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Gone Skateboarding Dude

It’s June 21st 2014 and besides being a Saturday, it’s also “National Go Skateboarding Day”. I also believe it’s the 11th year of “GSD”. Eleven glorious years of a special day just for us skaters. I can honestly say I never saw that one coming. If you told me back in 1986 that one day skaters would have there own holiday, I would have assumed you were snorting old Ripgrip.

In the 80s and early 90s skateboarding was not cool with anyone but skaters. All we had was each other and it was a solid brotherhood. Jocks did not wear skate shoes. Jocks called you “skate fags” and “skater faggots” and tried to ruin your makeshift spots. Skinheads, gangsters, cowboys, and especially parents hated skateboarding. We were “losers” because we didn’t fit a certain mold. We dressed how we dressed, we hung out in the streets and parking lots, and we didn’t give a fuck about anything. The lack of conformity is what made people hate us because they didn’t get us.

The brotherhood was thick. You would hear about a ramp or that someone might have a jump ramp at a spot. Contests were the best because it was all of us at one spot. Strength in numbers was golden. A truck load of Socs might drive by and yell “Skate or Die!” but, they damn well didn’t pull over. Ironically these guys are probably Dads now, wearing DC Courts with their Independent tees.

The acceptance of skateboarding worldwide saw the brotherhood slowly slip away. Family became cliques, certain crews were cooler than others, and soon skaters kept to their own clans. The us against them attitude was white washed away by skate dads and delusions of their kids being the next Flying Tomato. Parents wanted their kids to skate? Yes, and by all means, how can my son get sponsored? Fuck me.

That’s what happens to everything and every pioneer wants it to stay sacred. Fight change! Grand tales of back in the day and so on. It is what it is, skateboarding will always be the best. No rules, just you and the board. While all the contests and skate events are going down today, there are still those kids out there dealing with the torture and keeping the dream alive. GSD is just another day, to me it’s not good or bad. It’s just been a weird ride to get here. Cheers to all the skaters out there that got their asses beat, got shit at school, had no support at home, broke bones, fought back, had kids, and never quit skating. A road traveled to the end is a trip worth taking. -ERL

1984

Go Skateboarding Yesterday.

 

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

Street Skating returning to the Streets?

I’m not sure what’s going on in skateboarding lately. I just saw Tom Asta’s Pro Spotlight Video for Transworld and he didn’t have any skatepark footage. Not only that but, all of his street skating was not indoors. He skated outside the confines of perfection and wrecked some grimy East Coast spots. Bobby Worrest came through for his hometown and regulated Pulaski Park. Mark Suciu did the same, raw street skating that blew everyones minds. Dude just rolled up and dropped a Wonder/Horrible on us in 2013. Is this new form of street skating returning? No, it never left. It was just overlooked and for obvious reasons the fact is, skating at a predesigned skate spot is just easier.

StreetLife

Go play somewhere else.

Back in the day you would go to a skatepark just to warm up. You’d roll around and get yours legs under you and then hit the streets. Some days were good with no bust factor. Other days you would get kicked out of every spot. “Can’t you read” “You’re a liability on our property.” You are all trespassing” are all things everyone has heard while out skating. Cops get fed up with kicking you out of the same spot and eventually write tickets. They also are quick to inform you of the local skatepark and always ask why don’t you go there. Technically a city builds one thinking they solved all the problems of renegade skaters in the streets. Dudes that never leave the park at least get the Home Town Hero effect because the have the place dialed. That’s great, you backside flipped every hip in the park and all your homies clap. Every time you do it, every time. Why leave?

The legitimacy of an actual video part out in the streets is untouchable. The battle to come through with a full part in the suburban jungle is real. Mother Nature is always in charge. Wind, rain, snow, or 100 plus degrees is where it begins. Throw in rocks or even rock for that matter. Who hasn’t hit the absolute tinniest pebble and been served? Cracks in the sidewalk, no bondo, skating only after business hours, cops, neighbors, concerned citizens, and always having limited time to land your trick is always a struggle. For these reasons people travel to Barcelona and even more people are going to China in search of new spots and lenient skate laws. All of this insanity makes for the best videos though. You can do a NBD trick on a park rail and it’s still NBD. Take that trick to a rail where blood has been shed countlessly and that NBD is legendary. It goes in the halls of skateboarding lore, because it was the Wilshire rail or El Torro.

lottitrychromea

Lotti in his natural environment.

Indoor parks started out as TFs or training facilities to get a trick down and then take it to the street spot. Now days they are the spot. I see the need for them and I have friends who own these indoor master pieces. PRod’s park is insane, so is the Berrics. They are perfect and are really fun to skate. The fact remains that a trick done in a custom built for skating spot will never have that sense of rawness that comes from actual street skating. Contest are a different story. Obstacles are built to perfection as well they should. You have top pros doing tricks first try that would have been someone’s “banger” in their part 10 years ago. If you are trying  trick at a contest on a double kinked rail, it damn well better be built right. Contest are gnarlier than ever, just like skating in general. Park footage from say Ben Raybourn who kills tranny is nuts. Then again, he can’t exactly find these spots behind a supermarket. He does however skate outside of the park, ditches are out there.

MJ made his mark on skate history. Hubba Hideout raised the stakes.

MJ made his mark on skate history. Hubba Hideout raised the stakes.

Street skating is hard. The frustrations and stress level is make makes the reward that much sweeter. I hope to see more and more top Pros and Ams fighting the good fight and keeping street just that, street. Good work Transworld, a Pro Spotlight Video is a great idea. Thanks to Tom Asta, Bobby Worrest, Mark Suciu, and everyone who puts in the work to inspire others to find new spots. Skateboarding is bigger than ever, let’s not forget it started in the street. -ERL

http://skateboarding.transworld.net/1000192703/videos/tom-asta-pro-spotlight-video/ http://www.thrashermagazine.com/articles/videos/bobby-worrest-hometown-turf-killer/ http://www.thrashermagazine.com/articles/videos/mark-suciu-search-the-horizon-remix/

Shred Sunday’d

Besides the homeless I think we are the only people who lurk so hard. We basically loiter. Driving around looking for new spots to skate will take you to some odd locations. Ending up in an oil soaked industrial loading dock is normal to us. Even better that they had chairs outside for their employees smoke breaks no doubt. To top that, it was covered and we had a dry spot free of snow. Civilians drive by puzzled. Cops drive up concerned.

If you street skate you realize we have more in common with the homeless than most people. We like to do what we want and ignore most of societies preconceived notions of what we should be. Trespassing and destruction of public/private property do not apply to us. Your average person who calls an ambulance when they fall off a curb can’t conceive what we do. Wander, look around, and discover what your streets have to offer. -ERL

Shred1.8

Nathan had nosegrinds all day at the Grease Spot.

Shred1.7

Lounge crew, it was a Sunday after all.

Shred1.6

Jordan got blunted.

Shred1.5

Dane murders spots like this. Feeble.

Shred

Jordan bluntslide FS 180 away from the tundra.

Shred4

Dustin had the leap and Frank had a little faith.

Shred3

Those warm rays you see are a life saver.

Shred Sunday Hoth

The high suggested 22 degrees was all the mercy  we were going to get from Mother Nature. The snow had been scraped and there were a few options besides strictly parking garages. They are always dry but, the lack of sun is brutal. For the first time in a few decades my bushings froze up to the point where they might as well been made out of steel. No turning means no control and rickety style.

The rest of the crew had zero problems adapting their Speeders to the cold. Hot coffee, hot chocolate, and constant motion was the name of the game. As much as an indoor park would have been lovely, I felt better about skating in a frozen hell with a good crew. I’d rather suffer than get soft.

Winter skating takes me back to the day where you and your crew would skate no matter what. You would skate the curb spot by where the jocks hung out even though you knew there would be trouble. Skate a spot you knew you would have to run away from cops or security or you’d lose your board. The hunger of youth overpowers the excuses that comes with age.  A mediocre day skating beats not skating at all. -ERL

You get what you're given. Them's the breaks.

You get what you’re given. Them’s the breaks.

Tyler takes the long ollie into the dry zone.

Tyler takes the long ollie into the dry zone.

Dane made use of a make shift block.

Dane made use of a make shift block.

Cut through a dry spot, over the snow, grind it, and pop out over more snow. The good life.

Cut through a dry spot, over the snow, grind it, and pop out over more snow. The good life.

Seek shelter and attack. Tyler catching a beauty of a kick flip.

Seek shelter and attack. Tyler catching a beauty of a kick flip.

Mother Nature blessed us with some rays of hope.

Mother Nature blessed us with some rays of hope.

SS9

Mitch skates vert.

Tyler got his as well.

Tyler got his as well.

Dustin Elliker edit.

Arm Chair 540s?

There has been and will always will be the great debate, “IS SKATEBOARDING A SPORT?” and you are on one side or the other. The purest attest to the “fuck no” approach as the average person points out the obvious and agrees that it is.  I’ve jumped the fence a few times in regard to the matter.

Skateboarding can’t be a sport. There are no rules. You can butt board and push with your face if you so desire. There is no written guideline to tell you otherwise. There is no practice, no regiment, and no uniforms. It is such an individual activity that is closer to art than sport. There isn’t a coach (minus Nyjah’s Dad) and you are not punished for a bad performance. You normally won’t see a team tryout in skating, and if you do it’s real kooky. You aren’t drug tested. Most athletes are not kicked out of their practice area by police and rent-a-cops.

Skateboarding has always been a sport. They make protective gear for it. There are teams and people get real upset when someone quits their favorite team. You become an amateur on a team and then go Pro as in professional. You follow your favorite Am’s career and get hyped when he gets the nod into the Pro Ranks. Once a professional you get paid to do so and that makes you a professional athlete. You also get endorsements and good ones at that, big money. Not only all of that but, you are performing on television and in arenas. Bob Burnquist fakes/milks injuries to win just like NBA players flop to get that free throw. Thousands of fans with signs rooting for you to win, to pull that big trick crushing the other team’s rider. Shoe deals with your own signature line are abundant. Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and more and more large sport shoe companies have a vested interest in skating. Just like Jordan, people are wearing your brand so unless your that jaded 80s punker dude still talking shit on Hawk, it’s obvious skateboarding has always been a sport.

What makes the sport of skateboarding special is it’s ours. Skating is our fucking sport. We weed out the kooks and protect it individually. It remains special in the heart of men pushing 60 and the youthfulness will always separate us from any other sport. How many high school football players still pad up and go hit the field in their 30s and 40s? None of them because they played football to fit in. They did it to get to the next level and maybe they did. That next level eventually led to a kind of unfulfilled feeling that made them lose that drive or what they thought was love. I’ve seen many a friend realize they didn’t have what it took to be a Pro Skater and slowly they “grew up” and skated less and less. They may have ran in a touchdown on the High School level and heard those cheers but, they couldn’t make the cut in the big leagues. If that is why they were still skating then that is why they also stepped away.

From the kid who just started getting his balance, to the kid ripping up the park, to the old guy slashing the bowl, that is what makes our “sport” different for anything else. We don’t practice, we skate. We don’t take one for the team, we skate. We don’t get a scholarship, we skate. Even when it’s all over and done and you retire from your team, you still skate. -ERL

Next up, representing sunny California, THE ALVA TEAM!

Next up, representing sunny California, THE ALVA TEAM!