I got a call from John Linson who produced the “Lords of Dogtown” movie. Sony agreed to pay our way to Hollywood for the premiere of the movie. After checking in at the airport, we found that we were flying first class for a four-hour flight from Honolulu to LAX. First class is pretty cool. They serve you whatever you want to drink before the plane takes off. You have your choice of movies and you can almost get comfortable in your seat.

Airplane food sucks, but in first class, it’s almost edible. Our flight went smoothly. Shortly after arriving in LA, we found out we were staying at a hotel called the Standard. It’s a fancy over-priced hotel in the middle of Hollywood strip. In my opinion, the hotel sucked. It was a trendy, weirdo, California, ‘I-think-I’m-cool’ type of place.

“Movies about surfing and skateboarding have always turned out to be pretty bad. Usually they’re pretty corny. The only one that I ever really liked was “Big Wednesday.””

Anyway, models agents, actors, agents and wannabe actors and hookers filled the trendy over-priced restaurant downstairs. The food was good, and the service was great, but most of the people seemed so fake to me. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been in Hawaii for so long. The people in LA are a little bit different. It really surprised me because the beds were kind of small and the furniture was uncomfortable, but very modern or fancy or something like that. Don’t think I’m complaining. I’m just saying how I felt. When you order a hamburger and it’s $17, I’m going to say something about it. The night of the premiere, John invited us to ride with him. Sony went all out, from the limo that we got to ride in to the after-party with Jane’s Addiction and Suicidal Tendencies playing.

Walking down the red carpet was a pretty weird feeling. I’ve had people taking pictures of me for a long time, but I’ve never experienced anything like that before. I mean, there were 200 photographers all yelling at me to come over and take a picture. Lucky for me, I had my camera to hide behind. I don’t see what Paris Hilton sees in it, but to me, having that many camera lenses on me at the same time isn’t something that I like.

Getting past security was pretty funny. The lady at the last door wasn’t letting us by her for anything. We needed to have our passes stamped or something. John told her he was the producer and I was one of the three guys the movie was about, but she wouldn’t budge. We finally got what we needed to get by. I had to laugh a little bit at the whole thing.

In my opinion, the movie was good. I mean, it wasn’t something to be embarrassed about. Movies about surfing and skateboarding have always turned out to be pretty bad. Usually they’re pretty corny. The only one that I ever really liked was “Big Wednesday.” Movies like “Thrashin” made me want to hide. I think “Lords of Dogtown” was kind of like “Blue Crush” but for little boys instead of girls. “Blue Crush” was a little girl movie. I thought they did a good job on it. I thought the same for ours. I mean, it was PG-13. How real can it be?

First of all, Stacy Peralta never hung out with us. He was a Z boy, but he wasn’t a Dogtowner. I have to give Stacy a lot of credit. Think of how hard it would be to write a movie about yourself and not come across as being big-headed. Stacy was a really great skateboarder. He did good in contests and was smart as far as making money is concerned. Some of the things in the movie were true, but a lot were made up just to make the story better.

The after-party was super cool. My wife even got to take a picture of Dan Aykroyd. Everyone from Tony Hawk to Christian Hosoi was there. Being friends with Mike Muir from Suicidal, we got to stand right on the stage while they played their five-song set. Sony was a little worried it would get out of control, but everyone behaved themselves throughout the night. I’d say it went off nicely. Box office wise, the movie flopped. It got good reviews, but it didn’t do what the Sony people wanted, profit-wise.

After the movie, we decided to go to Florida for a few days and visit the Kona Skatepark in Jacksonville. They just finished their new pool. Kona sure has been around for a while. It survived the down times as well as the ‘it’s cool to be a skater’ years. You’ve got to give them a hand for sticking with it for so long. The park has a little something for everyone. Big vert ramp, huge street course, snake run into bowls, and a brand new pool. I hurt my knee in San Diego, so I didn’t get to skate. I had fun watching the older dogs and the kids tear it up.

After Florida, we went to Mexico for a seven-day surf trip. Mexico is nothing like it used to be when I was a kid. Nowadays, you can fly right down to wherever you want to go and get a rental car to your hotel. The food is great and there’s a big variety to choose from. The hotels vary from $30 a night to five star resorts right on the beach. The surf is amazing, kind of like Hawaii. Mexico goes off in the summer months. The people are some of the friendliest I’ve ever come across. Maybe it’s because they need our money to survive or maybe they just haven’t had their hearts hardened by of our faster pace of life. Whatever it is, it’s just nice to be around so many smiling faces.

After seven days of perfect surf, it was back to San Diego. Our first stop was the YMCA skatepark in Encinitas. We met Hosoi and Danny Way. Shawn White was killing the vert ramp like it was nothing. Danny Way looked like he needed something bigger to satisfy his skate needs. So he invited us to drive out to his mega ramp.

The mega ramp is scary. Just standing up at the top of the drop-in ramp is scary. I’m glad I’m old and I don’t have to do it. The drop-in looks scary enough to give me a heart attack. Danny Way is gnarly. Let me tell you. It’s hard to describe if you’ve never seen him skate in person. You owe it to yourself to see him skate the thing. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I was actually scared for him that he would hurt himself. After dropping down the biggest steepest run they have, he flies across the gap. I’m not sure how far it was set that day, but I’m sure it was between 50 and 70 feet. Danny says it’s easier to spin a 360 across it. He said something about how it works better than going straight at it. All I can say is that it’s crazy. After clearing the gap, he does the highest airs I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Danny Way is like Laird Hamilton. They’re both lions living among antelope, king of their jungles.

After watching the mega ramp, we got invited to a backyard bowl in Huntington Beach. This bowl was pretty mellow. It had a backyard pool feel to it, but it’s better than most backyard pools could ever be, at least tranny-wise. It was made for skating. Pools are fun because they’re kind of like surfing waves. No two are exactly the same. I’ve always liked skateparks better as far as what you get to ride. Now we all know how skateparks can suck with all the rules that come along with them, but the good ones were made for skateboarding and if they’re made right, they’re hard to beat. This backyard bowl seems more like a real pool. It’s a perfect seven-foot left hand kidney with a deathbox and no waterfall. Seems like most of the bowls these days have waterfalls. I think they’re good, but sometimes it’s nice to skate something without one.

The kid who lives there shreds the place. I bet all of the other skater kids in the neighborhood are jealous, or maybe not, because there is no curb set up or handrail to play on. Duane showed up with his wife, Corey and their new little baby, Clash. Christian Hosoi and Jay Alabamy showed up, too.

Jay Alabamy and Hosoi carved it up. CH threw in a few of his trademark laybacks over the hip. Duane still skates on edge. His 50-50s and lien airs were crazy as always. We all had a really good time skating together, just like 20 years ago.

After a few hours and a quick jump in the outdoor Jacuzzi, we bailed out and drove up to see the new Cove Skatepark in Santa Monica, but that’s a whole other story.


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