Boards For Bro's 2008

Posted on Monday, December 22, 2008 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

When we first got started, we went to Ft. Desoto Skate Park. This is a concrete slab with pre-fabricated ramps fenced in and run by the City of Tampa. It was closed on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The gub'ment is never going to understand skateboarding. Anyway, we gave out some boards to some kids hanging out and some new Mongolian poop pushers were born
Our next stop was right outside of Ybor at those projects off of Nuccio Parkway. Last time I skated home drunk from Ybor through this neighborhood someone threw a bottle at me that almost knocked me off my board. Maybe these kids will grow up different if they turn into real skateboarders. Actually, they'd probably still throw bottles at people or worse
I was wondering who would end up getting that board
Whether you're 10-years-old with a popped collar or 50-years-old with a gray beard, your first instinct is Mongolian madness when you first set foot on a skateboard. Amazing
I've been skating for over 20 years. Sometimes skateboarding makes me angry - tricks I can't do, weird stuff on the business side of it, kooks that got good at it, etc. I am trying hard to feel like this little girl looks each and every time I pick up my skateboard to go ride it. I need to feel like this every time I pick up a camera, too. She's psyched
Grandma with a cane asked for a skateboard
Sit on Santa's lap and tell him you already got what you need for Christmas - a new skateboard
Whenever we pulled over to give one or two kids we saw a board, a bunch of other kids would come out of nowhere
We created a new skateboard family. Mongolian mania and the double mall grab are standard issue
This crusty hippie has nothing to with Boards For Bro's. We just got a laugh out of his ride
We are now in Robles Park where street sweepers never go. There's a few kids hanging out that get hooked up
Did I mention the double mall grab is standard issue?
While we were in Robles Park, suddenly a school bus pulls up. Things got hectic
Skateboarding isn't for everyone. People quit for all kinds of reasons - they get "old," hurt, aren't good enough at it, don't have the right friends, they're just straight up stupid, etc. I hope it sticks with these kids and has the same impact on their life as it has had on mine
Several kids got hooked up with brand new completes. I wonder if he knows Slave is a skateboard company. If not, don't take it the wrong way, man
Stay black, son
I think this girl is pregnant? She's on the hunt for a new daddy. Don't look for skateboarding to pay the bills, girl
Jorge Angel, Barak Wiser, Ryan Clements, and Ed Womble - they put the work into organizing this. Give them a bro hug
After giving out about 200 skateboards, we all spent some time with our own boards at that one ramp that no one knows about. Don't look at this picture. It's not a mini-ramp in Porpe's back yard. That's not Brian Schaefer on a back lip either
We had a nice time re-learning old tricks on the mini-ramp that doesn't exist in Porpe's backyard. Clements brought back feeble grinds to fakie while Leonard Trubia and Skittles watch
On Boards For Bro's morning, I woke up to this creepy thick fog downtown. I'm a block from the round building and can't even tell it's there
It was our third and most successful Boards for Bro’s outing yet. If you’re not familiar with Boards for Bro’s, let me give you the quick breakdown. It’s rather simple really. Three years ago I was skating the Bro Bowl with Paul Schmitt and Ed Womble. This is prior to the demolition of the projects. You know, back when every little ghetto kid would be like, “Lemme get your board. Lemme ride your board!” Paul said, “Hey, we need to figure out a way to get these kids skateboards.” After a short discussion, the plan was to collect donations from skaters to help give other kids a board to skate on. We added used skateboarding product from SPoT, put it back together into ride-able skateboards, and then redistributed the boards to the kids in the projects.

Considering it was already the beginning of December, we didn’t have too much time to plan. But we still managed to give away about 40 skateboards that first year back in 2006. It was very rewarding, so we knew we had to do it bigger and better. We got the entire SPoT staff on the program by informing them to collect as much product as possible in 2007…and that lead to nearly 200 skateboards being passed out that year. Now fast forward to this past December 20, 2008 We had a little over 200 skateboards for the less-than-fortunate Tampa kids.

The caravan started out with a short stop at Desoto Skate Park, just south of Ybor, where there were literally only two kids waiting. From there we winded our way through Ybor and stopped at the subsidized housing just on the west side of Nuccio Parkway. When we pulled the trucks over there were a few kids in sight, but the word must have traveled very quickly because we spent about 20 minutes there giving out completes. When we were finally able to load up, the trek took us over to Robles Park.

Most people don’t know a thing about Robles Park. It’s on Floribraska, just west of I-4. I don’t know why I’m giving you directions because I can’t imagine that you’d like to take a tour because it’s definitely a “real” ghetto. You get the feeling of hopelessness when you drive in there. There are doors ripped off the hinges of entrances, tall metal gates that serve no purpose, trash everywhere, and all of the dirty buildings are painted a shade of dark pink that doesn’t seem to brighten anyone’s day.

Our four vehicles stopped right in the middle of the complex. We got out and no one was around. I was questioned, “Where is everyone?” I assured our crew to be patient and I guaranteed that we’d be able to give away the remaining 150 boards in no time. Finally there was a kid, then two, then a family, and then more and more where it actually turned into a bit of a frenzy. The school bus pulling up was the icing on the cake…the kids had their heads and hands out the window yelling, “I want one! I want one!” Each and every kid came single file off the bus and got their very own skateboard. When the dust settled I think that only one kid didn’t get one, but we gave him a pair of skate shoes instead.

Thanks to our friends at DLX and Ocean Avenue for the hook-up with the product. We got boxes from Black Box and some others, too. Additionally, thanks to our patrons at SPoT for all of the donations we received in 2008. And a special THANK YOU to all of the SPoT Staff that spent their personal time assembling skateboards. We’ll be doing it bigger and better in 2009. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Ryan

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[View more in the Article Archives]

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