Feature Article

2002 Mervyn’s Beach Bash

Hermosa Beach CA. … we were back at the beach. We got there a little early so as to scout the booths and score some free grit. You had many a choice, from joining the U.S. Army to playing an X-Box in a hot, stinky tent, or drinking free vanilla coke.

Brad Bowman Inverts and El Gato Five-O's to Fakie the corner.
Brad Bowman Inverts and El Gato Five-O’s to Fakie the corner.

To get things rolling, it turns out that J-Ed was all sick-like and I got the privy of turning out this assignment. No worries, except…I had to work on Friday and my only camera is a point and shoot from l990. But alas, my dear savior, beer, would surely allow me the finest recollection of details and an uncanny photograph finger. Although fully equipped, years of experience told me that I should bring some back up equipment….in the form of sober and reliable friends.

Greg, Tammy and I hit Hermosa Beach just before the “Young Guns” warm-ups in the newly named “Levi’s Fly Bowl”. J-Ed tells me it was different from last years “Soul Bowl”, so, I believe him because he has a knack for that type of shiznit. It was essentially the old Vision vert ramp bowled in with an extension. See inset if you are new school.

inset: (kind of shaped like a bent arm with your fist being the bowl at the end…okay, okay…take your right arm…bend at the elbow slightly and clench your fist…now get all finger skatery on your bad self and imagine that your arm is a ramp…see the hip? see the bowl? Cool. Now imagine your shoulder is the other bowl…at about your wrist was the eight foot wide, two foot tall extension…now that I think of it, it was essentially peanut shaped.)

So anyway, the intensity level of the “Young Guns” was a little on the low side. The overall purse was a mere $1600 and change and no one really seemed to be giving it their fullest. Do not get me wrong…it was not that the skaters were not ripping…just low intensity levels. The following are some of the highlights that I can remember:

Jake Brown has curly hair under a blue helmet and goes really, really big even though he is really small. He also has no front teeth and it makes him look kind of tough. I remember that he pulled a 720 and a double kickflip mute in the best trick portion of the comp. He is one of those guys who is not afraid to commit, but I never saw him slam, but I bet when he slams, he slams real fucking hard…you know like the little guy hits the flat bottom and the whole ramp shakes and you are all “whoa…are you okay bro?” and then he just gets up and it’s like it never happened.

Brian Patch just powers through everything. He’s all fluid with this power surging through him…like he gets all wired and energized from a grind and blows up. I don’t know, if you haven’t seen Patch skate just imagine what you wish you skated vert like…bold, powerful and consistent.

Jeff Grosso - Duane Peters & Salba
Jeff Grosso – Duane Peters & Salba

Omar Hassan. Omar is so consistent that he is almost boring to watch. He makes everything he does look effortless. Lah dee dah…full speed lipslide through the corner…lah dee dah…540…lah dee dah…method to fakie…you get the point, Omar combines tech, style, power and consistency in every single one of his runs. He is also one of the few well rounded skaters. You can find him at the top of any street contest win sheet throwing hammers on the street course with all the other heads. Go O!

Chad Vogt killed best trick with a nollie heel front lip revert. It was dope because Greg and I were just chilling watching the best trick warm up and Chad busts it out so clean you’d think he used windex. I cheered for Vogt through the entire best trick and he finally landed it all sloppy joe like. Good enough to put the bucks in his pocket for first place in best trick. He is definitely an innovator in skating, see what you can find out about the guy and watch some of his old footy.

Chris Gentry was there. He is a likeable guy. I used to think “what a dickhead”, but that was because I was lame and obviously insecure with myself. Nowadays I realize some people just don’t fit the mold and Chris is one of those guys. He is this tall, good looking type of guy with a hot wife and cute baby who skates really big. He is always smiling…what is with that? He pulled what Dave Duncan was calling a Rodeo Flip (from snowboarding) but it was essentially a straight legged frontside 540. It was like he was a helicopter prop or something…it was pretty fucking killer…I have no idea how he ever got the balls to commit to that trick.

For some reason Tas Pappas was riding Jeff Grosso’s board and it did not work well for him. Tas is right at the top of the vert ranks and it was almost funny to watch him ride what appeared to be a slow and sluggish board. It was as though he was in slow motion or like a little kid on his big brothers board. Whatever the reason, Tas didn’t skate but a few runs.

Adil Dyani is a wiry Redondo Beach local who skates like he has had one too many coffees or some similar form of stimulant. When he is on he goes big . He (or should I say Dave Duncan) was hell bent on selling his BMW to gather some cash to hit up a trip to Europe.

Here are the actual results from the competition:

1 Brian Patch
2 Omar Hassan
3 Chris Gentry
4 Jake Brown
5 Adil Dyani
6 Matt Moffett
7 Fabio Frugis
8 Chad Vogt
9 Tas Pappas

Pineapple lost a limb and Eric Nash cruised some 50-50's
Pineapple lost a limb and Eric Nash cruised some 50-50’s

Sunday rolled around and we were back at the beach. We got there a little early so as to scout the booths and score some free grit. You had many a choice, from joining the U.S. Army to playing an X-Box in a hot, stinky tent or drinking free vanilla coke. We chose to drink the coke and leave the rest to the droves of sheep tooling about.

On to the “Old Guys”. This is what I was looking forward to. All of my old heroes and some of my fellow skaters assembled in one place. This proved to be more of a who’s who of skateboarding than a competition. When I say who’s who, I mean the people who actually skated then and still skate now. I looked on in wonder as I recognized everyone from Salba to Peters to Grosso to Salisian to Bowman to El Gato to Smith to Nash to Pineapple to…..you either get the picture or you don’t. Damn…tight shit going down for a bunch of “Masters”. The comp was broken into two divisions (which was a crap idea)…over 30 and over 40 (isn’t over 30 also over 40???) and I honestly can’t remember who was in what heat. The reality was that the skating had real energy and it was a fucking blast to watch. At some points I had to clean out some serious cobwebs just to recall the names of some of the tricks. The ramp was ablaze with face high heelflip tailgrabs to revert and kickflip backside disaster backside smith shove it ins….what?…no…no…no. It went a little more like this:

Duane Peters…I have no fucking idea how this man is still alive. I have read some of his interviews and it just flips me to see him ripping. Let’s see…grinds, airs, inverts, invert to tails, revert this and that, roll in hand plant backside revert off the extension and on….I was not around to see Duane is his heyday, but I bet it was a hell of a sight. I am glad I got to see a legend in action. You would have dug it, yo.

Ricky Styles was in the house charging around the bowl. Ricky skates a little on the old school side and (to me) always seems a little out of place on a ramp. He just belongs in pools. When a pool session is on and Ricky is there it just has the feeling like he is the happiest person in the world and that makes the world happy too. He was also busting out the “Styler Flip” which was a Miller Flip with a frontside boneless thrown in before planting hand to coping. Yeah, pretty cool.

Salba, Salba, Salba….What can a guy say? I mean, he has been in the throng of things since day dot. Steve Alba has probably skated more southern California pools than Ron Jeremy has done pornos. Seriously, he rents helicopters to scout pools, has all of the drainage equipment you could ever want and is nice enough to hook you up with the info. Just don’t blow the scene, bitch! Salba was busting solid airs, fside lipslides, full speed grinds, andrechts and lines galore. Give it up to the man!

Le Machine - Keeps on Grinding
Le Machine – Keeps on Grinding

Jeff Grosso. Grosso is one of my favorite people and skaters of all time. I worshipped him when I was younger and then…I met him. That is when he became one of my favorite people. You might like him or you might not…you never know. He was cooking 50-50’s with much speed, throwing up some airs and laying down some handplants. In the end he attempted a few 540’s but blew them….whatever.

Eddie “El Gato” Elguera looked younger than the “young guns”. I guess the big “G” looks after you when you follow him around. Eddie skated with grande style and mucho smoothness. He busted out 5-0 fakies through the corner, solid grinds, inverts, airs and his signature Elguerial revert.

Fuck….Shit….I still have to talk about Eric Nash, Tony Magnusson, Kevin Staab, Sash Steinhorst, Mike McGill, Aaron Astroga, Steve Salisian, Jake Piasecki, Darin “Cookie” Jenkins and Cab. With no disrespect to the before mentioned I will summarize their vertical doings as I am tired and we do this for fun so don’t get all geeky on us, okay yo!

Nash. Mister smooth. 5-0…as in Mustang. Eric rules! He has such flow. Rocks his backside ollies all chill like. Airs, lips, inverts…yeah, he still has it. Mother is smart as a mother too!

Tony Magnusson. T-Mag is an industry head who still rips 540’s and more. Search your web databases and find out about him and his contributions to the skateboard world. Rock Tony, Rock!

Staab was busting huge airs and ollies just like he was a kid. As a matter of fact, Kevin has as many or more piercings than most runaways on a street corner. I guess youth truly is a matter of heart, or mind or whatever the fuck they say, either way, Staab has it.

My girlfriend thinks that Darin Jenkins is hot, with his dreadlocks and shit. I think a beer belly is way hotter than dreadlocks and shit. I think Darin probably skated really good, but I couldn’t see over my beer belly and shit.

Mike Smith is a legend…smith grind you dickhead! Nice fucking guy who lives in the South Bay. South Bay! I had a couple of M. Smith decks in the 80’s that had a gorilla on them. I loved those decks. Mike threw down Inverts, grinds and airs like it was 1980 or some time around then.

Pineapple broke his ankle early on in the whole shabang. His sister was freaking! Cool-ass mo-fo. Shit happens. Heal and skate. Go Bro!

Aaron Astorga ripped the place up! Full tilt boogie with airs and grinds all over the bowl. He was actually one of my favorite to watch. If I wasn’t so tired, and J-Ed would just stop hounding me for this article, I would say more about A. Astorga.

Fuck this….I’m done….tired…..drunk….except that I cannot leave out Steve Salisian. I have no fucking idea why I like this guy so much, but I do. Steve rules. He skates with hella power, style and speed. You can’t keep up. Don’t try. He will still destroy you.

Duane Peters - Invert to Tail - Invert to revert off the extension.
Duane Peters – Invert to Tail – Invert to revert off the extension.

1 Steve Caballero
2 Mike McGill
3 Jake Piasecki
4 Tony Magnusson
5 Aaron Astorga
6 Steve Salisian
7 Kevin Staab
8 Darin Jenkins
9 Eric Nash
10 Sasha Steinhorst
11 Jeff Grosso
12 Richard Stiles
13 Paul Henderson

Grand Masters
1 Duane Peters
2 Eddie “El Gato” Elguera
3 Steve Alba
4 Mike Smith
4 Eric Grisham
6 Cameron Tabbytite
7 Dave Duncan
7 Dave Hackett
9 Brad Bowman
10 Doug Saladino