If you want peace, prepare for war.
There was a time in 1999, when the only people interested in riding the Combi pool at Vans skatepark, were old school skaters over thirty years old. Young kids would have to be directed out of the bowl, if one wanted to skate. They’d be using it as a sliding board or doing endless kickflip attempts in the bottom of the square bowl. It was enough to make one sick. “Didn’t they see all of that bowls potential? Can’t they visualize what they could become?” Such questions entered my mind on several occasions. If they didn’t try, they’d never know… and so it goes. Back around the year 2000, the laws of liability changed in California. This allowed cities to begin building skateboard parks and not cower in fear of litigation in the event that some skater was injured. Skate at your own risk. With the ensuing skatepark boom, more and more young skaters were now exposed to concrete snake runs, bowls, cradles and pools. They were sprouting up everywhere. The Oregon guys led the way in my opinion. They were building gnarly stuff long ago. It trickled down into California. Pretty soon, groms were everywhere and they were ripping. The more kids that skate good concrete, the more good skaters you will see rising to the top. It is a natural progression. Destiny. The Vans Combi Am contest has been getting better and better every year… because the skaters are better. They are pushing the bar higher and pushing each other. It is becoming war. Preparation.
Paratos fortuna adiuvat.
Fortune favors the prepared. The Vans skatepark has been a harbor for many. It is a place to prepare lines, trick combinations and develop an arsenal with which one can draw upon on contest day. It then becomes a battlefield. There are victors… but I never feel that anyone really loses. If one falls under the blade of another, it is only because fate would have it so. With the night, another moon rises. With the dawn, another sun brings a brand new day. With it, another chance exists to prepare, sacrifice and put it all on the line, one more time.
The future of skateboarding is in perfectly capable young hands. If we can keep the soccer moms and dads in check… (we are a small family and we have long memories), regulate the groms that snake far too much and teach some proper etiquette, things will be alright. This years Vans Am contest will be a battlefield. In the past, there were a small handful of standouts. No more. There are so many bright lights that shine… It will be something to witness.
Tantum tempus narrabo.
Only time will tell. Thank you to MRZ, Naka and Heidi Lemmon for the images. Skate- Ozzie