In Control - Sort of... Article at Skatepark of Tampa

In Control - Sort of...

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 by Ryan

In Control – Sort of...
Story by Ryan Clements.
Photos and captions by Rob Meronek unless noted.

    It was already time for another short weekend trip, but this one was a bit more glamorous than Satellite Beach or Phat City (R.I.P.). That’s right; we were on our way to Miami. Once again, we had one of those fun, three-car caravans with my truck, Giles rice-rocket, and Jim’s “you meet with Hyundai – no payments for 12 months (Ludacris).” Personally, I always enjoy driving, and the ride down to Miami was just short of five hours.

    We immediately checked into the ‘Josh Stewart’ Days Inn and hit the street with our boards. The entire area was filled with “famous” spots. We couldn’t actually skate any of them because of security, but it’s not like anyone was going to ollie down that huge double-set that Lindsey Robertson did in the DC Video anyway. It was absolutely gigantic. It’s always a reality check when you go hit up a spot that someone did something on in a video, and the entire time on the way to the spot you’re claiming this and claiming that, but then reality sets in when you see how gnarly a spot is in real life. Photos and video just don’t seem to do certain spots and skaters complete justice.

    Since we weren’t permitted to skate the “V.A.” ledges, we ended up shredding a small median curb in a rough parking lot for like an hour. Finally, someone suggested that we go to Control Skatepark, owned by Matt Cantor. After all, we should probably have headed over there – the SPoT Team was supposed to skate in a contest at the park on Saturday.

    Control is what Skatepark of Tampa was in 1993 times five. It’s in the ghetto. I mean, it’s really in the ghetto. If you’ve ever thought that Skatepark of Tampa was in the ghetto, our area resembles Hyde Park compared to where Control is located. Upon arriving and saying our ‘hellos,’ the session was on. The park is very fast and super-fun. Everything is kind of just thrown together, but still great. The pyramid only has a 4’ deck, so pretty much everything got thrown down on it. And next to the pyramid is one of those a-frame ledge deals – that’s the second one I’ve seen people skate, and it looks like one is in order for the next time we rebuild the street course at home.

    After the session, the crew headed back to the hotel. Half of us stayed and held down the hotel and the other half headed out to hit the town with Miami’s unofficial Mayor of Entertainment, Joel Meinholz. I was glad that I went to sleep early, because the next time that I saw the “go out” crew, the sun was rising and they were grabbing beers out of the cooler.

    The “stay in” group was ready to hit the street spots on Saturday morning, so we made our way to those really steep, brick banks with the tranny on the bottom of them, located under the interstate. These are the banks in the photo of Ed Selego’s new Adio ad where he’s doing a back-lip over the corner. Only skating these banks in person will really allow you to understand how ridiculously impossible that trick is. I was “that dude” that was claiming moves before skating there. Man, was I humbled. The star of the session was Chris Lehman, with fs pivots and blunts to pivot, among others. After about an hour of getting really dirty, the crew agreed to head over to Control.

    This is the only part of the weekend that I regret. I didn’t feel like skating anymore, so I was helping Cantor and crew layer the mini-ramp. I was working for about an hour, with my skateboard next to me, when I got the call from the “go out” crew. There were two issues. One, they needed a ride from the hotel to Control, and two, we were getting kicked out of the hotel. I was so pissed that I immediately left, and left my board sitting there as well.

    I stormed into the hotel office and spoke with the hotel manager and security guard who claimed that we were “doing loops off of the third floor into the pool with our skateboards (said with a very heavy Cuban accent).” I’m not joking, that’s what he really said. I felt like I was having a conversation with a complete idiot – oh yeah, I was. Since they really didn’t have their story straight, they kept coming up with all of these excuses on why we couldn’t stay another night, including that we didn’t have reservations. Between me, Schaefer, and Afro-Jim, we had them going in circles, and of course we were staying another night.

    We grabbed the rest of the “go out” guys and went back to Control. The mini-ramp was finished and I felt like skating it, so I went to get my board out of my truck, and that’s when I realized it. I was doomed – my board was gone. I knew it the second I walked back into the park. Dammit! I was, and still am, so pissed at myself. I’m way too old to have to spend time getting used to new trucks. I’m already dreading putting together my new set-up today.

    I’ll be writing this article for days if I explain every single thing that went down at the actual contest, so I’ll give a quick description of the format. This event was not a competition for individual skaters, but a contest where entire teams skated against each other. It consisted of Disorder, Skatepark of Tampa, MIA/Control, Island Water Sports, Platinum Skates, New Blood, and Westside. There were some big names like Ed Selego (MIA), Danny Renaud (Westside), and Jared Brantingham (Westside) skating in the actual contest, while Forrest Kirby destroyed the ledge the entire afternoon, without concern for whomever happened to be skating (I personally liked the switch frontside salad with steez.). Each team got about 10 minutes to show the goods, and I must say that Skatepark of Tampa gave everything they had. Scotty, Giles, Tommy, Big Al, and secret weapon, Chris Lehman, all killed it and had the crowd hyped. Ian Gow twisted his ankle on Thursday, so he was unable to skate, meaning we had basically no handrail moves. We ended up in a tie for second place, with first going to Luis Arnold and his shop, New Blood. Only if Ian was skating…

    The actual contest was really fun, and props to all of the teams for getting out there and ripping. There were some familiar faces like Josh Dowd and Ben Gore, who both ripped, and then some other kids that made me think, “Who the hell is that?!” There was a huge variety of styles and tricks – hats off to all, and especially Matt Cantor and crew for throwing a great event. The tailgate party outside got pretty wild as the sun went down and then the executive decision to go to Hooters was made. We took an extended drive smack-dab right into the worst parts of the ghetto that Matt Cantor could direct us through. All of us were totally cracking up as I revved up the F-350 diesel motor and blasted Luda. We had the seats leaned fully back and hats cocked to the side. We was hard.

    Rolling 30+ deep at Hooters always makes for a good time. From Hooters, another executive decision was executed and I joined the “go out” team. I guess I can tell you that the drive home the next morning was less than enjoyable due to the fact that the Goldrush policy is full-nude and they serve alcohol 24 hours per day. Thanks, Miami.

Tommy Presley's switch ollie is off da chain
A wide view of Control Skatepark
The party in the parking lot went from day into the night
The party in the parking lot went from day into the night
A few of the lurker chicks
Why's this photo on here? Oh, yeah, those legs
If you need instructions on how to properly lurk, Allen Russell the og lurker can give you lessons
Matt Giles never committed to landing this pivot fakie - it's a lot harder than it looks
Check out how they had to fully armor up the ghetto ice cream truck - Big Perm, I mean Big Worm, from Friday didn't even have it that bad
Matt Giles nollie flips in support of rice rockets everywhere
Rob Meronek and his six fingers left, Brian Schaefer, and Ryan Clements some time really late at night
Forrest Kirby - self portrait
You think you'll never be there, but it happens to everyone, kids - Brian Schaefer and Allen Russell compare gut sizes
Lurking out at some rest stop
Ryan Clements - backside wall ride
In this photo of Ryan Clements' tail block, you can see there's two of the pyramid things that have an added tranny
Ryan Clements and his stache on a pivot indy grab
Ryan Clements - tail block
Chris Lehman - ice plant
Chris Lehman - nosegrab blunt fakie
Chris Lehman - blunt pivot
The camera has all these crazy settings I never mess with - this one is Chris Lehman about to get served in negative format
Allen Russel looks pretty happy, but about five minutes after this photo was taken, everyone else was walking away with his loot
Fun in the hotel room - that's Allen Russel under every blanket and sheet we could find


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