Sunday, April 4, 2010

Skateboardmania flashback

So there are times in your life you do things knowing it is not exactly what you envisioned yourself doing but you do it for the experience. This was one of those times. In the late 70's their wasn't many ways to make money as a skateboarder, so when the opportunity came up to try out for this skateboard tour that was going to pay you for skateboarding and take you on a 6 month journey across the US and then go worldwide you go for it. I was 18 at the time and knew this was something worth trying, since their wasn't money in skateboard racing unless you were a guy and I had bad experience with competing in skate parks after Winchester skate park contest because of what one competitor did to get second. That's another story.
They had 150 skaters try out for it. They picked the ones that they could choreograph and make them wear silly Earthling and Alien outfits. Of course they didn't tell us about the H&R Puff n Stuff style costumes until after we were committed and already in rehearsals in Hollywood.
We spent three weeks in Hollywood, stayed on the Queen Mary for a week and practiced in the Long Beach arena. Then took a Rock n Roll bus to Fresno to do a 10 day practice in their new arena. I remember we were 7 semi trucks and a million dollar show. 40 roadies and filled the hotels as we traveled. On our way we over heated the bus playing PONG (at the time it was so modern) every TV and Stereo on 10. It was hot and I'll never forget cause DP (Duane Peters) got out and laid on the side of the road to sun himself like being on the beach. We all were like what? Newport Beach surfer just enjoying the time.
While in Fresno we heard about the new skateboard park they had. We were told we could not go and if we did we would be jeopardizing our spots. Don't know how it transpired but Lelani Kiyabu, Steve Shipp, Duane Peters and I were asked if we wanted to go one night but told not to tell anyone. I think it was kind of a marketing thing cause there was no way a bunch of skaters at the skate park were going to not say something. We were doing a couple practice shows in Fresno and I think they wanted to get some buzz going. I remember it had a metal full pipe that was really nice. It was smooth, grippy and had a perfect transition. They asked us to promise not to get hurt. Well of course we said no worries. I think all of us had some sort of scrape or bruise. The next day without even saying we went our cohorts said you guys went to the park!
Once in awhile a memory will pop up in the head so I like to try and write it down.
Yeah we looked like dorks, yes we stayed in top of the line hotels, got fed, got paid and got driven around like rock stars. We were 16 - 27 years old. Many of us still friends, many of us still skate.

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