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Thursday, October 15, 2009

How do you spell T.R.I.B.E.S?

I am a born again skater of 51 and I look 51. I started skating back about 7 months ago, going to skateparks on full protection gear (helmet, wrist-guards, knee-pads, elbow-pads).
Because I’m born again, I’m no fool… At first I was a little fidgety, because skate parks are full of 8 to 16 year old skaters and I though they would laugh at me 1) because of my age and 2) because of my attire and 3) because of my old style.

For the past 7 months I have been going to skatepaks an average of 3 times a week. That makes about 90 shesh. Not at one single time the kids laughed at me or disrespected me. On the contrary I was amazed (really!) that the kids would let me drop in their pools, wait for my turn to go, helped me when I fell down, talked with me a lot, shared their experience, asked me for advice, taught me new tricks on the coping or on the flat, even included me in their group when cops surveyed them (well…us) and obstructed the only exit at the same time.

Then, I had 2 bad experiences, almost back-to-back. One day I went on civilian clothes to photoshoot the Upland park. I immediately felt a lot of animosity towards me. Kids were coming a lot in front of my camera, preventing me to take pictures, asking me who I was , why I was taking pictures of the park and what was I supposed to do with the pics. On a couple of instances, I had my camera inside the pool, touching the coping, to take artistic pictures of the pipe when some kids came and almost ejected my camera from my hand with some kind of ollie. I was considered as a voyeur who wants to take pictures of skateboarders.

The second bad experience was when I went to Supreme Skate Shop in Hollywood. I work 2 blocks from there, so during lunch time, I visited the shop and was amazed by the wonderful peanut shaped bowl inside the store. You could tell by the prints left by the wheels on the wood that the bowl was extensively used. I asked if I could use it myself. The manager looked at me, from top to bottom and just said: “no, the bowl is only for friends and good skaters”. I do not pretend I am an excellent skater, but I am good enough to skate in a little bowl (albeit wonderful) with no vert without killing myself.

Obviously, those two times, I did not look like a skater, but as a “civilian”, worse, an “old civilian”. Being on both sides (a civilian and a thrasher), I can understand the skater’s frustration when someone who is obviously not part of their clan comes to annoy them. On the other hand, I understand the frustration of regular people (including cops) when skaters initiate the fighting by talking back or having an attitude when what one is only doing is being “present” at the scene.

About Upland Skatepark
Upland was home to the "original" Pipeline Skatepark (1977-1988), which was one of the gnarliest skateparks ever built during the short park era. The current Upland skatepark pays tribute to the old school skaters with a replica 20' tall, 40' long fullpipe that empties into a large vert bowl. That monstruous fullpipe is a real blast from the past. Have respect for it, or it will eat you alive! The depth in the shallow is around 5' deep. The deep end of the bowl is around 12'-14' deep. Also the run has several halfpipe sections that are 10' and 14' tall.
The design team of Badlands legend Steve Alba, California Skateparks and Purkiss Rose worked together to bring this park back to life in 2002.
The design and construction quality is top notch, although the park, especially the street area is too small. True, the park is small, but the 10,000 sq ft park has a bunch of features packed in that will satisfy your skating thirst. The street area is complete with the usual... a 10 and 7 stair set, rails, ledges, banks, fun boxes, pyramids, etc. Small area, but lots of stuff to skate.
Open 10am to 10pm everyday, lights for the nights and unsupervised.
Bleachers are available for friends and family. Drinking fountains and restrooms are nearby.
Wear your pads! Police will do drive-bys and hand out tickets to padless skaters!

About Supreme Skate Shop

With six locations, (2 in the US and 4 in Japan) Supreme Skate Shop has been going strong since it first entered the scene in 1994 with its flagship Manhattan location. In 2004, Supreme signed a lease at 439 North Fairfax (323-655-6205) in Hollywood. The West Coast outpost of the New York skate shop greets visitors with a nine-screen video wall playing skate flicks in the storefront window. Inside, the minimalist space is occupied by very small racks of its own branded soft goods — mainly T-shirts, sweatshirts and pants — many of which transcend the ordinary with exclusive silkscreen designs by artists like Ed Templeton and Larry Clark. Prices are $18 for tees to $128 for Dickies-style pants. The Hollywood store has nearly twice the floor space of the New York version but displays the same limited stock of merchandise. The rest of the place (that is half of the store) is filled with an eight-foot-high magnificent structure, which supports a 32-by-23-foot wooden bowl that, supposedly, becomes ground zero for local pros when the winter rains come. View from the entrance, you feel like the stucture is a giant inverted spider-web hanging over your head. Although the store is all skater-driven, it is definitely not a traditional skate shop. Frankly, it look much like a museum of some sort, especially with the collection of limited edition skateboards in the back wall. The store owner, Mr. Liechty estimates that only half his customers are skaters and the rest are either simply kids who want to identify with the look, trend spotters or veeps that want to stay in. Supreme represents a New York State of mind, a lifestyle, and fashion thrives on lifestyle and skateboarding.

Apart from the mini-ramp, you shouldn't expect much from the inside of the store, especially from the employees, and especially if you ask them to ride the ramp. Duh!. I already told you: "the ramp is for friends". So, don't pay to much attention to them as they will do the same with you. Mind your own business; come in, browse the tees, do your thing, pay at the counter and that’s it. Again, it is not to defend their nihilistic attitude towards certain individuals, but Supreme is definitely not a scene for posers (or maybe is it only a scene for posers?). The elitist attitude will always be there as they feel they should uphold it within the ranks of Supreme. I mean, it is Supreme, or not?. And for those that are not into it or that don't understand plain English: F.U.

Ah: here is the link to the video of the bowl: Supreme Skate Shop

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I skate therefore I am: skateboard pools, pipes, parks, bowls and vert, daily skateboarding news...
posted by Xavier Lannes @ Thursday, October 15, 2009 

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats just how the upland locals are... you should check out Huber skatepark in corona if you like fun flowing tranny and nice people :D

October 25, 2010 at 5:21 PM  

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