History. Skateboarding. A certain person at a certain magazine told me something one day that really left me disappointed. I was speaking with a group of people about the 1970’s era skateboarders and he said – “I couldn’t tell you the first thing about Alva or Valdez…. those guys were long gone when I started riding. Besides, kids don’t care these days…..” I stood there and seethed. This is a guy from a major magazine! I simply said – “Kids will care when you care!” It is up to the people in the media to present all the history and our past so young skateboarders understand where they came from. We can still respect tradition yet not be bound to it! In the current magazines, there is a bit too much pandering to the paying advertisers … All that aside, this did get me to thinking and I decided to start writing about the history of skateboarding a bit more often. I did the Hester Series post and others. Recently, Glen E. Friedman provided me with a few great Gold Cup images that I asked him for. I called up Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain & Duane Peters. I asked them about the Gold Cup series. This is what they had to say. History. Skateboarding.- Ozzie
“The Gold Cup series was my year to turn pro as a rookie. Basically, it went like this. The Gold Cup series consisted of five contests. Oasis, Big O, Colton, Marina and finally Upland. The Gold Cup series was the first time that they made every rider do a compulsory run. Each rider had to do like a FS carve, FS air, BS carve, BS air and so forth. Each was judged on style, aggression, etc. The photograph of me is at Marina. What was unique about that contest was that I wanted to introduce the Caballerial during my runs. I fell in my run & didn’t get to pull out my new trick.
Over the next month, I perfected it a bit more & at the Upland contest, I pulled one in the round pool & ended up winning that contest. During the previous years Hester series, I had Eddie Elguera as my inspiration. He was always bringing something new to every contest & I tried to do the same thing in the Gold Cup. Once I had learned all his tricks, I tried inventing new ones myself. Another thing about the Gold Cup series is that they made us wear number bibs as well. We all had a number attached to our shirts. I still have mine somewhere. Number 25. I was nervous at Oasis and fell. I ended up with an 11th place there. I got 3rd at Big O, 1st at Colton, I fell and ended 15th at Marina but put it together at the final in Upland. I finished the Gold Cup series in 3rd overall.” – Stevie Caballero
“The photograph above is from a time when corner airs were brand new. I think I started doing them after Malba, Salba and probably Chris Miller (amateur). They were doing corner airs at the beginning of practice week. I knew that I better learn them because I really wanted to win this fucker! I used the corner air in my secondary run because I had other stuff that I was pounding out in this super-vert ‘pool from heaven’ in the middle of the Badlands. Okay Ozzie, let me set you up here. First, I cannot be politically correct for this so let me go back into the old dark and dusty mind of mine…”
“Upland. This was the last contest of the Gold Cup series. It was the fifth contest in as many months. Previously, at the first contest–which was Oasis–I had not taken this new non-Hester contest series too seriously. Come on! Action Now was the new Skateboarder magazine?! Yes! It bugged the Hell out of me! It was the fact that we skateboarders had to share with all these lame coattail-riding ‘Action Sports’. They were sucking off of us by trying to copy our tricks… I went to Oasis and got hammered the night before the contest. I remember three or four Vari-bots (Variflex team riders) walking by me and a chick wrapped up in a blanket on the hood of a car. They were laughing at us. The next day, I tossed a can at them in the parking lot. They were still chuckling at us like the queers they were as they walked up in line with all their pads on. Eddie Elguera was there -top Vari-bot right in front!”
“I have regretted that day at Oasis ever since. I had received a drunken 13th place and had decided that I wasn’t going to compete anymore in these false Gold Cup contests. Later Lames! Then I woke up the next day after Oasis… so pissed off as a loser. Two years earlier, I had given Eddie his first set of Hobie Claws and were team mates. As far as I was concerned–he was the epitome of the square athlete. He must have won Oasis. I decided that I was coming after him point blank! After Oasis, I won Big O and then got second at Colton. I think that I came in 2nd at Marina. I really fucked up at Oasis, because if I would’ve just received 12th, the ‘Gay Cup’ series would’ve been mine! Ha! Remember now… I’m known as the ‘Bad Guy’ and I’m well aware of it. It aint easy taking bullets all day for the way you look, much less having to skate with all these new tech goons coming onto the contest circuit like Steve Caballero. He quietly worshipped Eddie Elguera, copied his tricks and then took them a step further… like the Caballerial. At Upland, it came down to the wire. In order for me to take this whole Gold Cup thing for the overall points, I knew that Eddie Elguera needed to end up no higher than 5th place and I must win the Upland contest!”
“Well, I could barely believe it when Eddie”The Cat” Elguera came out of the ‘Top Eight’ cut in 5th place. He wouldn’t be in the ‘Top Four’ finals! I thought to myself- Are you kidding me!? The planets have all aligned up in my favor! This was thee most intense final I had ever been in. You could not talk to me as we waited! It was Salba, Malba, Caballero and me. I knew then, that if I didn’t win this Upland contest, the Gold Cup series wouldn’t be mine. I stepped on the gas…. full throttle. I ended with top scores in the 92’s and 93’s. The crowd was going nuts ! It’s over ! I thought- This is mine! But it wasn’t over at all…. OH -MAN DID CAB EVER TURN ON THE GAS ! I’m telling you , every trick he had, he turned it up three notches and kept making everything ! It was getting worse and the crowd was going completely bonkers over this awesome little grommet. Caballero’s run: last trick…… he is going for his Caballerial and it was about 2 feet out. He landed with his back truck on coping and totally pulled it. He completely took the contest that day ! Caballero had won Upland fair and square ! His run was insanely great. I always thought that was a nice thing he did for his hero Eddie Elguera. On the podium, they were very happy. Life goes on and the lesson’s continue !”
All the best,
Duane Peters M.O.D.
“First of all, I should explain something. The contest series went like this: Hester I, Hester II, Gold Cup and then the Rusty Harris contests. These were followed later by the NSA contest series. However, the time span of the Hester I through the Gold Cup was like four entire generations of skateboarding. Things were changing & tricks were developing so fast, that riders from Hester I were being left behind a year later in Hester II. This continued into the Gold Cup series. Some of our heroes from the Hester series were unable –or were uninterested–in keeping up with the contest progression and faded away. It was sad. It seemed like back then, 25 years of skateboarding progression were condensed into only four years.”
“In the Gold Cup, we (amateurs) were called Semi-Pro’s. My group: Blender, Gibson, Hawk, Ruff, Gator, Hosoi, etc. were very trick- oriented skateboarders, as were the leading Pro’s at the time. The Gold Cup series showcased these new tricks and this group of riders sort-of inadvertently pushed out the older Hester series riders. The Gold Cup series was very progressive and trick-based in its makeup.”
“In the ASPO series leading up to the Gold Cup, I had four wins and one second place finish. At the Oasis contest in Gold Cup, I received a 5th place finish. The magazine then wrote that -“Something has happened to Lance. He seems to lack concentration. With some serious coaching and some different routines, he might do better.” In the Gold Cup series, it ended up being, Billy Ruff in 1st place, John Gibson in 2nd place & I followed in 3rd overall. There are some interesting things that stand out in my mind when I think of the Gold Cup series. I recall Jay Smith not complying with the compulsory runs. He just dropped in and carved and did laybacks. We all were like – “This guy rules!”
“I remember that handplants had just been introduced and they took a bunch of guys out of the competitions as a rider had to do one in his compulsory run. Duane Peters and Salba did doubles. They cut themselves and wiped blood all over their number bibs just to be ‘punk’ and freak people out. Duane’s bib number was 6 so he made two more sixes on his bib written in blood… 666. I recall at Big-O, David Andrecht broke the four foot mark doing airs. He was doing airs higher than the 4 foot fence beside the pool. Others claim to have gone that high but he was the first that I saw. He went massive! Brad Bowman switched from a Jay Adams Flyaway helmet to a purple Protec helmet with the ear protection and we were all like- “We like you better in the Flyaway….” I also recollect that Micke Alba blew everyone away in the compulsory runs. He did different lines, used the channels and simply ruled it. I also remember that my trucks were on backwards.” – Lance Mountain
I want to thank Glen E. Friedman for the images, the Lance Mountain archive for images and I want to thank Cab, Duane & Lance for their memories. Skate- Ozzie
For more of Glen E. Friedman : Burning Flags