The Skateboard Times
................ Oh that fucking alarm, I was enjoying that dream you c**t. 9am is no time to be getting up on Sunday morning, the only thing that made me get out of bed was the prospect of the skateboarding I was going to see. That's right kids Tony Hawk was in town, along with Bucky Lasek, Jason Ellis, Danny Way, Renton Millar, Jocke Olsson, Jesse Fritcsh and Jean Postec. Representing the UK was down to Ali Cairns and Pete King.
I got to the Docklands Arena pretty early and wandered round talking rubbish to various friends and acquaintances, during this little tour I found out that they'd sold around 5000 advanced tickets! The environment in there was as uncomfortable as ever so I headed out for some food with Munson and JK, we watched in amazement as the hoards of kids entered. When the skating actually started it was ram packed in there, due to my semi illegitimate entrance procedure to the event (I borrowed a pass), I had no seat allocated so my only option was to acquire some floor space next to the ramp ensuring myself the best view in the house. Some people had terrible seats and I imagine that they could hardly see anything, even though there was a huge video screen relaying the whole thing at one end of the hall. Around this time it really started to dawn on me that skateboarding has gone out of control in this country as well as everywhere else. Not so long ago Tony Hawk was in the country doing demos for a few hundred hard-core skaters at various locations round the country, but now it's 2002 and he's skating for packed arenas of screaming kids who just came to see if he's as good as he is in the video game, funny how things turn out.
I guess the organisers worked out early that having T Hawk on the bill would pretty much ensure a full house, I don't want to knock this event because I really enjoyed it, but one thing was clear, the ramp wasn't up to scratch. If you're going to have a world class demo it really would be a good idea to build a world class ramp that the riders will enjoy and want to skate on, this in turn will ensure the top level of skating. I know how much those guys got paid to skate and it would have only cost a small portion of that to build a legendary vert ramp, I've heard various reasons/excuses why the ramp was not the best, but whatever the reasons the ramp is the second most important thing, next to the skaters, so it should have been sorted out really.
Moan over, here's what happened. I heard that Tony Hawk wasn't in the best of shape to be skating an ear infection/serious jet lag combo had knocked him out and he'd been asleep almost right up until it was time for him to skate. Saying that, it wasn't showing, he skated with the style and consistency that you expect from him and almost every run included a new little treat, no standard demo runs here. I hadn't seen Danny Way skate for years, probably since he was on H-Street, so I was looking forward to it. He's got one of the best styles in the business and is one of the great innovators of vert skating in my opinion, he definitely does the best f/s rodeos I've ever seen. Not afraid to go old school he also busted a Ho-Ho and a cab indy nose pick one foot, both of which were big crowd pleasers.
Renton won the best trick comp with a b/s kickflip late shove it which probably seriously did some peoples heads in. Danny was trying switch 360 flips but despite getting close couldn't nail one, he wasn't giving up though, and he was the last one to leave the ramp. Bucky made his heelflip to f/s invert earlier in the day but couldn't make it again in the best trick comp much to his frustration. Pete King served up a f/s nollie heelflip tailslide and Ali chucked in a b/s 360 air with a varial involved. Ellis looked up for killing himself as he limped off the ramp for more and more self destructive kickflip McTwist attempts. Jocke had some bashes at the 900 which prompted Tony Hawk to start trying too, unfortunately it was going too well and Mr Hawk took a few pretty nasty slams before retiring. Jesse eventually made a switch heelflip fakie (no grab) too. No one put too much effort into the highest air comp because they were concentrating on best trick, so Jocke won that without too much competition.
Rowdiest person of the day went to Tom Crowe who was drunk as fuck and on top heckling form.
I managed to get a lift over to the party/Day in the City premiere with Richie. The journey proved entertaining as one of my fellow passengers was Justin Ashby who shared his tales of recent encounters with Malaria. Pretty much everyone was there at the Bridge and Tunnel club and there was free vodka too, despite this I felt rough and decided to go home. Pete didn't feel happy about having his money on him with so much free booze about, so I ended up on the night bus with a good few hundred quid stuffed in my sock.
From assorted reports it got pretty messy with G bear hugging Danny Way and stealing beers to donate to Hawk.
Quote of the day, G to Tony Hawk on the subject of trying the 900 today: "You were like a caged bear getting poked with a stick".
Skateboarding gone big time
Busted in the worst way
Me and 'Oh No'
Dan Cates is a mong
G Money is a sack
Rusty is a gangsta
Thanks to Dave at Airwalk for my pass and to Renton for the use of his trophy (although he didn't know)