The Blue Tile Obsession. It has a far reach. Today, for instance, it has reached fifty one countries around the world. I started this thing because I wanted to tell the stories I was experiencing. Early on, I was watching Steve Alba and his friends skating. I thought that the world should see all of the things that these guys would go through, just to skate pools. The filth, danger, smells, trespassing, continuous hunting and financial expenditures were just a part of the bigger picture I was seeing. Society was crumbling right before my eyes. The world had turned grim. Foreclosure. Abandon. With this downturn, I saw change. Crime, drugs and grittiness oozed onto the properties. I saw it all. I started writing the Blue Tile Obsession and people responded to it. They were stoked. Stoke is contagious. I love skateboarding. I repeat: I love skateboarding. I would receive emails and messages from people in Brazil, Germany, Australia, Japan, England… and on and on. I met a friend from Britain and she turned one of her friends onto my deal. He and I became friends via BTO and Skype. His name is Christian. He lives in the south of England.
I told him, “If you spread stoke, people will find you.” Christian started a small FB page and built a mini ramp in his garage. His scene grew. People started getting together. English winters are notoriously nasty. Undeterred, they gathered their money together and built a big bowl in a barn. Stoke. You can spread it around. The love of skateboarding is perfect and all-pervasive. Male, female, any color, any religious belief, anyone, anywhere. It is the Universal Language. You don’t need a magazine or a truck company to tell you what skateboarding is. You don’t need me to tell you what it is. You go out and do it. You’ll know.
My friend from England told his wife that it was his dream to come to California and skate. She told him to go… gotta love that girl. He visited this past week and I took him everywhere. I walked him up the Baldy spillway and passed on the legacy. I made him bucket pools and earn it. We visited skateparks and private bowls. We skated until we were exhausted. Stoked.
We cemented our friendship through skateboarding. Our lives are different in the particulars. He is quite a bit younger than me. Christian has a construction job, family, children, pets and lives in Cornwall, England. My life is considerably different. Skateboarding binds us. Our love of skateboarding and the way it feels is the thing that brings us all together. The differences disappear… What else can do this? What other thing reaches people from everywhere and ties us all together? It is perfection. Thank you to Alison for making things happen, thanks to Christian for putting up with my endless comments like- “Get it Gryffindor” “Rip it up Hugh Jackman.” “Come on you Cornish game hen!” and other stuff that is entirely unprintable. You were a good sport dude. Thank you to MRZ and family for the hospitality and images. Thanks, Bob, Arto, Angelo, TA, Lance and everyone else. Thank you to William Sharp for images. There will be more to come. Skate and spread stoke – Ozzie