Thank you skateboarding. I have much to be thankful for, because of this wooden toy. My skateboard has brought me great joy, as well as pain. It has also taken me to places I never imagined I would go. I started bringing my camera to the places I skated, so I could take photos of other skaters. I took photos of some pros, but mostly just guys or girls who were skating at the time. I got to meet skaters who were local, and skaters who lived thousands of miles away. I’ve met great people, who are doing amazing things for those in need because of this wooden toy, and I’ve been able to skate with all my childhood heroes. Thank you skateboarding. I am extremely honored, humbled and grateful to Ozzie for letting me share. Of course, thanks be to God, my wife, for putting up with me, and all of the people who have stoked the fire in me, and helped me continue to do what I love. As the saying goes, “Skateboarding doesn’t owe me, I owe skateboarding,” so thank you skateboarding. Here are five friends who happen to be great skateboarders.
Lincoln has been my favorite vert skater to watch ever since I met him in 2004 at the old Vans skatepark vert ramp. He is one of the nicest, most humble dudes you’ll meet. For this shot, I drove down to Mancha’s ramp in Vista. We didn’t know what we were going to shoot, so I just shot a few of him warming up. He told me he didn’t have a shot of a lien frigid, so we decided to shoot that. He got this one about fifth try.
After shooting a star-studded session at Hawk’s warehouse with Mimi, we decided to shoot more over at Alex Road skatepark in Oceanside. We were blessed with an awesome sky that night. Mimi wanted to get a backside ollie over the hip. I shot a few with a 50mm lens, but she wanted to try one from below. We set up and it became the favorite of the night.
This was one of those days that was like a dream. Saturday afternoon at Bellmar’s with Christian Hosoi, Lonny Hiramoto and Jay “Alabamy” Haizlip. This was one of those days where I sat back and thought, “I’m skating Bellmar’s with Christian Hosoi.” If you had told me way back when, I would never have believed. It wasn’t a hype session. No one was pushing themselves. We just rolled. I shot for about forty five minutes and this was one that stood out to me. One that will go down in my archives as one of my best days in skateboarding. Getting to roll with three other brothers in Christ made it all that much more special.
Back when the Vans skatepark in Orange had the vert ramp, I used to see Neal Hendrix there regularly. That’s where I got to know him and was able to document some great sessions on that ramp. These days it’s a rarity to see him at the Combi. One weekday afternoon, I was surprised to see Neal rolling around with Lincoln. I skated with them for a bit and then took out my gear. For the most part, I don’t ask people to do tricks I want to shoot, I will ask them what they want to shoot. Neal suggested this slob fast plant. I really dig the way this one came out. Rad trick by a rad dude.
This year will mark the tenth year since my first photo of Allysha. In 2005, I shot her at her first contest in Upland, and this year, Hoopla released her pro model. It’s been awesome to see how far she’s come and where skateboarding has taken her. This session at the Combi was toward the end of the night during some Combi Pool Classic practice with Lizzie Armanto and Julz Lynn. In and of itself, I thought it was a cool photo, but the way that the light caught her hair was a happy surprise and got me that much more stoked on it.
Thank you to Naka for taking the time to share his thoughts and amazing photographs with us. For more of his work: Naka Photo Skate- Ozzie