In one’s life, there are many things that bring back fond memories of childhood, but for me nothing does it quite like old school skateboards.
In one’s life, there are many things that bring back fond memories of childhood, but for me nothing does it quite like old school skateboards. There’s just something about the old Powell Peralta, Vision, Hosoi, and Santa Cruz decks that makes my heart beat faster.
This is the story of my first “real” skateboard that I received for my tenth birthday. If you have ever skated, you probably have a similar story. I’m writing mine because i’d like for you to share yours! If you have a favorite old school board, come in and let’s talk about it. Chances are we can help you recreate it. I hope you enjoy!
The year was 1989 and three things ruled the land (at least in my young world), these were: 1. Guns ‘N Roses (enough said), 2. Thrasher Magazine (purchased at the Piggly Wiggly and paid for with lunch money), and 3. The Bones Brigade (I was on my own search for Animal Chin).
This is a time when one’s sense of style and personal expression often resulted in abundant spandex and fluorescent colors. The aggressive street skating styles and bold color statements of this era were a direct result of the whole Echo Beach movement with deep roots in underground surf culture.
Maybe it was the influence of my older brother, but I was always attracted to things that were a bit different from the norm of my rural surroundings. While most of my class mates dreamed of hitting a home run and becoming the MVP of their Little League Team, I dreamed of boosting a Christ air like Christian Hosoi and being able to pull model chicks with the swagger of Axl Rose.
I always felt like I should have been born in Southern California, but alas the Lowcountry of South Carolina would have to do, and I needed to represent it with some serious flare.
For the first nine years of my life i’d groomed my skills on the likes of Nash and Variflex, the finest skating implements that Wal-Mart offered. For months leading up to my tenth birthday, I’d been bugging my parents about getting a new skateboard.
Finally the time had come for my right of passage into the world of true skate gnar and I was frothing for the chance to shred my first “real” skateboard. In my neighborhood you didn’t want to leave your house if you didn’t have a Powell Peralta and my old Variflex just wasn’t cutting it.
Now mind you I wasn’t the most epic shredder but I knew that if I could just get that new (now Old School) Caballero street model, that his superhuman skating ability would instantly be transferred to me and I would be the envy of all the older kids in the neighborhood (Jason, Ken, Ashley, Travis, Eric, Tony you know who you are…).
I knew deep in my heart that this new stick would instantly improve my street cred with the older guys in the neighborhood, but I would soon realize that Cab’s skill was his own and that I would have to earn mine.
My determination (read constant pestering) paid off because a few days before my birthday mom and dad told me that they would take me to get a new skate board if I was 100% SURE that’s what I really wanted for my birthday.
Once I assured them them of this fact, they put a plan in motion. As you can imagine, sleeping was difficult for the next two nights with visions of the Bones Brigade in my mind… So finally the big day arrived, and that morning my mom woke me up by singing happy birthday and treated me to a birthday breakfast of homemade pancakes (my favorite yummm!!!).
After breakfast, we got ready and drove to Savannah, GA to the closest skate shop, Savannah Skate and Hobby (RIP). As we pulled into the parking lot, I got butterflies in my stomach. They grew larger and stronger with every step closer to the entrance.
I don’t think my feet touched the ground between the parking lot and the shop, and when we walked in, I knew I’d died and gone to heaven. Never had my young eyes taken in such beauty and utter gnar in one location! This was the ultimate candy shop with walls full of decks by Powell Peralta, Vision, Santa Cruz, G&S, Schmitt Stix, Hosoi, and Alva, I may have fainted, i’m not sure but I know my knees were knocking as I wandered this holy ground.
Though completely overwhelmed by excitement, I rallied and was allowed to pick out my favorite deck, wheels, trucks, bearings, tail pad, rail bones, elbow, and knee pads. My mom and dad truly went overboard. After deliberating for at least an hour over all the possible options and finally settling on the Caballero street model, with clear grip tape, Gull Wing trucks, and Powell Peralta G Bones wheels (2 blue and 2 green of course), along with Rector knee and elbow pads we were hungry.
So while the guys at the shop assembled my new stick, mom treated me to lunch at Red Lobster, the pinnacle of culinary excellence (at least in my young mind). About an hour later, with a belly full of garlic cheese biscuits and fried pop corn shrimp we went back to Mecca and picked up my board.
The pivotal moment in my young life had finally arrived; I was officially a skater!!! My new Caballero was the most beautiful thing my now ten year old eyes had ever seen. This was the vehicle to my future, and it was time to show the world my new ride.
Before heading home, we swung by the Oglethorpe Mall to visit a friend of my mom’s. I decided to take my new board for a spin and was promptly busted by mall security. What a punk rock way to start my official shredding career. I was busted but stoked while mom smoothed things over with the security guard (my mom was the coolest) and assured him that she would escort me off of the premises.
By this time it was getting late, so we loaded into our Dodge Caravan and my mom humored me as I explained all the tricks I planned to learn on my new board. Mom drove and I floated back home, at least I thought we were finally going home…but there was one last detour. Before we got home we had to stop to pick up my birthday cake at Sugar Bakers, the local bakery / arcade.
When I walked in, I was greeted by a thunderous SURPRISE!!! and there before me where all of my friends and family! Cake and Arcade tokens flowed like root beer! After a couple hours of pinball and Double Dragon, a couple friends came back to my house for a sleep over and we continued to play Nintendo into the wee hours of the morning. If you asked my friends that stayed over that night they will tell you that yes, i did go to sleep with my new skateboard.
All of this was made possible by the love of my mom and dad. They truly wanted my tenth birthday to be special, and boy they nailed it! Little did they know that this day would become the fondest of my childhood memories. Thank you mom and dad for your love and for the sacrifices you made that provided for me such a fun and carefree childhood.
Thank you for always fostering my interests and being present in my most formative years. For all that you have shown and you’ve given me I am forever grateful, I love you. You gave me not just my first “real” skateboard, but also the best tenth birthday any kid could ever ask for.
So, that’s my story, thank you for reading. Come in and let’s talk about your favorite board, I look forward to hear your story!!!
Let’s Surf Soon,
Rhett L. Boyd, Jr.