Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Alva skate memory in Santa Cruz back in the day
Lately I've been thinking I should write down some of the skate stories for my kids and for myself. I've had quite a fun life skating over the decades. I brought up the story yesterday of down hilling Rodeo Gulch with Tony Alva back in 1980 and it got me thinking I should document some of them.
It was the Friday night before the weekend of the Capitola Classic and Tony came by NHS and was hanging out. He asked where he could go shoot a hill around Santa Cruz, I told him Hutson and I had been practicing on a road close by. We jumped in my red 1963 bug and headed out a few miles away. I remember it was a warm afternoon and I was like I'm going skating with TA, cool. Rodeo Gulch is tucked away and is a windy redwood lined road that at the time was pretty quiet unlike today where you wouldn't probably want to be going full speed with all the car traffic. We parked at near the end where there is a lone tree you can drive around to loop back to avoid the single lane steep road that goes over the hill toward the summit. We got out and he asked if you could shoot it I said yes. It is always good to get the lay of the land. I told him just don't cross over the lines on the blind corners and to look out for deer. A week before Hut was in a full tuck and we were following him trying to get a rough speed and we were around 35 miles and hour. I remember noise to the right and a bunch of deer charging down a steep embankment right down to the road right in front of Hut's line. He stood up and clapped his hands and they spread a few went right and a few went left he threaded the needle and went right in between and even brushed his hands on one of them. He was so lucky that they split. He slowed down and was just glad not to get taken out by a deer.
After getting out of the car and a few pushes later we were hauling down the road. I was on a Jim Gordon cutaway downhill board and he was on a pool park board. I remember the cool spots in the shade as we were going down. I wasn't too far behind and when we got to the bottom he looked back and smiled as I was on his tail. Toward the end I remember weaving back and forth to slow down. We hitched a ride back up and there was another car with Roger Hickey and crew ready to boom the hill. The LA rivalry was in the air and Tony started yelling at them calling them kooks or something and we got in my car and left.
We went back to NHS and he forgot his board in my trunk. I still have the board as and I told him a for a few years after that when we ran into each other that I still had his board. He told me to keep it. It is a super wide laminated concave, hand written graphics on the bottom, Indy's, white now yellowed Alva wheels with the buttons that fit in the hubs, pizza grip tape with a few stickers on it.
The next day was the race and that's another story. As well as the weekend I spent in Malibu at his ocean view shack with my broken leg. The road trip from Santa Cruz to Clark Foam, which was the first weekend Royce Chancleer became the NorCal Gotcha rep and they dropped me off at TA's on the way down and I got picked up on the way back. Got to see first hand Alva's rock star skate status and the wild life going on in LA. He was always very nice to me and we remain friends to this day.