Duty Now For the Future Retrospective – Chris Mearkle

DUTY NOW FOR THE FUTURE RETROSPECTIVE

CHRIS MEARKLE

INTERVIEW BY JIM MURPHY

PHOTO BY BRYAN LATHROP

We started the Duty Now for the Future articles to honor those skateboarders building concrete for other skateboarders. These skaters are dedicated to building skate structures, day in and day out, where quality is job one and money doesn’t matter as much as the finished product. They are the ones carving the future for generations to come and we want to bring their stories to you in order to understand what goes into building those killer parks that you get to ride! We want to thank these skaters for all their sweat, hard work and dedication to skateboarding! They’re not afraid to lay yards of pool coping down, so get out there and grind it up!!! That is our Duty Now For The Future! D-E-V-O. We dedicate our Duty Now For the Future Retrospective to Bob 2 aka Bob Casale. R.I.P.

Best skatepark that you built or someone else built?

I think best equates to what was the most fun. Events are always fun. Round wall is always fun. The Red Bull race we did was a lot of fun because it was something new and different. A tranny/slalom event was never done before, so it was rad to make it happen. The Viva La Bam episode where Tim Glomb invited us to come in and tear Bam’s parents house apart and build ramps in there was a blast. The Blue Bell, PA, bowl came out epic. It is a million dollar refurbished barn with a perfect birch layered, brown organic tile, Fed Stone, diamond top pool block. I think the best parks are like tattoos. The client has to give the builder the freedom to work his magic, the fewer restrictions the better. As for what someone else built, Team Pain’s ‘crete crew did an epic park in Arvada, CO. 13’ deep snake run? Need I say more?

Favorite DIY spot to skate?

The 5.9 death crew compound in Attleboro, MA. The place is epic. It started out as a 16’ wide mini ramp and has morphed into a giant bowl. It’s been around for 13+ years, maybe? Big Tim and the boys are pulling out the old rotten framing and replacing everything with pt lumber, as we speak. The thing is constantly being maintained, gonna last forever. Great vibe there, everyone is welcome. Just be chill and bring beer and your family. Jerry Hahn’s place here in Colorado is pretty rad. Let’s not forget the boys and ladies in the Carolinas as well. They’re making it happen. Then you’ve got spots like FDR and Burnside. People are doing key share places in warehouses. So many people are building their own backyard pools too. As this generation of skaters is getting older, along with starting a family, a lot of people buy houses and become property owners. If you’re a lifer, and you own a house, a backyard pool/bowl is the next logical step.

Favorite pool coping? 

My favorite pool coping is Fed Stone. Been using ‘em for years. I’ve been playing with making my own molds too. They come out ok. Tim Mott has the whole mold thing dialed. They come out nice. We used them on a small bowl we built in Denver. As far as store bought goes, Federal Stone all day! Rock, flint, stone, etc. I like anything that was not meant to be coping. I’m a huge fan of “the gnarlier the better.” The kind of stuff where all the Salba Sauce in the world wouldn’t help. I’m really only able to put that kind of stuff on my own private ramps. Seems not too many people share my vision.

What is the one thing that hasn’t been built to skate yet that you’d like to see built in the future?

Aside from all the DIY stuff, I’d have to say seeing more organic type parks, some small, some big. Parks that work with the existing landscape flowing around trees and things like that. Not necessarily scraping the land and putting in a big concrete rectangle, but being able to fit a lot of stuff in a small area. It’s awesome to see people using a giant boulder that was dug up and incorporate that in the obstacles. Skateable sculptures are a fun idea as well. I want to build a double barrel shotgun full pipe. Two full pipes together and at one end they are connected a full 180 degrees. Then I would either have them on a slight angle downward or waterfall it down just before the elbow. It would be fully loopable and everything. Something big and stupid rad.

Who is on your crew right now?

I have a short list of go-to people depending on the size and scope of the project. Mike “Iron Man” Bato is my right hand man and is usually with me on most jobs. People say we act like an old married couple when we’re together. I used to work a lot with Andy Kessler. I miss him a lot. Rip in peace Kess-Dog. Other cats include Jason Case, Brian Sizer, Steve Hughes, NJP, Tim Mott and you too, Murf. You’ve helped us out on a few gigs as well.

“I think the best parks are like tattoos. the client has to give the builder the freedom to work his magic.”

Who taught you the most about skatepark building?

I’d have to say Twister and Johnny Kardash. They were the masters. I had the fortune of working with them at Skater Island. I’ve built a ton of stuff before that, but I really tried to absorb what they were doing with round wall. Over time, I was able to put my own twist to make things my own style. Little Eddie taught me a bunch too working ‘crete. I worked some Grindline jobs with him and he’s a fucking pit bull. When I really think about it, it was the OG’s that lit a fire in me and showed me what was possible with wood and steel. It was dudes like Tim Payne, Paul Schmitt, Dave Duncan and Micro. They laid the roadwork for everyone else. We just hit the gas and flew down that road.

What is your Duty Now For The Future?

I’ve got a few irons in the fire right now, but, honestly, I had twin girls a year ago and my Duty Now is to be there for my family and be the best dad I can be. Having said that, I’m sure I’ll be ready to get back on the road when the right project comes along. www.eastcoastrampdesign.com

DUTYNOWRETROSPECTIVE-5-6-MERK

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