I was pushing the aluminum doors open that led into Cherry Hill Skate Park, when I overheard an excited voice announce, “I told you it was him! I told you Shogo was here.” I looked over as two skaters rushed past me holding magazines in their hands. I heard the Buzzcocks “Autonomy” pulsing on the speaker system that throbbed music throughout the park. I heard wheels and voices. There was a great deal of activity over by the egg bowl so I turned left and rolled through the reservoir and on toward the half-pipe. I awaited my turn as I saw someone roll through the elbow and begin their run down towards the three-quarter section. I wiped my hands on my blue corduroy OP shorts. My hands were sweating. I was here! Cherry Hill. I rode in blissful self-indulgence for about an hour before I approached the pools. The egg, keyhole, left and right-handed kidney pools lined up against the back wall like a trophy case. “Fuck the football trophy, I’ll take any one of these…” I murmured. I stood and watched as Jami Godfrey, Dean Godfrey, Shawn Peddie, Mike Jesiolowski and Victor Perez drew fast lines through the egg bowl. Jami pulled stand up frontside grinds, Mike did the longest boardslides that I’d ever seen and Jami Godfrey’s little brother Dean was completely dwarfed by the egg bowl… yet he held his own. Dean’s under the tile inverts had me shaking my head in wonder. “Damn that kid is ten years old!” All of the sudden, I saw him. Shogo Kubo was skating toward the egg bowl. I stood in a bit of shock. He rolled past me and laughed at something someone said. I saw him smile. I found myself smiling too… “Shogo…” He rolled through the bowl a few times and the fence was crawling with groms watching. Like me, they craned their necks to see the action. One of Dog Town’s finest was under our roof and he was ruling.
I’ll never forget watching Shogo ride the right-hand kidney later that day. He had amazing lines and style. I took a few runs while he was riding. I must admit that I was star-struck. Shogo Kubo had it all. Make no mistake. He was awesome. I’ll never forget that day at Cherry Hill Skate Park. It has been seared into my brain cells… Last week, Glen E. Friedman notified me that Shogo had passed away in Hawaii. I felt my heart sink. I had recently spoken to him regarding photographs for the William Sharp book that I am completing. I still haven’t quite come to terms with his passing. I saw all of the tributes on the social media commemorating his life and influence but I knew that we just had to have a pool session for him.
Not a bowl session. A pool session. We drained a pool. I called around and put things in motion. We met up at the appointed place and everyone was stoked to pay tribute to Shogo Kubo’s style, influence and love of skateboarding. Lance Mountain pulled up and on his head was a headband with a Japanese rising sun on it. It looked like the one Shogo would wear while skating. I immediately said that everyone would have to wear the headband while doing something rad for Shogo… and so it was.
Hours later, we put a stop to the session. Exhaustion. Stoke. Happy faces. We gave Shogo Kubo a proper tribute that we hoped would show him our appreciation for all that he gave to us. Wherever you are Shogo… thanks for everything. Rest in peace brother. – Ozzie
Thank you to Brandon Wong for the images. Thank you to Glen E. Friedman for the CHSP image. Thank you Lance Mountain for the headband and good vibes. I hope you are feeling better and we’ll skate soon. – Ozzie