Back To San Diego - January 2005 ASR
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 by Rob Meronek
Back To San Diego - January 2005 ASRWords by Ryan Clements, Photos and captions by Rob Meronek
Saturday, January 15, 2005 @ 7:45am at the San Diego Horton Plaza WestinSo right when we landed I called my friend Kevin Marks. For some reason, he kept calling me all week saying, "I'll pick you up from the airport and we'll go skate my ramp." Honestly, after flying for three hours, switching planes, and then flying again for four hours, I didn't really think that I would be in the mood to skate. But when we were at baggage claim I asked Barry and Rob and they were down to rip. It must have been because we had the youthful influence of Chris Lehman with us...it's his first trip to California.
After a quick stop at Pokez, a Mexican-vegetarian restaurant that was really good, we made our way to Kevin's with full tummies of chips, salsa, and rice. Kevin led us through the front door and I'm like, "So where's this ramp? Outside? Is it well lit? Because I can't see well at night." He replies, "It's in the bonus room."
I thought that "bonus rooms" were a relatively new thing for more modern houses, but Kevin had his own version of a bonus room…that's where the mini-ramp was located! It was the first time I've ever skated something that was straight up inside the living area of someone's home. The structure was built with some serious creativity, too. It was about 3' tall and 14' wide all the way across on one side with huge coping. If you stood on the deck on that side you had to duck because your head would hit the ceiling. The opposing side had a parking block section, an offset really skinny extension with pool coping, and a transition to vert wall.
The session went down and everybody ripped until we were exhausted. A special thank-you goes out to Kevin Marks for his hospitality. On the drive back to the hotel he gave us a quick tour of his shop/distribution, Overload Skateshop/Overboard Distribution. I'm always down to check out other shops, but it was even cooler when he showed us Josh Beagle's and Tod Swank's favorite watering hole…that was definitely a highlight.
The evening back at the hotel was pretty standard. We ran into all of our friends, industry dudes, etc. My internal time-clock was all screwed up. I stayed up until 1:30am or so, but that was 4:30am to my body since I was technically still on East Coast time.
I awoke the next morning feeling pretty good regardless of the time change. Schaefer and I enjoyed our luxurious hotel room and philosophized on the meaning of life over coffee.
The first day of the show was relatively mellow, as Fridays at trade shows tend to be. There seemed to be an absence of pros, but hopefully they'll be more there today (Saturday) to skate in the mini-ramp demos and just hang out in general. I did manage to talk to some heavy-hitters though, including the owners of Flip, Ian Deacon and Jeremy Fox, and Chris Carter, owner of Workshop, Habitat, etc. Carter was Schaefer's G&S Team Manager back in the day - crazy how things work out. In addition, I never ceased to be amazed how much respect Skatepark of Tampa gets when we travel abroad. It's always an honor to hear people say nice things about what we do.
Our friend and associate from Ocean Avenue, Jim Harvest, offered to take the crew out to dinner. A free dinner? Lehman asked, "You mean I get to go, too?" I reassured him that he was getting a free meal and he was stoked. Hell, I would have been stoked when I was 16 if I got flown out to San Diego to skate and got taken to fancy Italian restaurants in Little Italy, too. The service was pretty bad, but the food was perfect and I think that I may have had one too many drinks. The cab ride back to the hotel was only $6, and I handed the cabbie what I thought was a $10 bill and asked for $2 change. He said, "This is what you meant," and handed me $12 change. Apparently I handed him a $20 and I thanked him for his honestly. And what he said made my night, "My friend, I am Buddhist." I think that's the most appropriate way to end this section...
Sunday, January 16, 2005 @ 7:15am at the San Diego Horton Plaza WestinOkay, I’m ready to go home. It’s just the way I feel on Sunday mornings of trade shows, and I’m sure that I’m not alone. Yesterday the demos pretty much went off, in addition to many, many pros cruising around and skating. I think that seeing Eric Dressen on the mini-ramp was one of my highlights. He’s just one of those guys that I always appreciated when I was growing up, so I get extra hyped when he addresses me by name. He’s a tattoo artist now, so next time I’m out here I’m going to go to LA and get a tattoo by him.
The mini-ramp demos were ridiculously crowded, so it took some skill to get runs in amongst the insane snake session. Chris Lehman had no trouble with it and killed it all day, with his backside 360 boneless on the extension garnering some attention from potential sponsors. Sierra Fellers fit right in and Benji Galloway (on my board because he forgot his) and Seth “Zed” McCallum skated as if no one else was even on the ramp, although you could barely stand on the packed decks.
At the end of the day, Independent had a book signing that hosted a very impressive line-up, along with 10 kegs of free beer that ran out in about an hour – kind of like how our 12-Year Anniversary Party is going to do next weekend. I saw Christian Hosoi, Red Dog, The Boss, Jim Greco, Eric Dressen (again), MoFo, Duane Peters, and so many other historic skateboarding figures that it would make your head spin. The room that it was held in was completely over-crowded and security stopped letting people in, but thanks to our “ASR Management” badges, were able to enter and bring our VIP status friends like Rhino, Scott Koerner, and Pate Rakestraw with us. I talked to my good pal Brian Herman out front and ended up having a really positive conversation with Kayshawn Jackson – much respect to that kid.
Okay, I’m done name-dropping for the meantime…except for one more. Thanks to Will Campbell from DC for paying for our dinner. The rest of the evening was spent doing the same old stuff – drinking and socializing. I hit the sack about midnight, but the party ended up in my room at 2am…good times. We’re flying out at 10pm tonight and then it’s straight to Skatepark for a 12-hour workday tomorrow.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005 @ 7:30am in My Office at Skatepark of TampaDamn, I’m back to reality. Everyone is arriving for Tampa Am and I’m busy as all hell. The final day at ASR was mellow, but entertaining to say the least. The highlight of the mini-ramp demos went down on Saturday, so there’s no use in writing about the skating from Sunday.
After the show we had a nice dinner at Yardhouse with the entire crew and a couple of the ASR staff members…thanks to ASR for picking up the tab on that one. We were all pretty beat, but that didn’t stop us from doing shots and kicking back the drinks. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to lose my glasses while I was sitting at the table. We looked all over the place, pulled out the table, ripped up the seat cushions, and even got a flashlight, but my glasses were nowhere to be found.
Our flight left San Diego at 10pm on Sunday night and we got to Tampa at 8am Monday morning. I wasn’t really sweating losing my glasses because we were getting picked up in my truck, in which I keep a spare pair. But upon landing, Jason, who was waiting at Baggage Claim for us, told me that someone tried to steal my truck the night before. They busted out the lock on my door and messed with the ignition, but were unable to get it started (amateurs). But guess what? They stole my prescription Oakleys…both my shades and driving glasses! What are the chances? I must have done something for Karma to work against me like that.
That wasn’t the best way to start the Tampa Am week, but I still went right to work from the airport and put in a full day. Fortunately, one of the kind members of the ASR crew, Jenna, went back to Yardhouse on Monday to ask about my glasses and they were holding them for me. Nice. Now can someone just make it so I’m not busy this week during Tampa Am? Hope to see you here.