Let’s keep her going til the Hardbody holiday party ;) • Previously in 2017: 25-16
A noted distinction between skateboarder-types and the rest of the world is that we have knack from drumming up cool shit in even some of the wackest places. You’re probably bored to bits by the cliched assertion that “skaters see the world differently,” but that whole “most people just see a bench while we see a canvas” thing still holds some weight, and it can be argued that this critical gaze extends beyond spotting natural transitions and waxable granite. We’re generally discerning, attentive to detail and uncover the most flattering aspects in even the most mundane of areas.
So we’ve started a new little recurring series where skaters we admire guide us through their hometowns. The first one is with Gino.
I was born in Manhasset, Long Island. It’s towards the north shore, center of Long Island, about forty minutes by train, half hour drive from the city. I grew up in Westbury, Nassau County, which is about a ten-minute drive from Manhasset. Westbury was a mix of upper middle class, middle class, and a little bit beneath middle class. We lived really close to the border of the extremely wealthy, which is right over the Jericho Turnpike in Old Westbury. It was really close to some unreal, beautiful homes. As far as nationalities: heavy Italian, heavy Irish, heavy African-American in Westbury. When I was growing up you could see the South American and El Salvadorian community growing, and now the Spanish are like the Italians of when I was younger.
Nearly every time a particular trick on a particular spot is mentioned on a particular website, the responses are the same:
“My boy from Wisconsin already did that.”
“Didn’t some guy on Habitat Australia do that in a Slam four years ago?”
“That Canadian with the guages and the DCs did it switch.”
“Greg Lutzka frontside flipped into that.”
We live in a time when some guy lipsliding up Black Hubba is forgotten during a cursory nerd-out conversation regarding all the tricks that have been done there.
The year was 2006 and we were not yet twelve months into our now decade-long existence as an accredited skateboard fashion house. YouTube was a year-and-a-half old. Myspace was more popular than Facebook. Bronze was still Flipmode, and their star players were Billy Lynch and Derrick Z. That summer, they released what was then the pinnacle of little kid New York City skate videos, Flipmode 3. One of its standouts was a switch flip backside tailslide over the Flushing grate by James Reres.
Some Long Islanders can keep a buzz with a push, an ollie, a 5-0 grind. Most cannot.
If at least 20% of the numbers in your phone don’t begin with a 516, it is likely you may not know who James Reres is. Around the time of said Flipmode 3 trick, he rattled off a barrage of tricks over Flushing, with a ferocity not seen in city limits since Zered on the old Grace ledge. Individuals qualified to give proverbial Golden “Globes” crowned him “King of the Grate,” a title that still stands today. It didn’t matter if someone did one of those tricks down the line — they’d have to do all of them and probably some new ones to make a further impact on the spot.
It was right then and there that we knew ABDs would soon be useless. A guy unknown to most not living within a sixty-mile radius of Long Island had singlehandedly set the bar higher than anyone would be able to reach it for almost a decade to come. Our ABD statistician — a fresh-faced Princeton economics graduate tasked with populating spreadsheets with every trick done at the city’s spots — was out of a job.
Some kid on Supra flow is warming up at Santa Monica Courthouse with a switch flip back tail as you read this. Any nerd with Chickenbone wax and some patience could probably do The King’s tricks now. Except unless he has a time machine back to when miraculous skateboard achievements had a lifespan of more than 24 hours, worrying about whether someone did a better trick in 2015 is like hoping the sun won’t set. Thank you to James Reres for so unfairly tipping the scales at New York’s longest-standing marquee skate spot in his favor. Our office hasn’t cared about ABDs since.