Duty Now For the Future Retrospective – Jim Barnum

DUTY NOW FOR THE FUTURE RETROSPECTIVE

JIM BARNUM

INTERVIEW BY JIM MURPHY

PHOTO BY TOBYN ROSS

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.

What is your favorite skatepark and why?

The answer to this question, for me, depends on what was the last thing that I skated. The last thing I skated that I really loved was the Combi, due to its simplicity, its depth and its pool coping. I love the Combi. I also still love my local park that we did back in 2001, Kirkstone, because you can hit some vert, rails, massive hip ollies, big transfers, ledges…everything. It’s all there, and that’s how I like to skate. Plus, it’s such a chill scene there. The local kids are rad.

What’s your favorite backyard skate structure or favorite DIY spot?

I love any good barrier spot, and the clover at Rocky Mount, North Carolina is my favorite backyard spot. All vert, all pool coping, stairs, deathbox, and it just worked really well. Marginal Way is insane too. It’s so perfectly built with so much cool detail.

Who is the one person that inspired you the most in building skateparks, and who taught you the most about how to build?

Well, nobody really taught us how to build. We just figured it out as we went. Up here in Canada, there wasn’t really anybody else doing it. We were doing it completely backwards at first, building giant wood screeds like you might use to check for shape in a corner. We were using those on flatwall, pulling these massive 9’ hunks of wood around to screed the concrete. Then somebody thought about setting forms into the subgrade, into the gravel, and just using a 2×4 to screed across those. That was so much easier, and it’s still how we do it today. Also, a bit later on, I was in touch with Geth Noble from Airspeed. He was a really cool dude and gave us lots of support for sure.

When it comes to snake runs or over vert pockets, or a classic pool shape, what is your favorite shape?

My favorite shape to skate is any kind of amoeba because there are so many more options for lines and there are so many more places to put stuff, deathboxes, stairs… And so there are many more options and lines to ride, hips to hit. I love kidneys and I love eggs and all the classic shapes are great, but I think there’s more room for doing different stuff and for innovation in amoebas. We just did this bowl in King City, Ontario, and it’s not really any traditional shape, it’s not even an amoeba. It’s its own thing, but it’s still a pool, all vert with pool coping. I also love big insane unique stuff like Mammoth, not just pools.

What is the one thing that hasn’t been built to skate yet that you’d like to build in the future? If you could fantasize about something that hasn’t been built yet that you’d like to build, what would it be?

I just want some massive square footage. Our parks up here in Canada tend to be small. A big job up here is 10,000 square feet. I’d like for us to get a chance to build something in Canada that’s massive. In the U.S., you have 30,000 square foot parks as the average, tons of parks that size and lots that are way bigger. I’d like the opportunity to do what you guys do down in the States, and get to build with massive square footage and massive flow. I really like parks that have big vert sections and over vert and then other terrain too, sections with snakerun type flow, flat bank hips you can blast off, just all different types of terrain. For that to really work well, you need big square footage, a big space.

Where do you see park building going in the next ten years? Do you see skatepark building as a long-term trend where the parks will mostly stay the same?

Who knows? It just keeps happening day by day. I’m sure we’re going to see crazier parks in terms of more terrain type stuff…crazier doorways, giant loveseats, over-vert sections, more new features for sure. And then the street stuff, the aesthetic will keep kicking up. And then the whole combined aspect, almost taking it back to the way we started 15 years ago, with parks like Kirkstone, that have all types of skating mixed together. When that’s done right, it’s the best. I love riding all terrain, vert and pool coping to a flatbar and everything in between. I love parks where you can hit almost everything in a run. Of course, done in a way that actually works, some skateparks of that style are a recipe for disaster. We’ll just keep doing it and see what happens next.

How many people are on your crew now?

We range between 6-8 builders and a couple of guys in the office.

Keeping it lean and mean?

Yeah. We pretty much do one park at a time. We are working to get up to two crews and two parks at a time but right now we’re at one park at a time. Quality over quantity. Our quality is off the charts, on every single park we build. We don’t have an A Team and a B Team. You strictly get our A Team.

What is your Duty Now For The Future?

My Duty Now For The Future is to get my knee healed so I can continue to skate hard. Skating new terrain is what keeps me inspired. Skating our parks with the next generations gets me so stoked. They are my duty now for the future. I need to skate, so we keep doing fully inspired parks that are fun as hell to skate.

What do you think the future of bladers and scooters is? Are they going to keep on going or are they going to fade away?

They have to fade away. It just seems like such a faddy, trendy goofy thing. It clearly doesn’t have the longevity that skateboarding does. It doesn’t have the history. It doesn’t have the culture. Skateboarding runs deep. It’s got guts and soul. Scootering doesn’t. If you get to a certain age and you’re still riding a scooter, you just quit. You’re not going to get any chicks with a scooter, so you just quit.

Do they pick up a skateboard then or do they just quit?

I’m always hassling the kids, telling them to get a skateboard, but I think most of the people that do that just quit. They started it because it’s easy. They’re not about to start skating. It’s hard.

Keep building, dude. Stay creative.

Thanks, Murf. It’s good to hear your voice. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve been using way more pool coping since we last talked!

Right on. Stay strong. Thanks for your time.

Thanks, Murf.

DUTYNOWRETROSPECTIVE-7-8-BARNUM

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