Learning how to ollie up and down curbs had me so riled up. I couldn’t stop thinking about the magazines and videos I saw at the skate shop. The fantasies and daydreams of what they could possibly hold within them, I couldn’t even comprehend. My imagination was lost at the audacity of the idea, due to the images on the covers I had seen from a distance and the pure bliss that skateboarding was giving to me.
I remember the next time the older kid, Mike, rolled down the street. I was so proud to show him my new setup. He was proud too, felt good about himself to see his influence, I can see it in my memory of his tones and attitude. He told me, I ended up with good product, and showed me 180’s, frontside and backside. He showed me a no-comply too. I needed him to do more than four no-complies, trying to comprehend, before he told me I could come back to it later. He showed me a fakie shove-it and pop shove-it too. Then he rode off, to the kid I knew’s house who wasn’t into skateboarding as much as I was, that friend had two sisters, one was Mike’s age. Just like my sister, who was friends with her as well.
For weeks I practiced (non)pop shove-its in the grass. Fought for 180’s. Backside was easier for me, I didn’t have to balance out the tail, some of my earlier roll-aways were more reminiscent of a back 180 Salazar tailscrape. Of course, frontside 180’s were always more satisfying to land proper, having to level out the board and have more control and power. I argued for trips to the skate shop to buy magazines or just visit and hang out. The first magazine my parents bought me was the issue of Thrasher with Danny Way backside noseblunting the roof of the car with DC stickers across the windshield on the cover, I tore it to pieces covering my wall with every page, same with the first Transworld I got from the grocery store(can’t remember the cover). The first video, called High Rollers, merely described as “Footage from Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania”(I think that was the description, although there was footage from DC and I believe New York City, maybe even Boston). The video had footage of Jake Rupp, JR Neves, Dave Coyne, Chili, loads of others that aren’t coming to mind or never went mainstream but still had the passion and skill, every east coast vert skater around in the early to mid-nineties and pro demos, a section of a Shred for Life demo, since becoming Shred for Mike, along with vert footage from an ASR vert demo.
Quickly I memorized the video and magazine, the other magazines I came across and my second video, Welcome to Hell. High Rollers had great skating, really quality and on par with the times, but Welcome to Hell… That video absolutely tore apart everything I thought was possible on a board. You see these photos and sequences in magazines, but seeing it on video. It was a paradigm shift, especially Welcome to Hell, I imagine the entire video to me, was what seeing Pat Duffy’s Questionable part was to skaters just a few years prior. High Rollers and Welcome to Hell, I watched them both at least once a day after school. Every Transworld torn apart and taped to my wall, slowly every Thrasher coveted and loved, hardly allowed off the family room coffee table or my nightstand.
Slowly I gained more control, pop and balance with 180’s, took fakie shove-its to the street from the grass and learned pop shove-its. Always trying to huck kickflips and heelflips, slowly working towards figuring them out. Mike, from the other neighborhood, started showing up more. Even started dating my sister. He would come over and skate with me while she did her homework. I would try and learn and perfect the three tricks I had, he would ollie recycling bins, trash cans and bikes while popping the hell out of flip tricks.
With the curbs in my neighborhood being mostly pebble, I would use the step up into my parents’ front door to learn slides and grinds. It had just enough room for the nose and tail, learning fifty-fifties really worked my parents’ patience, banging into the door every time I over-ollied and missed the lock in. Slappy noseslides and slappy noseslide shove-its came pretty quickly. Hitting the doorstep backside with anything else was a lot trickier, I’d always get blasted by the doorknob in the kidneys or back.
The afternoons were getting shorter skating with Mike, as I learned half-cabs and frontside half-cabs, pop shove-its and fakie pop shove-its, nollie shove-its. Spending evenings learning halfcab noseslides, five-O’s, slappy crooked grinds and doing 180’s and shove-its out of fifty-fifties on the doorstep. Christmas was getting close and my Think deck was hurting. Razortail squaring off the end, the nose broken and chipped. I knew what I was asking for. The ollie marks on my airwalks were starting to shred into my sock too.
Christmas morning came, I saw it, the wrapping covering a deck shaped object. Another 8.5 by 32, it was a Powell, red mini-logo, I was ecstatic, a sheet of Black Magic in my stocking. Another box had a pair of navy blue Sheep shoes, mind blown. I couldn’t wait to set up that new deck, work in those new shoes, my seconds. I could barely get the shoes laced and on when my parents told me to not run off to skate the doorstep just yet. “I think there’s something else in the garage, why don’t you go check it out?” I was skeptical, but excited. I rushed down and opened the door. Staring around, scanning every box and item. “I don’t see anything!” I shouted up the stairs. My father was almost on the last step, “Keep looking, something on the right side, maybe?” I couldn’t find it. I remember the sound his old worn slippers made on the garage floor as he came in and pointed, “It’s right in front of you.” I gave an impatient laugh, “Where?!” I can’t believe what I see in front of my father’s pointing finger. Standing eighteen inches at one end and two at the other, an angled round rail. I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t know why they would give me something like this, something I believed only belonged in a skate park. I was catatonic. All I remember is my dad’s laughing satisfied face.
Of course I took out my new deck, shoes and rail immediately out to the street. Boardslides and lipslides, and the handrails skated that I had seen in the videos and magazines, but I never had the environment to learn them. Here in front of me was my own miniature handrail, like a synthetic Hollywood young girl projected onto a screen, for Christmas, I got a pony.