Re-view - Harvesting the Crust

image from

Harvesting the crust was the first truly street video. From the guys at Scribe Industries in Minnesota, this video came out in 1996 (edit: actually 1995), just a few months after Mad Beef. It showcased local skaters from Minnesota and Nebraska with some of the most progressive street tricks. Specially, the farside tricks and switches on rails were incredible for the time. And Steve Thomas. Damn, Steve Thomas was so good.

We were all obsessed with Steve Thomas after this video. He had the most incredible style and did tricks we’d never seen. Don’t think we’d seen him in any magazines before this either, so it was our first exposure to him. That sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore.

Unfortunately, the video doesn’t hold up all that well. The quality is pretty bad and there’s plenty of repetition with rails and rails and more rails. I had to start it a few times to make it through. There are a bunch of gems though if you dig for them:

3:00 Jon Robinson does switch ups on a rail. Mad Beef was where we first saw switch ups on a rail but this was with no-name skaters doing the same tricks as the big guys.

3:10 Steve Thomas grabs a backslide on a rail. One footed grinds just weren't done. Neither were any royale tricks.

3:30. Matt Hermanek wearing a helmet skating street. Pretty sure this was the first time we'd seen that and most likely thought it was dumb. I don't skate without a helmet now.

4:13 A girl skating with their crew. Was one of the first girl street skaters we'd seen. I remember this was something strange, not many girls skated then.

4:27 Mark Nepple with a farside miszou. Mad Beef had Dave Kollasch doing them but this was someone new. Then he switches to frontside. Clean.

5:30 Think this was Steve Thomas but he has this crazy progressive line. Second stair alley oop soul, then an alley-oop soul to backside the short way. Really crazy what that guy was doing back then.

6:13 Shane Nelson a one foot switch up from frontside to alley-oop soul. Thankfully these didn't get popular.

7:00 Steve Thomas gap to soul on the flat and down.

7:10 Not sure who does a long rail frontside. Maybe the longest we'd seen. I know we looked all over for long rails after this.

8:20 Guy does a kinked rail in the snow. Being in California we hadn't even considered what skating would be like in the snow. Man, these guys were committed.

8:29 Matt Hermanek does a farside soul with serious control. Great shot of the rail.

8:40 Steve Thomas does a royale on a ledge, but these weren't boot down like they're done now. You could tell he was on the outside edge but still very upright.

8:52 This guy. Steve Thomas farside miszou on a curved flat rail, then switching the long way to backside around the curve. Such style.

8:58 Alley-oop miszou on a ledge. First time we've seen that trick I think.

9:00 Steve Thomas true frontside. Guy was just incredible.

9:30 Shane Nelson frontside to frontside switchup. Another new one, only B Hardin was doing them up to now.

10:25 Brooke with more comedy. He was always so great in videos.

11:40 Steve Thomas farside soul to backside at the kink.

11:45 Shane Nelson soul down a kink transfer to frontside on another rail. Switching from one rail to another was unheard of. The rail was so slow you can see him push himself off a lamppost to go a little further.

12:15 Matt Hermanek front sides the long long rail Dave Kollasch did in Mad Beef.

12:30 Matt Hermanek fakie to farside miszou. This guy was so good.

12:45 Nice line ending with a gap to soup on a planter and a gap back out.

13:10 A skit with Shane Nelson and Steve Thomas. Wasn't a huge fan of this bit. Shows how much Brooke brought to the videos.

17:45 Crash section. Some rough ones since they skated so many rails.

20:10 No crash section was complete without some Brooke.

22:00 Matt Hermanek hand up to soul to backside. So smooth.

22:20 Soul to backside to frontside on three different benches. Love the style.

24:30 Steve Thomas soul down two kinks then a 360 off over the last stair set. Guy had so much style, just floated off rails.

25:00 Fast frontside on a kinked rail with a big leap off into the snow. Snow. I can't even imagine skating in snow like this.

26:45 Frontside to backside to frontside.

27:09 Steve Thomas does an acid soul. This trick was still really new at the time.

27:20 Dave Kollasch clears a stair set to frontside on a ledge. Not the cleanest, but that was a huge trick.

28:24 Arlo with maybe the first cess slide.

32:10 Steve Thomas with a far side Acid Soul, first time that trick was seen.

40:40 Bonus section starts with some random stuff. No music, just a lot of silly stuff mixed with some skating. This was probably the first bonus section.

41:30 Dave Paine makes a cameo at some random skate comp. Yay Dave!

42.34 Steve Thomas fakie outspin to backslide the fakie. This somehow wasn’t good enough to make it in the full video? Jesus.

44.30 Steve Thomas alleyoop soul on a ledge gap to frontside on another ledge. It’s like they didn’t want to include any more Steve Thomas footage in the regular video so the other skaters wouldn’t look bad.

45:10 First misty flip I’d seen. Not sure who this was.

45:15 Mike Opalek cameo apparently judging the comp sporting a broken arm potentially that he got during the filming of Hoax 2? (confirmed with Mike, yes.)

46:40 Shane Nelson line at the comp ending with a crash into these weirdly placed rails. This comp looked horrible. One launch box, a halfpipe and some random rails scattered around.

Re-view - Mad Beef

Mad Beef came out right after the Hoax. After rewatching it, it is clear that Mad Beef had the biggest impact on the skating community, even more than the Hoax.

While the Hoax was the instruction manual, Mad Beef made skating a thing anyone could do. The tricks were familiar but performed by a cast of future skating idols on obstacles we've never seen before. There was less vert skating and more grinding and gaps on street. This was skating for everyone.

The intro took everything we learned in the Hoax and pushed it up another level. Again, you have to take the time to watch the first section. It sets the tone and the skating style for the rest of the video.

Starting out with Dave Kollasch front siding the 244ft rail, we knew this video was something different. First of all, who the hell was Dave Kollasch? Secondly, where did they find this rail? I'm so confused.

A few seconds later Brian Smith (I think) frontsides a steep kinked rail. The same familiar tricks as we saw in the Hoax but the obstacles were insane with skaters we've never met. You shouldn't be able to frontside a kinked rail that steep!

Then we see an alley oop soul for the first time. A few seconds later there’s another. Then another. It went from a trick we’d seen as photos in magazines to something everyone was doing. Time to learn them I guess, now that it's possible.

Then Tom Fry (classic) does a farside soul to backside on this rail. What? This was the first switchup, first farside, and a dude that we’ve never seen skate before. The game had changed.

Eventually we see Arlo, our champion. He does a 540 over a box at a skate park, then changes into his street clothes and does a hand frontside on this rail taller than he is. A few seconds later he’s at the Tom Fry rail coming up fakie, outspin to frontside to fakie off. Never misses a beat.

The rest of the intro is more of the same, lots of soul grinds on rails and some switch ups. Lots of new faces though, not just Arlo and Brooke and Mike anymore. Skating wasn’t just a thing people in Southern California were doing. We were clearly all over the country.

One of the things the T-Bone guys did really well was introduce the skaters. These guys became the stars of rollerblading. They were everywhere in the next few years, in all the videos and magazines, sponsored products, you name it. They were a select group of a dozen or so skaters selected to represent the sport.

Mad Beef moved the sport forward not just in trick vocabulary but in making skating a global activity anyone could do no matter where you lived. It created the idols we needed and promoted the community better than anyone expected.

It's worth a full watch, but here are a few clips in case you're limited on time.

4:45 Arlo’s intro starts with a backside to soul on a rail. Switch ups were a thing. Then we see him skating vert, which he’s clearly been doing a lot of. Finally a far side soul on a stair ledge. Still got it.

5:19 Tom Fry gets introduced. We’d seen him in Daily Bread but never in a video. Very different style but clearly he could skate vert and street with the best of them.

5:29 Brooke is back! We loved Brooke from the Hoax so seeing him in Mad Beef was great. He was doing the farside souls and switch ups too.

5:45 Finally we get introduced to Mike Opalek. He was in the Hoax but didn’t get the introduction that Arlo or Chris got. Lots of solid tricks but the soul to backside on a ledge was what did it for us. We were still pretty scared of rails but seeing that you could do switch ups on a ledge made us want to go try them immediately.

6:12 Angie Walton gets her introduction. We also got to see these new Roces vert skates in action. 

6:20 Someone does the first Acid Soul we’d seen. This was mind blowing. At the time, tricks were tricks. I never considered them “soul tricks” or “groove tricks”, they were their trick. Seeing someone do a variation on the soul grind was confusing.

6:50 Manuel Billiris gets introduced and he’s another one of those guys that can skate vert and street equally. All these new skaters was a bit overwhelming.

7:09 Dave Ortega gets introduced. One of the first New York skaters we ever knew by name. This was back in the fr days.

7:19 We meet Rawlinson Rivera and he frontsides the longest rail we’d seen so far. Rawlinson goes on to represent New York better than anyone.

7:30 Matt Mantz, this “kid” who is just killing it. 540 over a gap, frontside on this old Hoax location. Souls on down ledges. 

7:50 B Hardin’s intro was one that we rematched over and over. Starting with a frontside on a long rail from a ledge, then does a soul to soul on the hedge rail. Soul to soul? Like, the guy can do a soul grind with either foot? Damn. Then a disaster soul on a rail, with the infamous “Out the way, B coming at cha” line at the end.

8:10 Dave Kollasch frontside to frontside on a kinked rail. Then a frontside on the longest rail ever, but wait, it’s not even the longest rail from the intro. Then he does a jump, grab, miszou to fakie down this ledge. Who is this guy?

8:30 We meet Brian Smith, another New York skater, but a very different style than Rawlinson and Dave. He pulls this frontside, quick switch to backside, that we tried to emulate.

9:10 Quick candid with a guy handing out leaflets. We finally get to see more of Arlo’s personality, hilarious guy.

10:46 Hidekazi Ito is the first non-english speaking skater who’s just killing it. Soul to 360, then a few seconds later a frontside on this fast kinked rail. Skating was global.

11:26 Arlo fake to Soul to fake on a rail. He’ll do the same trick on a ledge seconds later.

12:20 Brian Smith skit doing a rail while reading the instructional manual on how to do a rail. Why was he so ripped?

13:10 Two sick tricks from Arlo. Alleyoop soul on the stair ledge, and a frontside to backside switch on a flat ledge.

13:30 B does a frontside on the top of a bike rack, then switches to a backside on the next bike rack. So many new skaters just killing it.

13:40 We get to see Ani, who happened to be a DJ for the group Deee-Lite, walk up to soul, then a weird grab while on the rail, to fakie. Not sure we loved the style, but it was something new.

13:49 Rawlinson soul grinds a long curved rail. Probably the longest soul grind we’d seen.

14:19 Brian Smith frontside this little rail next to these bikers and scares the shit out of them. Not sure it was staged or what.

15:48 Brian Smith frontside a rail, loses his landing and falls into the lake. I have to assume this was staged knowing Brian, but it was still hilarious.

16:30 Girls section. Angie starts out with a few other women who don’t get introduced.

18:04 More Arlo. Backside to Soul on the flat ledge. Then a switch soul on the stair ledge. We were just trying to master souls and here he is doing them switch. Then there’s what would be known as a “shifty” grind, turning your body while you’re on the rail. 

19:45 The first crash section. Lots of skaters hitting themselves in the nuts. This was less of a problem with frontside, but when soul grinds started you’d end up splitting the rail. Also Brian Smith takes over for Brooke as the most falls.

29:15 Arlo does a frontside on a rail with a turn, gets to the end and does this stalled spin off.

29:56 Hidekazi Ito does this crazy soul to miszou to soul thing. Keeps the soul foot there and just goes back and forth. Not a fan, but it’s pretty interesting.

31:10 A peek into the Nebraska section. These guys were probably the most influential section of Mad Beef. Not only were these skaters we’d never heard of, but they were doing insane rails we could only dream of finding. (not sure why Rene Hulgrecn was mixed in there, but whatever)

32:35 Awesome hand up to frontside on a curved rail by B. This was what a hand up should have looked like and we watched it over and over trying to figure it out.

34:36 The full Nebraska section. It’s as if the teaser a few minutes ago was just some home video, and this is when they crew went out there to visit with the big cameras. Dave Kollasch was the leader with 5 other skaters who just killed it. New spots, new grinds, just incredible. We later see these guys in their own video, Harvesting the Crust.

36:10 Brian Smith does a frontside across a fountain ledge, then a backside to backflip. The camera loved Brian, not Brian loves the camera.

36:48 Dave Kollasch finishes the 244ft rail. This was an incredible circus stunt we couldn’t imagine being possible. Where do you find a rail this long? How do you balance on it the whole time? Metal grind plates? Are you mad?

37:50 Arlo with three tricks on three separate rails. What a line!

44:29 An ad for a clothing company called eurofunk. If you wanted to know what the 90's style was like, here you go.

44:57 An ad for Hoax 2. Hoax 2?!? Traveling across the US? We couldn't wait.

45:17 An ad for the Hoax. The style is very infomercial like. Maybe they advertised on late night TV? I never saw it.

Re-view - the Hoax

This is the first post of the re-view series where I rewatch classic videos that had an impact on my skating.

Hoax was our first exposure to aggressive inline. My friends and I were already playing roller hockey and skating around the neighborhood, jumping over stuff and doing spins. But watching the Hoax was like taking the red pill in the Matrix, you can't go back.

We had an idea that people were skating ramps, but grinding wasn't even in our imagination. The first clip with Brooke all busted up talking about stitches and fractures really put things in perspective. We'd thought we were pretty good, but these guys were on a different level. None of us had hurt ourselves like that before. (Come to learn that Brooke hurt himself like that fairly often, but I digress)

The first intro section was just incredible. It's only 4 minutes long so I recommend watching it if you haven't lately. It was by far the most impactful skating section of all time.

Did you watch? Seriously, it's worth taking 4 minutes out of your life to see the birth of skating.

Starting out, Arlo does a 360 over this double railing. Big gap but we've been doing 360s for a while, so it's no huge deal.

Then Chris Garett (I think it was Chris?) does a stale air on a half pipe. Ok, we don't have any half pipes here but I'm sure if we had access to ramps we'd be doing airs like that. Nothing crazy.

Then Arlo front sides a handrail.

Wait, what just happened?

Our minds were blown. A guy on skates jumped on a handrail, slid down it sideways, then rolled away. How is that even possible? Wouldn't your wheels stick to the rail? How'd he jump so high? Is this real life?

The section continues with a lot of ramp tricks and gaps, a few more rails thrown in here and there. Then the moment we'd been waiting for, Brooke does a frontside up a ledge and we were able to see his skates. What were those wheels in the middle?

While trying to let that sink in, just a minute later we get the perfect shot of Arlo's skates. Big wheels on the outside, little wheels on the inside and some weird rollerblade wrench in the middle. What was this crazy alien setup? 

Another minute in we see someone rubbing a ledge with a candle. What the heck is he doing that for? Oooh, so he could slide down it!

This is incredible. Skating will never be the same. All we wanted to do was grind everything 

The Hoax was more than just a skate video for us. It was an instruction manual. It taught us how to skate, how to dress, how to cut our hair, what music to listen to, everything we needed to know to become a real skater.

I highly recommend watching the entire video, but if you don't have the time, here are the most incredible tricks and sections you don't want to miss. (yes there's a lot, but it's totally worth watching them all)

4:54 Chris Edwards does a frontside and you see a flash. This would be the shot for a rollerblade magazine ad in a future issue of Box magazine that I put on my bedroom wall. 

5:02 Chris Edwards does a soul grind on a ledge. Mind blown. Was he sliding on the side of his skate? How was that even possible? 

5:27 Chris Mitchell does a 720 off some stairs. We thought 360s were hard, this guy was doing double? 

5:32 Two girls are shown on the ramp. So far it was just guys but here's some girls. We didn't get to see them skate but it was assumed that skating was for everyone, not just dudes.

5:40 Chris Mitchell does a backside on a rail. So I guess you can grind frontside and backside?  

5:55 Arlo does this gap and throws his legs forward like a long jumper. We used to emulate that style cause it was so cool.

6:00 Arlo front sides a kinked rail. Everything up to now was a flat rail or a stair rail. This was some next level stuff and we had just gotten started on level 1. 

6:09 Arlo does a fakie to soul on a rail. Falls on his ass but this was the first soul variation we ever saw.

6:35 I don't know who this is, but he does a late 180 to stair ride down this massive amount of stairs. By far the most emulated style for us. We would do this stick like jump to late 180 over everything. 

7:11 Pat Parnell with his first announcing gig, telling us that Brooke is about to eat shit. Pretty sure we have a few home made videos repeating that line and talking into the camera. 

7:28 We get an instructional demo from Brooke showing what an anti-rocker system is. This is the first time the term anti-rocker was used. 

8:15 Jess Dyrenforth gets an introduction. Little did I know that 5 years later Jess and I would running a skate company together.

8:30 Dave Cardoza, the first Fifty50 pro, does some incredible stuff on a spine ramp. We'd never seen a spine ramp before but he was killing it. 

8:40 Arlo uses his hand to boost up to a high rail. This was our entry to skating rails. We would watch this clip over and over trying to figure out how he got up there, how fast he was skating, anything that we could learn. 

9:44 Mark Heineken showing off the Roces vert skate. Big wheels, integrated plastic grind plate, aluminum frame. Not sure I ever skated a pair of these. 

10:20 Dave Cordoza comes up a hip ramp and flies across backside on the coping. We wanted to find a ramp setup like this so badly.

10:40 Angie Walton skating vert at a trade show. This was the first time we'd seen a female skater and she was killing it. 17 year old me didn't appreciate it, but 40 real old me with two daughters thinks this is amazing. 

11:54 Chris Mitchell does a soul grind and we got to see it from behind. This was probably the best shot of a soul grind there was for us to figure out how they were doing it. 

12:35 Brooke jumps over a rail and we see this weird brake thing on his toe. Months later we see an ad with Brooke using that weird toe thing while boosting off the side of a wall. Not sure they went anywhere. 

12:42 Arlo with the fastest most stylish soul grind

14:09 Arlo climbed a swing set and frontsides down the sides into the sand. Not only was this not a handrail, but there's no way he was going to roll away. 

15:01 A skit with Brooke and Chris doing a rail. So many quotable sections in this video. 

16:42 Arlo frontsides up a ledge and does a 360 off. He was so far advanced back then. 

16:54 Arlo front sides the top of a bike rack. We saw this a few times before but always dropping down on to it. This time he jumps from flat. Realizing you could grind just about anything. 

19:07 Chris Mitchell steps up to soul. This is how we learned to soul grind, one foot at a time. It wasn't until I skated with the San Jose people until I learned to jump up. 

19:20 Another silly skit, but you see Arlo with his horns haircut. Jason Marshall tried to get this style, grew his hair out and everything, but the lady at the hair salon cut them too small. Wish I had a picture of that.

20:00 Commentary while Arlo and Chris try to frontside a kinked rail. This was probably my favorite section. It was real, no edits, you saw personalities and people missing and falling off. Arlo falls off and hits his head, ask people to make sure he's ok, they all make fun of him. Just a classic skate session. 

21:49 Chris Edwards with a skit making fun of the movie Airborne, which he did the stunts for. We didn't see Airborne until after watching Hoax so it was completely lost on us.

22:59 Not really sure what Arlo was attempting here. I'm sure we assumed a 360 backside but looking at it now you'd think he was trying topside. I can't see that being possible back then though. 

24:56 Not sure who but they're jumping over a tree onto grass. Another thing I just loved, they were having fun with it. There wasn't any polish or objective, they just wanted to jump over the tree.  

25:25 Another great closeup of the skates they were using. You can see extra holes were drilled for the anti-rocker wheels to give them a larger gap. Then they're using a belt sander to create a groove. Skaters have it so easy these days.

26:50 the beginning of the crash section. Probably the first crash section in any video. This was a big trend in skating videos for many years to come. 

29:05 Still in the crash section, but Arlo does this incredible trick. Gap over the bush down to a skate tap on a bike seat. The guy saw things nobody else could see.

29:20 Arlo tries a soul on a rail. Remembering he wears a size 8 skate, and these were probably stock Rollerblade 303's, there's like an inch for him to lock on. And the soul wasn't flat, it had this little fin thing at the heel. Skates weren't design for soul tricks back then, but he was doing it anyway.

32:40 Arlo front sides a kinked rail and slides his back foot all the way to the end. Unreal.

33:55 Jill Schultz talking about safety. She is the daughter of Charles Schultz and was really big into ice skating. There was (is? ) an ice skating rink in Santa Rosa with a Peanuts gift shop next door. She also used to host Camp Rollerblade up there. Really devoted a lot of energy to growing the sport 

35:48 Arlo again. 360 to what I'd call a backslide. Nobody was doing anything one foot back then, especially on a rail, especially with a spin. 

37:28 Arlo with the first wall ride.  

39:34 Another classic Arlo soul grind, but then he does some soul stalls up the stairs to 360 off. Really progressive stuff. 

 40:26 Final skit and the first time we hear the name Senate. We always thought that Pat owned senate  based on this.

Sequence Magazine

Close your eyes and imagine life in the 90’s. No Facebook, no iPhones, no YouTube. How would anyone communicate or find out what was going on in the world? The horror!

My friends and I lived and breathed rollerblading. We subscribed to all the magazines (of which there were two; Daily Bread and Box) and bought all the skating videos. We read and watched them religiously, emulating what we saw. But there was no real way to see what was happening outside our little world in the Bay Area between magazines.

I was really proud of the skating community in the Bay Area and wanted a way to share it with the rest of the world. So in 1996 I started working on the first issue of an online magazine called Sequence. The meaning behind the name was that instead of single photos we would focus on multiple sequence shots of tricks. This was before video on the web was really a thing and it was really rare to see that style in print magazines.

The first issue of Sequence hit in March 1996 covering the skaters in Alameda. It had an interview with my good friend Jason Marshall, who wasn't very well known at the time, as well as rumors and news, product reviews and an advice column. I’m pretty sure I spread the word through usenet, which was an old message board of sorts. Word of mouth spread pretty quickly and that first issue got a few thousand views.

 Sequence Magazine Issue 1 - March 1996

Sequence Magazine Issue 1 - March 1996

The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive. I received email from people all over the world who loved what I was doing. By that time there were a few other websites with skating but plenty of demand for more content.

For the second issue I decided to head down to San Jose and cover the skating there. We had an interview with Tom Hyser and a bunch of pictures of local skaters like Jon Julio, John Starr and Jayson Reduta. For lots of skaters, this was their first exposure to what eventually would be known as the NorCal scene.

Over the next year, a new issue of Sequence hit the web every month. Eventually I took a job doing design with Fifty50 and my free time for Sequence slowly vanished. It's funny, I started Sequence with the dream of being part of the industry but it resulted in its death.

 Sequence Magazine Issue 2 - April 1996

Sequence Magazine Issue 2 - April 1996

I'll get into more details on the other issues in a future post including the infamous Sequence Message Board and the unofficial parody site Sea-Quints. Unfortunately, my web host was horrible and deleted all my content when my credit card expired. To make matters worse, the Syquest SCSI drive I used for backup failed horribly so all of the original files were lost.

Thankfully has a pretty good amount of pages in the wayback machine. Sorry for the broken links and random images, I'm in the process of rebuilding Sequence from its scattered remains. I'll be sure to update you when I've got some news.

Most recent quality archive from 2001 with final design:

Oldest archive from December 1996 with early design:

The spirit of Sequence lives on with, which I believe has been going strong since the early 2000's. You can find me there on the message board if you want to chat, username 'law'.

Happy Birthday

I don't remember too many birthdays. I turned 40 in August and had some friends over to house to celebrate, so that's one. A few years ago we went and saw Chicago at DPAC, so that's two. Then when I turned 21 I was fooled into thinking we were going to Wahoo's when in fact we ended up at a strip club. Thanks Brooke, the buffet was pretty bad.

I just so happened to visit Oak City Skate Shop on their 4th birthday. Oak City is our local skate shop; just 10 minutes from work and only a block away from the ice rink where I play hockey. I've been playing ice hockey since I was 15 and wanted to get some inline skates to keep in shape between games. Turning 40 means sore muscles take longer to heal, I've learned.

I haven't bladed in over 10 years but keep up with the scene through friends on social media. Cameron Card invited me to a "Dads that Skate" group a few months ago and I got inspired to get back into it. I posted a question about setups and new technology and got some recommendations to go to Oak City and that Long Tonthat would sort me out.

Having no idea who Long was or what Oak City was all about, I went by the shop during lunch this week. I sent the shop a Facebook message making sure they were open and let him know I was looking for skates. He asked for my size to get some options ready and confirmed he'd be around.

Pulled up to the shop around 11:30 and met Long and his dog, who was laying around in the entry. Long was on the phone but took his dog to the back so he could finish up and get me set up. I haven't been in a skate shop in at least 15 years and was blown away by the amount of stuff that was on display. There were two rooms, one with clothing and one with hardware. Every inch of every surface was covered with product, used and new. 

While Long wrapped up the phone call, I noticed some backpacks hanging up high. All the way at the end in the corner was a Fifty50 bag. I haven't seen one of those in ages. Below the bags were a rack with some frames, one of which was a red Fifty50. I had completely forgotten we made that model of frame. It was all rushing back to me.

It was an extremely humbling experience seeing products I worked on so hard 15 years ago to be displayed so prominently in one of the best skate shops today.

I didn't mention any of this to Long. For all he knew I was just some old guy trying to get back into skating. He brought out some skates and we went though just about every model he had to find me the perfect boot. I learned so much about the current state of the industry through how he explained the products. He really knows his stuff.

I ended up getting some Razors SL3 with Valo team frames and wheels (I swapped them out with some Fifty50 Balance frames when I got home, sorry Jon). While Long set up the custom skate, we talked about how strong the scene is here in North Carolina. He added me to the local Facebook skate group to find out where people are skating and encouraged me to come out. He even offered tickets for me and the family to watch Nitro Circus this weekend while it's in town.

I don't think I've met anyone as passionate about skating as Long. Not only does he run an incredible shop, but he reinvests himself into the skating community. He's a role model for the kids and mentioned a few times how he tries to help them make smart life decisions. He keeps around old and used products to give to kids to get them into skating, knowing that if you're involved with blading you don't have time to be involved with negative things and you'll be a blader for life.

When I told this story to my wife that evening she was shocked.

"How could you not tell him you made those frames? Clearly he was a big fan of your work otherwise he wouldn't have them on display 15 years later." 

I think I was more overwhelmed with the situation than anything. I joined Fifty50 in 1996 and was part of the company until we shut it down in 2005. That's almost 10 years that I poured into the skating industry. To see it was still alive and that Fifty50 was so influential to him was very emotional.

So, happy birthday to Oak City Skate Shop. It's inspirational to see the impact you've made on the skating community. I'll swing by sometime next week to say hi and drop off some birthday presents. I know they'll find a good home.

I kept all this stuff in a box in the attic. It's moved from house to house looking for a good home.