30 Over 30 Part I

ri FS Smith Grind Clairemont

Clairemont Y.M.C.A skatepark taken over by Canadians.  Photo by Christopher Bright.


Jim FS RollIn Culver City

Jim Barnum starting the trip properly with a roll in.  Photo by ri at Culver City.


If you haven’t noticed, I’m a creature of habit.  Every Wednesday I skate the Taz, every May I go to North Carolina, every Sunday I play poker with my friends, and on and on.  So you might have noticed that every February I head to Southern California (SOCAL) with a bunch of Canadians.  Last year was a mellow trip; not many guys came on the trip.  This year I was the first to purchase my plane ticket for the trip so that the dates would be locked in.  For a month after I had purchased my ticket no one else had purchased their ticket so I thought that maybe this year I would be alone.  Once a second person purchased their plane ticket the frenzy started.  It seemed as if everyday there was one more person that was coming on the trip.  By Christmas there were some 24 guys coming to SOCAL this year; holy shit!  In the end we were 30 Canadians from all over Canada enjoying the concrete skateparks of SOCAL.

McCallum FS Grind Culver City

McCallum full on cheating, wearing pads and sober.  Oops, I take that back, he wasn’t sober. Photo by ri at Culver City.


Tristan FS Invert Culver City

Tristan Rennie just learned fronstside invert in December.  Now he does them without pads on. Photo by ri at Culver City.


Having tons of guys is fun but finding a place to skate with that many people is hard if not impossible.  Imagine 30 guys trying to skate the N.D.I.P. skatepark?  Do you really want to wait 10 mins between runs?  Hell no!  Also, imagine trying to figure out where to eat?  It quickly became apparent that the 3 Halifax minivans would do their own thing.  The London guys also separated from the larger group for most of the days.

Sean FS Grind Culver City

Sean Cavanaugh from London, Ont going straight to work right off the plane.  Photo by ri at Culver City.


Normally we all meet up the first Saturday at Venice Beach but since we knew there would be friends of ours at Culver City for their standard mid afternoon Saturday session, we decided to meet there this year.  I wasn’t amazed that the locals still have their Saturday session since I too an a creature of habit.  It’s always good to see friends you haven’t seen in a while, it’s even better to be able to skate with them.

Kevin FS Air Punkers

Kevin Cann getting a double photo of a frontside air at Punkers.  This photo is by ri.


Normally we move from neighbourhood to neighbourhood everyday but this year we had the idea of booking hotels for multiple nights so we didn’t have to bring all of our shit with us everyday.  Since the groups broke up everyday, all of us sleeping in the same hotel allowed us to compare days with the other groups.  This plan work out great.  Our first multi-night hotel was in Anaheim.  This hotel is $250 a night at peak season (during the summer) but, now it was $70 dollars.  Having a hotel so close to the Vans skatepark worked out great.  All but one night that we stay at that hotel we hit Vans.  The one day off we drove to Etnies.  That park is super fun too.

Mark BSS mith Grind Punkers

Mark Best from Toronto backside smith the light.    Photo by ri at Punker’s pool.


With the help of Bill, I had set up a session at Punker’s pool for some of us.  The group was to big to for all of us to hit a backyard pool.  Ron, the owner of Punker’s pool is always really great to us Canadians.  Even better then his kindness is his pool.  I love this pool!  It’s my favourite made for skating backyard pool I’ve skated.  Many of the Canadians had never skated it before.  I think they liked it too.  Stepping it up from Montreal was Mike Lavoie.  It’s not often that he steps it up but on this day he did.  He grinded over the deathbox.  I was so happy for him.  This was his first deathbox grind ever.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of it, photographer fail.

Poulin Indy Air Highland

Michel Poulin with and indy air at Highland park.  Only the Montrealers hit this spot.  Photo by Mike Lavoie.


Starting the Monday, some guys were heading home, the unlucky ones.  Basically just the Montrealers where splitting this early.  There was no way I was heading home this early.  Bye guys; see you in two weeks!  We headed to Channel street instead of LAX.  Once again we got schooled by this humbling spot.  The new section had a bunch of water in it since it’s not under the highway.  Yes, it rains sometime in Los Angeles.  I felt bad for the guys using a garbage can to get the water out.  I thought about helping them out but I just wanted to skate.  I am still feeling bad about not helping out to drain the new section.  Not that bad though since I had a blast skating.  I ran into ACE pilot Oscar Navaro but he was on his way out to go street skating.  I ended up only skating the old section and not doing a very good job at stepping it up.  I did go hit the Liquor store next to Channel street that I love so much and score some new beers for my bottle collection.  The original plan was to hit Moorpark afterwords but we skated Channel street to long and decided to cut down the drive and hit the Glendale skatepark instead.  A small crew at this park is so fun.  The flow section becomes crazy hectic with a couple of people.  By this day, people are starting to hurt.  The third straight day of skating 6 – 9 hours each day eats away at your body.

Tyler BS Over Doorway San Pedro

Tyler Knowlton from the Halifax crew going over the doorway in the old section of Channel street while we were at Moorpark.

Photo by Christopher Bright.


Tuesday we finally made the move to skate Moorpark.  This park is well worth the drive into northern Los Angeles otherwise known as Simi Valley.  Moorpark has a great little (this thing is really tight) pool.  Basically the skatepark has a backyard pool.  What was Lance Mountain thinking when he designed this pool?  Crazy fun is what he was thinking.  Los Angeles has so many skateparks that they can afford to build skateparks with crazy hard to ride pools.  Something we can’t do in Montreal, yet…  Last year on our visit to Moorpark Brad McLain and his two friends showed us how to skate this pool.  Apparently we did not learn from their teachings.  This pool is hard to skate.  This year his two friends showed up to remind us of how it’s done.

 Mark FS Grind Moorpark

Mark working on his shitty grinds at the same time as me.  Photo by ri at Moorpark.


 Steve FS Grind Moorpark

Steve Kotsopoulos from Toronto grinding the shallow end that has close to two feet of vert.  Photo by ri at Moorpark.


The trick of the day was going over the loveseat.  The guys didn’t understand the line to go from the deep to the shallow over the loveseat so I was glad to show them the way.  Even after showing Jim, he didn’t understand the line since you’ve got go past the loveseat and cut back if you want to stick to the wall.  The guys worked really, really hard to get their mission done and they all completed their mission.  My mission was to get all the pool obstacles in one run.  My one and only trick ended up being the hardest part on the line and lead to many step offs.  Finally I got the loveseat with a backside grind to a frontside smith over the deathbox to going over the stairs backside to finally doing a frontside shitty grind over the inset steps.  Next year I need to find a line to get them all done without any walls hits between.

McCallum BS Carve The Loveseat Moorpark

McCallum gets the job done over the loveseats.    Photo by ri at Moorpark.


Jim FS Carve The Loveseat MoorparkJim worked super hard to get the line and finally got over the loveseat.    Photo by ri at Moorpark.


The next day we were off to San Diego County which will be covered in Part II.  But, before I end this post, I’ve got a question for all.  Why should there be anything skate-blocked in a skatepark?  There is a fence around the entire skatepark so only skaters should be inside the fence.  I’m confused!

Moorpark Skate StopWhy skate block anything in a skatepark?