4th Annual Pro Tec Pool Party

Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

Remember those curbs Natas skated back in the Speed Wheels days? No? Well that's bacause you're not 80 like me. Anyway, if you've been skating since the time hip sacks were cool, you'll recognize this Venice beach sidewalk and those curbs
Paul Schmitt was nice enough to let us stay at his place. He has this bowl in his back yard where early AM slash sessions kicked the day off. He's not the only industry guy with a backyard bowl
If you don't know, Paul Schmitt makes skateboards. He brought us samples of these new Element decks that are coming out soon. They're made with carbon fiber. Who knows what that is, but it sounds extra tech. These decks are going to be $100 in shops
I think I've spent more time at the beach in the last two weeks than I have in the last five years. Paul showed us around all the local spots including this breakfast joint with this view
Four dudes driving around southern Cali in a convertible Mercedes shirtless. We are straight macho. Thanks for the tour, Paul
So now we're finally at the Pool Party with no water. I wasn't surprised at all to not get a photo pass since the event staff in charge of the list don't even know who AVE is and they work for Vans. At least this girl got a media pass. Her name is Bangin' Photo Chick. That's Ortiz there checking out her "gear"
Bangin' Photo Chick has a serious flash. The photo she took of Cab's ass is not nearly as good as mine from the stands, though
Maybe I should focus on the skating instead of Bangin' Photo Chick
Oh just wait, it gets even worse than this. A newspaper would run this photo on the front page. Bangin' Photo Chick definitely got a better picture than me on this one
I wonder if Bangin' Photo Chick gets as annoyed as I do when someone does a stinkbug
Caballero won the longest boardslide thing. Bangin' Photo Chick sure has some nice arms
That's Tom Curran. He was one of the judges. Who is Bangin' Photo Chick texting and why isn't it me?
Here's an overview of the place. Hey asshole, get out of the way. I can't get a clear view of Bangin' Photo Chick
Dave Duncan was ripping when he wasn't announcing. I want to frontside grind Bangin' Photo Chick
Bangin' Photo Chick got skills. She can text while shooting. Too bad she's not texting me
I was pretty bummed to not see a single pair of leopard print pads all weekend. Anyone know where we can find all these shots that Bangin' Photo Chick took?
My friends from Copenhagen have a term for getting wasted - "going to the fence." Adam Taylor is too young to go to the fence. I was at the fence all damn day as you can see in all these crappy photos. No media pass is a fantastic excuse to get lazy and go to the fence
Where's the coping? Yep, it's another crappy newspaper style photo. I'm sending this one to the Daily Bugle and getting paid
Bucky smoked the bowl
Hey Chris Ortiz, how about using that valuable media pass you got? Rune Glifberg is doing a head high backside tailgrab right in front of you
Alright, Ortiz. I'm about to confiscate your gear and your media pass. Get to work, fool. You missed another backside tailgrab
So they let some little kids in the pool and all they did was pee in it. At least there were no Baby Ruth's. I spy Ortiz's chunky arm
Chris Ortiz does not give a rats ass about this backside stalefish. Bangin' Photo Chick is working way harder than he is
He's going to pee in the pool right after this smith grind. Ortiz still doesn't care
Bob Burnquist peed in the pool switch. Maybe Ortiz has a dead battery or something?
Ortiz finally used his media pass on this backside boneless
There's the fence again. In Copenhagen this summer, Rune and I are definitely going to the fence together
This guy and his media pass are in a very homosexual 69 position with the dude doing the invert
Bangin' Photo Chick got a much better sequence of Chris Miller's sugar cane than I did
Apparently when you get older, it's okay to name your skateboard company after yourself (Hosoi Skates, House of Kasai, Vallely Skateboards, etc.) Eric Nash is the only one who can't do that. Remember Nash Skateboards? Yep, I had one
So, Bangin' Photo Chick left and now I have no reason to remain at the Contest. Now I'm next door at the bar with Rodney Johnson, working hard at team managing for Billabong
CCS Craig's first ink was this piece right on the forearm
That's Darren Cookiehead Jenkins. If you know what a lapper and copers are, you remember him from the H-Street days
Everyone is at the fence right now
Check out these wacky smokes. The first photo on the left is the tip that has this piece of charcoal type thing on it. The middle photo is the filter and the last photo is what it looks like after you smoke it. It doesn't burn the tobacco. I just heats it or something. By the end of the night, that's what your ash tray looks like
It's about time for a foot fetish. Somebody stole some bowling shoes
I asked Steve Olson for a photo and he kissed me on the cheek
Of course, Frontside Grind Magazine was here to cover the event
Once again, us Florida dirts are smoking indoors in the uptight and paranoid state of California. I love breaking their stupid rules
We are now on the lurk around Hollywood and getting lost in the hills where them movie star types live. The houses up there seem like they are about to just slide down the mountainside
This is as close as we could get to the Hollywood sign
There's Hollywood High. How has this rail not been shut down yet?
It's crazy how many spots you see just driving around when you're out here. This building had these bank hips on every corner
We took a stroll through the Beverly Hills neighborhoods and saw crazy homes like this. Check that roof out
It was our friend Mark's first time in California so a trip to In-N-Out Burger was mandatory. After this, it was a harsh red-eye back on Sunday night followed by an all day long Monday nap. Things are back to normal now
Mad Tourists!
I’ve never felt more like a tourist in my life. Right off the plane we hit Venice to check out the sites and skate what they call their “skate park.” From there we headed north through Malibu, into Malibu Canyon, and up to Thousand Oaks to their slightly better park. The temperature went from almost cold in Venice to freakin’ hot in Thousand Oaks!

Next, thanks to that great legendary traffic in SoCal, we spent about three hours on the highway trekking south to Newport Beach, specifically Professor Schmitt’s estate. We made it just in time to get a nice private bowl session in just before dark. Not a bad first day of vacation. See, it wasn’t just Rob and I on this trip…we brought our friend Mark to watch the Pool Party with us, so it was cool to be able to show him around.

The Pool Party
Early Saturday morning we headed down to a beautiful spot on the Pacific, Crystal Cove, for some breakfast. The Professor then gave us an amazing tour of Laguna, Newport, Balboa Island, and so on from the back of his 1962 Mercedes convertible. It was a great way to start day two. Finally…it was time to gear up to get down for the Pool Party. Before heading over there we had to refer to our Barney Checklist to make sure we had proper attire.

Official Barney Checklist
  • Full helmet (kind that goes over the ears)
  • Knee and elbow pads
  • Square tail deck
  • Rails
  • Sleeveless shirt
  • Black socks (already had those of course)
  • Swing by the barber shop for a mullet
Okay, great. Now we’re ready. But don’t forget the tickets…which I didn’t read until we were driving over to The Block. It stated:

“Please arrive early due to limited capacity. Ticket does not guarantee admission. Ticket holder voluntarily assumes all risks and danger incidental to the event.”

Then to top it off:

“No skateboards. No alcohol. No pets.”

So let me get this straight. I flew all the way across the United States and I might not get in? And to top it off there is no alcohol? What type of bowl/pool session doesn’t have beers?

Despite the threat on the tickets, we got in just fine, but Rob wasn’t on the Media List. I actually sent an email request two, possibly three, times to get Rob the proper credentials. I never received an email back. I thought, “Maybe our wish was granted and they just didn’t reply.” But nope. No such luck. Rob shot all of his photos from the stands.

But then again, Tony from FTK was up in the stands, too, so go figure. But the place was hella' packed and truly had a great vibe. There was free food and soda with Steve Van Doren up on the grill and every cement and coping-loving skateboarder that I know was there to witness the upcoming mayhem.

When I finally got a choice spot in the stands I realized that we missed the Women’s. Oops. I don’t know how that happened. But Masters Practice was up next with Pro following, a $90,000 purse was being distributed, and there was a micro-brewery next door. Hell yeah!

Masters
Although I was excited to watch the entire event, seeing the Masters seemed to be the biggest deal. Unfortunately Lance Mountain, Jeff Grosso, and Duane Peters were all hurt. It was cool to see them hanging around and cheering on their peers, but it would have been so much better to see them skate.

The format for both the Masters and Pro was the same. For the Semi-Finals they had timed Jams with a few guys in each one. At first it was an organized Jam, giving each skater about three runs in order, but then the rest of the Jam was no rules, anything goes. The winners of each Jam would then advance to the Finals.

All I remember from the Semis are the slams. Jake Piasecki was falling all over the place and then Dagger Dave Duncan slammed really, really hard on a roll-in on the hip. Honestly, I can’t believe that the dude even got up after that. His slam was the equivalent of jumping off the hip and landing on his side and shoulder on the flat bottom. He’s a true champ though, because he was back announcing in a matter of minutes. Hat’s off to that trooper. Here’s who took home the cheddar:
  • 1st – Chris Miller – $10,000 – at age 40, Miller is absolutely amazing. He has the best style of all time, he’s the coolest dude out, a great businessman, and is as good as any pro out there in that thing. He shouldn’t even be in Masters to be honest with you…he’s just too damn good
  • 2nd – Steve Caballero – $6,000 – Cabbie is just getting better with age
  • 3rd – Nicky Guerrero – $3,000 – he made it all the way from Copenhagen and we’ll see him back in Denmark for the 2nd Annual CPH PRO at the end of June
  • 4th – Eric Nash – $1,000 – I remember the name, but I can’t say that I recall too much of Nash from when I was a kid. Dude was solid and smooth though
  • 5th – Lester Kasai – $500 – still ripping with huge airs and long lipslides
  • 6th – Pat Ngoho – $200 – straight out of Venice with ill, smooth Hawaiian style
  • 7th – Steve Steadham – $200 – I don’t know him personally, but Steadham comes off as one serious dude
  • 8th – Tony Magnusson – $200 – I straight up forgot how good T-Mag was and now I’ve got a new respect for him because he knocked his shoulder out of socket, got it pulled back in, and then came back to skate and knocked it right out again. Gnar
  • 9th – Buck Smith – $200 – I’ve had mad respect for Buck since I first saw him do a backside boneless on 6’ of vert at Kona when I was 14. That was 20 years ago! Holy $h!t!
  • 10th – Ben Schroeder – $200 – hands down Schroeder is the most exciting dude of all time to watch. You don’t know if this giant is going to make it or kill himself each time he tries a trick. He backs up the gnar-factor by being one of the nicest dudes you could ever talk to. I’m a big fan
Badass Barney Boardslides
It was time for intermission and Thrasher stepped up with a pretty cool concept for a side event. I don’t recall the catchy name they slated for it, but it was basically a longest boardslide contest and each block you slid earned you a hundo, winner take all. After 30 minutes of rail-to-pool coping madness, Cab was on top with 18, which equals $1800. Sweet, but lucky for him that Grosso was hurt because rumor has it that ol’ Mothra slid 27 earlier in the week. Damn.

Pro
In the Semis I was thinking, “Who are these kids?” Actually, since I know who they are it was more like, “What are these kids doing skating with Bucky and Bob?” Are they really pro? I personally wouldn’t say that Morgan Burgess and Nolan Munroe are pro. I’m not saying that they don’t rip, because they certainly do for little dudes. But I’m just stating the fact that there is an inherent difference watching a veteran destroyer like Omar who has put his time in for two decades skate against a kid that is using the bowl like a half pipe. And this is by no means a diss on those little guys’ abilities…I’m just saying that it’s a weird mix, that’s all.

In fact, Morgan Burgess is quite gnar, but in a different, less experienced way than some of the older cats. He held his own to the best of his ability, but when things start to get ultra-gnar, someone is bound to over-amp it. The victim this time around happened to be young Morgan himself. He was trying really, really hard to hang onto a 540 (I think that’s what he was trying, but I neglected to write it down) and ended up with a severely broken wrist. I heard that he broke his other wrist, too, but I hope that was just a rumor. Heal well, Morgan.

As big as that bowl is, the pros make it look way too easy. Neal Hendrix agreed and simply claimed, “I’m a pussy,” when we talked about him possibly skating in the event. Enough said.

Speaking of pussies, Tim Johnson was NOT a pussy. He barely missed the cut, but did an absolutely huge fs stalefish drifting about 12’ and going around the corner in the square pool. The crowd erupted for that one and that was a personal highlight for me, too.

In addition to watching Tim, I was stoked to see Cookiehead Jenkins out there in the mix. That dude is still flying nearly 8’ on airs…that is no joke in that pool. I once again didn’t envy the judges because top four was damn close. By the way, is Steve Olson as crazy as he comes off?
  • 1st – Rune Glifberg – $25,000 – that’s a lot of scrilla’, but not quite as many Danish Kroners when you convert it. Rune’s bsts shove-it around the corner in square side was sick! Are you kidding me?!?!
  • 2nd – Omar Hassan – $15,000 – Omar had the longest runs of all time and lines that no one else could touch
  • 3rd – Bucky Lasek – $7,500 – what’s amazing about Bucky is that he skates this thing like it’s a regular old vert ramp
  • 4th – Bob Burnquist – $3,000 – Bob holds onto anything and everything…he refuses to bail. I personally loved the switch backside roll in. Also, did he get lasik surgery or something? Where were the trademark glasses?
  • 5th – Benji Galloway – $2,000 – switch blunt in the square side? That is one small example of the gnarlitude that Benji possesses
  • 6th – Sergie Ventura – $1,500 – before the Finals started Sergie landed a mute air over the hip that no one has ever done prior
  • 7th – Bruno Passos – $1,000 – you might not know who he is, but Bruno is from Brazil and has a huge bag of tricks
  • 8th – Josh Borden – $700 – Josh must skate that thing all of the time because he’s got some great lines and topped it off with a 540 in the square side and bs kickflip in the round
  • 9th – Nolan Munroe – $500 – I can’t remember what he did, but he must have been doing something right to make it into top 10
  • 10th – Adam Taylor – $300 – look who done grow’d up and learned how to rip a pool
Party Time
On the way out to the After Party I ran into Lee from Plus. I asked, “Did Vans fly you out here?” He said, “Yeah, when you spend $XXX with them they fly you places.” I was bitchin’ up a storm, so the next morning I checked the books and realized that we spent about ½ of that with Vans in 2007. Damn. That shut me up.

We missed the beginning of the After- Party to make a pit stop at the Anaheim Ruth’s Chris courtesy of Mark. After some proper-ass grub we made our way back to Alcatraz for some free micro-brews and conversations with others dudes that are into Pro-Design pads and frontside slashers.

Mark had rock-gut due to one too many Rockstar Energy Drinks, so he was the DD. We awoke the next morning and skated Paul’s bowl until our legs couldn’t take it anymore. The rest of the day was spent being full-on tourists in LA. I’m not going to bore you with any details because I could go on forever about the sites we saw…it really was a great day though. Rob’s pics will hopefully do it justice and tell the story.

Thanks to Vans for the tickets and the Schmitt Family for the amazing hospitality. We’re making this a yearly trip.

Ryan

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