendary. To this day, no one has put it on me like this and hopefully no one will.

For the record, my first real skateboard was a Santa Cruz Jammer with Indys. It was from a yard sale. I don’t remember what the wheels were because I didn’t know shit about skateboards at the time. The one thing I do remember is the guy selling it said, “It has Independent Trucks, they’re the best.” and that is a fact to this day. At the time I really didn’t get the hook from skating. It took about a year to hit. 1984 was the year and I wanted a real skateboard. One with rails, copers, nosebones, and all the other plastic crap that all the “good” boards had.

I was in San Diego with my family and my Mom and I walked into a skate shop in the mall. In retrospect I should have known better to buy a skateboard from a mall. I saw a white Variflex board with a Ninja standing in front of a volcano erupting the brightest neon pink lava and I had to have it. It seemed radical with black Variflex trucks with red and black wheels split with the 50/50 color. I talked my Mom into it and I was thinking I was hot shit with my first Pro skateboard. When we got back home, I couldn’t wait to bring it to Jr. High and show it off to the other skaters. I thought I was a skater at the time. Not so much, having a skateboard does not constitute being an actual skateboarder. Cruise around a college campus and you’ll get the point.

I’m walking up to school and there was a group of skaters and one of them asked to see my board. I was certain I was going to get props on what a bitchin stick I had. This Ninja board was going to give me some serious street cred. The kids name was Wade. He proceeded to ask me, “Where did you get your board, Mervyns?”. I was so pissed. How dare he question my Variflex Ninja. My shit had neon pink lava spewing all over the place. I looked at Wade and replied with the utmost confidence, “No. I got it in California.”, because in my mind California was the absolute coolest place on the fucking planet. It was populated entirely by Surfers, Skaters, and hot blondes with giant tits. His retort was quick, razor sharp, and I have never forgotten it to this day. I personally think it was the best line in the history of comebacks. Wade simply asked, “Where? Mervyns in California?”. His timing was perfect, the material was untouchable. To this day NO ONE has zinged me with such authority. I muttered something pathetic like “No, San Diego.” but, it was pointless. I was hit and there was no recovery. I can imagine my red face was lighting the way to the wall I stood against, alone and defeated.

The funny thing is maybe a month later I cut up a Madrid Skateboard sticker and did a custom sticker job on my Ninja board. All the skater kids were hanging out in front of the movie theater and a kid named Kris checked out my board and assumed it was a Madrid Limited Edition Ninja and I didn’t try to correct him by any means. Back then I really wanted to fit in with the rest of the skaters, everything else was football and all of the jock shit. After that my Ninja board seemed a little cooler and my road to mongo pushing was on it’s way. Within another year, skateboardings popularity died and all of those “skaters” quit to jump on the next trend. No matter what though, Wade Adams zinged one into the history books. Soon after, I had a Roskopp III and all was good. California was everything I saw in the movies and music videos but, it let me down on my Ninja board. -ERL Everyone knows that California Girls all look like this when your 14 right? -ERL

Zinged on a Ninja.


Leroy and the Brat

John Lucero and Jeff Grosso were two of the first Pro Skateboarders I met. It was 87 and it meant a hell of a lot more to meet a Pro back then. There weren’t a trillion Pros like now. I went with my friend Cade to a skate contest at the Donner Ski Ranch. We rolled into the parking lot and saw a ton of kids. At the time if you saw a skater you’d always approach him and chill. Skateboarders were still outcasts at the time so you always stuck together. We watched the contest and made our way to the lodge. I’m pretty sure we both saw John Lucero and Jeff Grosso on the deck at the same time. We immediatley freaked out. I mean why would two Pro skaters be at this little parking lot contest? The illusion that these guys were living the dream in California complete with mansions and swimming pools had me fooled. Jesus, we all assumed the Bones Brigade all lived together and skated everyday like our crew. The ignorance of youth is bliss.

I had only seen them in the mags and was fully fanning out. A ton of kids were around them and we made our way closer. I asked Lucero if they were going to skate. Grosso replied, “Yeah, maybe if someone buys me a hamburger or something”. Although he was being a dick, I could care less. I asked Lucero if he was giving away his board and he told me, “No way dude, that’s my board”. The one question you don’t ask a Pro I asked in hopes of getting that board of his. The same question he was asked a hundred times I’m sure. I asked Lucero why they were at the contest and they both said, “we’re here to see him”. They pointed to Riky Barnes who was pretty gnarly. To a small town white kid, he looked like something out of the Sex Pistols. He was all punked out and ripping the course. Spiked hair, leather jacket, bondage bracelets, and pushing around like a demon. After the contest Lucero skated and was doing fakie tail slides on a metal curb. Pretty mid blowing at the time. Pushing fakie and smashing his tail into the curb and coming out forward after sliding what seemed 100 feet. Lucero pretty much put on a one man demo without even trying, he was just skating around doing moves we had never seen yet.

Grosso was asked if he would sign an autograph to which he responded, “You can only sign your name so many times before it gets boring”. Being surrounded by kids and being that pretentious would have rubbed me the wrong way if I’d been older, Grosso was being a dick all day and we loved it. He just had his street model come out and he’s not going to skate? We were bumming and I never wanted to suddenly see a vert ramp so bad. Cade and I both noticed Lucero’s board had little grooves routered into his nose. I assumed it was for nose grabs and a better idea than Ripgrip. Total prototype set up that I had never seen and never saw again. He was riding a purple stained Schmitt Stix Street Thing, white Thunders, and Saw Blade wheels. Seeing those guys made such an impression that stuck to this day. Cade and I both had Lucero and Grosso boards not long after. We also found a good curb spot where Cade learned fakie tail sides pretty quick. From Schmitt Stix, Lucero Limited, John Lucero Skateboards, to Black Label, I always rode and supported the original blue collar Pro. Curb skating is the foundation of street skating and it’s still my favorite things to skate. Grab a few friends, a boom box, some brews, and there’s no way you’re not having a blast. Slap it up! -ERL

Street Thing ad.

Curb Crusher

While you were stressing.

Curb Life 101

The Forefront of Fashion.

Riky Barnes getting weird in Donner.

Riky coming in hot.

I tried to do this sticker job on my Grosso. Beautiful photo, brutal.

Serious Attention

Ain’t nothing changed.