Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Charlie Thomas.



Give Blood.

Crimson was Kris Markovich's company after he left Blind in the mid 2000s. It did not last too long and Kris soon started the Given. The graphics featured a lot of his own art. The team included Richie Belton, James Atkin, Danny Scher, Anthony "Ragdoll" Scalamare, and a few others.

Charlie is from Louisiana. He has ridden for H-Street, G & S, Scarecrow, Hollywood, and Crimson. Charlie also served as a team manager for several companies over the years. Currently he is involved with Preservation Skateboards out of New Orleans.

I threw out the pair of shoes I had been skating in for the last four months when I got home last night. They smelled really bad. The left sole was down to the insole by the toes and the duct tape wasn't sticking. The heels were worn out, but that was more from daily wear for the few months I wore them to break in. Did I mention they smelled really bad?

Skateboarder - October 2007 Volume 17 Number 2

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Darren Navarrette #9.



The Vertical Vampire goes horizontal across the channel at Kelly Belmar's backyard bowl.

Wasn't there a 411 spot check on this pit and Chicken's pool?

Congrats to Nora Vasconcellos on turning pro for Welcome.

A reader emailed about CCS catalogs so I'm going to do another week of those after Labor Day. It will be three from the early 1990s and then one from later on for comparison purposes.

Slap - November 2007 Volume 16 Number 11

Monday, August 14, 2017

Matt Field #5.



Turn on, tune in, drop out.

Skateboarder - December 2007 Volume 17 Number 4

Friday, August 11, 2017

Mike Rusczyk #4.



Trendspotter Acrobat.

You never really associate the idea of caught clean with a no-comply kickflip, but it does happen. Retired Foundation pro Mike Rusczyk was way ahead of modern skateboarding in the way back when. My 43s are still mostly good, but my no-comply game has dropped off as of late. I can get the perfect pop over the curb, but I usually can't make myself jump back on while the board is in the air. Getting old sucks.

The photograph is by Brian Gaberman.

Skateboarder - August 2007 Volume 16 Number 12

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Danny Fuenzalida #2.



Switch Flip Physics.

Danny is from Santiago, Chile. He got into skateboarding in the early 1990s. He even spent a year in Canada for school as a teenager where he got to see guys like Alex Chalmers and Rick McCrank shred the parks of Vancouver. Danny would end up moving to San Francisco and turning pro for Think. He later moved to Miami, Florida. Venture and Nike also sponsored him.

The photo is by Dan Zaslavsky.

Slap - November 2007 Volume 16 Number 11

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dennis Busenitz #3.



Going faster miles an hour.

Slap - November 2007 Volume 16 Number 11

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Eduardo Craig.



The Big City.

City was a branch of Street Corner Distribution that was approximately around from 2005 to 2010. Street Corner was the overall company for Think, Venture, and Hubba Wheels. They went with a more metropolitan look for City. The team included Dave Bachinsky, Josh Matthews, Jeremy Reeves, Russ Milligan, Alex Klein, Tony Montgomery, and Jimmy Cao.

Eduardo is from Moreno Valley, California. He was also sponsored by Split Clothhing, Independent Trucks, Hubba Wheels, and Lucky Bearings. His favorite spot was downtown Los Angeles with his iPod. Switch 360 flips were his warm-up trick of choice, which means he had some serious skills. I don't recall if he ever went pro.

For the information: Skateboarder - July 2007 Volume 16 Number 11

Slap - October 2007 Volume 16 Number 10

Monday, August 7, 2017

Chris Pastras #3.



"It's a good excuse to hurt myself. It's like suicidal yoga. When I skate I forget about all the people I don't like and the people I do like. It's anger management."

I always liked this quote from Chris in the Dysfunctional book, mainly for calling skateboarding suicidal yoga.

Vert Is Dead fully endorses feeble grinds on small transitions.

I think I remember how to do this thing. So are Lakai and Anti-Hero making real life DVDs of their new flicks? Kevin Rodrigues has apparently left Polar for probably Hockey. That bummed me out a little, but things change over time. I decided on two weeks of random 2007 stuff from Slap and Skateboarder for the new content.

The photo is by Allen Ying.

Skateboarder - January 2007 Volume 16 Number 5

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Local Skatepark.





I figure I'd take a break from former spots to post a place you can actually skateboard at in town. The park was installed in August of 2004 and has more or less survived the 13 winters since. It is starting to show some age with cracks in the pavement and chipping of the ramps, but the concrete is holding up fairly well. There are lights at night and Lake Erie makes for a nice background, except for when there is a nasty breeze blowing across the lake.

In the early days, the place would get packed. Nowadays, it's almost weird if a lot of people are there. There used to be a ton of guys coming down from Buffalo and the surrounding areas to roll around. A young Jake Donnelly would often show up to skate back when he was in high school. His town is about a half hour away.

I go here nearly every day. There's a small group of BMXers who are regulars. They're all a bit older and just want to ride their bikes so they aren't a problem. They usually pick up their trash so that helps. Lately, a few of the kids who grew up skateboarding here have been riding more so that's a plus. There's the usual random freak scene children that wander by from time to time, too.



If you end up here, just don't move the parking block. Thanks.

I'll think of something for next week. There was a computer upgrade at the Vert Is Dead headquarters and I haven't attempted to do any serious scanning since the update. I will definitely do another week of old spots in the future. I've got to check my archives and hit up some friends to see about pictures from the ramps we used to roll around on.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Bank.



One summer night in late July a bunch of us were skateboarding here. It was the same week the county fair was in town. In the distance I see this kid pushing down the street towards the bank. It looks like he's got one of his shirt sleeves rolled up. Once he gets to the spot, it turns out he had his shirt sleeve rolled up because he had just gotten a Blind Reaper tattoo at the fair. His upper arm was wrapped in cellophane and he didn't want to mess up the new ink.

The bank used to offer more to skate than it does currently. There was a long manual pad that ran the length of the building, roughly where the flowers and shrubs are now. It ended where the parking lot meets the sidewalk with a small drop so you could do tricks off the end. It varied in width from maybe two feet at the thinest in the back to about ten feet at the widest so you had options to practice skating on two wheels. It was pretty cool. There were some waxed up parking blocks, too. For the life of me, I don't remember where the parking blocks were exactly. I also don't remember what bank had their branch here since it changed ownership in the early 2000s.



There was also a set of stairs. The runway was rather limited, but it was something to jump down. I imagine somebody bonked their nose or did a caveman onto the tiny rails at some point.



This odd ledge was there, too. It was on a slight incline so that added a degree of difficulty to tricks. It's not a square edge either so that didn't help. I know I liked to do frontside 50-50s up it, for as little up as there is. The right side still has a decent coat of wax, but we only ever skated the left side. Kids these days. Not that I've seen any kids skating here in a long time.

The bank is an example of what happens to architecture as the years pass. Things change and are simplified so skateboarding isn't even possible due to a lack of anything creative in front of a building. Although I doubt the designers for a small town bank ever even considered skate proofing a spot. I suppose there is a still a little gap over the flowers and the curb would be fine with a thick coat of wax. This was a fun spot back in the 1990s and a lot of late night sessions went down here. The bust factor was minimal, which I find odd now because the police station is literally across the street. You maybe just want to think twice about getting a tattoo at the fair.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Gynecologist's Office.




In retrospect, I might be the only person who actually liked skateboarding here. I think a couple of friends had gotten kicked out a few times because they went when it was open or the cleaning staff busted them so that soured them on the place. The spot was kind of lame, due to overly slick blacktop and a lot of small rocks at times.



The highlight for me was the heavily waxed up curb between the two light poles. I know I did a ton of slappy boardslides, tailslides, and noseslides on that section of sidewalk. There was also a curved curb that you can see in the top two photos that was sort of neat. I maybe got a noseslide or two on that.



The Gynecologist's Office had a manual pad, too. I'd hit that up for a quick manual during my skateboard around the town phase of the early 2000s. There were always the no skateboarding signs so I never wanted to stick around here very long. The surface of the parking lot deteriorated over the years and all the wax was gone from the curb so there weren't a whole lot of reasons to stay.

I probably skated here every night during the summer of 1994. I'd show up at like 1:00 AM, roll for thirty minutes, and then bail. I never got busted or anything. It's funny because the police station is so close to a spot that is posted for no skateboarding and they never said anything.

This technically isn't a gynecologist office any longer, as it just changed owners and purpose. As a spot, the manual pad is probably still good, but the parking lot is complete crap now and nothing has wax on it. I'd say keep driving if you happen to cruise by the building.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bell's.




This spot was named after the now defunct grocery store Bell's. The store changed over to a Quality in the early 1990s and is currently a Save A Lot. The skateboarding mostly happened in the parking lot on the other side of the plaza that was between the store and a bank. There were a couple of curbs, a tiny little two stair, flatland, and some shopping cart racks that a few brave souls got boardslides on with the aid of a launch ramp. Occasionally a bench or flatbar would be put down the stairs for added excitement. For vague reference purposes, the grocery store would be to the left from the bottom photo.



These are infamous Bell's stairs, which are located at the very left edge of the second photo. I'd like to see Jaws try to tame this beast. I swear they've sunk into the ground over the years. In the early 2000s, I would usually park my car in the downtown and skateboard all around the city. I would never linger long at one spot so I'd get in an ollie up and down the stairs, plus maybe another trick or two before moving on.



In the mid 1990s, the bank remodeled their drive-thru and created a gap between the two parking lots. It is a fairly small gap, but just big enough to mess with my head. I really hope I ollied it at least once. I just remember the bails. The remodel included a pair of steps by the bank's backdoor that was skateable. The step has since been skate stopped by the addition of an orange pole.



There were a couple of parking blocks at the spot that were somehow moved across the street to a vacant building's parking lot. This spot became known as the Bell's Curbs. There was also a weird gap to go with the parking lot and the curbs. The building was eventually repurposed for a mental health facility so it is done. The old curbs we used to skate became part of the neighboring church's parking lot. They lasted up until the early 2000s before being replaced.



An added bonus of this area was the pavilion. If it was raining or maybe even a little snowy, you could get in some tricks under the cover of a roof. We would sometimes take a bench to the pavilion to give it some variety. I skated it a couple years ago on a warm and rainy December Saturday. It seemed a lot smaller than it used to be.

Even though it hasn't been Bell's for roughly 25 years, I'll still call this place the Bell's Plaza. You could probably get away with skating it today, even though the parking lot is in kind of rough shape. Anything at the bank would be questionable. I don't think we ever got hassled much and this was a staple of the local skate scene for much of the 1990s.