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Skateboarding-part 2: late 1980’s reputations, feelings, experiences.

Published August 12, 2019 by AntiqueMystique1

From 1989 through most of 1991 I was never made aware that the whole skateboarding scene was being twisted and morphed into something largely misunderstood. Skateboarding in my teens was no longer wholesome. Long gone were the original “Bones Brigade”.

bones-brigade-bros-2010.jpg_600x455

Original Bones Brigade 2010. These guys went pro in the early 1980s and mid-1980s. They rode for Powell Peralta, another skateboard manufacturer. 

From the time I was 12 onwards, I never heard of Natas (the actual skateboarder), I never read nor seen Steve Caballero . I had heard of Mark Gonzalez, but never seen any VHS tapes of him nor any other [then] professional skateboarders. In my teens I never read many back issues of Thrasher skateboard magazine.

Transworld, another skateboard magazine, was non-exstintant to me. We had a spin-off of Thrasher called, “Skateboarding” from 1991 to my recollection and it was quite bland. It was geared more towards a “pre-processed”, all junk, no newsworthy nobodies off the streets that tried their first generic Veriflex and/ or K-Mart blue light special “Nash” skateboard for the first time. The skateboard clothing was in my eyes very “no frills”. I’d say “preppy”-looking, almost borderline on Grunge even though the Grunge scene was still years off into the future.

The clean cut image that I know from the late 80’s skateboarding generation was still there. The clothing that my older brother did hand down to me was Vision Streetwear. I always wanted that t-shirt depicting a 1950’s lady in tears, a comic strip design with her thinking 💭 “Oh, God, why can’t my boyfriend skate?!” And the boyfriend, (a Clark Kent-looking dude), is depicted on the shirt as stepping into the room. This t-shirt debuted around 1989 in Thrasher magazine. Finding the same t-shirt nowadays from this era will set a person back a little bit. There are reproductions of said image, but it doesn’t appeal to me: the new re-issues, that is.

I still find the original design hilarious 😂 and it happily takes me back to my younger days when I laughed seeing it for the first time via mail order in Thrasher magazine. The t-shirt came in white. The comic strip depiction, black and white.

Another iconic hand-me-down from my dear brother was two large/ x-large t-shirts; Rat Bones (Powell Peralta) rat with crossbones in a washed out, faded red color, and another skateboard t-shirt that stated; “What part of…(reverse of t-shirt stated); “NO don’t you understand?” The shirt was sending a wrong message, but I cherished every article of skateboard clothing that my brother wore out and gave to me. I remember safety pinning a pair of flimsy material Vision Streetwear shorts that were very baggy on me. They were beige in color, and had a crackle pattern design. The fabric was very thin, so I often had to wear a long t-shirt untucked to cover my assets. 😂 I couldn’t believe the low quality that Vision Streetwear produced in the late 80’s/ early 90’s. Maybe it was a supply and demand thing. Vision Streetwear was extremely expensive back then. But even high-priced clothing doesn’t always mean “better” nor even long lasting, either.

Skateboarding and anarchy; what I didn’t know…

Well, in retrospect I can see how skateboarders got ridiculed a lot by society as a whole. In fact, skateboarding in the late 80’s/early 1990’s was breaking away from a once wholesome image of “do your own thing” and protective gear was being less depicted in the magazines if it was street skating/ public building, parking lot areas and downtown skateboarding.

I found myself being ostracized all the time in the Podunks I lived in. There was no skate parks yet. I skateboarded wherever I felt like and wasn’t aware back then that skateboarding on a downtown sidewalk is illegal. Oh, well, live and learn. I was never busted and I doubt the cops would have cared much in the Podunks so long as you showed respect, shared the sidewalk, obeyed traffic laws, and weren’t going all Willy nilly wrecklessly on a sidewalk. Street skating took guts. In 1990-91 there was less traffic. Driving distractions with modern technology wasn’t around yet. Motorists would honk, shake their fists, maybe even shout a profanity if you deliberately ignored them, but for the most part, I’d skate on the margin, near the shoulder of the street with traffic, seldom against it unless going home and I couldn’t find a route to get me there. Skateboarding for me was about transportation as a teen and less about seeing how many stupid ways could I think of to potentially hurt myself.

When I street-skated, I wasn’t relaxed. I rode my board fast and stiff-legged. I struck those dumb pebbles, rocks, twigs with a jarring skid. I went air born a few times, never skinned myself badly, ironically.  I would just “pretend” to make my skateboard come to a screeching halt, and I would two-step (or three) off it with my feet. Sometimes, I’d for no apparent reason, just dismount instantly (jump off) if anything grabbed my attention.

I never learned to grind the tail to a stop simply because I wanted to preserve the life of my first Vision skateboard. And tail (tail bones) guards were unpopular and would slow down your speed. Tail bones were by 1990-91 standards highly unattractive. You were a poser and made fun of if your 80’s deck sported a jaw bone (nose guard) and a tail bone. Those accessories were like a soccer mom van in the mid-1990’s, no teenager wanted to be caught dead with that additional “protective” physical baggage being an eyesore.

My Vision Gonzales had both jaw bone and tail bone which made me cry 😭 when I picked up my brand new deck from the skating rink. My brother worked his magic once we managed to buy the deck. The major hold up was the skateboard kiosk couldn’t sell the deck to us with that hardware pre-removed since it would be a potential liability/ lawsuit waiting to happen had I ever gotten severely injured. Hearing that the protective “baggage” had to remain on or else no sale just made me weep at 12. Hey, I was a kid. I didn’t like having something so close to me,especially a new expensive gift being taken from me right before my very eyes.  And secondly, I thought my skateboard was my decision and I’d get exactly what was shown in the advertisement I seen in Thrasher. But all these rules… bah! I was irritated by “stupid rules” at 12. I was entering my “I want it this way,” not “you can’t have it because I say so even though I’m not your parent,” phase.

My brother worked tirelessly to make “fat lady” right with me and to my specifications we had already planned on. He involved me in on our massive undertaking: skateboard overhaul.

Once home, deck in shrink, I recall I had tore through the shrink wrap with my small hands. I was giddy! I was the first to get my small fingerprints all over that beautiful deep red stain. Fat lady’s neon yellow face and neon blue hair weren’t spared my touch. I christened her; “Big Bertha” after a babysitter my brother and I adored when we were just toddlers. I doubt Erma is even around anymore, but she made a positive impact in our young lives whenever mom had to head off to her second job to keep us above poverty. I never knew as a child the greatest sacrifice my mother had made for us; Providing us with a better life. I appreciate all that mom did for us and continues to do for us.

Now, Mom and I were going rounds with my first skateboard, the top image was questionable for the times, mind you. The late 1980’s were still about censorship galore. And religion played a huge role dictating what we can/ can’t hear in way of music. The “Tipper sticker” was an ever-common eyesore to my generation. Lyrics were questioned a lot. Bands were subject to controversy, our music as we knew it, was being blamed for the cause of our upcoming generation’s problems. When instead, the Washington wives failed to take into account the bigger picture and look at the shape of the current state of the nation, rather.

Skateboarding was seen as rebellious. It was falsely categorized as having ties to druggies, satanism, anarchy, drop outs, and societal degenerates, basically nowadays it falls under the “rock n’ roll listening weirdo, hell bent on never losing touch with that ‘young kid at heart'” category.

And skateboarding in the 21st century might be reverting back to its once wholesome “do what comes natural” roots, or something seen as a way of life for some. My era was an age of innocence that somewhere along the way collided with a bad erroneous reputation that damn near ruined skateboarding for many years to follow.

I dropped off the skateboard map in 1993 when I was 16. I didn’t like the ushering in of the Grunge scene. At 16, I rode a bicycle 🚴 and swore to myself I’d never pick up another skateboard. To be continued…

Oh, and Thanks to all my followers out there. Thank you for sharing and comments always welcome. 🤓  🙃🤙

Skateboarding-part 1 1989-1990 experiences. The love ❤️ begins.

Published August 9, 2019 by AntiqueMystique1

Well it’s been forever since I was able to publish on here like I used to. A lot has happened, and I do apologize if I haven’t kept up on comments, blogging about antiques, etc.

Since I last left off, I moved out of my little money pit. I’ve got a secure job, but it has its share of new stress. I’m not complaining. I love working. I enjoy staying late when asked. It helps my nest egg I just started on.

Oh, and my old passion has resurfaced with vigor; skateboarding.

Before I break out my tube socks, let me state: I’m from the old school. I graduated top in my class from “Hard knocks”. 🤓

No, I’m not a cement-eater, although I’ve had my fair share like the skateboarders before me, of taking their falls. One of the first things I learned at 12 years young was practicing taking falls, tumbling off of my [then] brand new fat lady Mark Gonzales mini-deck. My older sibling taught me fast that summer of 1989. I was the first crash test dummy to test out my sibling’s newly constructed plywood half pipe. It was a blast! I loved the half pipe once I got the hang of it. The many hours of practice… that was a grueling, tedious, exhausting experience, but by midnight going into the wee hours of the next day was worth it. Me and my new mini-Gonzales were both broke in. Ha! 😁

The most exciting experience I’d never be physically capable of attempting again was pulling off a mid-air twist, crouched on my board with my eyes partly closed likely from fear and this sudden rush of intense excitement at the same time.

The take off was very happenstance. I didn’t plan on pulling off this mid-air turn and minutes are actually seconds when me and my board went high up off the half pipe and that famous saying popped in my little head; “That’s one small step for man, one  giant leap for mankind,”

I not only astounded my brother, but the two neighbor boys that came over the same day to ride the new half pipe. And in the process I managed to literally astound myself.

And clank! Clank! The new Bullet speed wheels came down hard with a fierce aftershock that rippled through my half pint frame violently. I landed safely and very carefully had to pry my tiny fingers from my new rib bones (grip rails) screwed onto the underside of the deck. Very shakily I stood up from my crouching position. I just pulled off an amazing feat; my new position was “crouching “. I dubbed my new trick; “the ballerina twirl”. I never again tried mid-air turns since I was half pipe skateboarding without proper protection, for one. Secondly, I went at it with no knee nor elbow pads. My brother’s skateboard gear was way too big on me. And I ditched the dirt bike helmet early on the same day after our first trial and error sessions.

You “drop in” on your parents…

I never called it “dropping in” when skating a half pipe . We called shoving off a “nose dive”, likely in reference to the aerial maneuvers of war planes from both past World Wars. We wanted something aggressive-sounding, very edgy and unique and the term, “nose dive” fit for me. The term “drop in” is a new term for another skateboarding era I’m not familiar with, although “drop in” does go far back to 1980, from what I’ve researched thus far. How the skateboard terminology skipped me is a mystery of this great universe.

“Protection in the beginning for my pint-sized self was…”

We had several test runs/ fittings since my older brother couldn’t find any child-size, nor even itty bitty adult-sized small skateboarding gear that wouldn’t be huge on me.  And all he owned were adult large and XL Rector elbow and knee pads, no helmet to my recollection as these were considered “lame” back in the day to wear and you’d be laughed right off the half pipe. Helmets were cumbersome to don for hours at a time and the sweltering heat buildup would make you sweat a river. So we improvised before I ever took to the half pipe for the very first time.

My brother and I found one of my uncle’s dirt bike helmets: glitter red in color with a black diamond pattern, very late 1960’s/early 70’s design and style, but eh, this was the late 80’s: a time of “use what you can scrounge up”.

The blue glitter helmet of similar style and design was way too big for my tiny pin head. We found the helmets discarded in a shed of junk at my grandmother’s house. The lining was shot and rotted, cobwebs galore, we brushed those away and vaccumed out the selected helmet. This was a hoot! But my brother and I had such a blast during the final construction phase of his brand new first built half pipe. Oh, and the weather was sweltering hot! I don’t recall the heat index, but I chugged so many New York Seltzer peach-flavored sodas (the Dom Perrigon of all brands of soda pop in 1989-1990), that I swore I had a sugar high for the next week.

And us being typical improvising, clever kids, my brother took safety to a new level: we tried to use grandma’s favorite hot pads as a helmet liner. Well, we couldn’t lie although we tried. Grandma discovered what we were attempting to do outside, and she wasn’t happy that we outright lied 🤥 about ‘borrowing’ her favorite hot pads as our first ever improvised helmet “padded” liners.

My initial reaction to the cumbersome dirt bike helmet: It bonks. The hot pads slid down obscuring my sights. I was blind. I can’t see my new Vision Gonzales mini-deck… help! ha, ha. I can feel the half pipe below my feet as I stumble around aimlessly like a blind-folded birthday kid ready to hit a pinata full of candy and other sweet goodies. My brother roared with laughter. He’d been skateboarding since 1986 and was all- too-used to the half pipes made of plywood. This was long before the invention of city skate parks which are, in my humble opinion, very poorly designed, not thoroughly planned out well at all, and the metal constructed half pipes in a skate park are death traps waiting to happen, and broken bones and other sustainable injuries to give skateboarding an even more notorious reputation.

It was no time like the present to break in my new Vision fat lady. My new skateboard deck plus the components (all bought separately) cost my dear brother a large amount of money to buy me for my 12th birthday gift. What I didn’t know at the time was that he let me choose all of the accessories, but never let on that I was selecting my very own special gift.

I knew nothing of skateboarding at 12 back in 1989, but I was a very fast learner. My thoughts back then were, “I’m a girl. I’ll get laughed at.”

“I’ll be the laughing stock when I do enter a public school setting and the kids find out I do skateboard.” The opposite to this was true. They were actually amazed, but I wasn’t laughed at until I moved to Podunk towns and attended public schools there.  I was a prior learning disability student with no freedom while in school. 1989 was the year that marked my official freedom at long last and I was ecstatic! 😁

We lived in restricted times in the late 80’s. The late 80’s were from my {then} kid memory: turbulent. We had some family strife brewing like a dark storm; the beginning that would test us religiously, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Was I ready for my adult responsibilities that lay ahead? Nope. I blazed my own trail. I rebelled silently through my skateboarding, I threw caution to the wind with old rock music that I happily adopted as “my own” in 1989.

I discovered Anthrax.  No… not the mad cow disease, Heaven’s no. The thrash band, Anthrax. State of Euphoria 1988 and Metallica And Justice For All 1989 became the sound tracks of our youth. I doubt the lot of us cared what our parents thought of it. We were trying to establish our own identities around this time frame. I wore my favorite pair of bleached out peach Converse high tops with silver duct tape holding the soles together. My shoe strings were a dirty neon yellow; faded and well loved. I refused to ditch my high tops for my 5th grade class picture and proudly showed them in the picture much to the photographer’s dismay and frustration with my stubbornness. I wore my black Swatch watch too. I was entering my “black attire” phase at 12. I loved black nail polish. Wet n’ Wild only made black nail polish. They didn’t make any black lipstick to my knowledge at 12.

Santa Cruz screaming hand is a new iconic figure, and one that years later, is never far from me. In my thirty years of skateboarding I’d never again find  another fat lady mini-Vision Mark Gonzales like I first had at 12. And at 16 years old, I stupidly traded it for some rock music pinups. So me and my first skateboard traveled far. Wherever I went, it was my true companion. I rode the devil out of that skateboard. I had Independent trucks: riser pads Independent, White Powell Peralta rib bones, and turquoise grip tape covering fat lady’s scantily clad top  image. It was censorship according to my mother or else she’d make me get rid of my new skateboard.  My dear brother outfitted my new deck with Bullet Santa Cruz 66mm, 92 a speed wheels for both street and half pipe use. The bearings may have been made in West Germany, no frills, no awesome neon colors. Just plain silver shields. Abec rating was unknown to me. They got me to where I wanted to go… at snail pace speed. Ha, ha! 😁🙃

My mother preferred I didn’t skateboard. She constantly took it away (groundings were commonplace), and skateboard confiscation was no exception to a lot of 80’s parents. I didn’t yap on the telephone so my mother  couldn’t take away that privilege from me. Skateboarding was/ is still my passion. I never learned any tricks. I promised my mom I’d never Ollie, and never attempted it. I wasn’t good at skateboarding, I just did what came natural to me. I learned really quick how to skateboard on the sidewalk and sometimes, street whenever sidewalks weren’t there.

Sure, we all take a few spills given any physical activity. That’s how you learn. Thankfully I never broke a bone. I learned to take my falls. I’m sure I skinned my knees back in the day. I recall hurting myself far worse on an adult-sized mountain bike and seldom rode that. I preferred skateboarding to bicycling anyway.

Being a girl skateboarder in a male dominated pastime made me a loner. In public school I was a looser, a poser, a (______) fill in the blank with choice labels. But I was never a delicate snowflake, far from it. I was a little spitfire and something my straight laced peers didn’t identify with nor comprehend. That was fine by me. I never set out to rise to the level of “Miss Popular” in school. Yuck!

I liked skateboarding alone as a teenager. I didn’t like Chatty Cathys or jabber jaws following me. Just give me a stretch of even pavement and I could entertain myself for hours! Back in these days I never owned the luxury items; a skateboard helmet, good pair of gloves designed for high impact skateboarding simply because finding them in my small size was non-existent, for one. Two, no skateboard shops anywhere within a 100 mile radius of the Podunk towns I lived in, either.

I cherished my older brother’s hand-me-down right hand Clawz skateboard glove until the day came I traded it off along with my beloved Vision Gonzales fat lady mini-board. I’d never receive the chance to own a new old stock set of Clawz until 2018. And as fast as I could find them, I’d happily buy out the seller.

I discovered old stock Rector gear from 1977 made here in the USA and never wanted to don unbranded Chinese-made crap pads again.

The Riot Streetwear Rector 80’s gloves I tried recently (and love) passed many vigorous trials and errors I put them through on and off my skateboards. The Rector gear old stock from the 80’s gets high recommendations from me. They hold up well under normal skateboarding conditions.

1980’s Clawz gloves are very true to size and they are suede leather, minimal padded gloves, used for half pipes and street skateboarding. They are great for Fall skateboarding, and very useful gloves to own.

Rector gloves are extremely small. Sizes are accurate. I’d recommend ordering one or two sizes up. Rector street riot gloves come in finger-less variety and thumb protection. They are very versatile for other purposes like bicycling, weight lifting, hanging from monkey bars, etc.

My work nowadays is extremely hectic and stressful. I try to skateboard whenever I can nowadays. I’m still very passionate about skateboarding, however, I don’t readily agree with how the trend in skateboarding has become in the recent years as wrongly portrayed as this: “disrespect”, “break the law”, “skateboard out in the middle of a busy street near dusk wearing all black on a longboard” kind of scene that’s popular in my neck of the woods lately. I’ll stick to my tube socks and Rector gear, thanks very much. Yep, I’m a geek, but oh well. 🙂

Stay tuned for another 1989-1990 skateboarding installment from my youth. Thank you! Comments always welcome. Take care fellow bloggers! 🙂