Monday, April 16, 2012

Skate Journal: Warehouse spots and a secret "ramp" 4/15/2010

Well it's been forever since I posted here. Not that anybody reads this anyways. Sadly I haven't been to a drawing class in many months and I slacked on the skate journal from day one. But I've decided to get back on the horse so to speak. After a late morning brunch, a trip to the airport and a bike ride home on a beautiful sunny day it was time to set up a new board and skate. Myself, Kevin and Damien went down to the SE industrial warehouse district to skate a few spots. Basically the whole day we skated in a 3 block radius of our arrival point. We started at these ledges on a slight downhill as well as a small dirt gap up the street half a block. The new board and wheels felt really good but I shyed away from flip tricks most of the day. Took awhile but I worked up to front and back 5-0s on the angle iron ledge and got a good dirt gap to manny that felt awesome. I then dorked around on a curb high manny pad to bank. Best feeling trick was definitely a nose manny nollie 180 where I popped the nollie 180 into the bank. We then moved a few hundred feet down to the downhill spot at 1:02-1:11 in this video. Last time I was here I had an old board and no legs and never committed to the ledge. Upon arrival I 50-50d it within a try or two. I also first try landed the line I tried 40 times last time I was at the spot. Switch flip into the first bank, half cab into the second then 50-50 the ledge. The 50-50 was horrible but with all the speed from the tricks into the banks I decided to take it and move on to more fun. Skating up the hill provides a really fun kicker to skate. So I started trying back 360s. Which are on my to-do list before my impending July knee surgery. I started trying backside noselides on the ledge which is pretty tall and started getting them comfortably with speed. So I was trying a speedy nosedlide. A quick push then a launched 360 off the curb cut kicker. Never got the 360 but got close. Also I landed a front noseslide on the ledge!!!! I've been trying those pretty much every session to remind me to not get frustrated and keep skating for Jason.

As we were leaving the spot a random guy on a cruiser board who had sat down and watched some of our session from across the street started chatting us up. He said "man I've never seen anybody skate up the hill and hit the ledge and kicker from that way, it stoked me out!! Everybody just lazily skates down the thing, filming lines and crap." I think he was just excited to see two guys in their mid 30s and myself(more gray hairs than either of them) skating the spot creatively. Anyways he said "hey would you guys want to come skate my ramp?" Luckily we said yes. What would unfold over the next 2 hours would be one of the more memorable skate experiences of my life. We followed him a few blocks away to a warehouse where a guy, a girl and a dog were waiting outside (no pizza place). All of us proceeded inside to a dark and dusty warehouse. We all got in a pitch black freight elevator and went up to the second floor. The doors opened and all around us were wood scraps and pieces of discarded and repurposed ramps. After parking my bike and stowing my wallet and keys I started to walk around. What I saw before me was no mere "ramp" but an entire personal skatepark. I walked  through the street section that sported a parking block spine, a 20 foot concrete ledge, a bank to ledge, numerous flat rails, up rails, and movable ledge. Around the corner from this room lay the "ramp." A 20 foot wide mini ramp with a spine, a hip, vert walls, pump bumps and random quarter pipes lay before me. I felt like I was in Animal Chin. Our host smiled and said "have fun. Over the next two hours I skated until I could barely move anymore. I'm not horribly good at tranny at this point but god it was fun. Just pumping through the vert walls and hips made the session amazing. We chatted up our host who invited us for future sessions and talked over ideas for the expansion of the ramp playground. Truly a great guy! Tired and covered in sweat we eventually made our way back down the freight elevator and into the street. Never underestimate what lies behind the walls of a Portland warehouse. I now believe in the Portland skate scene. Obviously a skate scene that authored the DIY skate movement and numerous of the worlds most creative street skaters must be thriving somewhere. But in this city it's hidden and random. Getting a glimpse of this world has been exciting. I'm just waiting to see how far this world goes. Down the rabbit hole let's travel!