John Stamos text me this photo a few weeks ago. I had sent it to him decades back. I shot this when I was in High School with one of those plastic pocket 35mm film cameras. Probably had it developed at the K-Mart his mom used to go to. John would have auditions in Hollywood, and I would sometimes go along to hang out. On this particular day I remember we did not have enough money to get into Universal Studios. John Stamos and I used to like to watch the stunt show (because we were nerdy that way). At this time there was a huge ivy covered hill in front of Universal Studios (just above one of the parking lots) with a medium size chain link fence on top. Yeah you guessed it. Like most high schoolers we had a great time disrespecting authority.
I am a old dude (I mean really old), but I still skateboard. While skateboarding and taking pictures I have seen my friends learn new tricks. And I got to thinking about this process. If you don’t skate you might not know that in order for a skateboarder to learn a new trick they must literally fall. Think about that if you want to learn how to make spaghetti there is absolutly no falling on the ground involved. If you want to get a associates degree again no falling. But with skateboarding the recipe for a new trick includes being physically hurt.
It normally goes like this. The skater tries the trick for the first time knowing that they will mostly likely fall. And when I say fall I mean fall to the concrete from a couple of feet to around 13 feet above the ground. So knowing this the skateboarder still tries the new trick. They of course fall, and worse they didn’t even come close to making it. The skater might lay there for a moment to get over the pain and or embarrassment. The skater gets up and tries it again and they fall again, this time it physically and sometimes emotionally hurts even more. Their mind might began feeding them doubt. Doubt that is based in the logic of the physical and emotional pain they are feeling, but the skater pushes that logic aside. The skater tries again and falls again (imagine climbing a few rungs of a ladder and falling off (over and over)). Every fall proves how far away they are from the trick. Every fall hurts more and brings more doubt into the situation. But the skater who is physically hurting and emotionally doubting (for some reason) believes that he or she can do this and that it is worth doing.
Sometimes the skater falls so hard they cannot move for a few moments. They are not passed out, just physically exhausted which contributes to having a harder time with each new beating. They get this sort of dazed look in their face. And they are not thinking about school, relationships, money, politics etc. The skater is in some sense even more focused on the goal. The skater is in sort of a trick-trance.
At some point friends or even other skaters (complete strangers) who are nearby might start cheering the skater on. This support certanly helps take some of the sting away, but whats interesting is that the skater is really battling this thing alone. Skateboarding is such a solitary pursuit. In the end it is just the skater fighting gravity, figuring out physics, and the battling the worst enemy of a new trick (the self).
In the end this process of making a new trick can go on for hours, days, or even months. And of course the moment the skater makes the new trick they feel a sense of accomplishment that is hard to describe. And they take this feeling with them in their pursuit of new tricks as well as other things in life they are attempting.
So I see this day to day from people of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. For some skaters just standing on the board and rolling down a bank is a first time thing. And the beautiful thing about skateboarding is that other skaters no matter how old or skilled will alway cheer on and many times even coach the new skater. Skateboarding is like that, a wonderful skater-family experience. And when one learns to accept falling the world can look a little different.
A handful of men have had a huge influence on my life. My father, John Stamos, Roy Burns, Murray Spivack, Joey Grijalva, Jeff Porcarro, and this Man Vic Peloquin.
I haven’t seen Vic in 40 years (he is the guy who created Skatopia). After sitting and chatting with Vic and his wonderful family I can now see why I recollected Skatopia as such a paradise. The man who created it is a visionary, and has a passion for experimentation and creation.
He told me about how the land for Skatopia was acquired. How the half pipe was made. Who designed the Skatopia logo. Why he closed Skatopia. We also talked about drones, and even flew a drone.
Imagine a Skatopia reunion with these three at the helm! Stay tuned!!!
My dad told me this story a long time ago, about a place I drive by on the way back from dropping my kids off for school.
My mom and dad met in Colorado and were married a few years later. Mom’s version was that she gave dad a ultimatum. I guess dad caved? He originally went to school for engineering but couldn’t hack the study and having-two-or-three-jobs-while-going-to-school-thing so he instead became a teacher. Dad’s first teaching job was in Minnesota. He loved the job, people, fishing, and hunting. Although mom met some nice people in Minnesota she wasn’t crazy about the weather and the bugs.
After a fews years of teaching in Minnesota dad got offered a job in California. So they drove their Airstream to California. They went to a mobile home park in Cypress off Lincoln ave., but were turned away. They were told “we don’t take your kind here”. This was during the 1950’s (World War II recently ended). Japanese American’s lived with this type of pre-judgement. So mom and dad drove east of this location to another mobile home park. The man at this park said he was full and suggest they go to the mobile home they had turned them away. They told him what happened and he said “I know the guy who runs that place, lets go together and talk to him”.
The man got my mom and dad into the mobile home park that previously turned them away. And wouldn’t you know in a short time they became best friends with the man who originally turned them away.
Hunter Long contacted me a few hours before this picture was shot. She wanted to take some pictures at Pedlow. We took some invert photos and some air photos and thin the process produced this picture. Just a few hours after this session Hunter was on plane bound for Hawaii. The next day I edited the photos from the session. After professing all the images that I felt she and I would both like a came across this “bail shot”. I this image along with all the good “make” photos. She immediately text back that she thought this image was funny. A lot of other people seemed to like this as well so next gallery i’ll add this one to the mix.
Back in the day when change seemed like nothing but a fantasy, instead of giving into the way things were going she believed in women skateboarding and even built a refuge for it thrive in.
These images are from a skateboarding session Amelia Brodka invited me and my camera to on the morning of the Girls Global Qualifier Huntington Beach. Amelia has been a heroic figure for me ever since I heard about her movie and annual skateboarding event Exposure. You see when I throw a Skatopia reunion its me cooking chili dogs over a old coleman stove at Chino skatepark. When Amelia throws a event it is somewhat larger. So I am always honored to photograph her and always happy to pick her brain on things like Women’s skateboarding.