Words and photos by Blair Alley, courtesy of TransWorld Skateboarding
Thursday, June 21
The biggest Wild Ride yet set out today from Portland, Oregon. The line up in downtown P-town was nuts. Over 20 well-tuned Harleys lined up and revving had everyone around gawking. Heath Kirchart in his cavalry jacket led the crew up to Battle Ground, Washington for a demo, then back down south to Salem, Oregon to camp for the night.
The entire Emerica team is here, including new addition Jerry Hsu and flow rider Justin Figueroa. Tons of friends are along for the ride again, too! Brian Young, Slash, Erik Hamamoto, Matt Ball, Sean Eaton and more are meeting up along the way. Stay tuned to TransWorld Skateboarding for daily coverage of the Wild Ride.
Friday, June 22
With the first night of camping under their belts, the Emerica team is ready for two weeks of riding, skating, camping and freedom. Twenty-four bikes deep, the team rolled into downtown Salem, Oregon for an autograph signing at Exit Real World. Two of the guys on our trip, Figgy and Heath, have mag covers on the shelf right now.
Then the posse headed south to the Aumsville Skatepark for the demo. Aumsville is nothing but tranny, and vets like Aaron Suski and Chris Senn took to finding lines and blasting airs. The young bucks were right on their heels: Braydon, Sean Eaton, and Chris' son Anakin were working the park, as well. Check out the photos to see Braydon's fully-extended Madonna on vert!
Then out of nowhere, Andrew Reynolds and Bryan Herman decided to play SKATE in the parking lot. The crowd got quite a show. Herman's nollie inward heels on flatground are nothing short of miraculous. The boys geared up and roared out of the Aumsville park to the amazement of the crowd--24 Harleys revving is some serious intensity.
A short drive later, everyone was setting up camp in Albany, Oregon with at least a few carloads of kids and fans along for the evening's festivities. Anakin Senn made the best purchase of the trip with a soccer ball. An enormous hackey circle formed with everyone trying their best to juggle with motorcycle boots on. Four different campfires blazed and s’mores were roasted late into the night with three different guitars being strummed by Suski, Austin Stephens and Mark Waters. Our best night yet.
Saturday, June 23
After a late night of campfires in Albany, Oregon, the team found themselves at Tactics in downtown Eugene for a quick autograph signing. The Harleys then lumbered over to the Springfield Skatepark, where the demo seriously went off. Everyone was ripping the Euro gap, the double set, the pyramid and the 10 set. Minor and Jet Ski captured a lot of footage with their video cameras, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for a Wild Ride docu that will be out after the trip.
The night's camp was set up in rural Cottage Grove, Oregon—no electricity, no running water. We stocked up big on groceries and had an amazing feast. You could have filmed a cooking show. After that, most of the crew passed out early from such a long day.
Sunday, June 24
After a peaceful night in Cottage Grove, Oregon, the guys rode down to the Roseburg Skatepark for a demo. The whole town seemed to have turned out, and the park locals were ripping. The Emerica guys soon had the park dialed and were ripping every inch of it. Again, it was too much for one photographer to handle, so you'll see it all in video format soon. For now, check the photos in the slideshow on the TransWorld Skateboarding site.
After the demo, we had a 100-mile ride down the 5 to Medford. Braydon was sore from skating and was kind enough to ask me if I'd ride his brand-new Dyna Wide Glide through the curvy mountain passes to the next stop. I gladly saddled up and hit the road in a pack that included Jet Ski, Brandon Westgate, Jon Minor, Jerry Hsu, Brian Young, Kevin "Spanky" Long, Danger Ehren and more. Over the next 100 miles, we rumbled passed redwoods, lakes and mountain peaks—truly immersed in America's Northwest. Braydon, I can't thank you enough.
Monday, June 25
Wow! What a day. After waking up in Medford, Oregon, the crew headed over to Hot Skates for one of their biggest autograph signings yet. On the way, we got a phone call that Erik Hamamoto had gone down on his bike. He got rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with a broken collarbone and a broken shoulder blade. The bike is in rough shape and is being shipped home, but Erik is gonna stay on the Wild Ride and chill in Lake Shasta on our day off tomorrow.
Back to the signing--so many kids were in and out of that shop, the signing took hours. Big thanks to the staff that bought all the skaters lunch afterwards. The crew rumbled 10 miles away to the White City Skatepark and ripped every inch of it. Check the slideshow on TransWorld Skateboarding. Afterward, we had an arduous three-hour drive down into Cali to Lake Shasta. The only way this drive could have lasted longer would have been if somebody invited a drunk crackhead to ride in the RV.
Once the bikes were parked at the campsite, everyone rushed down to the lakeshore to hop on the houseboat and start partying. Some homeys, namely Patrick O'Dell, Neck Face and Shane Heyl, had flown in to hang, as well. The party raged late into the night with the introduction of our group to Saber Master, a crew of barely-legal co-eds. Rumor has it that the stowaway crackhead was seen running around the campsite naked and was subsequently arrested, and Epicly Later'd footage was logged late into the night. Our day off on the lake tomorrow will be one for the books.
Tuesday, June 26
The Emerica team and their friends all piled into the houseboat bright and early for a full day of frolicking on Lake Shasta. The waterslide was firing, innertubes and air rafts were purchased and inflated, and the barbecue pretty much smoked up the air all day. Captain Jet Ski moved the boat around until he found a nice secluded cove to park in for the night. A nearby bridge was scoped out for a possible jump, and Shane Heyl walked right up and barged it without a second thought. It was about 50 feet down! Soon after, Heath, Justin Regan, Figgy, Marquis and Matt Ball all gave it a go.
Saber Master was seen on distant ridges during the day practicing his sword techniques with a real metal blade, as opposed to the mock light sabers he had the night before. Sure as snow in Winter, after nightfall, Saber Master descended on our camp again to grace us with a light show that was nothing short of stand-up comedy. He even brought his sister with him! On the real though, they both hung out and we got the scoop on their lives, which is really stranger than fiction. Just ask any of the Emerica guys next time you see them and check the slideshow for documented hijinx!
As the night bled on, more than one inebriated bro was seen floating on the glassy lake under a full moon, and even more were up in the hills watching the surreal scene unfold in a cloud of fungus-induced hallucination. Truly a well-needed day off and one we'll never forget!
Wednesday, June 27
The crew woke up from party-overload on the houseboat, so Jet Ski took them for a little morning cruise around the lake. After some coffee and a dip in the water, the boys were ready for a short ride and demo at Redding Skatepark. The park there is basically a copy of the famous Santa Rosa Skatepark. Jon Miner gave it a once-over, but wasn't satisfied. It was hotter than hell, but Westgate, Figgy, Suski, Slash and most of the boys took some runs and shot the shit with the locals.
Then we were all off on a long ride down to our campsite in Grass Valley. Getting to the site after dark, everyone casually pitched tents, lit fires, ate some chili and eventually s’mores. Jerry Hsu held court, telling amazing stories of out-of-control tours, injuries in third world countries and nightmare ex-girlfriends. The campfire circle was interrupted by a rustling in the bushes. When flashlights were raised, we noticed we had a deer in our presence--a little bit of magic to finish off another day on the Wild Ride.
Thursday, June 28
"In the morning, we awoke to a beautiful day, with quite a few others skaters camping with us, ready to go skate. At the Grass Valley Skatepark, there were hundreds of skaters already shredding when the team thundered in on our Harleys and the Emerica Wild Ride RV. Everybody killed the park, including Reynolds, who blasted a HUGE backside air tail grab in the big bowl, and Westgate, who was nailing everything! Heath almost made an insane alley-oop nose grab over the hip that was pretty crazy, but it barely got away from him. The best part of the demo was watching Chris Senn and his son Anakin rip through the bowls together back in their hometown."--Timothy Nickloff
After numerous wake-up calls from the local deer population, some of the guys walked down to the nearby lake for a nature shower. We hit the Grass Valley Skatepark in the midday heat, but the locals were ripping and the Emerica team was soon following suit. Braydon, Andrew, Suski and Heath were hitting bowl lines and airs while Peter, Westgate, Herman and Marquis shredded the street section. Sean Eaton and Jerry Hsu got a heated game of SKATE going and Jerry rifled off a nollie late front foot flip first try, then a switch ollie late back foot flip on his next turn. I didn't see the final result, but shit was serious!
After the demo, the bikes were saddled up and the crew set-up camp at the KOA in West Sacramento. Soccer hackey-sack started up, as did a couple of campfires. There was a peaceful little river next to the camp and Braydon used his sixth sense to see a bullfrog head just out of the water in the pitch black. He snatched it up and paraded it around the camp like a proud hunter. Hilarious. The crew passed out one by one after such a long, hot day of skating and riding to the loud belches of distant bullfrogs.
Words and photos up to this point by Blair Alley. View a lot more of his photos and animated gifs of Emerica's Wild Ride 2007 at TransWorld Skateboarding.
Friday, June 29
We woke up at the Sacto KOA and packed up all our stuff, since we decided we would spend our next night at a hotel in San Jose. Before departing, though, we rode some paddle boats on a creek, then headed over to Granite Skatepark. Some random park rangers hassled us for not having a permit for our demo, but then for some reason, they just left. Granite is really huge and everyone had a great time shredding all the obstacles for a couple of hours. But, it was hot and there wasn't much shade, so we hightailed it on down to our hotel in San Jose. Some of the crew bro'd it up over at Jerry Hsu's house.
Saturday, June 30
After checking out of our hotel in San Jose, we headed up to the Zumiez Couch Tour in the parking lot of the Great Mall in Milpitas. When we first arrived, we hung out in a backstage area, chowing down on some grub and pre-signing some posters for Zumiez employees. Ed and Deanna Templeton drove up from Huntington Beach just in time for the demo. The entire Emerica team, except Chris Senn, was present, and the 400 kids were psyched on all the action. Andrew, Leo and Westgate killed the demo, and Leo literally broke off the rail. Some lame Warped Tour-style music was blasting over the PA until Justin Regan hi-jacked it with some cool old tunes on his iPod. The team skated for 90 minutes, rested in the tent, then did a two-hour signing for 300 stoked kids.
After the signing, we made our way up to the KOA campground in Petaluma. Heath, Westgate, Jet Ski and Slash cruised up on their Harleys and got tailed by a cop car, who then pulled up to the front of the pack for a while, eyed 'em, then mysteriously exited. A little while later, we set up camp, started a campfire and enjoyed a lil' party with Mark Waters and the éS Game of SKATE crew. Some kids from the local shop, Gone Surfing, also showed up and hung out with us.
Sunday, July 1
Today, we headed 20 minutes South to Novato Skatepark, where there were 100 kids already skating. They were all stoked to see us roar up on our Harleys. Chris Senn re-joined us from Grass Valley, this time with his wife and two sons, Anakin and Julian, in tow. Nothing too crazy happened, we just skated and hung out for a couple of hours, having fun on all the tranny that makes up the majority of this park. After that, we checked out a local famous double set that has been in a bunch of videos, but no one was feeling it, so we headed back to the campsite for a mellow night.
Monday, July 2
Today, we did a signing at Gone Surfing, just five minutes down the road from the campground. A Channel 2 News crew from San Francisco filmed us arriving. Seems they had caught wind of our upcoming Wild in the Streets event, so they interviewed the Emerica team and Timothy Nickloff to find out what was going to happen. We signed stuff for about 80 kids then headed over to Santa Rosa skatepark. Channel 2 followed us there and did a live report on the demo, which featured Senn and Suski, who lead the charge on all of the weird trannies and hips; and Drew, who banged out a huge kickflip shifty over the main hip. The 100 or so kids in attendance were psyched. After a couple of hours, we headed back to the campground in Petaluma. Since it was our last night camping, we had a huge barbecue feast and about 20 kids joined us for the huge party, which dragged on through the wee hours.
Tuesday, July 3
Today, we packed up camp, ate breakfast, and killed some time at a swimming hole in Marin. Everyone enjoyed the nice little waterfall and jumping off of a huge 40 foot tall bridge into eight feet of water. Pretty crazy! Next, we headed over to Berkely Skatepark, where about 150-200 kids were waiting to see the Emerica team shred. Everyone was stoked on the park, and killed it. As the demo wound down, some random local dude gave everyone a little demo on his Harley. He raged some burnouts and wheelies on the street and even carved the banks inside the skatepark. After that, we headed back across the Bay Bridge to our hotel in San Francisco. Needless to say, everyone was tired and just lounged around the pool before settling in for a long night's sleep to rest up for Emerica's Wild in the Streets the next day!