I know that the Loop is certainly not Blue Tile Obsession material for some of you, but the Blue Tile Obsession belongs to me. I think that the Loop and those that try it are worth writing about. Amazing. Tony Hawk emailed me and said that he had set up the Loop and I should stop by. I knew that Steve Caballero, Mike McGill and several others were going to try it out so I drove down to San Diego. At first look, the thing is pretty narrow. It corkscrews and looks like a giant aluminum and wooden piece of Rotini pasta. There were about twenty five people milling about. I spotted Tony Hawk, Owen Neider, Tony Mag, Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Josh Stafford, Sam Beckett, Swift, MRZ, Bucky, Chris Conway, Paul Wisniewski, Curren Caples, Alex Perelson, Tyler Martin and Aaron Jaws Homoki.
Dave Hackett was in attendance and lending his experience, strength and hope to the others. He pulled the Loop famously in less than ten tries at the age of forty six or forty seven. As the Loop’s Elder Statesman, he would be worth listening to on this day. Duane Peters was ramp side. An early pioneer of pipe looping, it was great to see him there. I saw concern on a few faces. Game face. Bravery. Reputation.
Aaron Jaws Homoki walked past me smiling. He was fully padded up. Josh Stafford, Owen Neider, Steve Caballero and Aaron Homoki climbed up. Others followed and things became a bit more serious. Gone were the questions. All misgivings were swept away. The grim reality of the Loop was evident. It was time to put it all on the line.
“There are so many things in skateboarding that have been done. You want to do them yourself. Match a goal. For me, I guess it comes down to challenges. I love challenges. If people say that something can’t be done or I can’t do it… it makes me want to accomplish it even more. The Loop has been around for awhile and has been done. More and more people are making it and I thought that if others can loop, so can I. Everything has a technique. Once I learn the technique, I can usually work through it… Coming into this, I asked others that had made the Loop for tips and advice. I tried to prepare. Once I got up on the roll in though, all that left me and I knew that I just needed to roll in, keep the line and go through with it. My first attempt, I was trying to figure out what it would feel like. Flipping upside down. Strange. After a few tries, I started feeling it but I really didn’t think that I had enough speed. I didn’t want to pump as I thought I’d loop out. Whip… I did just that. I hurt my ribs pretty badly but I’m okay. I’d like to try it again someday. I was so close and I really wanted to roll away. In the end, I said I was going to try it, I prepared and I gave it my all. I was a man of my word. One of my heroes is Evel Knievel. If he said he was going to try something, he followed through. Some of his most famous motorcycle jumps were ones that he didn’t make. A man of my word.”
Aaron Jaws Homoki
“When I first got on Birdhouse, Tony was talking with David Loy and I. He said we should try the Loop. I thought that it might be something I could do. This was about two years ago and it has been in my mind ever since. Tony told me ahead of time that he was setting it up and I also knew that if he was doing it, the thing would be legit. Padding. Ambulances – you know, just in case. I got there and just really wanted to go and do it. There is no point in sitting and contemplating something like this. I just have to go and try. When I first looked down from the roll in, I was surprised at how tall the loop was. It was bigger than I thought. My thing was that I knew I had to follow the green line that is painted on the Loop. I tried it and kept going straight around. This was sending me in the wrong direction. I would miss the exit ramp… I think Tony told me to start on the right side of the line and I made it through after that. That line helped guide me through it. Once they took out the pads, I went straight around and out. I smacked my hip pretty badly but it was worth it.”
“I didn’t really plan on doing the Loop. Kevin Staab called and asked if Sam Beckett and I wanted to give the Loop a try. I decided to go look at it. I was talking with Jaws and it was strange because we both thought that the other had already done it. It was like, “How do I do this thing…?” Then we realized neither of us had attempted it. Jaws was going to try and after I saw the crash pads and all, I thought that it looked pretty safe. It was strange. I kept coming around on my same line. I had to carve on my toes slightly. Trying to carve upside down is really weird. When you are at the peak, all you see is wood for a moment. You lose track of things and then you are rapidly coming around… I just wanted to see if I could do it.”
“I saw that the Loop was set up and I contacted Brian Fick. I was talking shit about how I was ready to try the Loop. Brian called me on it and said, “Alright dude. Lets do this.” I had to put my money where my mouth is. I got over there and I was so nervous. It is scary. I had to do it. It took me so long to man up and trust myself to go upside down. I have nothing but big props to Stafford and Jaws. Right out of the gate, they were figuring it out and they succeeded. The Loop is such a mental thing. I can’t wait to go back and make it this time.”
The Loop is not to be taken lightly. It is dangerous. A few people were tossed around like rag dolls. Our thoughts are with Tom Schaar as he was injured and had to have surgery on his shoulder. Get well soon Tom. Thank you to Tony Hawk and Birdhouse for setting things up and allowing this to happen. Thanks to the pioneers that went before… Thank you to Brian Fick and MRZ for the images. Thank you to the skaters that continually raise the bar on what is possible for themselves personally and for us as skateboarders. Skate- Ozzie