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.