"I gotta do this, I've been watching people do it all summer with ease and grace so it's gotta be simple. Here I go!" this is what I said to my friend Brian Oak Bay Bains. Brian got his name from his glory skating years in the 80's in Oak Bay... or maybe he didn't but I remember him being one rad skaters in the late 80's. Back then the Oak Bay rec center was the only source of skateboard action. They had a good size half pipe and splatter of little launch ramps.
Anyway I was going to attempt a 50/50 grind in the Vic West Bowl. I can carve this bowl at a very satisfying pace, let's just say Jay Adams, Stacey Peralta, Duane Peters and Tony Alva are my heroes so I recon I imitate their style. Back to the 50/50, and I propel myself up onto the coping and the next thing I know the board goes somewhere else and I am doing some sort of impact grind on my shin at full body weight. The shin felt like it bent very nicely to the point where it almost wanted to break. I crawled out of the bowl and Brian laughed and said wasn't I glad I don't weigh as much as him. I looked at his 200 lb + body and politely agreed with him. I think his shin would have broke for sure! No offence Bro! Brian still shreds and may we ride the stunt woods together until the coffin comes.
I was in pain and called it quits. A handful of Midol and I slept like a baby only to find myself limping around the next day. Now this is where the story begins. I'm not a man to sit around and do nothing. Especially sit in front of the Box... "Kill your TV now!" is my motto. The sore leg made me sit around so I took the opportunity to watch a skate video. Let's face it the volume of skate videos out there is huge. I have had the opportunity to see about a dozen videos in the last year and of coarse the best one this year has been the swearing, skate guru Dan Lupton's Victorian Touch #3. My helmet goes off to that dude because that video kiks asre. But on the same token Iím a little prejudice and think this little city of ours has some beyond sic skaters and basically Victoria Rules.
On this day I was in for a treat. Like the Dogtown video about the 70's era skaters there is one skate video that stand out for the 80's era... this re-release video is called "Street's of Fire" by Santa Cruz skateboards. Now this video has nothing to do with the great Bruce Springsteen song of the same title. Man is that a good song though!!! Just shyttin ya. This is a video about the one thing so many of us have dealt withÖ. illegal street skateing. In this movie the main character Jason Jesse actually gets put into prison for doing just that. The movie is Jason's time in prison and the memories of all the great skateing he has done as well as all the great skaters he has skated with. Steve Alba whose footage is of dizzying speed carves in a clover bowl at the Turf indoor skate park as well as some insane full pipe riding at the Pipeline.
Jeff Kendall, Jeff Hedges, Jeff Grosso, Corey O'Brien and Claus Grabke all come to visit Jesse. These were all the Santa Cruz boys of the time. This video is just chalked full of awesome half-pipe skateing back when pads where mandatory. A potpourri of front-side and back-side airs that just isnít imitated that frequently today as well as the handplants and inverts. The full pipe footage is also attacked at all angles and this crew goes out of its way to find the spots. You get some awesome concrete drainage full pipes and ditch skateing as well as a quick construction site steel pipe assault. European skateing is alive and well also with some more ramp action and some awesome Paris and German street footage. They must have timed it right because the pond around the Eiffel Tower was empty for cleaning... needless to say there were transitions aplenty to be rode.
Meanwhile back in prison Jasonís lawyer and the drunk judge manage to hand him the death sentence for his crime. As Jason leaves the judges stand he so adequately slaps a "Skateboarding is not a crime" sticker onto the desk. Throughout the film Jason is beginning to get a repertoire with the bull/ prison guard. I was trying to place this big man and it finally struck me that he was Skip Engblom. Skip was the pimp in the Dogtown film that hauled all the Zephyr team to the contests back in the 7o's. I wonder what Skips story is? He must have seen a lot of skating in his time.
The soundtrack for this baby isn't your mainstream fodder that is heard on many skate videos of today. This blazer is cranked with music by Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Decendents, Blast, SWA, and the ever-mighty Black Flag! I found myself singing along to these old-time classics. Who would have ever thought this noisey long lost skate-rock would have ever been considered old-time classics? This was the music I skated to. I just about put the couch through the wall shakin my fist and singin to Black Flags song Nervous Breakdown. Man that's a good song though! And I ain't shyytin ya! While this was all going on my kids look over at me and say "Your weird dad!" Non-the less it's a great soundtrack!
Now every once in a while a skater comes along that changes the face of skateboarding. If you want to see one of these skaters you must locate and watch this video. His name is Natas Kaupas.
Now I have to let you know this movie contains only one rail-slide and some ollie footage and it's Natas pullin these tricks off! This man is the forefather of the insane street skateing we see today! I hope he is getting the recognition and praise that is due to him! Natas' skateing on this video proves he was an extreme innovator. We are all imitators and only a handful of us are chosen to be innovators. These are the real skaters and Natas is one of them!
The end of the video came and Jason Jessee is escorted down death row to the electric chair.... I'm not going to give the ending of this movie away but all I can say is it's a real goocher. So Head on down to your local skate video outlet and have them order you a copy of this eighties classic.
This is a great video and when it was done I looked out the window at the sun. I was fully inspired and decided to grab my pads and skate and head down to the Vic West bowl. Unfortunately when I got off the couch I realized I still had a bum leg!! Damb, maybe next year this old dog will try to learn a new trick.
Ricky Long at Vic West skatepark in Victoria
Keep on grindin & carvin - ricky long