Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A weekend with the Z Boys

Downhill: skating as fast as you can down the steepest of hills for the greatest of adrenaline rushes.

The "West Side" of Saint Paul is 1, 948 miles from "Dogtown", Los Angeles. A 28 hour car ride. Yet, there are comparisons. We've got the 3 G's, gangs, graffiti and garbage. We don't have an ocean or surfing scene but we do have the Mississippi River and a downhill scene. You can't go anywhere without going up or down a hill from our house. This would be an issue for some people but for my family they are viewed as good "downhill" spots.

How did this all start? I'll tell you.

My 39 year old husband (the Tony Alva of the family), bought the movie "Dogtown and the Z Boys" while we were on vacation the other week. Our 14 year old son, Julian, has been a skater for years so I thought it would be a movie that would help us to bond with our teenager. Tom had heard it was a good documentary and is always interested in historical origins. It is an amazing video with incredible footage of the original Zephyr team. Awesome interviews and out of this world still shots that even an amateur can appreciate. Ever since that night, the 39 year old male has wanted to relive his youth!
Some men who are approaching 40 go out and spend an exorbitant amount of money on a red corvette and change their name to "Buck". My man goes to Target and buys a $30 skateboard. He rode it into work the next day from his parking spot 15 minutes from the building he works in. He started watching YouTube videos of skaters and found a web site with a forum for "old school" skateboarders (http://www.oldschoolskateboarding.com/). He started listening to Julian who was telling him that he needed a long board to ride into work. Two days later, he bought a $150 Sector 9 longboard and a pair of VANS.

Julian has always been the most active of our family members. He was walking at nine months and running by the next. He plays competitive soccer and is on the high school swim team. He unicycles (straight unicycling and then has a Trials that you jump on and off things with like garage roofs, concrete walls, picnic tables etc...). He rides trick bikes and regular bikes; he has a pogo stick that propels him up into the air 6 -10 feet. In the winter he snowboards. He will play any sport with you for fun and is generally able to pick up any sport he tries. Until now, we have found it hard to keep up with him. We like to watch but it isn't the same as participating. His Dad's new found interest in one of his passions has lit a fire in both of their hearts and put wheels on their feet.
This weekend I posed as professional sports photographer to capture the amazing feats of the "Z boys" of the West Side. Even our 8 year old who is our Thespian and not our athlete has wanted in on the action but prefers to stay a little lower to the ground. Check it out!


Lucas said...

Wonderful work! Love the writing and the photos and the wise words of babes. Keep it coming sister!

The Pirate of Selby Avenue said...

Damn! Now I have to go get a longboard, too! I subsisted on a steady diet of Thrasher magazine throughout the 80's... now I'm gettin' all nostalgic. *sniff*

Latin Lupe Lu said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement Lucas! You ARE my inspiration!