INTERVIEW WITH HENRY GUTIERREZ
INTERVIEW BY JIM MURPHY
INTRODUCTION BY JIM MURPHY
The Fork Crew, like many skate crews around the U.S., were a band of brothers who just wanted to skate and party. The one difference the Forks had was they decided to step it up and brand themselves with a fork to show how hard they could party and how punk they were. The Fork icon became legendary on the East Coast and the Virginia Beach crew could more than back it up. Henry Gutierrez, one of the o.g. Fork crew, tells it like it is.
When did you first start skating?
When I was about 14 years old, my friend Virgil Tripp and this guy Steve Knox got me into it. I’ve been rolling ever since.
Where was this? Virginia Beach?
Actually, it was at Mt. Trashmore around 1975, before the city skatepark was there. A soapbox derby track was the only place to skate. There would always be slalom cones set up. At the time, the mountain was a lot steeper and they were clocking people at 45 mph.
“It was at Mt. Trashmore around 1975, before the city skatepark was there. A soapbox derby track was the only place to skate. There would always be slalom cones set up. At the time, the mountain was a lot steeper and they were clocking people at 45 mph.”
There weren’t any skate parks around?
Eventually, there were three skate parks in Virginia Beach, but prior to all that we were just cruising down the Mt. Trashmore Soapbox Derby track. Later, we had Thunder Bowl, The Concrete Pipeline and the Skatepark of Norfolk – all within ten miles of each other. A few years later, we got the asphalt snake run at Mount Trashmore.
Were they good concrete parks?
The Skatepark of Norfolk was really good. It had a 15-foot-deep bowl, snake runs and this big mogul field. Thunder Bowl had a round pool that was about 11 feet deep.
Who was on the scene back then?
Jeff Alexander and Stacy Sminks were the best skaters from around here.
Were your brothers, Glen and Eddie, skating with you, too?
They didn’t start skating until 1980 or 1981.
Was it a good scene?
Yeah, there were a lot of people skating. Virginia Beach has always had a big skate scene, being that it’s a surf town.
What happened when the early ’80s hit? Did those parks go down immediately?
Well, like everywhere else, they hung on for about six months and everybody skated “No Trespassing-style.” After they went down, there wasn’t anywhere to skate. It was probably around 1983 when John Fudala built his backyard ramp. That’s when we really got the local crew together and it took it off from there.
Who was the local crew back then?
Myself, John Fudala, Mike Crescini, Allen Midgette, both of my brothers, Virgil Tripp, Mike Asuncion and a bunch of others… the Incognito Ramp crew.
What about Sergie Ventura?
Sergie was skating Fudala’s ramp, and then the public park at Mount Trashmore when it got built. Sergie was a little younger than all of us. I remember seeing him popping airs on Fud’s ramp. He was skating really smooth like he does now.