Skateboarding. Since its earliest days, everyone that has skated has had one. Every era. A crew. Most skateboarders belong to one. It consists of the group of people we normally skate with. People who push us, inspire us or have a similar mindset. At other times, it is convenience. Who happens to be at the park, pool or ramp on any particular day.
In the forty plus years that I’ve been skating, I have ridden with quite a number of people. I’ve been lucky to have the friends I have. I’d be less than honest if I said that riding a pool with Tony Alva is anything other than inspiring. I grew up in the farmlands of Pennsylvania. Looking over and seeing that guy beside me in a shallow end is a pretty surreal thing. It is not lost on me. The same applies for so many others that I’ve had the privilege of riding with. It is hard to stand idly in the shallow end as Salba throws himself over the deathbox. He makes me want to progress. Conversely, I have even more fun skating pools with my best friend Jim Howell. We’ve been skating together since 1977 or so… Just driving into a dirty afternoon together on another skate mission is all it takes to make my day perfect. History and friendship. Brothers.
I’ve watched skateboarding change dramatically. I have watched it die. I have seen rebirth. In recent years, I looked on as Brad McClain, Ben Raybourn, Cody Lockwood, Chris Cole and other young guns completely change the way I saw pool skating in the time frame of one single session. It is an evolving world and it is good.
The good thing about skating with a crew is that you have all of the history to go with it. It adds to every session. The crap talk, the stories… Hell, some dudes just come to the pool and tell stories. They barely skate. It matters not one bit. They are there and that’s what counts. The Old Bro’s in San Diego are one such crew. I’ve noticed that they always try and ride together. They have set days and times. They make a space on busy schedules. Mandatory. They have a rich history in the San Diego area. Bill Billing, Doug Marker, Kyle Jensen, E.R. Gilmore, Adrian Demain. These names and the other guys in the Old Bro crew have been mainstays on the San Diego scene.
These guys have a collective history within the skateboarding community and it stands as a testament to the power of their longevity and a hardcore love of skateboarding. I’m happy they are here. Gather your crew together this weekend and go skate. This life isn’t dress-rehearsal. We only get one go around. Make it count. Thanks to NAKA for the images. Skate and love your crew- Ozzie