Skateboarding Special Ops
Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek
No ride pimping necessary for the Red Bull ATV
Nice Red Bull ad, huh? That's Adam Burgess hopping over that love seat. Yes, that ledge behind it is fantastic with a nice metal lip enjoyed by old park rats like me
Busch Gardens took skate stopping to the next level. We showed up at Busch Gardens to quickly skate the banks there and found they had been completely removed. These smaller ones that you have to ollie up on to are the only ones left. Ian Gow lipslides while John Gow checks it out with his coal miner hat
Ryan Clements frontside grinds to fakie on what's left of the Busch Gardens banks
About 15 years ago in the early 90's, I ollied this double set at Johnson Controls. I was completely hyped because somehow I managed to do it again today. Scott Dray got pretty close to this nollie off it before we got the boot
The inside of that thing feels like you're on a parachute team waiting to jump out of the plane
We used the ATV to nudge the gap to dumpster over just a little bit to straigten it out, then we parked it with the spotlights running. That's pretty damn nice. Ian Gow back lipped it, among other things. Watch for much better pics from Mike Derewenko
Brian Schaefer showed up just in time for the partying phase of the night. This is the old sketchy Castle in Ybor City. Is that Ferris Buller's sister?
I thought that I was tough with my F-350 4x4, but this thing that we were riding around in
was slightly tougher with its six-wheel-drive.
It was a van, but more like a military vehicle that fit eight in the back with no A/C and two in the front.
It was decked out with all of the Red Bull logos and stuff, but what made it most practical was that you could light
up a spot with the flood lights above the cab. Not to mention, there was a killer sound system with speakers that
rose out of the roof with the push of a button.
This well-known spot
was the warm up.
It consists of a huge, smooth flat-ground area and a double-sided curb.
Up the mellow hill is a loading dock with angle iron on the side of it. Ian Gow stole the session with a bs 180
fakie 5-0 pop-out on it. There is literally no traffic and the security guard is totally cool with everyone skating,
but he did ask us to turn down the music. Scotty Conley got broke-off-as-hell trying to ollie a chair. I commend him for trying so many times.
Gap to Dumpster
This spot is no joke. Even the gnarliest of rippers thinks twice about skating this thing. The Red Bull Mobile
was used to push the dumpster into a more desirable position, wax was secured, and the session was on. Ian warmed
up with a back lip
and then nailed a back tail within five tries, stealing yet another session. Matt Seeman was
working on a fs nosegrind and he stuck it a few times, but the 5’+ drop got him and took out his knee, leaving him on crutches this morning.
Johnson Controls Double-Set
This spot has been around for a long time. It’s usually a bust, but I think that the workers were so distracted by
our rig and free Red Bull that it took nearly 30 minutes to get kicked out. Rob Meronek ollied that sucker way back
in 1990 and then did it again last night. Much respect to Rob for that one. Scott Dray ollied it and then started
going for a nollie
. He stuck it several times and then slammed over and over and over. He was committed as hell,
but security interrupted this time and gave us the boot. Next time, Dray.
Busch Gardens Banks
The original Busch Gardens Banks that I’ve skated off and on for the past 18 years are now gone to a new entranceway.
I literally couldn’t believe it as we drove up and saw landscaping where the banks once were. Luckily, there’s still
one other banked spot around the corner that we’ve either missed in the past or they just built, because I’ve never
seen them before. The only downside is that you have to ollie up them because there’s a little lip at the bottom,
but that just makes it all the more challenging. Ian’s lipslide
closed that session properly.
From there we got some grub in Centro Ybor courtesy of the Red Bull corporate card. Thanks to Aaron Squire for the
idea, Tim for driving us around, and for everyone that came and skated.