Updated and complete, June 20, 2008. It's in chronological order, so scroll down for the latest entries.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
After getting stuck in Chicago overnight due to a cancelled flight, Emerica team riders Andrew Reynolds, Bryan Herman, Braydon Szafranski, Justin Figueroa, Marquis Preston, Colin Provost and Marisa dal Santo arrived at New Gen skatepark in Easley, South Carolina just in the nick of time for a demo and signing with the rest of the team, which included Heath Kirchart, Kevin "Spanky" Long, Leo Romero, Jerry Hsu and Brandon Westgate.
As the thermometer sweltered near 100 degrees, the team dismantled this veritable wooden castle. Reynolds shot a huge kickflip mellie over the fun box while Leo gap noseblunted it and Heath blasted a head-high backside 360 nose grab clear over the thing. Over on the rail, Braydon was in full attack mode with a sweet frontside flip while Leo nailed a backside 180 nose grind and Marisa offered up a smooth kickflip front board and even a kickflip backside grab over the double set, to boot.
After the session, a couple of hundred Emerica fans lined up for autographs; free posters, videos and DVDs; and even a t-shirt toss. Although the Emerica RV was knocked out of commission by a bad oil leak in front of New Gen, it was quickly fixed by a random diesel mechanic who just happened to pass by. How freakishly lucky! Otherwise, it would have been time for a $500 tow. Next, everyone headed over to a lake to swim and jump off of a 15 foot high rock. The night was finished off with some grub and little hang out session at a KOA campground near Charlotte, North Carolina.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
We woke up today to the sound of Braydon firing up his motorcycle right outside the Temple of Doom. Then Figgy busted backflips on a huge rainbow-hued blimp that was tied down to the ground. It started to float away to Always Always Land with him on top, but he managed to bail off just in the nick of time. Next, we headed up to a private backyard paradise in North Carolina.
We arrived at Tony's compound in the late afternoon, where a mega session immediately brewed up on the mini-ramp. Braydon busted out his perennial crowd pleasing Madonna and a sweet back Smith in the cradle, while Colin pretty much laid waste to the whole ramp with solid tricks like an ollie over the hip to front truck grind, and Reynolds offered up a sweet half Cab noseslide revert. All of the locals skated, too, and of course had the place dialed.
The session raged on late into the night. For dinner, grilled pig was on the menu for any and all takers. Various nightlife plans were hatched, as some headed off to bars in Chapel Hill, others raged in Tentland, and still others bedded down in hotel rooms to avoid the chaos and get a good night's sleep.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
A non-stop chorus of bullfrogs, songbirds, barking dogs and loud-ass, obnoxious humans raised a ruckus all night. The slanted, hard, lumpy ground was impossible to sleep on. Heath slept on the floor of the RV with no blanket, no pad and no nothing...no problem. Can you say hardcore? Morning arrived so hot and muggy, an ultra-tired Marquis was even forced to refresh himself with a garden hose.
We headed out on the highway to Raleigh, North Carolina to pay a visit to Endless Grind skate shop for little signing and hanging out, followed by a demo at Vertical Urge skate shop and skatepark. The Demo Master, Leo, brought home the bacon, as usual, with a gap to nose grind over the pyramid, plus a nose blunt and 5-0; while Colin kickflipped over the whole contraption, plus an ollie 180 to flat. Reynolds frontside flipped it, immediately followed by a full Cab on the huge vert quarterpipe; while Westgate threw a back three, a full Cab and a tre flip over it. Spanky and Herman enjoyed a little bro sesh in the sweet mini-ramp bowl.
Friday, June 13, 2008
We rolled into Green Acres campground in Williamston, North Carolina last night. A big crew watched a basketball game in the RV while the tent crowd barbequed, talked (loudly, of course), and sang and played guitars until the usual 4:00 a.m. Before this tour started, I thought of getting a couple of Emerica team riders to draw a picture to include with this article, when, much to my delight, Spanky started spontaneously drawing on a cigarette package. Can you say perfect? We had these two days off, so we headed over to Virginia Beach.
After we arrived at the KOA in Virginia Beach, screams rang out from a big crowd that gathered around a little gambling session that broke out between Reynolds, Braydon and Marquis. And we’re not talking dollar bills here, folks. They threw down plenty of $20, $50 and $100 bills. You know how they roll. Next, we had ourselves a little pity party, I mean pizza party with a few stacks of the largest diameter, tastiest pies around; followed by a little glow-in-the-dark Frisbee.
We finished off the night with a stroll down the strand on the beach, which is a god awful tourist trap, and a little titty bar visit. Some members of our entourage were bummed that there was no nudity, and ranted about how you could see more at the beach for free. I have to agree that strip clubs like this one are just a waste of money. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I mean the campground, Bobby managed to get a little action from some random girl who was also camping.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Today was our second day off, and we spent it at Ocean Breeze Waterpark. It was my first time down a waterslide, and I must say it completely kicked my ass. My back is so sore! Hell, every inch of my body is. But, you know, it's a good kind of sore. One member of our entourage jumped off a rock into the pool far below, while others went down a slide head-first or tandem. Needless to say, all three offenses got us ejected from the park. I know it's so highly unusual for a huge pack of rowdy skateboarders to get kicked out of some place. What a shocker.
Next, some of the crew raced go-carts next door while others headed back to good ol’ KOA. Regan, who hadn’t seen his wife for a couple of weeks, pushed desperation to a whole new level when he had his way with a tree. I know that’s a pretty hard act to follow, but Miner, Suski, Westgate and I played horseshoes. It was my also my first time for this game, so I was super stoked when I made a ringer. Miner made two in a row! After nightfall, we all got stuffed on a huge Mexican feast.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
After the big dinner last night, everyone hit the hay early. (Which, for us, is around 2:00 a.m.) We woke up “refreshed” today and made our way out of KOA over to Hotline skate shop for a quick signing. A couple of hundred Emerica fans made their way through an innovative two-counter, 180 degree line to receive their free posters, videos, t-shirts and John Hancocks from the team riders. As an added bonus, everyone was treated to an impromptu session with Reynolds, Herman and Figgy. That was so ill.
We spent the night at Castaways Campground in Ocean City, Maryland, which was the first time so far on this tour that the weather cooled off a little. Due to a plumbing problem, all of the toilets in the entire campground were filled with turds. Patrick O’Dell, who doesn’t take shit from anyone, simply left his in the woods. We should have got a half-off no-shit discount. As the night wore on, burgers and dogs got grilled, campfires were lit, another Lakers game blared on in the RV, and Leo and Suski busted out some sweet duo licks on the guitars.
The loudest raging of the tour so far went on later in the night when Herman, new arrival Jamie Tancowny and Pete Hackett gave each other black eyes and fat lips; and Heath set off four or five big-ass mortar ball fireworks that sounded like a bomb blast. I was really surprised the cops didn’t show up and kick everyone out, if not arrest them. Braydon’s brother Tyler took a little alcohol-fueled nap on a comfy bed of gravel. Someone I probably shouldn't name tried to hook up with a drunk 50 year-old lady, but she got bugged out from one too many dudes saying dumb stuff like, “Show us your tits!” and bailed. Due to all of this and more, everyone involved got a little talking to from their Team Manager the next day.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Today we just drove across the bay from Ocean City, Maryland to Frederick. Due to rain, we ended up sleeping in a hotel instead of the campground. A little manny pad sesh went down out in the parking lot, as well as some serious hanging around outside our rooms accompanied by the soothing sounds of thunder and lightning. For the most part, the volume of everyone’s voices was not pumped quite as high as usual, which increased our odds of not getting the boot.
Sequence courtesy of Skatepark of Tampa.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The Pitcrew signing went completely off. It was the largest of the tour so far, as hundreds Young Emericans filed through to acquire a collection of scribbles, posters, videos and t-shirts from the team. The line went out the door and down the block and stayed that long for well over an hour. This shop is so legit, it owns a big collection of old school boards and even a vintage Schwinn Stingray.
After the signing, the Emerica team totally manhandled the demo at Hilltop Skatepark. Reynolds gave the huge flat bank a beatdown with a frontside flip, a Caballaerial and a backside 360 down it, plus a frontside flip shifty over the pyramid. Heath floated a backside 360 over the pyramid. Herman barged a nollie ingwardo down the flat bank. Suski busted out a gap to back lip over the pyramid rail. Braydon offered up a back Smith / back tail combo down the handrail. Westgate polished off a frontside flip bank to wall ride and, last but not least, Lil’ Fuckie charged a big spin off the pyramid over a rail.
After all the dust settled, we took a short drive over to the KOA in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia to “settle down” for the last night of camping. (We’re all spending the remaining nights in hotels.) Twazzer and I went on a hike down a trail (part of which is on a Civil War trench) and through the woods, but we had to turn around at some train tracks by the river and head back since it was almost dark. This was the pretty much the only chilly night on the whole tour. Yet another Lakers game was taken in by a nice-sized crowd in the RV while the last supper of the tour was barbequed up. Four more stops to go!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Today, we moseyed on up to Kinetic skate shop in Wilmington, Delaware. On the way, Matt Ball got pulled over for negligent driving on his Harley and was thrown in jail for that and a suspended license. A short while later, he got bailed out. (In other motorcycle news, Patrick O’Dell burned out the clutch on his loaner Harley yesterday and had to ship it back home, so he’s going to kick it with us RV sissies.) At Kinetic, 200 kids lined up outside to meet and greet the Emerica team. After scrawling autographs for everyone, we all made our way up to the hotel in downtown Philly to get a good night’s rest for the big session at FDR tomorrow.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Today, I received a rude awakening thanks to the ear-shattering clatter of Spanky drawing on a banana. When the peel art was finished, we hightailed it over to FDR, where a big session was already underway. Colin, Westgate and Suski attacked the trannies of this post-apocalyptic Mad Max skatepark with aplomb, while Spanky, Jetski and Regan gave the mini-ramp a go-go. After a few hours of lathering, rinsing and repeating, we packed up and headed off to the hometown of the one and only, Chris Nieratko. We're talking Sayreville, New Jersey, pal.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Today’s rude awakening came in the form of a block party thrown by the Emerica labor crew who made this whole Wild Ride thing happen. Motorcycles, luggage and bears (Oh, my!) were shoved onto a moving truck for the long ride home back to Cali. After all the packing was done, we made a quick nine-mile jaunt to NJ Skate Shop in Sayreville, the hometown of ‘70s vocal stylist Leo Sayer of “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” fame.
A good-sized congregation of Emerikids were allowed into the shop five at a time to get their free posters signed and grab a t-shirt and a copy of This is Skateboarding on the archaic VHS format. For this signing, the entire shop was converted into an all-Emerica wonderland with haunted house flair. In fact, the only non-Emerica products on display were decks, trucks and wheels! Support can be beautiful. NJ Skate Shop represent!
Next came a scorching hot demo at Sayreville Skatepark, which is situated in an idyllic park complete with grassy knolls, lakes and fountains. Highlights of the sesh included Leo’s gap to front blunt over the fun box, Reynolds’ frontside kickflip and kickflip melon to fakie on the quarter and Colin’s manhandling of the bowl with his accomplished tranny skills. After the obligatory product toss, we headed over to a private barbeque at NJ Skate Shop owner Chris Nieratko’s house.
Wild Ride 2008 is now over. Thank you to all of the shops, skateparks and people who showed us a good time. Get ready for Wild in the Streets 2008 in New York City tomorrow!