22 August 2006
Jaded By Perfection
So a month or two back, I was approached by Portland based Journo/writer/surfer/book store manager/nerd Stiv Wilson, to see if I wanted to contribute anything to new Northwest based 'adventure lifestyle' magazine, called WEND. Initially, I was not sure what I could offer as I have never ridden a snowboard down a Himalayan Mountain or cycled to Alaska while towing a kayak or unicycled across the Sahara. Instead of pretending I was going to wake-blade across Crater Lake or pogo stick up Mt St Helen's or indulge in some other kooky post-generation X 'extreme sport,' I told him, I could write about surfing and skateboarding, two activities that are often poorly written about and desperately need re-claiming from the afore mentioned kookiness. After checking out Issue #1 I discovered the magazine was not as kooky as I feared.
I pitched a couple of ideas that I had wanted to write about for sometime and Stiv seemed interested in one in particular. I ended up writing two intertwined pieces. One is a more objective journalistic piece on skateboarder's use of the urban realm and the anarchic appeal of choosing to skate places that were not intended for that 'function.' The accompanying piece is a first person narrative about several beer-gutted bearded 30+ year olds rediscovering street skating after years of allowing themselves to be cordoned off in sanctioned skateboarding facilities...
As you may be aware, the Pacific Northwest is somewhat of a Mecca for skateparks. Over the last few years a couple of skatepark build/design crews have pushed skatepark design above and beyond what people used to dream of years ago. Consequently, lots of old bastards got back into skateboarding because the concrete was too tempting to leave to the younger guys. Anyway, after years of skating that stuff, I got back into street skating and intentionally seeking out junk and 'natural' (i.e. not made for skateboarding) terrain to ride on. For one, it is often more fun and secondly I think skateboarding is at its profoundest when reinterpreting the city in ways the original architects/ designers had never intended.
Basically, I got paid to go skateboarding in places I should not, take some photos and write something intellectual about it.
More on this when the article comes out next month.
The above photos were taken outside a US bank in East Portland. It was a crazy pebble dash quarter-pipe that was ridiculously hard to skate. The first photo is my friend, Dave 'Fitz of Rage' Fitzpatrick doing a frontside Rocks n Roll, taken by me. The other is myself doing a backside Rock N Roll, taken by Vegan Shawn. These photos did not make it into the article.