The Baghdad Skate Scene

Posted on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 by Rob

The Baghdad Skate Scene
Words by Rob Meronek and Bert Basco
Photos by Bert Basco

We got an online order the other day for 15 DVD's. Sean-line Albright crept out of the ASS (Asian Sweat Shop - online order packing) to show me the order and look over the strange mailing address. Turns out this large DVD collection was going to Baghdad. I started talking to Bert Basco, the guy who placed the order, about what's going on in Iraq. He and his friends built a mini-ramp inside an abandoned warehouse. Now that's how you make it happen for your local scene, no matter where you are. Check out some words from Bert and a few photos he sent over below. There are probably a lot of sketchy, barefoot, hippie skateboarders out there with strong political opinions to go with their home-made educations regarding what the U.S. is doing over there, but don't think about that right now. This is simply about skateboarding and making the best of what your local scene has to offer.


This is the email from Bert Basco:

I came straight from Ft. Lauderdale (6th Street Represent) to Iraq in October 2003. I work for a private firm doing some stuff for DOD. Truth is, all this nonsense started to get to me after a while and not being able to skate was beginning to take a massive toll on my soul. I also had an accident last June - I broke and tore up my knee and I ended up having to get a surgery. There I was, limping around in one of the worst places on Earth for a skater to be. I had a serious case of depression, Man. After a couple of months of heavy drinking, smoking, and trying to rationalize how right I was for feeling sorry for myself, I had to realize that the only way for me to keep my sanity in this whacked-out place is to put my feet back on my board as soon as possible. So, I made a plan and built myself a mini-ramp with the help of our carpenter guys.

I am back in business! It is 7.50 meters wide and like 130 cm high with a mellow, but not too slow, transition. Just perfect…

Anyways, all of you are welcome to come and session at “Combat Outpost.”

One heavily guarded mini-ramp

I guess it's ok to tag up your tank. After Bert gets his package from us, hopefully we'll see some Skatepark of Tampa stickers on that thing
Directions: Coming from the Terminal of Baghdad International Airport, drive around the loop and make a U-turn before the main CP. Make a right after like 200 yards (your first right) and then another right at the next intersection. Take a left before the entrance of the Airport Village and drive down the road about half a mile. You will see a traffic control point manned by heavily armed security and an entrance to your right. Ask for me, Bert.

Note: This mini is Off Post. It is Iraqi controlled territory, under the protection and love of the Iraqi people. So if you are in the Army, I am sorry, but 'Full Battle Rattle' if you want to come hang out.

Here are a few pictures of my buddies and I..