A Fragmentary History of Skateboarding Videos – Chapter 13 - In a Nutshell

Chapter 13 – In a Nutshell 

Fragment 86

During the nineties and early 2000s, skate rats would refer to the fast forward button on their VCR or DVD player as the “vert button”. Street skating had completely taken over but many companies still had vert pros on their teams. Street skaters would frequently fast forward these pros’ parts in the companies’ videos, feeling that vert skating was boring and repetitive, and so the vert button was born.

Fragment 87

In this light, the fact that Almost’s Cheese and Crackers [2006] became one of the most cherished skate videos of all times is particularly surprising. It’s not vert, but it’s a miniramp video, filmed on the same location, same ramp, from beginning to end, with the same two skaters. So how was it so unanimously well-received?

Fragment 88

There are many ways to answer the question. Or perhaps many factors that, taken together, may form an aswer to the question.

Fragment 89

To begin with, the two stars in Cheese and Crackers are famous street skaters. At the time, Daewon Song was already considered a street skating legend, having begun his video career in World Industries’ Love Child [1992], while Chris Haslam was seen as a hot new pro (he’d won Reader's Choice Award at the 7th Annual Transworld Skateboarding Awards in 2005). This doesn’t merely mean that the street skating-oriented public was watching the video because they knew the skaters to be street skaters, it further means that the approach the two co-stars bring to skating a miniramp was heavily influenced by street skating. The amount of flip tricks, flipping in and out of grinds and stalls, switch skating, all of these aspects made the skating relatable for viewers who were more familiar with street skating’s codes and styles than those of transition skating.

Fragment 90

Then there is Song’s and Haslam’s technical proficiency, of which nothing much needs to be said. Both have unnatural balance and can flip the board in every possible way, skate switch like it was regular, and god knows what else. Inseparable from these technical skills is their imagination.

Fragment 91

During the Priest song [1:32 to 6:05], Song and Haslam seemingly explore every possible aspect of the miniramp. They slide, grind, stall and just overall dance on the coping. They catch air, doing flip tricks, grabs, rotation tricks and combinations of all of these. They manual on the deck and come back in. They slide on the extension’s edge [2:09]. One could say they fully explore miniramp skating’s boundaries.

Fragment 92

During the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song [6:10 to 10:40], they get into Wile E. Coyote (or Wallace and Gromit) mode. Out come the contraptions, the traps, levers, piping, car tires, vertical grinds and tandem tricks. By this time, they’re expanding miniramp skating’s boundaries. It’s just as technically impressive as the stuff they do during the first song, but it’s even more entertaining.

Fragment 93

Vert skating is highly conventional. You have the ramp and you have to keep going back and forth. This conventionality caused street skaters to adopt the vert button, dismissing transition skating as too limited. There is, however, a sort of pleasure to be derived from highly conventional entrerprises. Like with reading a detective story, watching a western or reading a sonnet, with transition skating, once you are familiar with the codes, seeing how someone works with them or around them can be very exciting. Seeing those well-defined and easily recognizable rules being explored, bent and broken causes the viewer to have a more immediate appreciation for the skaters’ capabilities of invention. It makes it all more surprising. Supposedly, skateboarding is always about inventiveness and breaking the rules, but Cheese and Crackers is a highly concentrated version of that, like skateboarding’s full potential in a 15-minute-long nutshell.

By Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira 
 

By Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira

Rote Flora DIY skatepark - An illegal DIY park in the middle of Hamburg 

July 28 2022. An illegal DIY park in the middle of Hamburg they just can't get rid of, with a weird mix of skaters, squatters, dealers, drug addicts and tourists taking photos. The Rote Flora theater was constructed in 1835 and was shuttered down after World War II. After the war it turned into a cinema and later on a store. In the late 1980s, locals heard about plans to make the theater into a venue for performances of 'The Phantom of the Opera'. Afraid, this would change the area and attract tourists, locals proposed to turn it into a community Centre instead, but this alternative was completely ignored by the city. When in 1988 the rear end of the building was demolished and it didn't take long before sabotage attacks started occurring on the construction site. After a while the city had no other choice then giving the community a temporary lease to use the building. When the lease expired in November 1989, the occupiers stayed and Rote Flora was squatted. The squatters said the building was a "free space for realizing an autonomous life". In 2001 the collective said "We are the 'UFO in the neighborhood'. The black hole in public space. The city won't get rid of us because we are a part of what life is."  Regarding the new owner, the collective said "we neither asked Kretschmer to buy Flora, nor are we in the slightest interested in his opinions about the political ideologies and the work of the Rote Flora." Kretschmer had signed with the city a contract that expired in 2011 and that's when a resistance campaign called "Flora remains incompatible" against possible eviction started. Things have remained pretty much the same until 2014, when a change in plans for the site was announced that would ensure the building would not be demolished and could remain a cultural centre (wikipedia). Over the years, Rote Flora has also become a destination for alternative tourism and a popular skate spot. Bang in the middle of the centre of Hamburg, behind the theater you will find the Rote Flora bowl. This DIY project was started by several skaters back in 2005, when they built a miniramp in the backyard of the occupied theater. In between 2005 and 2007 the local founders got professional help by Matt of Minus ramps and they started to built the first part of the bowl. The guys just kept on building and years of extensions later the Flora bowl is known worldwide as one of the oldest and most central DIY skateparks in Germany.  What makes this illegal spot really unique is it's location. There's not many spots in the world like this. During the Thrasher Skate Rock Tour Jake Phelps and other American rippers fell in love with the spot cause they were not used to a DIY skatepark that is that close to the center and built illegally.  Photos Courtesy of Pascal Lieleg aka Bowlsh!t    Visit Rote Flora Skatepark Official Bowlshit Flora Skatepark DIY Documentary

Read More

The sanctuary of La Kantera,  Spain's most iconic skatepark

25 July 2022. Interview with Txus Domínguez, the spiritual father of La Kantera skatepark, Spain's most iconic skatepark, aka Algorta skatepark. The eighties, a one-of-a-kind decade. An era of creativity in music, movies and art performance. A decade stuck between the old and the new global world, when waves crossed the Atlantic Ocean rapidly, bringing along new ideas and tendencies. That happened with skateboarding too, when the incredibly young Txus Domínguez and his Getxo Boys brought the Californian sun to the Basque Country in Spain and build La Kantera, currently one of the oldest and most renown skateparks in Europe. Txus Domínguez guides you into a journey to the past and tells us why this place is so special, so mystique and so iconic. La Kantera. First things first: what does it mean? In Spanish we say ‘cantera’ for two things: a training ground for kids to learn a special sport or (and this is the case) a kind of quarry. This was a place packed with stones, that is why we called it La Kantera. La Kantera was built in 1987. You were still so young but had an extraordinarily strong role in this process. I’m from Getxo, a place in the Basque Country with a huge surf tradition. In the 60’s a company called Sancheski showed up and built the first skateboard. Initially they build skis, but after being in the US, they brought "skateboards" into Spain. I received my first Sancheski when I was six years old. This was a toy at the first stage, but in just a couple of years skateboarding had turned more serious. Surfers started building ramps. Madrid built its very first skatepark and quickly we started to put pressure on the City Hall. Was it hard? Not really, because there were many surfers in the region, some of them worked in the City Hall. We went to schools to collect signatures. We got more than three thousand signatures. In the meantime we started to build ramps everywhere, that was when my brother and I met the architect who still works with me and helps to build skateparks. He’s six years older than me, he was sixteen when we first had meetings with the City Hall. Do you still remember how much the first park cost? Around twenty-five million pesetas (former Spanish currency), which is now something like 150.000 euros. Architects who had designed the plans made it too vertical, fortunately we saw that in time and changed the plans. We started these discussions in 1984 and three years later La Kantera was inaugurated. Did you find resistance during those three years? No, we had good vibes since the beginning and after La Kantera was built I promoted some events and the City Hall helped, like the Arrigunana Downhill race, the famous Bajada Arrigunaga. That was held in the 90’s. Police helped by closing the streets and we also received some money to organize things. What makes La Kantera so special?      A mix of several things. For one we have a strong culture of surf and many hills in the area. Skating with speed is something natural for us here in Getxo. That’s the type of skate we mostly did here in La Kantera, a very surfer kind of style. The place is special too. It's located on the beach side with the ruins of an old military fort. All this has given a big charisma to the place. It was the cradle of big skaters, too. Yes! If there was a national competition in Spain, let’s say with 40 riders, 25 of them were from La Kantera. Many great skaters were born here: Alain Goikoetxea, Alfonso Elvira, Javier Mendizibal, Alfonso Lute Fernandez, Ivan Fano, Jon Txufo… It turned into the Santiago de Compostela for pilgrims of skateboarding… Before we knew it people from abroad started to come. Big names in skateboarding flipped out when they discovered our park. This looks like California, the Americans used to say.  How has La Kantera evolved since 1987? Was your bowl, built years later, decisive to boost it?  After La Kantera was built, some fifty copies were made in the Basque Country, but all worse than the original. There was a time that La Kantera died out a bit, because people got bored, they wanted new things. Around that time, I went to California with some friends. I wanted to skate in pools, that was my dream. I stayed there for three months. When I came back the City Hall proposed to enlarge the park. I drew a bowl from scratch, and it was built in the year of 2000. It’s a famous bowl… Yeah, it’s not a perfect bowl. It has a different transition, it’s not like the actual bowls, where everything is more perfect. At the begging people said it was crazy. I built it when street skating was the "thing", and vert was almost dead. People were riding with 30 mm wheels, and we were riding with 60 mm wheels. I was doing ollies, but not flips or gabs. Fortunately, guys from Consolidated like Peter Hewitt and Steve Bailey came to La Kantera and fell in love with the bowl. That's when we were put on the world map and people from all over the globe started to come. La Kantera skyrocketed. Big names started appearing at our bowl like, Christian Hosoi, Steve Caballero, Gordon Smith, Steve Clark, Nicky Guerrero, Florian Bohm, Steve Olson… Not to forget all the famous street skaters as well. The ‘fiestas’ that you organize, they are famous too. What drives you do to that?     Just to have a good time with the community and meet new people. It all started when I did the Arrigunaga Downhill. First it was illegal, then we wad agreements with the City Hall, and it became legal. It was just speed, fun and beers. At a new years’ eve, we had over 5000 people watching it. But there was a time when a kid almost died and the city said ‘the party is over’. I also organized some parties at La Kantera during all these years, the famous ‘pool parties’. The flames and the skull you see in photos, that’s me who drew it. But because of my work (I make skateparks) I currently just organize one party, I call it ‘killer fifty-fifties’. Theoretically it’s only for over fifty-year guys, but anyone can participate, really. It’s an old school event, with almost no sponsors, no security bays, it’s pure fun, simple chaos. It’s a way to go back to the origins.        Visit La Kantera skatepark Visit ZUT Skateparks

Read More

The New Mafra skatepark in Portugal is almost ready

July 24 2022. FRESH Wasteland concrete in Mafra, Portugal. We reached out to João Sales of Wasteland Skateparks to find out more.  Introduce us to the park - tell us its name, where it is, what kind of park will it be (more street-oriented, just a bowl, a plaza...), its approximate dimensions, if it's already open to the public, that sort of stuff. The initial idea was to build a bowl in the Parque Desportivo Municipal de Mafra sports complex. The project was handed out to a random architect, but the measurements were all wrong and the plan was a bit of a mess. That's when we were contacted to do a budget for the project. We told the city hall that we know the local skater community well. Building a huge bowl in that area would be a mistake, because we have build a flow bowl nearby in Venda do Pinheiro. The boys in the area need some street obstacles there too. So, later the contractor asked us to build a different thing. We made a lot of different proposals and the city hall kept on shrinking the area, until they accepted the final project. There is still no date for the official opening, but it's going to be soon, somewhere in August! The concrete is ready, but the park around it still needs it final touches. So hold your horses for a couple more days. Is there any feature that you're particularly happy with, that came out really nice or is really fun to skate? We kind of feel sorry about the space and feel frustrated because all the decisions made did not evolve the skater community in the Mafra area. Anyway, we were able to turn a small park into a fun little set of good quality concrete.  Any dream trick or link you'd like to see go down in any of the park's features or areas? We hope to see happy faces at the park. Hopefully the park will provide an area were local kids can progress. That would be a "dream trick" for us. Visit Mafra Skatepark Visit Wasteland Skateparks

Read More

The story behind the iconic Nude Bowl

July 21 2022. A jewel in skateboarding history - a "secret pool" built by a gangster, maintained by naturists and decades of cat-and-mouse play between cops and skaters. Is this all an urban myth or true? Time to find out. The story goes that the grounds were initially built as a secret getaway for the infamous Al Capone, but unfortunately that seems to be an urban myth, because Al Capone was way dead when this property was developed. In February 1963 a pair of nudists bought the place and transformed a cactus garden into the Desert Gardens Ranch. Secreted away in the San Jacinto Mountains, just outside Desert Hot Springs, it offered people a secluded and year-round sunny haven to run around naked. The ranch was active until the late 70s and was shuttered down around 1980. Image Nudist Newsfront Magazine archives Jeff Bowman - former President of the Desert Hot Springs Historical Society, nudist and pre-Dogtown skater In 1984 a group of skaters discovered the spot that consisted of an abandoned kidney-shaped pool, thanks to a local who had found the bowl and talked to a neighbor who skated and told him to go check it out. Back in those days skaters had to jump fences to skate abandoned and dry pools. So it didn't take long before the word spread there was a bowl you could skate and party without being afraid of getting chased away. Visitors had to travel through the desert to reach the spot and it was a bit of mission to get there. Basically it was a place where you could skate, camp, party, shoot beer cans, get drunk and do whatever you want. The only thing you had to worry about were snakes, scorpions and tarantulas . "Wheels of Fire" with Tony Alva and Rick Spidey turned the Nude Bowl into a pilgrimage of skate. The Nude bowl was a "secret" spot until Santa Cruz released "Wheels of Fire" with Tony Alva and Rick Spidey in 1987 ripping up the bowl. That's when the scene blew up and the nude bowl turned into a Mecca for skaters. Throughout the next years the nude bowl started appearing in magazines and videos, and unfortunately by the 90s, large parties and violence became pretty "normal" here. The nude bowl had turned into the perfect setting for out of control parties, drugs, nude skating, fighting, biker hangouts, you name it. Basically it was one massive fight club in the desert. After numerous complaints about guns, fires and fights, the police filled the bowl with dirt to avoid further problems. A couple of years later two skaters Jeremiah Risk and Rodney Rodrigues spent nights digging up the dirt with bulldozers and repaired the bowl. After a few months, the police broke up the concrete and buried the remains of the bowl again. Photo Courtesy of Josh Baish (2022) Then around 2014 Nude bowl images started surfacing again on the internet. The pool has been dug up again, repaired and is now intact. You are all going to have to look for the location of this pool yourselves, because we decided to keep this one "secret". So happy hunting, shred it whilst you can and behave.  Famous skaters having a go at the Nude Bowl Pooling Around: IN THE NUDE FIRE UP The Nude Bowl w/ Pedro Delfino, John Worthington & Cedric Pabich For Indy X Slayer Chris Russell at The Nude Bowl

Read More

SIGN-UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Join the Trucks and Fins community and receive exclusive news, giveaways, access to subscribers-only
-contests, discounts from our partners and much more directly from us!

Advertisment

Testimonials

Sponsored By

Cookie Policy

This website uses cookies or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalized recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy.