When SPoT first opened in ’93, people were living in the back rooms, raging night and day, with cops arriving on the scene every other week. The future of the park in my opinion was doubtful at best. But they were great times. “While they last,” I thought. The Pappas brothers were some of the earliest and most infamous of the park’s inhabitants. Tas was 17, Ben 15, and they were two Australian vert skaters who planned to come over to the US to get down on the pipe and--according the documentary-“smash Hawk.” The brothers were widely regarded as absolute maniacs, and rightfully so at least where Tas was concerned, but Ben just sort of seemed to be along for the ride. Either way, they were two of the best vert skaters in the world and epitomized what it meant to be a 90s vert dude. Mike Frazier and I had met Tas that year out at Woodward camp in Pennsylvania, where Tas had spent three months washing dishes in exchange for room and board. When camp ended for the summer Tas came down to Tampa to get in on the scene. Ben showed up a short time later. They hung around for about six months before moving out to San Diego where they quickly turned pro and took over before things took a slow turn for the absolute worst.
The ups and the downs of the Pappas brothers’ lives are covered in the documentary All This Mayhem currently out on iTunes. There’s tons of Tampa footage, a lot of which I don’t ever remember seeing before, plus some highly entertaining commentary from Tampa OG Lance Conklin. “Where’s Schaefer?” is my only question. But the story is crazier than anything you’ve probably ever heard before in skateboarding, and I strongly suggest you watch it.
Here's the link to "All This Mayhem" on iTunes
Words by Paul Zitzer