One for the Keeeeds
What are you doing this summer?
Let’s say you get ten skate friends together and they all hit Grandma up for $90 each you have $900 which is enough to get 50 boards made from a real USA skateboard press. 50 real deal skateboards your sizes your shape with multi color screen print graphics you designed yourself. No print on demand junk a real stack of good wood…everyone gets 5 boards.
Now you and your nine mates go to the nearest pre-fab skatepark in your town and ride that place for weeks on end…everyday, morning, noon and night. Uncover every line, land every trick, every over under – just kill that park until the place gather’s a crowd when your crew show’s up…and bring the boards because everyone has to sell two of them. When I mean sell I don’t mean via Facebook, twitter or youtube but in person. Let those boards be a record of the scene you have created, people will want them for two reasons one to be part of the scene or two to support that scene. So now weeks have past and everyone is ripping and has sold their two boards and now you all have your original money back, a board to ride and two more mint decks in your possession. At this point you can go two places you now have the original 10 + 20 new skaters/friends riding your boards and the board is doing its job its documenting or recording(like records used to do when they were made to record the scene that a bands live music created…google Ian Makaye for more on that) now you can make the scene go where it takes you but you have to skate that original spot, every line, every trick in the book you have to be stoking people…forget you tube and edited sponsor videos. Think how much time is wasted creating those when you can be creating a sacred place to go to were you are unburdened by the demands of the world. So when you have 10 friends 20 tribe members and your original $900 + 20 boards to sell(around $1700 in cash and boards) determine who has the coolest parents and build your own ramp on their property. Source all the wood from your friends garages, the local dump. Ask your friends parents and grandparents if you can clean out their garages of nails and wood and borrowed tools. Email jeff Roenning for ramp plans…. But! do not spend a dime of your $900 unless you absolutely have to. Be creative, don’t steal thats not creativity that’s destruction. Now you are done building and you have your sacred place with home court advantage. Your own dimensions, your own music playing and a place that even the girls are willing to hang out.
At this point I guarantee you have learned something about life. One how to organising your time and two how to work with other people you are still just a teen but you have already learned the two most important things that four years of college will teach plus you have learned something they don’t teach in college..generosity. Generosity with your time, your creativity, your abilities.
So what’s next? sell the other boards! See who can be the first to get a local skateshop to buy one- they will because they know you are part of a tribe of 30 strong that also need wheels (pssst you can make these too) helmets and all the other detrius that surrounds skate life. How about make a second model! Dont look to put your signature on this new board but look to put your ‘Mark’ on it by the way you ride and behave- Print sticker, make t-shirts, not print on demand ones but real silk screened ones or better yet make em yourself with spray paint and a stencil…and give them away!
So what not to do? Don’t waste your time on youtube and facebook. Even when you are not skating or its late at night and you cant skate. Skate in your basement or just sit up and dream about skating. So the summer is over and some people have faded and some remain, some people are in for the long haul..make a new board…wash rinse and repeat. Watch what happens to your grades, your social life, your creativity. The kid who built the ramp is pretty popular at school and his Dad has agreed to put up some lights and he lets you night session for a couple hours on a school day because they are happy to know where you are. Your ramp probably has a name by now and everyone at schools knows that name and even the girls are happy to hang out and watch you do your thing.
SO now one of you turns 17 and gets a car…take your show on the road, leave your state! Discover how skaters in other parts of the country do their thing. Un-earth places to skate where you will not be the best – you don’t get cred by being the best skater you get cred by being the best skater you can be so dont be scared. Find these places and experience first hand how you will be treated. If you paid to get in then it may not be a place I am referring to. Go skate places and with people that put butterflies in your stomach. DWV or Philly Warehouse come to mind.
So now you have done something…not blogged something, or emailed something, or ‘Liked something’ or uploaded something but actually done something that you can physically share, grow, experience and remember. It was never about making money or becoming famous it was about taking action and enjoying the fact this is as good as it gets and knowing it at the time.
Let me know how you get on.
The time is now…
Jason Oliva (via internet cafe)
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Jeff Roenning on one of his Epic Ramps NJ late 80′s
Jeff Roenning has built more personal backyard ramps than anyone I can think of. They were always taller, wider and longer then anyone’s around as well. I cant tell you how often the alliteration Roenning’s Ramp has been used. Prior to attending the Watchung Hills Regional High School Skate Academy (where we all came together) I was dragged to church on Sundays by my Mother and one day en route I spied one of Jeff Roenning’s Mega Ramps. At the time I was riding Lackland’s – an 8 foot wide ramp along with Rocky Vertone and some other friends. It was in the woods near to my house (only a 45 minute skate) and I had not met Jeff yet because we attended different Junior High schools.
One Saturday I took the two hour skate journey to Jeff’s – I walked into his backyard unannounced with a friend and just started skating (didnt even ring the bell) that is how it worked back then. Jeff came out and started ripping…my friend and I had not conquered dropping in yet so we did not talk much that afternoon with Jeff on the platform and me starting from the flat but I do recall him asking me “Have you been to the Barn?…
Rocky Vertone, Jason Oliva, Jeff Roenning (Deer in the Headlights) watching Christian Hosoi skating
After that day I went on to ride Roenning’s Ramps (starting with number five) and we have been friends ever since. When I showed up in High School a year or two later I was introduced to Tag, Corn, Weep, The Kanes, The Padulos, The McDowalls, The Pruskowski’s, Taylor, Tom, Murph, Bernie,Darren,Jay Henry, John Ballon, Papo, Jaime,Jeremy, Irene (the NYC crew) and then a further cast of out of State characters(PA,MD,VA,TX,CA,MA,CT,DC..etc etc) plus all those younger then us(and this list continues to grow). Jeff is currently building ramp number eight, a mini ramp in his backyard built completely with wood salvaged from the Santa Cruz dump…you can’t shake that [En-Jay] DIY spirit it seems. Jeff also has a killer website about skateparks in CA Mostly Roundwall so check it out.
I have attached some photo’s of Jeff’s ramps I will try to add all 7.
Alot of people rode Jeff’s ramps back in the day Hosoi, Miller, Roskopp, Groholski to name a few:
Christian Hosoi Jeff Roenning’s Hill Crest Ramp (Circa 1986)
Chris Miller on Roenning’s Ramp- Jeff on Deck circa mid 80′s
King George – The First
Valley View – The Second
Need a pic of Number four
Dan Tag hard at work on Number 5 (The first one that had some modern thought to it)
Number 5 underway
Glorious number Five
The Epic Hill Crest – Winter, Lucky Number Seven
The Epic Hill Crest – Spring
Santa Cruz 2010……Number 8!
Back in the 80′s it seemed like Weep(Chris Blank) knew everyone in NYC, mostly via his Tower Records cronies. So when Weep was asked to skate on stage at Irving Plaza during one of the Mars rap concert nights for Stussy he said, Sure! except Weep was hobbling around on a cane at the time…so he brought me in as his stunt double.
On opposite sides of the stage two quarter pipes were set up. Myself and one other guy skated across the stage all night like it was a mini ramp while Shawn had surf movies playing on a drop down screen with the PA playing all the rap of the day. We paused only when the DJ table for the rap sets were pulled out. A couple groups played, 2-3 songs each which was standard practice for rappers of the day. I remember seeing Ice-T in DC and he only rapped three songs and the crowd had a “I paid for that?” look on their collective faces- I think one of the groups this night was Stetsasonic:
We were paid the princely sum of : all the water we can drink, getting to stoke the crowd and meeting DMC and Jam Master Jay. I look back now and think we were over paid.
Weep took some pics as well and even Shawn slightly recalls it all:
Checkout all the new S-Double gear…I would wear the lot.
Jason Oliva – showing off the homemade ‘Steam’ shirt with the Jay Henry drawn Tommy G shorts.
Looks like 86-87 to me?
I ran out and bought that same Public Enemy T-shirt…still have it.
They pulled the DJ table out between the ramps and we sat on stage and watched the show
SHUT tag on the ramp…anyone recognise the other skater?