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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today was a good day!

Written by Xavier Lannes

So, picture this, this week-end, I went to the éS Game of SKATE Amateur World Championships in Lake Forest California. The menu looked promising: during one year, skateboarders of all ages from around the globe had competed in a double elimination tournament-style skateboarding contest. Essentially, the éS Game of SKATE is a global tournament that includes more than 12,000 skaters competing in 110 cities and in more than 25 countries around the world. The winner of each stop had earned an all-expenses-paid trip to Orange County, California to compete in the éS Game of SKATE Amateur World Championships. This year, a new concept called the “Tricktionary” was added to the celebration. This unique event gives all skateboarders a chance to film any trick of their choice with their own unique style. éS picks up the dopest variations of each trick and puts the how-to videos in the first-ever flat-ground “Tricktionary” on the éS Game of SKATE website.

So far so good, but, on the way to the contest, it seems I made all possible blunders.

First of all, because that contest was organized by Etnies, I though it would be as huge as the Maloof extravaganza, with tons of guapas edecanes mexicanas, handing out nice freebies, huge bleachers full with thousands of screaming people but, no, the Etnies facility is almost like the OC fair, but just smaller.
So I arrive at the Etnies skatepark and look for the big crowd. There is none. It seems that either the contestants don’t care or that the contest is over. After I ask the skatepark attendants what’s up with the contest, they tell me that the contest is not at the skatepark but on the parking lot of Etnies headquarters. Ah, ok I mutter. So I drive to Etnies HQ, two blocks away from the skatepark and, guess what? The parking lot is all but empty. No contest here either. The only dude present is a lost guy in a white Toyota hybrid who is nothing less than my buddy PAS, the boss of Etnies… He looks as surprised as me to see me in that desolated place.
- "Salut Pierre Andre", I shout while exiting from my car, "where is the contest"?
Man, second blunder: I am wearing a brand new blue World Industries tee shirt that I had kept all these years, thinking that I might use it one day to stand out as a poser in an Etnies contest. Obviously, I should have listened to the store manager of the Zumiez skate shop in the Riverside Galeria (where I live), with who I had and argument a couple of days before, because I wanted to buy the video “The Man Who Souled The world”, the story of Rocco. He had just dismissed my request by saying: “Oh, World Industries, we do not carry that brand anymore. It is dead”.

Take that Frenchie!

Actually, as the blogger for poolriders, it’s not that I have a real affection for the guy who killed the vert but I do respect millionaires, especially if they have a lot of money! And that Rocco dude sure is a millionaire and I do respect him a lot.

So, here I am, with PAS in front of me, flabbergasted by my attire, just him and me in that forlorn parking lot, and me with a pristine blue tee shirt of a brand that is dead. PAS looks at me and does not immediately answer my question but rather says:
- "Where are you going?"
Because I was supposed to be dressed like a skater, I though it was evident, but obviously not to him. So I say:
- "Well, to the éS contest!."
- "The contest is not here, but behind the big building, in the next block!" He said.

The next block? Man, is this the Boeing facility or what? How am I supposed to know that Etnies owns half of Lake Forest? So, you see how lucky I am: I am the only soul in the entire block, I come to see the éS contest, I am lost in the Etnies maze of buildings, I feel stupid and this is exactly at that moment when I meet the boss of Etnies with a brand new World Industries tee shirt on my shoulders. And you know what he tells me?
- "Well, because this is an éS contest you have to come with me."
And there I am, on a Saturday afternoon, on a deserted parking lot, in front of the Etnies HQ, with the boss of the #1 skate shoes company in the world that opens the door of the Ali Baba cavern for me, turns out the security, ushers me in his office, shows me the 2010 secret collection and offers me to choose and pick up a Es tee shirt out of hundreds as a gift….

Now, this time you won’t believe how lucky I am: I pick one that I like most: deep blue, with nice éS letters artistically painted in rainbow colors. But the tee-shirt definitely looks too small, so I pick another one and another one, until PAS tells me that they are all same size: medium (well, obviously that’s a sample collection!) and I am supposed to wear size large (really it is XL, but my wife thinks that I am on a diet, so she buys me large…).
- "Oh, well," I tell Pierre Andre, "finally, looks like this nice medium is bigger that the others, ho-hum!"
I take a deep breath; hold it and, can you believe that the tee fits perfectly? Told you. I’m so lucky.

After that, I take my car and drive to the next block. Frankly, I could have walked, but this is California, you either skate or drive but you don’t walk in California, it’s called jaywalking and you can have a ticket for that (or worse if you are caught jaywalking without a valid driver’s license). And because it’s against the law walking without a license, people don’t walk anymore.

For the next 45mn I watch emphatically the contest. The skaters combine tricks after tricks, most of them, I don’t even know the name, or that I have never saw before like some jawdropping ollies and rad kickflips. What those guys are doing on a board is really gnarly. Then, I stand close to a guy scratching his head again and again, and he finally, out of despair, drops the big question:
- "Hum, exactly, what are the rules?"
I try to explain that the Game of SKATE is based on the basketball Game of HORSE. And here's how to play: The first skater tries a trick, makes it, and everyone else has to make it. Whoever doesn't make it gets a letter. The first letter is "S", the second letter is "K", and so on, until "S-K-A-T-E" is spelled out, and that person is out of the game. When it's the first skater's turn again, he tries another trick. If he makes it, the whole process repeats. If the first person misses the trick he tries, the second player tries his own trick. If he makes it, everyone else has to make that trick, in order. If anyone misses, they get a letter, and so on.

And while I am trying to explain the convoluted S.K.A.T.E. rules, the guy remains eerily silent. Then, out of the blue, I take a moment to look at him, and I am mesmerized to see that his head says yes, but his eyes say no. A very difficult trick to do. Indeed!. So, excuse my French, but I fucking give up explaining.

Maybe the guy is right after all, maybe it’s too complicated or maybe it’s too tedious to see someone doing a trick and the same trick being repeated, over and over, by all the dudes until the word S.K.A.T.E is spelled out and one of the guys breaks his ass on the concrete. Or maybe you have to be a real skateboarder to appreciate and I’m just a pool rider, what do I know?. After a while, I decide that it’s frankly becoming quite monotonous, so I decide that, while I’m here, I’d rather skate a little and can come back later to see the grand finale. That’s the next blunder. The next thing you know, I am running down the hill at the Etnies skatepark shredding like Mad Dog for what I though was one hour, but really was two. Suddenly, I realize that it is nighttime, that I am on a strict schedule and that my skate will turn back into a pumpkin if I don’t return to the contest before the Mission bells.
- "Goddamit, the contest!" I shout!.
I take my board, exit the skatepark, pass over the ditch (no kidding), run uphill to the Etnies parking lot behind the building and see all those guys hugging each other like if they had all won the contest or like if someone was dead or something. Pierre Andre is still there, chating with Fabrice LeMao and I ask “How bout the contest?”.

- "Where were you?", they ask. “It’s over” they say,
- "The winners are Diego Najera, from El Centro, California, beating Carlos Lastra, from Long Beach, California, and Brian Peacock from Wilmington, California."
Man, as I said, that was the lucky day for those three, because remember they got to have all expenses paid from where they live to the capital of skateboarding. What a trip!

Well, finally it looks like I missed almost all the action, at least the nollie hardflip sesh between Danny, Rattray and Kevin Terpening, but I was lucky enough to have taken those pics before I went down the hill to skate a little. And for those who don’t believe that it really happened as I said, just ask PAS, he will tell you, in the best P-Rod style that “Today Was a Good Day” ooops, another blunder!!!!!

Oh, BTW, so, now that I traded my infamous World Industries for a nice éS tee shirt and that I am officially sponsored by éS, what should I do with my World Industries tee shirt?

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Tuesday, November 17, 2009 

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