Flameboy to the Wet Willy that was Lance Mountain’s Flip video section, Chet Childress’ hard-luck tale of broken teeth and soggy pinatas teaches us that there’s little love to be found even in a state controlled by aging hippies and home to free skateparks built by harmonious units of best friends. Here we find Childress zipping switch-stance through Burnside’s humps and bumps and crunching coping, but the part also functions as a comment on video production at the height of the Great Recession, keeping the filming trips to a cross-town minimum and saving pennies that wealthier companies might have spent on a color picture. All’s we’re saying is if you’re likely to do most of your business in concrete parks anyway there’s less photogenic locales you could select, and the bent-arm bro’s coping-pop remains at an all-time high.
Posts Tagged ‘Burnside’
You don’t have to be crazy to write a skateboard blog but it sure helps! =)
Interesting bookend to yesterday’s posting comes to us today from Rupert Murdoch’s wood-pushing beat reporter Conor Dougherty, who has a rundown on the state of play in Portland Oregon where skateboarding has corrupted “the system,” as opposed to the other way around:
As skateboarding exploded, Portland’s skaters began lobbying for more parks, and for a say in how they were built. One was Tom Miller, who had moved from Seattle to attend law school and later started a non-profit organization called Skaters for Portland Skateparks. The city later set up a skatepark committee that included Mr. Miller, Mr. Dahlgren and Dean Dickinson, a BMX bike rider. The panel pushed for concrete parks designed by skaters, rather than the plastic obstacles many cities were buying from playground equipment companies more familiar with swingsets than skateparks.
But the group also suggested something so bold Mr. Miller says he was almost embarrassed to propose it: a citywide skatepark system. Mr. Miller’s skatepark lobbying led to a volunteer position with the campaign of Sam Adams, who was running for city commissioner. Mr. Adams won the election, and Mr. Miller became an insider: He was offered a job as chief of staff. A few months later Portland’s city council approved a plan to create the skatepark system.
The “skatepark system” is intriguing to me; I’ve always thought personally that far more practical for cities of size, rather than building destination-type parks on the outskirts of town or in some bizarre, hard-to-reach location, would be to make legal spots scattered throughout various neighborhoods. Like a couple flatbars alongside a basketball court somewhere, a wallride spot in the alley behind some city building, legal ledges in schoolyards, a miniramp in the park, etc. But then again I have lots of other stupid ideas like taking spots people are already skating and stop wasting cop wages chasing people around all day. Or getting reincarnated as a grackle in order to shit on haters of various types and descriptions.
Anyway, the WSJ article correctly points out that skateboarding’s subversion/infiltration/sliding in thru the side door of Portland city government was aided by the widely believed fact that the place is run by a load of hippies, or so is my understanding. It’s also interesting to note that this has all taken place in the backyard of Nike Inc., whose interest in skateboarding has probably risen steadily alongside the number of parks in town; somebody more energetic and talented than your BTO staffer could probably make an interesting graph or perhaps a cheerily coloured pie chart to demonstrate this, but if wishes were ponies, well, there you are.
Another interesting sidebar to the Portland story is that as skateboarders have gained civic clout, the BMXers are starting to feel disenfranchised, since none of the power-broker skateboard types want to see their tax dollar-funded ledges all chunked up from pegs:
“It’s almost like skaters are the cops now,” says Mr. Dickinson, the BMXer.
Youch. The irony, she burns. On one hand, the BMXers have a fair point, but on the other hand, now that skateboarders have paved the way* they could go ahead and find their own city government to fill with various moles and rogue agents in fingerless gloves and Fox hats. You know, the Cuyahoga River is just begging for one of those big dirt jumps.
*delicious punnery sort of intended
It’s not unusual
When people talk about how it’s good for skating to get as big as possible—and usually these are the people who have a vested interest in selling skateboard products to the sons of Joe Sixpack, of course—they talk about how it’s more money in pros’ pockets, more support for skateparks, and more recognition for skating in general. Never mind that this money probably finds its way into the pocket of a pro who’s already leasing a luxury SUV (as opposed to your Joey Peppers or John Igeis), or that the new skatepark is yet another modular three-foot-high tennis court conversion, and you’re still getting kicked off the local manual pad by a sweaty, moustachioed fellow in a fake cop car who angrily refers to your sweet ride as “them rollerboards.”
Separate from all of this are the little indignities suffered when this skateboarding way of life, if you can call it that, is squinted at, hmmm’ed over and sadly misinterpreted by any number of parties who wouldn’t bother if not for the prospect of a quick dollar. With that in mind, behold the Men’s Fitness guide to five of the best skateparks our nation has to offer. Wouldn’t you know it, they manage to name-check Tony Hawk and the X-Games in the first sentence.
Men’s Fitness on the Vans park in Orange: “Don’t worry, if you forget your board you can rent one for just five bucks a session.”
On the “Louisville Extreme Park”: “The park is also open to in-line skaters and bicycle enthusiasts.”
On the Vans park in, uh, Orlando this time: “If you need a break from all that skating, there is an arcade area with the latest games.”
On the Kona skatepark in Jacksonville: “15,000-square-foot X-game style course with metal surface.”
On the Encinitas YMCA: “It’s not unusual to see guys like Bucky Lasik, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, and Shaun White practicing their moves at this extreme sport Mecca. That’s because the Ecke features one of the greatest vertical ramps in the country. In fact, it’s the same one that was used at the 2004 X Games.”
Coming next month: Our “extreme 15” list of must-haves for an afternoon BBQ/session at Portland’s notorious “Burn Side” skatepark, including Lil’ SmokeyTM grill (don’t forget a couple packs of Ballpark FranksTM for the bros!), ErgoLoungerTM Aluminum Portable Chaise LoungeTM, syringes, and a “grip” of PowerBarsTM and PowerAdeTM!