Go Skateboarding Day 2007

Posted on Friday, June 22, 2007 by Ryan

NO Skateboarding (Downtown) Day 2007
Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

Before ending up in the sketchy skateboard industry, I spent a few years both working for the government and working at a CPA firm that audits the government. Given the complexities of managing millions of humans and their jacked brains and psychology, I think we have the best government and country you can have and I appreciate every privlege we have. There will always be flaws, though. This is a big one here. I was told by an offier that 50 cops were assigned to keep us in check today. Here's a joke from my 5-year-old niece: Why do cops stink? Because they're always on dootie
Most people can't make a relationship between two people work. Try being a government that attempts to make a relationship with millions work out. There will always be flaws. Here's another one. The representatives of the law and government refused to allow a cooler full of water to be brought into a public park citing some statute. That may have been the first time in history that rule has actually been enforced. Unfortunately, human emotion takes over rational thinking sometimes
Levi Combs obeys the statute on the bowl and does a frontside boneless here. I would like to thank the government for building us that nice road to drive on in the background and other amenities we take for granted. There will always be flaws, though. With all the money spent on police protection today, this skateboarding facility that's older than Moses could have had quite an improvement
You know what's more political than the government? The media. Journalists attemt to keep themselves in check with a code of ethics, but unfortunately, it seems the code of economics and politics usually overrides. That's understandable because it happens to you both you, me, and the government wether you like to admit it or not. This is one of many of Clements' appearances on film at 11. Apparently, the media thinks the person with the most grey hair in a crowd of 300 has intelligent things to say. How did they know to track Clements down?
BMX Koston was there. When's the Lakai video coming out?
I like watching a good skateboard pile up at the bottom of the Bro Bowl. There were plenty today
Our government is just a reflection of the most common groups in our society, most of which are paranoid and shivering in fear of the unknown, change, and anything that appears to be slightly unsafe. If skateboarding is so dangerous and threatening that we need laws for it, how come there were 20 cop cars but not one single ambulance on standby? Jorge might split his head open on this frontside flip
A small sample of the scene as the day unfolded. It was fun but annoying at the same time with all those officers just standing around waiting for laws to be broken
DMFP sailed a huge ollie from bump to bump
Can we get one of the officers to arrest this guy for riding that contraption?
I'm still wondering how the news people always pick Clements to interview. Check the three cops on dootie in the background
Officers on dootie listen in on the plans for the next move. We are all going to walk downtown. Yep, walk. If we were in California, the worst paranoid over-regulated state ever, there would have been 300 jaywalking tickets issued today
This officer on dootie made sure the illegal act of moving dirt off the sidewalk was not committed. Swill got heated and then took one of the best slams in the bowl I saw all day
So we start our walk and the police escort us all through downtown. We are so gangsta
I wish I could have sat in on the meeting where they came to the conclusion that police helicopters were needed for Go Skateboarding Day. I bet that was pure comedy and some fantastic entertainment
If you can't push mongo because it's illegal, you may as well hold mongo. I see at least two kids holding their board by the truck in this photo. Officers need to issue citations for that
Jaywalkers
That poor little kid getting the mean finger from Officer Doofy is going to grow up and have a real problem with authority
If I were a police officer, I would arrest everyone in the crowd that was wearing TAPS
So we walked to some park downtown where there were already at least 10 officers on dootie, chilled for a bit, then went back to the Bro Bowl. It was fairly uneventful
Someone do something. Anything. I don't know. Blow something up. This is getting boring. Okay, back to the Bro Bowl
Several people skated back to the Bro Bowl. Two that I saw got the cuffs. I was going to skate and get arrested again for fun, but at this point I was over it
Victim number one
Victim number two
No one was permitted to grill in the public park at the Bro Bowl either, so we let everyone skate for free today and grilled at the Skatepark. Thanks for sweating it out at the grill, Frosty
Meanwhile, Schaefer put on the one man vert demo. He was ripping
Not sure when the last time Schaefer skated vert was, but he made this eggplant first try then did it again for a photo
This kid skated 36 miles with a broken board held together with duct tape. He skated across the Gandy Bridge to get here today. He should have asked the police for a ride
After the Skatepark, several people went to the Ghetto Gap. This is Seth on an ollie
The scene at the Ghetto Gap did not include choppers and police officers
Who besides Brian Schaefer is ripping the vert ramp and then going to ollie ghetto gap? Hell yeah, Brian
This kid nollie backside 180'd it
A few more tricks went down, but I missed them. Then Officer Doofy found us and Go Skateboarding Day was over. See you next year. Thanks to whoever organized all this
The Bro Bowl
I guess that the Tampa Police Department heard about Go Skateboarding Day in Downtown Tampa just like we did. We rolled up a little after 9:30am and there were literally 50 Police Officers at the Bro Bowl having a meeting. I’m not exaggerating, I’m not embellishing, there REALLY were 50 of them.

Upon arrival we got a sheet of paper from TBD that outlined the anti-skateboarding ordinance in the City of Tampa. Apparently there is no skateboarding permitted AT ALL in Downtown Tampa and the men in blue were there to strictly enforce that ordinance.

They were making their presence very known. I brought a flat bar and they told us that we weren’t permitted to “modify a public park” and if we didn’t remove the bar that it would be confiscated. In addition, no one was permitted to pass out water or BBQ or even give out some t-shirts. Hell, Swill wasn’t even allowed to clean off the area of the slab that Reynolds did the kickflip melon onto in The End. I guess you need a permit for all of that stuff. Permits to sweep?

All of the news stations were out there. All of ‘em. I did about four or five interviews, but none that I saw later that evening seemed to mention the gross waste of our tax dollars that was occurring. So needless to say there was no way that we were going to skate through Downtown and hit the double set for a jam with that type of Police presence. What’s the point of all of us walking into battle like that knowing that we’re going to jail?

While we were at the Bro Bowl apparently Tampa’s finest were safe-guarding the rest of the City. I have friends that work all over Downtown. I was informed that there were six Officers at Bank of America, six Officers at 501 Kennedy, six Officers at the 7/11 Double Set, and 10 Officers near the Art Museum. I can’t verify that because I didn’t see it, but here’s an email from a spy:

There were like five or six here at 9:30am this morning. They just sat outside on the bus route. They shut the gate at exactly 11am and then they were waiting at all entrances to the building. It was just XXXXXX and I in here so we couldn’t leave. Then they opened the gate right at 1pm again. XXXXX, our President, said there were a ton of them at Bank of America. He thought a bank got robbed or something with how many cops there were!

Let’s not forget the ghetto bird. That’s right, a Police helicopter hovered over us for a large portion of the day.

No Skating Downtown
So we walked. Yep, that’s right, we picked up our skateboards and walked into Downtown and hung out at Joe Chillura Park for a few minutes. On the way in people were coming out of their offices to see what we had going on because we were live on the 12 o’clock news (we must be very important). Then we walked back to the Bro Bowl…there were a few renegades that put their boards down and skated. Two kids got popped and arrested. Fallen soldiers?

Everyone was invited back to Skatepark of Tampa where they skated for free and ate all of the food that wasn’t permitted to be cooked at the Bro Bowl. Thirsty kids are allowed to receive water at Skatepark, too. Imagine that. The Session went on until 5pm.

Best Trick at Ghetto Gap
The final mission of the day was a quick Best Trick at the Ghetto Gap. I rolled up and some kid was spray painting on the loading dock area. I was like, “What the hell are you doing?” He stopped. Next thing you know, there are other skateboarders fighting in the street. For real. They were throwing blows. I started yelling at them, calling them morons and reminding everyone that they’re giving everyone a REASON to thinks that skateboarders are a bunch of morons.

NOTE TO KIDS: If you do stupid things like spray graffiti at skate spots and fight in the streets you’re as dumb as people think you are. Make me proud to be a skateboarder, man, and next time don’t leave any trash behind either.

About six or seven tricks went down, but my highlight was when Schaefer ollied it! He got $20 for that one!

Back at Skatepark at 8pm we had a free Video Premiere for Element’s new flick, “This Is My Element.” It was a bit long and the music wasn’t my favorite, but Levi Brown, Jimmy Lannon, and Tony Tave were absolutely amazing. The skating in the video is top notch all the way around. Nyjah is so good that he’s boring…a total phenomenon.

The Final Word
I was talking to one of the reporters after she interviewed me yesterday (off the record) and she told me that some of the Officers on duty at the Bro Bowl also agreed that it was just way, way too much overkill. Of course you won’t see any of that on Bay News 9 and you won’t hear Gail Sierens talking about it either…no one is going to dis the cops as a whole on local TV.

But I will say that the vast majority of the officers, with the exception of a few, were polite, respectful, and downright cool…and for that I want to thank them. I realize that they have a job to do and they were following out orders. In addition, I’m stoked for not getting arrested for skating. Did I say that?

Happy Go Skateboarding Day to all! I wonder what someone has planned for next year? See you there!

Ryan

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