Monday, August 28, 2006


Epic days don't come easy. They're often preceeded by 14-hour bus rides or maybe equally epic workloads. I had one of those epic days that stick in your mind this past weekend. Not that I did anything constructive or consequential, but how often does doing something constructive lead to an epic day anyhow?

This epic day actually came at the end of a particularly epic week for me, as I had just gotten back from a skateboarding/camping/drinking/vacation up on Orcas Island, WA. As someone who only gets five vacation days per year, I try my best to make the most out of those treasured days and that weekend we not only "took it to the limit", I also learned to say "I'm not sorry." but that's a different story...

This last Friday was one of those epic days that are even better because they don't cost a vaca day...I was legitimately working. Kinda.

The day before had been pretty good too, like I said, it was kind of an epic week. Even the usually desolate drive to LA from SF down Interstate 5 was pretty fun. Jake knew a pool in Gilroy we could hit on the way down and we did. Phelps got a few backside grinds, while I was happy just to get over the light and hit some tile. It was a pretty sweet, mellow egg-shaped bowl that could clean up nice if you had the time, but were were on a mission so we just hit it and quit it.

Stopped in Glendale to get our schralp on too, but the pad nannies were kind of a bummer so we left after a few runs for Santa Monica to check into the hotel and meet up with Stecyk for dinner. Good times were had by all, even if we couldn't wear our hats. We said "later" to Craig before skating off down to the triple set to scope out the scene for the next evening's King of the Road/End of the Road event.

We bombed the hill on the way down to the Santa Monica pier but failed to notice it turns into big wooden planks right at the bottom of the hill. Did I mention it was dark and we were pretty lit? Not sure how we pulled that one, but we both somehow managed to ride out the cracks and dodge the piggies to boot.

Anyhow, neither of us had been to the triple set before so as were walking up to it we were all, "Damn, the run-up is all pier planks too?" Dumbasses. The real deal was the next triple set down the way, and it had a proper concrete run-up. I'd imagine the gnarliest part would probably be the slippery-ass sand all over the place, but I'm not jumpin' my ass down that thing so I can't really say with authority.

We bellied up to the bar at Big Dean's "Muscle In" Cafe right at the bottom of the "world famous triple set" and Jake proceeded to heckle the shit out of everyone within earshot. His favorite way to enter a bar in LA seems to be to walk right up to the bartender and loudly ask, "Fuck the Dodgers, am I right?" in his best Boston accent. This usually starts a fairly lively conversation that never seems to turn out the way you think it might. We let 'em know we'd be back the next night with 40 of our friends before we left, but I don't think they believed us. We stumbled back to the room and ate some shitty overpriced hotel pizza that tasted like cardboard before crashing. Not so epic.

The real epic day was Friday, August 18th, 2006. We woke up early and hopped in the ride for a drive down to San Pedro to roll around the park and check out the progress. Every time I go down there the skatepark looks completely different, and Andy "El Beardo" Harris is busting his ass off in a corner mucking about ankle-deep in concrete—gotta give it up for that.

This day was no different, and El Beardo took some time out from his concrete to show us a few lines. He definitely skates it like he built it, and there was no way I was going to even fuck with half the lines he was ripping. I started to work on getting over the door backside, but a spine-jarring jump from the top of the door to the flatbottom left me scoping out other lines.

This little ripper kid Robbie had no problem finding all the lines. I think he might have even been sent to preschool at the skatepark, he skates this thing so effortlessly. I'd give my left nut for a Smith grind like this kid warms up with. The future of skateboarding looks safe for now.

I also sized up Eric "Tuma" Briton's wallride over the parking lot-side doorway and decided it was definitely not possible (for me). Mike Carrol's lien-to-tail from this years Photo Issue looks pretty impossible to me too, but then again those dudes fucking rip and I just fucking suck.

Jake and I packed it in after a few hours and set off to LA to pick up Preston "P-Stone" Maigetter at Union Station in downtown LA. P-Stone was coming off four months touring, skateboarding and filming all over Europe and he was to be our video guy for the KOTR judging. In addition to the judging, he was to edit a short clip of KOTR hilites (overnight) for the awards ceremony the next day at the Pink Motel. We loaded up on "packies", preston-slang for six packs of beer and headed out to skate the Bronson Ditch in Hollywood where they supposedly filmed a scene for Thrashin' (or check Avril Lavigne's "Skater Boi" video I'm told).

The ditch was awesome, smooth and freshly painted with a nice square bar bolted onto the far side to grind. The only bummer was if your board got away and rolled down the hill. In the hot sun it was a real bitch to climb down & back up that hill. Preston got 3 flip tricks in a row and Jake got a good workout from the hill. I got sunburnt and not much else.

After we worked up a sweat and killed another "packie", Jake bombed down the canyon road while P-Stone and I hiked up to scope out the Bat Cave from the 1960s Bat Man TV show. Pretty epic, YouTube that shit dog.

After the ditch, Preston steered us towards a dark little dive bar on Hollywood Boulevard with cold AC and colder beer. Jumbo's Clown Room, dude. Grab a fistfull of dollars & check it out if you can. Jake even hooked up a possible future Bad Shit gig there. I'd drive back down just to see that insanity for sure.

After recharging for a bitty at Jumbo's, we headed over to Melrose (we we're really doin' LA now bro!) to meet up with Buddy Nichols and "the original" Steve Olson, Alex olson's dad—not the Jackass Steve-O. Buddy and his wife just got themselves a brand new little baby girl and we stopped by to say hello before catching a quick after hours session at the Supreme bowl.

On the way to Supreme, while driving down Melrose, we passed some hipster coffeeshop and Preston points out from the backseat, "That's Nikki Sixx!." Now, you need to understand Nikki Sixx had sued Vans and Thrasher for running an ad with his picture in it AFTER we had flown him and his lady out to SF and set them up to party with Trujillo at his Skater of the Year party. So Jake climbs halfway out the window and hollers at the top of his voice for all the scenesters and Nikki's entourage to hear, "You're Nikki Sixx! You sued Thrasher! FUCK YOU!" Hilarious AND Epic.

I'm told the bowl at Supreme was built by those same Beautiful Losers art bowl dudes and it sure looks like it. Basically it's the ultimate mini-ramp of indoor, made-to-skate pools. It's a 3-foot shallow that waterfalls into a 7-foot mellow wood tranny with buttery concrete pool coping. If you've never caught a grind on pool coping this would be a great place to learn I imagine.

Jake skated it barefoot, and Kareem Campbell even hung out and skated with us barneys for a while too. Him and Jake knew each other pretty well and they sat and shot the shit, while Preston and I fucked around with the bowl all to ourselves. Thanks Supreme dudes, you rock. Again, pretty fuckin' epic, at least for me.

Usually at this point in the day I'm wrapping it up and thinking about heading home for the evening, but not this night...tonight we were meeting up at midnight with all the teams from the King of the Road. Some of the greatest skateboarders in the world were on their way to drop off their raw video with us from one of the gnarliest fucking skateboard contest to ever go down.


I was pretty hyped when Phelper told me I’d be helping with the judging for this year’s 2006 King of the Road. We’ve travelled together a few times over the years, and it’s always an adventure. Add in the fact that we were picking up epic dude Preston (P-Stone) Maigetter down in LA to handle the video end of things, and I knew it was on. Boost Mobile hooked up a totally gangster rental car for the drive down south, and we hit the road.

We were to meet the four teams at the end of the KOTR to collect the tapes and challenge books before heading back to the hotel for an all-night session of adding up points and going over the footage before declaring a winner the next day. Midnight at the Santa Monica triple set was the official end of their two weeks of hell, and the teams looked like they were happy to be done with it.

Jamie Thomas surprised me with two DV tapes (a KOTR first) along with his challenge book. Darkstar and Toy machine handed over their footy and books, while Dustin Dollin handed me a shiny new Mac Book Pro and begged me not to lose it. He said he had problems with the new Intel version of iMovie and couldn’t dump it out to tape. No sweat. I stashed the laptop and the books in the backpack and stood up on the stairs holding Burnett’s light meter while he dialed in his exposure for the End of the Road snapshots.

Group photos and some awkward conversation between teams ensued. They were all trying to feel each other out and pry info out of us. No chance. The Worst Haircut challenge was my first indication of how seriously these dudes went off. Each haircut just got worse and worse. Mike rolled up first, with “POT” shaved on one side of his head and a giant weed leaf on the other side. Baker’s Beagle showed up rocking a pair of pink and black fuzzy earmuffs shaved from his mop. The Dick hawk was absolutely disgusting. Nice work, dudes.

We schmoozed the local dive bar at the bottom of the triple set into staying open late, and proceeded to ring up a much-deserved (for the KOTR skaters at least) $500 bar tab in about half an hour before cashing out.

We grabbed another “six packie” of brewskis to go, and Jake, Preston and myself skated back to the hotel so we could start checking out the footage and adding up the points. We figured we’d just watch the vids straight thru at first to just sort it all out and start wrapping our brains around it all. Dustin’s laptop fired up first (these new Macs are FAST), so we clicked on the KOTR file and crowded around the screen, all pumped to check the footy.

Within seconds we were dumbstruck. Dustin Dollin had not only assembled all the tricks in order, he had completely edited one of the most insane skate videos I’d ever seen—complete with great music, voice-overs, slow-mo, duplicate angles—the works. Somebody was pounding on our hotel door to shut the fuck up (I guess it was 4:30 am), but we were too wound up to care and still had three tapes to watch. We’re not sorry.

The barrage of gnarlitude that we had just witnessed had us all talking about certain victory for the Baker squad. Besides, the Baker book looked almost entirely filled out, and was funny as hell just to page through. “FUCK THIS BOOK” was scratched into the cover, and Neck Face had left his mark all over. We weren’t adding up numbers at this point, just checking out the vids, so we dove into Zero’s tape to check out the carnage and see how it stacked up to Baker’s video.

The tapes are organized just like the books, starting with the easier tricks and working up to the 100-point “fucked up” challenges. As Preston keyed up the Team Zero tape, I flipped through their book, noticing very few blank spaces and a healthy number of the “f’d up” challenges completed. What followed was nothing short of mind-numbing. All I can say at this point is that Tommy Sandoval is a fucking animal and Chris Cole is absolutely unreal on a skateboard. Their TM, Chris Bodiford knocked out more challenges than anyone, and not just the weird “shirt off for a week” challenges—this dude rips shit. The other Zero riders are no slouches either, but these three knocked out what seemed like the lion’s share of the points and made it look just too damn easy.

We were hyped now, and Toy Machine was next. This is where we started to get scared. These dudes were fucking going off too. Harmony was grinding bars half a block long and coming out 180. Ed was getting naked every chance he could, and Billy Marks was kickflip lipsliding all over the place. Jesus. We knew we had our work cut out for us, trying to sort through the madness.

By the time the Darkstar video was starting, I was just finishing flipping through their book and realizing we had a real contest on our hands. They also had filled the book out, and added up a preliminary point total. Dyet does ridiculously difficult shit and makes it look too smooth. Machnau does death-defying stunts, and Paul Trep is not to be slept on. Plus, these guys know how to have fun and it showed. By the time we got to their “Highest, Longest, Most” section, we were in a scramble to start comparing this to that and trying to sort out who our winner could possibly be.

When the book challenges were added up, we started to get an idea of how the teams were stacking up. All the teams completed ALL of the challenges on a number of pages, but 20 points missed here and 50 points missing there start to add up over the course of the 25-page booklet. Most teams missed most of the “Fucked Up” challenges—nobody pulled the frontside 360 to nose manual—but the teams that did get the “F’d Up” challenges were ahead by 100 points for each one. You could spend days knocking out the 20 and 30 point challenges, but if someone else pulls even one of the Fucked challenges, it’s a tough hole to dig yourself out of.

Once the books were tallied, we still had all four teams separated by just a few hundred points. I gotta point out that at this point, the last place team still had more than enough points to win any other year and we hadn’t even judged the “Highest, Longest, Most” portion of the contest yet.

As we started comparing the “HLM”, Zero began to pull away from the pack. Some things are really difficult to judge, like which is gnarlier: a blunt to fakie on 14 feet of infectious concrete, or a blunt to fakie on a 14-stair rail? Does “biggest rail” mean longest or tallest or both? Does MVP go to the dude with the 1200 skate points or the dude with 1200 miscellaneous points?

There were also a few controversial calls, but we kept track of ’em all and decided if the point difference was less than the disputed challenge points we would have a skate-off. Fortunately, the point differences were great enough to offset any complaining about 100 points here or 50 points there.

By the time we tallied the “HLM” points, we had a clear winner and definite runners-up. Zero added 500 “HLM” points to their already-first-place total for 5530; Darkstar added 200 to hold on to second place with 4610; Baker had tacked on 450, but it wasn’t enough to lift them outta third with 4540; and Toy added 150 for a total of 3690. Theoretically, had Baker, Toy, or Darkstar taken home a minimum of 1000 “HLM” points (that’s 20 categories), the results could have been different.

So your team frontside flipped 14? Zero got 16. You skated 25 pipes? Zero skated over 200. Learn a McTwist for the first time? Only Zero did. You made out with how many women over 40? Zero bagged more, believe it. The list goes on and the DVD is going to be the gnarliest one yet.

Team Zero is King of the Road.