Earlier this year, we collaborated with the crew over at Lume Cube to learn about what exactly went into the making of the world’s most versatile camera light. In short, we found out that a successful Kickstarter campaign was responsible for the creation of a device that packs a massive amount of light into a tiny, handheld block.
Sometimes, things don’t exactly go your way. Sometimes, things go even better than you could have ever hoped for. Or even, dreamed of. This was one of those rare weekend diversions that memories are made of.
I was not expecting this weekend to be “great”. Being a salary employee at a trucking company means lots of deviations, distractions, and unscheduled working days. Saturday was one of those days. Not that I mind at all… after all, my job is always pretty damn entertaining and enjoyable… but, it did wreak a bit of havoc with my travel plans for the weekend. Which it regularly does.
I was also pretty worn out. I’d been skating, touring, writing, photographing, and yakking a lot over the past month. I did need a bit of a break to rejuvenate and recharge. I decided that a quick trek over to Buckeye was just what the doctor ordered.
Buckeye does not have a “great” skatepark. I knew this already; I’d seen it before. It’s a bunch of steel prefab ramps on a concrete slab. Not that big of a deal at all. But, it does have a great camping facility in Buckeye Regional Park… a free facility with very sparse facilities, and as a result, very few camper-customers. But it does have as featured assets beautiful, wide-open skies; lots of stars; and fantastic panoramic views of the valley. It’s a fairly well-kept pseudo-secret. One that I profit from quite regularly. And it would allow me some downtime this weekend to play the “typical tourist”, to boot. A role I enjoy playing, and playing well, from time to time between skateboarding breaks.
Buckeye is a former farming community that has undergone a bit of a modern movement to become one of Phoenix’s burgeoning “bedroom communities”. Fields that once produced cotton, citrus, flowers, and alfalfa now sprout Middle-Class McMansions at an alarming rate. Many of these middling communities are queued up on either side of the I-10, a few miles north of midtown. But Buckeye Proper still retains the old-school main-street feel of many familiar farming towns; indeed, it reminded me quite a bit of rural Indiana. But in a much more arid, highly irrigated desert environment.
The Buckeye History Museum was fun. Small, but super friendly and informative. The lady manning the front counter was gabby as hell. She was probably just really lonely; it seemed like maybe this museum didn’t see too many visitors. Although it was centrally located on the “main drag”… ie, Maricopa Country Route 85… the reality is that the real “main drag” was the whizzing interstate to the far north of town. Buckeye, in the grand scheme of things, is a tiny diversion that most travelers would probably go well out of their way to avoid in their mad rush to get to Phoenix or Los Angeles. But the tale of the valley’s native Indian and transitory migrant past, and the stories of turn-of-the-century cotton farming (and the hardships and opportunities that came along with increasingly irrigated and industrialized agriculture) were all extremely fascinating. The museum was really well-done, for being such a small little facility. I was glad that I took the time to stop in.
The skatepark, on the other hand, was actually far worse than I expected it to be. There were lots of obstacles between the obstacles. Not like, “Oh look, a fun-to-skate obstacle!” More like, “Holy crap, I could seriously impale myself on that damn thing” sorts of “obstacles”. And then, there were skatewheel-sized expansion joints in the concrete slab that I only survived by bringing 92a 60mm Bullets with me for my outing; anything harder or smaller, and death would have laughed his ass off at my expense. The park was extremely hard to skate, to put it generously. But, y’know, it’s part of the job. I took a few runs to say I skated it, did a couple carves and grinds, and lived to tell y’all about it. I consider that a high achievement worth being pretty proud of.
Not only do I camp out at Buckeye Regional on a fairly regular basis, I’m also a bit of a caretaker when I’m there. By necessity, not necessarily by choice. Fact is, Buckeye Regional isn’t really “maintained” in the same manner as White Tank, Estrella, Lost Dutchman, or any of the other area parks are. The grills are almost never used, so they’re prone to severe rust. And the “landscaping” is completely ignored. My campsite for the evening was the same as they always are at Buckeye Regional: in dire need of a little TLC. So again, I spent my evening burning the dead branches of a Palo Verde tree (they’re great at keeping the flies at bay), and sanding, priming, painting, and seasoning the on-site grill before I made my dinner.
“My Dinner”, by the way, was delicious. You should be openly jealous. It included seasoned burgers with sharp swiss and cheddar cheeses, topped with my garlic and brown sugar BBQ marinade; spiral-cut sweet potatoes sprinkled and baked with butter, paprika, and parmesan cheese (among other secret spices); potato, macaroni, and corn and arugula salads; and a few tasty desserts brought by my friend Brooke, who graciously joined me for the sights and sounds of a brilliant evening out on the high desert. The campfire smelled sweet, the ghost stories were spectacularly spooky, and the stars were burning bold and bright. Camping and skateboarding, as it turns out, complement each other pretty well.
The next morning, I had woken up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to rock and resume my tourist-itinerary, which included exploring various airfields and abandonments in and around Buckeye that I had spotted in my travels the day before when… completely out of the blue wild yonder… I spotted one of those every-skater’s-dream-scenarios: a brand-new, perfectly clean and smooth drainage ditch complex under construction. Along with an isolated, unmanned, and unsecured construction site, complete with an easy-access road and all kinds of ample parking. No security, no hassles, no worries, and not a single problem… just a bunch of fun under the sun. And boy, was it ever the find of the year. Quite possibly, the find of a lifetime. And all because I went to document a crappy skatepark, and do a little bit of impromptu camping out in the middle of nowhere. Who woulda thunk that I’d stumble across my own little slice of heaven in the process…?
Kids everywhere, listen up: Dreams do come true. The adventures are definitely out there. They’re just waiting on somebody… anybody… to get up, get out, initiate the search, and discover them for themselves.
The only missing variable in this equation, is “you”.
Why do we fall? is a series of portraits of hurt skaters after a fall. The first idea was to reuse skateboards given by the curator of the show. I chose to cut the boards to paint on it and to use the scraps to make shelves for the paintings and frames for the drawings. Concerning the paintings, I used oil-paint on the wood of the boards, which was a first for me. I tried to show off the blood and the bruises without being too gory and to find a way to summon colors who were not there on the reference images.
I hope to paint and draw more of these in order to make the installation grow for the next shows.
Speaking of the show, it’s ending today as I write this. The exhibition is at its third edition, it debuted from Singapore, then extended to Malaysia, reaching Paris this spring. With each iteration adding approximately 10 artists from the hosting country, we were a total of 34 artists to display our work.
Love this magazine and website! My son Drew is totally into tech and downhill….buddies with sergio yuppie…..you all are a very “colorful” tribe…love it! Wondering if i can add his photo to your online album?
Well Dana, in my 20 years publishing on the web, this is the first time I’ve ever received an email like this. In honor of this groundbreaking email, your digital wish is my command:
Behold! The photo of your son, Drew.
As we all know, there are literally unlimited pixels on the web. I can generate hundreds of thousands of words and images and it won’t cost me much…except time. I’ve often said that the web can create more content on skateboarding in one hour than I can publish in a lifetime. This abundance (and ability) to create so much content is both fantastic and overwhelming.
I’ve been involved with skateboarding websites since 1996. You can see my original Skategeezer Homepage here. I think it’s hilarious that a ridiculously basic (and frankly crappy) website led me on a journey into the world of book publishing, TV, film and other media. I cannot stress enough the butterfly effect. My $5 month investment keeps paying dividends. But then again, I never stopped skating and never lost the fire for spreading the stoke.
Many are trying to figure out what kind of effect digital technology is having on the skate world. Can you trust online reviews? How is online retailing affecting the indy skate shops? Sometimes I wonder that by the time you’ve made the skate video and posted it to YouTube or facebooked, instagramed, twittered and snapchatted if there is any time left to actually ride.
And yet, here’s our CW website featuring a pretty cool shot of Drew enjoying the ride. We might wind up with a few thousand folks viewing this image and I am sure it will stoke him out. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s important.
So here’s to you Drew and to your family who support your efforts. Keep skating and have fun!
Concrete Wave is proud to announce our Amateur Photo Contest 2017. This will be the contest of the year for all you amateur skate photographers out there, so listen up and pay attention.
If you are selected as one of our finalists, you will have the opportunity to see your photo, in print, in the magazine. We have slated the entirety of the November Issue (deadline, September 1st) to showcasing your work. The contest is open to any and all amateur photographers.
The rules are simple: send in your photo; your name; where the photo was shot; and the subject… and, that’s it! Photo requirements are 300 dpi or better, submitted via e-mail, to Michael Brooke. We’ll handle it from there.
Photo submissions must be original works that have never been published before. That includes photos that have been previously “published” on the internet. Do not send us your Instagram portfolio. Do not send us your Facebook Files. Only original, unpublished works will be considered for publication in the magazine.
Consider yourselves advised.
We encourage all types of skaters from all over the world to submit work. We love all y’all, and we love all kinds of skateboarding.
Besides the opportunity to be immortalized on the pages of the magazine, the 1st place winner will win a cool $750 second place will fetch $375 and third will score $150. Finalists and winners will be announced in the November issue.
Deadline for photo submissions is September 1st.
Don’t be late…!
Remember, send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Most people have photos of a rash or any wound/injury.
We are launching a photo contest concerning your worst injury. If you have a photo of your injury, time to show it off!
We are GIVING AWAY Clayer products to the top 3 worst ones. And a special coupon code will be given to everybody who participates.
Send an email to email@example.com with:
* Your first and last name
* The photo of your wound
* How you got the wound
* Your @instagram (if you have one)
The Deadline to send your photo is November 28th
Please do not get injured on purpose to win this prize.