Words & Interview by Frozen in Carbonite
Photo by Lee Madden
“A man must have a code.” — Omar Little and/or Bunk Moreland, The Wire (HBO, 2002-2008)
You might remember the Code of Hammurabi from 9th/10th grade world history or some shit. Long story short, it functioned as the first written code of law in the history of human civilization.
Four thousand years later, from a socio-anthropological perspective, skate spots — and more specifically, the almost-extinct inner city plaza spot — are mini-civilizations with their own dignitaries and codes.
Love Park — don’t push mongo. Embarcadero — don’t get in Mike or Henry’s way. Along those lines, Boston’s Eggs has developed its own code, a central component of which is the infamous “Forbidden 14.” When I first heard of it, it took me back to the days of vibing anyone that did a street grab or railslide. On the other hand, when you saw someone with a nose and tail worn down to the wood grain and a pristine graphic in between, you knew they weren’t fucking around.
When I referenced it here, a substantial amount of #engagement erupted in the QS comments section. So, we hit up Eggs local and Alltimers rider Dana Ericson to shed some light on one of Eggs’ most elusive and #controversial hidden codes.
For the culture.
Explain the origin of “The Forbidden 14.”
The Forbidden 14 is the general fourteen inches of the wheelbase on the average skateboard, and where you choose not to use the middle of your board and only really do noseslides and tailslides — but only on ledges.
Who came up with the term and the whole concept?
I had first heard of it through my homie Steve, who used to run RAW, but I also heard that Rob Welsh had coined that term, and maybe it was a S.F. thing. I don’t know the exact origin of it; I just kind of like that code and live by [it].
Which is a bigger Eggs faux pas: a boardslde or lipslide, or rolling up with a non-Dunkin Donuts coffee beverage?
You can drink other coffees; Dunkin Donuts is just the preferred brand. I would have to go with boardslide on the ledge, especially if you were filming it. There’s people who can pull it off — I’m not against it, it’s just that I don’t prefer to do boardslides on ledges.
Along those lines, are there any skaters or specific instances that are an exception to the rule?
Yeah. Ron Deily has the best front board nollie 270 I’ve ever seen. And a Mike Carroll back lip is real proper. But front lip on a ledge? I dunno. Maybe it’s just for ledge lines. Like, you can do a nollie front lip on a ledge and it’ll be beast, but maybe it’s just the line thing. People will boardslide and get a little lazy; it’s the biggest surface area on your skateboard.
What about smith grinds?
Smiths are dope. I’m not really a big smither, but that’s probably just because I can’t really do them.
Speaking of controversial and “forbidden” tricks, what’s your take on body varials?
Body varials? That shit is trash. I’m good with the body varials.
I take that back, actually. Brad Cromer’s body varial was the only one I ever liked, because he does it on the way up.
What about ledges that are smaller in width than the wheelbase, like a 12-inch wide ledge?
Oh yeah, I mean if it’s like a flatbar ledge, do you thing. I’m not trying to sponsor-block you or anything. If it’s a flatbar ledge, like, go for it. I’ll allow it.
Does this only apply in Boston? What sort of reprimands have gone down for people not applying the rule?
Nothing, really. I just like when people get mad about it; they take it personally. It’s just a code. I enjoy following it, and when you look at your board and you have no marks in the middle it’s like you did a good job on the board or something.
So, I guess there’s no the Eggs “enforcer” a la James Kelch at Embarcadero?
I mean, I dunno. Maybe if one of my friends did a lipslide, I’d call him out and trip him for a second, but nah — no real enforcement or hard feelings.
What is the etiquette if you slip on a crooked grind or some shit and end up scratching the middle? Do you need to set up a new one?
Nah, I’m not that mental, but some people will call me out, like “oh what’s that in the middle?” I’ve made a few mistakes, man. No one’s perfect.
Filmed by Lee Madden. Edited by Brian Delaney.
Are there any other rules at Eggs less notorious than The Forbidden 14?
There’s one bench up top that is where kids that have never been there will plop down because it’s the first one. You’re not really supposed to sit there because it’s in the way of the main ledge. Definitely no bikes; that’s not to be tolerated at Eggs. We have a resident mascot named Bones who usually takes care of any outsiders that we tell him to get rid of. He’s pretty good at that. You can shout his Instagram out — @bonesbabyboy. He’s the Eggs mascot.
Has enforcing Eggs law enabled you to adapt to Tompkins, etc. laws more easily in other cities?
Boston’s one of the more “Forbidden 14” cities. I don’t know if New York will ever give up. Most people just think it’s funny. I do, too.
Boston’s a pretty big sports town. Are there any rules about sports apparel?
No Yankee fitteds at Eggs, for sure. One of our friends is from Florida and he’s a Yankees fan, but we give him way too much shit for it. It’s almost like he knows better at this point. I mean, a Yankees cap is basically the only violation, not even really because of baseball — it’s almost like the rivalry of the cities that’s been going on for, like, a century.
This is off-topic, but how far do you think the C’s are gonna go this year?
We’ll see how they actually mesh in a real game, but I like Irving. I think he’ll do nice. I liked Thomas, too, but we need somebody who can actually score a lot.