Bayview Rumble and the Wallenberg Big Four Challenge Article at Skatepark of Tampa

Bayview Rumble and the Wallenberg Big Four Challenge

Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 by Ryan

Bayview or Bust (and the Wallenberg Challenge)
Story by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek
Video by Barak Wiser

Friday, May 14th @ 9pm Texas Time - on the plane to SF

This is my kind of trip. Fly there, check it out, and get the hell out of there. No long-ass trip; just check out the action and be on our ways. Our flights out were on Friday night from TIA at 7pm. We had a layover in Dallas, and now I'm on the flight to SF.

Here's some detail for those that don't know: Deluxe Distribution are the guys that bring you Anti-Hero, Real, Rasa-Libre, Spitfire, Krooked, and Thunder. They are basically the voice of the industry as well, considering they have strong ties to both Thrasher and SLAP magazines. If they want to 'make you,' you're 'made.' If they want to ignore you, well, then it looks like you'll have to take that job on the assembly line, Bro.

The theory behind their Bayview Rumble trade show is to have an affordable, laid back environment that is skateboarder-friendly, where the buyers can feel comfortable when looking over the newest gear available. There are the usual parties, etc., but this show is different in a particular way: There is an informal contest at Wallenberg. You know…it's that school with the gigantic four steps that Markovich 180ed back-in-the-day, Frank Gerwer kickflipped a short while back, Steve Nesser pop-shoved, and most recently Tony Manfre switch 180ed.

I've seen the high ollie, switch high ollie, high nollie, longest ollie, and Koston Game of Skate all in person. Did you think that I was going to miss the Wallenberg Challenge? Hell no.

It's been a long, long time since I've been to San Francisco. My last trip there was in 1992. At the time, my friend Jeb Stewart was living in Oakland with Ron Allen. That's an entirely different story, but I drove out there with a few friends to visit him. We got to skate all of the OG spots…Embarcadero, the tennis court trannies, that one tranny on the top of the parking garage, China Banks, and especially all of the empty pools that were there at the time. See, that was right after the "Oakland fires," and all of the houses on the rich Oakland hills had burned to the ground. As we wound up and down the crazy streets, all that was left of the fabulous homes were steel frames and empty pools.

Just a couple of hours ago, on the last flight from Tampa to Dallas, Rob and I planned on hitting a couple of the current SF hot spots. We officially will be skating at the Pier 7 ledges and the China banks this weekend. Let's hope it happens.

Sunday, May 16th @ 8am Pacific Time - in the hotel room in SF
And happen it did…we all woke up super-early because of the time difference and made our way down to breakfast. That's one really nice thing about Embassy Suites - the free breakfast in the morning with made-to-order omelets, pancakes, etc. It's basically a full meal.

Although the food was great, the hospitality was less than desirable. While minding our own business and grabbing some grub, the hotel manager came over and requested that Rob get up, go to the front of the hotel, and answer her questions. Everyone at the table and others around us were wondering what in the world was going on. On top of it, the manager was rude and snide with her "we're all adults here" lecture. Basically, Rob was accused of being the guy that set off an M-80 in the lobby the night before. The funny part was that this manic manager was convinced that it was Rob, simply based on the identification of a "hotel guest." Don't try to have a battle-of-the-wits when you don't know all of the facts - we weren't even checked in at the time of the incident. The manager checked the computer records and Rob gave her a verbal bashing as punishment. If Rob had been black, Rev. Al Sharpton and the NAACP would have been immediately called.

After being a skateboarder for over half of your life, you eventually get used to certain amounts of discrimination. I swear, that type of stuff never happens to me when I'm somewhere with my wife. It's as if society (and nice hotels) thinks that if you have a woman by your side that everything is okay, and there's no way you could be a 'problem.'

We brushed it off like we have so many times before and planned our trip to the City. Barry made the official announcement that he was going to work, so Rob and I caught a ride to the BART station. We were looking like the biggest tourists, having no idea how to even ride the train. I'm so far removed from city-life that the train even freaked me out. After a bunch of tunnels and stops, the sign on the wall read EMBARCADERO. We walked out of the ground to daylight and skated right to the EMB square that was so famous back in the early 90's. That's where modern street skating was pioneered, and it was cool to be there.

From there, we crossed the street and skated to Pier 7. Unfortunately, there was no Rob Welsh or Karl Watson to be found…it's like you go to these famous spots and you want to see the famous people skating there. I think the same thing happens to kids that visit Skatepark of Tampa for their first time - they expect Bastien to be cab-flipping the pyramid right when they walk in.

The next couple of hours were spent skating the Pier and China Banks and walking up steep-ass hills while taking in the sights of a 'real' city. By 2pm we were back at the hotel and ready to work. It's a good thing that "work" for us consists of walking around from booth (this time the trade shows booths were actually hotel rooms) to booth and seeing what type of alcohol each has to offer.

The hanging out went on for several hours, but my conversation highlight was talking to Andrew Reynolds about what he was going to do on Sunday at the 'berg. I'm not going to ruin it by writing about it, but Andrew has some plans.

The evening was spent at some club in SF…can't remember the name, but there were a lot of heads there. We left before Duane Peters and the Hunns hit the stage, but got to see some really good live hip-hop acts. And for some reason, there was a girl upstairs in the VIP giving Justin Williams from Venture a bunch of lap-dances right in front of all of us. Thanks for the show, Justin.

Monday, May 17th @ 1:30pm Eastern Time - in my home office
The last 26 hours has been so intense that there is no way I can go into work today. It's like I'm depressed after all of the excitement or something.

Barry, Rob, and I caught a ride with Jim Thiebaud over to Wallenberg. The conversation was entertaining as we all pretended to not be hung over. When we arrived at the 'big four,' construction was in full effect - they were building a roll-in so proper speed could be attained to make it over the huge gap. In addition, stickers and banners were being placed everywhere and a sound system was being set-up. A famous skate spot was being transformed into an event hall.

Virtually 'everyone' was there…either hanging out or skating. I saw Jamie Thomas scoping the scene and all of the 411 filmers getting their spots. As the crowd showed up, they piled against the barricades. There were spectators on the roof, on top of RV's, on awnings, and you name it. If you didn't get there by about 11:30am, you weren't seeing the contest unless you were VIP and could go in front of the barricades. Frank Gerwer was drinking a tall-boy PBR - enjoying the glory as the first to ever throw a kickflip down the set. I estimate there were between 2500 and 5000 people there.

The contest literally started at high noon, just like the flyer stated. Jake Phelps was the master of ceremonies and played the Jimmy Hendrix version of the Star-Spangled Banner to kick it off. And then it was on…with Jake saying the "f" word a record number of times. I'm sure that he pissed off a ton of parents, but he sure kept me entertained. He was absolutely ruthless to some of the skaters, especially the ones he didn't know. Just imagine the worst thing that you've ever heard Brian Schaefer say over the mic and then multiply it times 10. It was hilarious, but I'm sure that there were some skaters hating on it.

For about the first 15 minutes of the jam, a lot of the participants were simply hucking themselves down the stairs. Some were kicking their board away on ollies. Others were legitimately trying to land 360 flips - several pros like Chris Cole and Caswell Berry, amongst a few unknowns. But no one cares about it if you don't land it, Pal. Although I must say that I was thoroughly impressed with Elissa Steamer's ollie attempts. All of you cowards that post lame comments on her Team Member page wouldn't have the balls to even give it a try. Elissa landed several ollies, but slammed while rolling away. She hit the pavement hard enough one time to call it quits.

Here are the makes:
  • Andrew Reynolds - frontside flip - it was one of the most perfectly executed fs flips of all times, Andrew easily cleared the gap by a few feet - he had the eye of the tiger
  • Lindsey Robertson - heelflip - just think, we used to make fun of this kid for ollieing off of the vert ramp back in the day at Skatepark of Tampa every time he was there, hats off to Lindsey for making heelflips looks great
  • Darrell Stanton - switch backside 180 - Darrell is built to jump down gaps, the day before he did a bs nollie noseblunt on Clipper and then he pulls this, he actually hit his tail on the last step and rolled away perfectly clean
  • Chris Cole - 360 flip (but broke his board so it doesn't count) - had he not broken his board right in half, Chris would have landed one of the best 360 flips ever, he suffered through more hard falls than anyone I've ever seen in person - Chris rules
It was my first time at Wallenberg, and probably my last, unless there's some other type of event held there someday. For those that have not seen it, I can't really explain how gnarly it is…you'll just have to go there for yourself. I'm sure someone will go there and do something on it again, but nothing will duplicate the intensity and commitment, as well as disappointment, that went down yesterday. Wallenberg has been officially 'shut down.'

Since we had no car and basically nothing to do since our flight wasn't until midnight, we skated a couple of miles through the SF streets to our friend's house. Robin, and her husband Jonathan, selflessly gave up their entire Sunday afternoon and evening to be our personal tour guides.

On the way to Fisherman's Wharf, we saw some insane banks in the front of this building. I realized that they were the same ones in Keith Hufnagle's ad where he's doing a bs kickflip. Against Barry's wishes, because he was very hungry, I insisted that we pull over and skate. After about an eight-minute session a cop rolled up. He was talking over the loudspeaker from inside the car and he was telling me to "get down." I thought that he was saying "get out" and I started skating away. He said, "Don't make me chase you down," and then I realized what he was trying to say and I hopped off my board and sat on the ground. From the back, two more cops show up and one immediately grabbed our boards and threw them in the trunk.

As usual, my wife tells me that if I'm going to have a mohawk and dress and look like I do, that I shouldn't be surprised when people treat me disrespectfully. But for some reason, I just never get over it. The main cop was a straight-up dick to all of us. He was short, rude, and down-talking me. He STRESSED that I would have a Federal Warrant issued if I didn't pay the ticket. I said, "Sir, I know you don't know who we are, but I assure you that we are good citizens with jobs and such. I WILL pay the ticket."

I started asking if I could have my board back and it was pretty much a "no." It was just our luck though, because the $100 tickets we were issued were payable by credit card, right there on the back of the ticket. I filled out the form, along with Barry, and we got our boards back right then and there. All of a sudden the other two cops started being really cool to us…as if we weren't that bad of guys after all. I'm bummed on having to drop a hundred bucks on the deal, but at least I don't have to get used to a new set of trucks.

The rest of the evening was spent at Fisherman's Wharf and checking out the City. After that quick experience, I want to go back and enjoy it again. Our plane left SF at 12:25am and we arrived at TIA at 10am this morning. It was a tiring, exhaustingly great trip. I'd do it again next weekend.


Video footage of Lindsey Robertson's heel flip
Jereme Rogers was going to backside flip it, but time was cut off. It looked like he could have made it with a few more tries, but apparently he arrived a little late and didn't realize they were cutting it off after an hour
Last time you saw this was in the Blind Video "Video Days" - video footage of Mark Gonzales' ollie down Wallenberg
Video footage of one of Elissa Steamer's attempts at the big four
Video footage of Chris Cole's 360 flip to deck snap
How do you spell the sound that seals make? How do you explain the smell? Guess you had to be there on the tourist part of our SF trip
Here's what the city of San Francisco looks like as seen from the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge
Rob Meronek on another plain OLD ollie over the manual pad, this time at Pier 7 in downtown San Francisco
This is our friend Robin's cat with two teeth missing on the left. When he just chills with his mouth closed, his tounge hangs half way out all retarded-looking because of the missing teeth
Rob Meronek goes frontside over one of the small planters at China Banks
Just to up the chaos level a little, cash was thrown into the crowd instead of skate stuff
Mic-e Reyes, Darrell Stanton, and Andrew Reynolds
Yikes, can you imagine a crowd like that at your local skate spot? That's Mic-e Reyes on the mic with Jake Phelps
Lindsey Robertson heel flipped it clean and stuck to the no grabbing rule. An indy grab in there would have fully ruined it anyway. After making this, he was coming pretty close to backside heel flipping it
Jake Phelps congratulates Mark Gonzales
Mark Gonzales first ollied it in 1990 and now has done it again 14 years later on a board with some gigantic trucks - 215 Indy's I believe
This is Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco. If you're over 25 or you've been skating for more than a few years, this means something to you. If not, who cares. History sucks, right?
Elissa Steamer was sticking the landing and then either falling back or flying forward. She took a few hard slams and then had to call it quits after that
Darrell Stanton's switch backside 180
Ryan Clements, great skate spot, a fakie rock, and that cop magnet haircut - perfect formula for a $100 skate ticket
That Chinese lady was fully scared to give Ryan Clements a mohawk, so Barak Wiser grabbed the clippers and got the job done.
I wonder which floor the trade show is on? Barak Wiser doesn't care. He invented something he claims tastes like cream soda - PBR and a Crown and Coke at the same time.
Jake Phelps called out Barak Wiser as a Rodney Mullen look-alike
Andrew Reynolds and everyone else in the long line to get into whatever club we were at got the full gangster pat down at the door
Shorts, black socks, nose manual, Pier 7. Yeah, Ryan Clements must be in SF
It was so gnarly we had to put up the video footie to put down the haters claiming it was impossible to do - Ryan Clements' nose manual at Pier 7
The only guy with shorts to ever get a photo at Pier 7 - Ryan Clements!
Ryan Clements carving over the bench at China Banks
Ryan Clements is carving this bank and then going to the bank to pay the $100 ticket
Doesn't it look like Chris Cole can just catch this perfect 360 flip, quickly decend, and ride away clean? Two out of three ain't bad. The ride away instead was a cleanly snapped deck
Caswell Berry was coming pretty close to making a 360 flip down it
Andrew Reynolds warms up with an ollie down the four
When you're with a bunch of dudes trying to get a photo in front of Alcatraz, you have to act kinda hard here like us. Barak Wiser chooses the wide leg stance, kind of how he sits when he gets the cross country skiier position in the back seat in a packed car. No too tough, huh? Rob Meronek chose the poker face and gangsta lean. Uhhhhhh. Ryan Clements is like "we just swam from Alcatraz bitch!". Who do you think is the hardest?
Did anyone doubt that Andrew Reynolds wouldn't frontside flip it? He stuck it after about 8 tries
Andrew Reynolds frontside flips the big four at Wallenberg High School in San Francisco (1.1mb mpeg video)
The crew putting the roll in together
Jamie Thomas and others scoping out the four
We didn't know Daryl Smith when we ran into him at Pier 7, but he definitely caught my attention because he had the flip in flip out stuff on lock and could do this kickflip nose manual every time. Later on, he approached Ryan like "aren't you the Tampa guy, " and intruduced himself to us.
While everyone else was laying down the hammers, Barak Wiser laid down the spackle on the big four
This is what the big four looks like when you're standing at the top. Would you jump down it?


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