Thursday, August 25, 2016

30 Year Retrospective: That First Board

The one that started it all for me. I wrote about it some in the last post, the white dip, the all pink everything. The decks of the early to mid-1980s were wide and shapely, especially when compared to what I thought of as a skateboard prior to laying eyes on Transworld or Thrasher. My previous board was a yellow "banana" board with soft red wheels and trucks that were molded right into the plastic board, so you can imagine how blown away I was looking at these decks of the now! Names like Powell, Alva, Vision, Hosoi, Skull Skates, and the graphics... sensory overload achieved. These were the boards all of the dudes around town were riding, and I wanted to be one of those dudes, I wanted to be a skateboarder. But more importantly, I wanted to skate!

My first attempts to approach and hang with the pioneers of skateboarding in my hometown were less than successful. These guys were all one to two years older than me and hung in a tight clique. I cornered one of them in front of Fas-Chek one day. "Hey man, I'm gettin' a Gator," I announced in my hickish Appalachian drawl. He was less than impressed. He was the one dude in town who already rode a Gator, and here I was chomping at his heels. By the time we became friends a few months later, he was riding a Caballero.

Another time, I approached all of them in the lunch room at school, yipping away about something I am sure I knew nothing about in an attempt to join the ranks of the radical elite. Chuck was sitting facing away from me, and according to the other guys, was trying to fart on me. Not sure if this was an attempt to run me off or some kind of hazing ritual, but I was going to be a skater.

It was late in the Summer of 1986 when I met the leader of the local tribe. He had been laid up due to a compound fracture and was still in a cast when we first started hanging out, but that didn't stop him from pushing his Powell Skull and Sword from his house to mine four blocks away. Now, here was this guy, military pants cut off into shorts, a highly yet demonically decorated cast on one leg, a Vans hi-top at the end of the other, and griptape cut out into letters that read "EAT ONE." After that cast came off, the jump ramp and wallride era was wide open, and dude was there man, just killing it. Then came senior year, they all joined the football team, geared up for college, re-pledged their allegiance to beer and women, and kind of left skateboarding behind.

But to this day, all of these dudes are skaters still, full circle is the path of life. Being a few years behind them in school gave me the advantage of staying on board a few more years before college ultimately lead me astray in the mid 1990s. By then skateboarding had changed a lot. My favorite era will always be 1988-1991, a time of just radical change, but I love it all. It's in my blood.


Eric Roy said...

That's rad, my first was a Roskopp, hot pink, saved up my birthday money. This was 88. I couldn't afford a complete, put Variflex hangers on Indy base plates and bought some used Slimeballs.

I was searching for an image of a Life deck I once had and came across your blog. Cool stuff. I'm 42, still skate almost everyday unless I'm surfing.

Eric Roy said...

That's rad. My firs real deck was a Roskopp, hot pink. I remember using all my birthday money to get it. Couldn't afford a complete. I wanted to look legit, placed Variflex hangers on Indy baseplates and bought some used Slimeballs off a kid from school.

Cool blog. I came across it searching for an image of a Life deck. Also thanks to you, I discovered Fickle. Currently trying to get a custom in the works!!!

Jeff said...

Right on Eric! Thanks a million for stopping by! I am picturing that Roskopp now man! I hope you enjoy your custom Fickle as I much I enjoy mine bud.