Skaterat Days of Summer

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I was on my way to Club H yesterday when I saw some local kids on dirt bikes using a metal cellar door as a ramp near Pier A. My first (and very brief) reaction was that of an adult, "I can't believe those kids are harming public property!" - my second reaction was like, "Whatever, I used to do worse as a kid..."

At first I was just going to walk by, but I wanted to take a picture. I asked the kid in the photo, he appeared to be like 16 or so, if I could take a picture of him doing a trick. I was actually surprised how nice he was about it. I wish I had a better camera, because by the time I got the shot off, he was coming off the wall. He got some good air.

I remember back to my skaterat days from when I was 14-18, or 1986-1990. I was a preppy skaterat, I would have my "bowl" haircut, khaki pants (with the cuffs rolled up), hightop sneakers (my ankles needed the hightop support), and usually a T-shirt from a skater in the Powell Peralta group (my favorite skater used to be Lance Mountain).

Our gang of skaters from the neighborhood used to hit a few main skateareas: Richboro Veternary Hospital, Richboro Elementary School and various shopping centers. Our favorite place was Mallard Creek Shopping Center, it had some choice stairs and landscaping that we used to "ollie" (jump) around. We even constructed a quarter pipe ramp that I would throw into the back of my GMC Jimmie truck and we would use the ramp for different tricks.

The reactions were varied in those days. Most people ignored us. Very rarely we would get a few people who enjoyed watching us and of course we loved the attention. Cops hated us, but they mostly would just have us leave, rather than giving us a real hard time.

I was a fairly good skater, but I easily hold the record for the amount of snapped boards. Each skateboard cost about $50 back in the day (for just the board itself). If I were to hazard a guess of how many I snapped, i'd say about 12 boards in 4 years. I remember my parents were very supportive, and would always buy me what I wanted at the skateboard store. I still remember my mother driving me to the skateboard store when I was 14 and I was so excited when I would get a new board, it was like Christmas kind of excitement.

In the 80s we didn't have digital cameras, but I did grab my parents VHS camera and video some of our exploits. I seriously need to ask my friend Eric, who I haven't seen in years, if he still has the tape we made. If he does, I gotta get it converted to DVD.

My skaterat days were just extremely fun days. I remember hot summers sitting in a parking lot and everyone trying to out-do each other. We would have "Thrasher" magazines (the old skateboarding magazine) and try to emulate the tricks we saw in there. Or we would play skateboard "tag", where the whole parking lot was the boundary, and you couldn't get off your skateboard, except for taking two steps. Yes, there were accidents, bruises and cuts from playing this game. I broke the fourth metatarsal in my foot from a mistimed ollie.

Our days were harmless fun and diversion. We weren't hurting anyone. We did maybe scrape up some sidewalks and concrete parking stops (rail slides are fun!). Sometimes shop owners would yell at us. We would make fun of them and skate away. I miss those days, sure beats sitting in an office doing the 9 to 5.

1 Comment

I know that you were a 34th street skate rat, but did you know that OC built a skate park at 6th and the Boardwalk? It is right near my house, so the kids are always skating up and down my street.

Ahhh...the good old days.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on July 19, 2006 12:42 AM.

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