Tag Archives: Powell Peralta

Ronnie and the 20 Year Itch.

After a solid 20 year run Blind and Ronnie Creager have parted ways. Ronnie is the last link to a time where Blind skateboards was actually a groundbreaking company. Although, Blind should have been dismantled as a company after Mark Gonzales left the brand. All of the key ingredients that separated Blind from other companies were missing. The entire roster from Video Days were gone, they all left after The Gonz split. No Jason Lee, no Rudy Johnson, no Guy, and no Jordan Richter. That Team was so unique and the vibe you got from Video Days was so good, it should have ended there. Nothing against Tim Gavin or Henry Sanchez, Pack of Lies was so good. Brian Lotti was such an innovator and kept that style through all the pressure flip madness. By the time Lavar McBride was on it seemed like Blind was just a completely different company. It might as well been World Industries 2.0 and again, this isn’t a knock against the actual team or the skating. It’s like watching your favorite movie then when the sequel drops, it’s not the original cast and they story is bad. Because the first movie made a lot of money they have to make a sequel. “Conan the Barbarian” is a good example. It was raw, brutal, bloody, violent, and rated R. The sequel was “Conan the Destroyer” and it was awful. Rated PG, soft, weak, and senseless. By making it not so violent and controversial it made more money. Gonz was the Barbarian and anything after was the Destroyer. Literally, think the Reaper character they use.

Mark Gonzales also started ATM Click and was rad. Then he left and they kept it going as just ATM. It wasn’t the same either, $30 boards can be found at Dumiez in every mall across America. The thing with Blind was they always had some of the best guys on the team. I’m friends with guys who rode for Blind and they are still killing it to this day. With Creager, he never stopped innovating or even came close to slowing down. Despite all the team changes, it was always “Yeah but, Creager’s dope.” and he would come through with that smooth style and tech degree from the early 90s. That OG feel that made Blind have some form of roots and a relatable past. That style of skating that reminds you of why people say he should have been on Girl or Chocolate. Style like that doesn’t get old no matter what the current stair count is.

Not every company can be Girl or Chocolate. They seem to have a game plan unlike any other skate company. It must be nice to be Gino, Koston, or Chico and jump in the van to go on tour with a company that turned 20 years old. The same van that has the Trunk Boyz in it. They cared enough to take away Guy’s Pro Model board until he got healthy. Even when times were probably not the best, they didn’t retire Gino for lack of footage. Want to talk about a family vibe? The Crail Camp has it on lock. Steve Caballero has been the face of Powell/Powell & Peralta for three decades. He has riden for them for almost 34 years. Along the way I’m sure he had plenty of offers to leave and he stayed loyal, even when Powell kooked it and took away his Pro Models for a couple of years in the late 90s.

20 years is a long haul in any career. Think of how many 90s pros have disappeared. Sometimes we get comfortable in our position in the work field and change is good. Change usually breeds new life and creativity in people to find something new. Skateboarding is no different. Hopefully Ronnie gets sparked up and drops something heavy on our heads to remind us of why he’s on so many skater’s top 10 lists. That board control, trick selection, and style separates the Kostons, Howards, Daewons, Mullens, and Creagers from the “whoevers”. It always has and it always will. -ERL

Guy Mariano

There are very few stories in the skate world quite as intriguing as Guy’s. Beyond a childhood prodigy, his part in Video Days blew everyone a way with how good a kid could be, a short kid at that. Seeing how he was riding at least a 9 inch board and man handled it was odd enough. The fact he was killing it was a face melter. There was a long haul where you only looked to the Pros as the innovators, after all they were Pros. Street skating changed all the rules and the kids took over inventing tricks at warp speed.

I’m sure all the Street Pros were sweating this.

Seeing Guy skate with the new LA crew of kids in “Ban This” made street look more than just power slides, boneless ones, and skimmer ollies. On top of that, their age made them seem more attainable than the Rock Star vert Pros. Admittedly, I still was all about the established Pros. Being a Professional skateboarder and having a board I could go out and buy had me all caught up. I was blessed to have a friend with an amazing ramp, so I wanted to see vert parts.

Time for change.

Once Guy was a part of Blind, (at one time the absolute best company) his skating really showed. He wasn’t stifled by a certain formula that was part of the Powell & Peralta videos. It was raw creativity and real street skating. Skating with Mark Gonzales during the filming must have been amazing. The Blind video “Video Days” is still my most watched video I own and it always sparks me up for a good sesh. From then on, he was the guy. Guy Mariano, Gino Iannucci, and Keenan Milton RIP, were so far ahead of the learning curve. Those three skaters were so innovative and they had style, two things to have at the same time is still rare. It was odd to see him with clips instead of parts.

To see Guy Mariano get caught up in addiction and lose it all was sad to say the least. Often child protégées succumb to a dark place. It’s not the dark path that you take, it’s the destination that counts. Seeing him take his second chance at a career as the blessing it was made for an unforgettable comeback. I think I got that feeling old arm chair quarterbacks get when they see their hero fighting the elements of time and throwing that game winning touch down. Guy’s Fully Flared part brought me to tears and the Band of Horses opener definitely didn’t help. I felt a second hand victory knowing how hard he worked to bring back the kind of part expected from Guy Mariano.

Here comes the boom.

With all of the talk of his part in “Pretty Sweet” that comes out next week, he was nominated for a SOTY before that video even hit. I knew he had been working on this new part for years it was obvious to vote for Guy without seeing one clip. Being an older fella, I know it’s going to be a true Professional street skating video part. Every facet of street skating, not just rails or big gaps. Beyond that, there will be an older legend pushing skateboarding in a direction that will be talked about for decades. Just like every one of his past parts. Am I fanning out on Guy Mariano? By all means yes. More than that, I’m looking forward to seeing someone who’s job it is to ride a skateboard do it to his highest ability. A skate career is a short timeline in someone’s life and I appreciate the fact that someone like Guy Mariano is pushing each year to it’s fullest. Regardless of the SOTY outcome, I’m just another skater kid waiting to see some magic on the screen and then call my friends to go skate. -ERL

Experimental Marketing

Once upon a time before the video star, you had to be a pretty heavy contender in the contest circuit to be considered for a Pro Model. Top 10 I recall was the cutoff to make the jump for Amateur to Professional. It makes perfect sense because it shows how consistent you are and maybe how good your skating evolved from first getting sponsored. There were some guys that you could clearly see were the next Pros and there where the guys who kind of leveled off. You earned it in a way that was more raw than the video star. Don’t get me wrong, video parts are stellar. I mean the David Gonzales part just dropped, it’s insane. Next level madness from the current generation that is taking it to another plane of rawness. The Girl/Chocolate video is coming and they have never put out anything less than excellent. Back to the point, the early 80s and 90s skaters had to compete to show the goods. If they a bad day there was no chance to comeback the next day and retry it. Skate good, land your run, and you were on the way to getting your own model as a Pro.

Mike Vallely experimenting with a shape.

I was curious about what boards the Ams would ride. I know it had mostly to do with the shape and what they liked. Did the company ever suggest what graphic they rode to promote a current Pro? It makes sense that the bigger companies might try and do that to sell more of a certain product. If that was the case, I bit. If I had a certain Am or Pro I liked, I would ride their gear. I emulated John Lucero and Jeff Grosso’s sticker jobs. Seeing them skate for different companies and putting each others stickers on their boards just seemed cool. Neil Blender and Lance Mountain did the same thing. Supporting your friends doing what you love is the goods. Then being the golden age of skate graphics made it that much more memorable.

They had me at Experimental

I remember how stoked I was seeing these Powell & Peralta Experimental stickers. Ray Underhill came up with an idea for a graphic for future Pros to have on their “experimental” shapes. When Powell & Peralta were on top, all I thought was one of the Bones Brigade was getting a new shape and graphic when I saw this design. Talk about hyping up the next Pro. It was even cooler when an Am had one, a new Pro model and graphic was in the future. Once you saw a rider that had it on his board, kids would ask the shop owners when the new “whoever” Pro Model would be at the shop. In turn the shop owners would contact their sales reps asking the same question. Powell & Peralta were the only ones doing it this way. On occasion you would see someone riding a blank board with stickers on it but, that was pretty dull in comparison. Just like Rome, Powell & Peralta eventually fell. Some of the guys who had the experimental graphic left for better things. Jim Thiebaud left and turned Pro for SMA with one of the most sought after graphics of all time. DC Comics ceased and desisted his very first Pro Model. Vernon Courtlandt Johnson was responsible for some of the most legendary designs at Powell and I still wonder what VCJ would have drawn up for Jim. It was great to see him finally draw up a graphic for Jesse Martinez 20 years in the making. The memories these old boards are like pictures to me. Remembering where I was, what tricks I was doing, and all the friends involved. Glory days each and everyone of them. -ERL

Ray Underhill before the Cross and Chain graphic. RIP.

Lance Conklin earning his at the Am Finals Reno NV.

Mystery shape from Jim Thiebaud.

I had it and even then the shop guy said not to skate it, DC Comics was going to kill it.

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.