DUTY NOW FOR THE FUTURE RETROSPECTIVE with the World’s Best Skatepark Builders…
MARK “MONK” HUBBARD
INTERVIEW BY JIM MURPHY
PHOTO BY ELIAS PARISE
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 backyard/DIY spot to skate?
My favorite backyard or do-it-yourself skate park to skate is definitely Burnside, of course, for more reasons than I could possibly list. It’s a spiritual place for me, and for many others. It’s heaven and hell. It’s the dark side of skateboarding, the alpha and the omega. The force is strong there. I probably rode Burnside more than any other park in my lifetime so, of course, it’s my favorite; let alone the movement it started. I am proud to be a small part of that, very fuckin’ proud. In fact, it brings a goddamn tear to my eye. People all around the world are ripping their own creations harder and faster than ever. More and more DIY spots are born every day as our solar system spins out of control, throughout the ever-expanding galaxies. The Milky Way is host to a plethora of concrete continuums, creating chaos, yet giving us hope and order. In the times we live, I consider us very blessed to have this brotherhood of hard working creators. Never say forever, for we must fight to keep our moment from ever passing the hearts and minds of future generations. We have lots to learn, but we also have a little bit to teach and leave behind.
Who is the one person that influenced you the most in building skateparks?
The one person that influenced me the most in creating and building skateparks would be ‘The Redneck,’ Mark Scott, hailing from Tigard, Oregon. I met him in 1985 at the Mt. Tabor Rebel Skates contest. My life was changed forever after he gave me a closet at his and Dahlgren’s apartment on Hawthorne in 1990. We had quite a crew and he has always been there for me. They broke the fucking mold when he surfaced the earth. From the core, too much honesty, too much integrity, too much brutal gnarlitude… My kids love him. I love him, and not just because he has inspired a nation of originality that helped keep skateboarding in our hands, but also because he’s never let me down. We always will be united against the corporate landscape architects and general contractors trying to ruin skateboarding through cookie-cutter, Sour Patch certified piece of shit parks lining their pockets with gold. We will never make money from skateparks. We will humbly survive, and everything we receive we will give back to skateboarding. That is the influence I have been lucky enough to receive. I also need to add Rabi, Shags, Mike Swim, Lil Eddie and Jay One since they have inspired me so much over the years with Grindline.
What’s your favorite skatepark now?
In case I wasn’t clear enough before, my favorite skatepark was, is and always will be my favorite, from the beginning until the end, BURN FUCKING SIDE. I also hold a place close to my heart for Orcas Island, Pine Ridge, Dylan, MT, Trinidad, CO, Cody, WY, Bob’s bowl and way too many more to mention. I could list hundreds of my favorite spots from Israel to Japan.
What do you think has been the biggest innovation in skatepark building over the years?
The biggest innovation in skatepark building over the years is skaters building skateparks. Skaters are innovative and ingenious when it comes to our obsession with design and construction/concrete techniques. Fifteen years ago, skaters that built concrete parks were few and far between. I think we left it to the shotcreters. Now we are shotcreters, nozzlemen, cutters, shapers, finishers, machine operators and iron workers. We’re all gonna die from Silicosis, but it’s for a good cause. Think you got what it takes to work your fingers to the fucking bone? We’ll chew you up and spit you out faster than you can say, “I should have went to college.” As for you landscape architects out there getting into skateparks because you think there’s money in it, there isn’t. Trust me. It’s a dog-eat-dog, low bid mess of losing money, hand over foot, if you do it right! Don’t let me taint your disillusions of grandeur. If you find money in it and you’re successful, shame on you, because you just ripped concrete out from under the children’s feet. Your overhead, your hidden costs, and your change orders are the only thing wrong with this industry, not to mention the mundane city approach of just checking the item off the list without really ever realizing how these projects, if done the right way, can and will change lives by building confidence in the youth, not to mention the positive outlook towards their communities after they go through the process and, actually, get more than what they paid for. A place to go, yes, but also a long lasting monument of total ride-able art sculpture to be enjoyed for generations to come. Again “something to be proud of.” Don’t just check it off the list. Overstep your boundaries and safety zone. Nothing great ever comes easy, but when we’re done with your town, there will be a long-lasting impression of realness left upon your community. Skateparks help build so much self-esteem in the youth culture. The kids of today are definitely blessed to have these facilities. Embrace the skatepark artists and live forever in the world that you have taken on as your own.
Where do you see park building going in the next ten years? Do you see skatepark building as a long-term trend?
Nationwide snake runs connecting communities, pump bumps across the country, snake runs to school and skate paths from one side of town to the other. It’s self-generated power and environmentally acceptable. You can take your board on the bus or train. It’s a cost effective way of travel. I’ve been skating for 38 years and I can’t stand walking down a hill. On foot seems inefficient. Wake up. Lay back down. Go to sleep. The world is being anesthetized. We will build skateparks on the moon and then on Mars and, finally, into the cosmos where we once began as part of the primordial dust from the Big Bang. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, as above, so below.
What innovations have happened in skatepark building that have become obsolete and aren’t being built right now?
Nothing is ever obsolete in skateboarding. A curb is a curb and always will be a curb. A full pipe is the same thing, cradle, same, street plaza, same… Well, once lost but never forgotten, the runways of today will always mean something. Monuments of the past will soon be unearthed as we sit down and learn from before the days of our birth. Nothing new hasn’t been done. Something old has only begun. We form our opinions in what we want as a skater, but in the end, “Hate me now. Love me later.”
What is your favorite pool shape and why? Favorite pool coping?
My favorite pool shape would have to be an amoeba, because it’s unrestricted, ever-flowing, untapped, untamed, large and in charge. Start digging and stop when you run outta room. Pool coping. I like Grindstone, but I’ve bought thousands of blocks of Tedder Stone, Federal Stone, Penrose, etc. Never had a bad time on any of ‘em.
What is the one thing that hasn’t been built to skate yet that you’d like to build or see built in the future?
That would be Skatercross. It’s a 10,000 square foot track with three full pipes connecting an over and under amoeba course with a start and a finish line, but also an awesome free ride giant bowl collision course. I’ve got the plans, but nobody’s got the balls. I might have to save that one for Skate Town. Also, Grindline small skateable sculptures are gonna go big.
Who’s on your crew right now?
I’ve got a six-person office staff and five foremen that have been with me for over 14 years. My field crew is myself, Benny and Brice Neiber, Andy Ferguson, Sage Bolyard, Andy Roy, Tony Johnston, Mike the Swami Swim and Derek Pollard. James Kliendenstein is my project manager and we just finished Bob Burnquist’s bowl. Shags is building a monster in Spring Park, Texas. Rabi is building Skate City in Denmark. Lil Eddie is building a skatepark in the snow near Pittsburgh and Tony and Swami are buttoning up Bingen, Washington, phase two. We’re losing our ass on all of ‘em. I’m gonna need to borrow some more money.
“My favorite backyard or do-it-yourself skatepark to skate is definitely burnside, of course, for more reasons than i could possibly list. it’s a spiritual place for me, and for many others. it’s heaven and hell. it’s the dark side of skateboarding, the alpha and the omega. the force is strong there.”
Anyone you want to thank?
Yeah. I would like to thank my wife, Jennifer, and my three kids, Kaya, Leona and Odin for inspiring, supporting and understanding my dreams. Twenty years on the road and they have stepped up to every situation we’ve ever been in. Thanks to my neighbors for putting up with my vert ramp. I’d like to thank Rabi, Shags, Lil Eddie, Swami and their crews for enduring all the labor, suffer camp and hell on earth conditions, getting it done and moving on to the next one. Thanks to all their families for understanding and supporting when we don’t make it home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Thanks to skateboarding. Thanks to Bob Burnquist, Rune Glifberg, Spitfire, Power Rider, AntiHero, Scum, Independent, Ace, Tsuyoshi, Felem, Phelper, Thrasher and Murf. Thanks to the office, Emily, Matt, James, Jimmy, Micah and Karen, for keeping us all busy, day after day, month after month, year after year, for a decade and a half. Twenty parks a year couldn’t have gone down without their hard work to keep us in business. Managing forty skaters can’t be that easy. Thanks to Tony Giaquinta, Oscar, Angus and Harris, Neil Blender and Jason Jessee. Thanks to Pine Ridge, the Lakota, Joe Mastif, Melanie White Eyes, Walt Pourier, the Stronghold Society, Jeff Ament, Pearl Jam and Montana Pool Service. Yaki, ER, Itshaky, Avi Luzia, Almog, Amit… Thanks to all the towns, cities, reservations and communities that have placed faith in us and allowed us to live our dream and help us share skateboarding with the world. Thanks to Marcus Vonderhofen and Casey McKinney at Johnson Western Gunite and Terry Hart, God rest his soul, who taught us about shotcrete, hard work, ethics and safety. Thanks to the earth, and the great spirit in each and every one of you. Thanks to the sun and the moon that tells us to rise each day and rest every night, so we can wake up and do it again. In the immortal words of Terry Hart, “Pack a lunch, but you probably won’t have time to eat it.” I want to thank my moms, my dad, my sisters, Teresa and Lori, Troy, Sophie, Riley, Tyler, my brothers, John and Spencer, Leslie, Helena, Daniel, Buba, Sadie Rosholt, Jan Rosholt, Thane Shelby, Taylor, Molly Toya, Mandy, Red, Danyel Scott, Wanda Wade, Mr. McDowell, Mr. Remmen, Mr. Beers, Mr. Doosenberry, my art teacher in middle school, Brom Wickstrom, Blake, Clara, Chris and Lisa Lesher, Alex Torrico, Chris and Elena Hildebrand, Rick Hendrix, the Penhallow family, Chris Hannis, Brian Lanette, Drew, Christine, Winther, Alki Elementary, Tim, Jean, Emma, Kate, Ruby, Matty and all the other West Side locals… Greg Gailbreth, Jeff Gerde, Conrad, Scott Richie, Dallas, Mike Tomlinson, basketball, urethane, precision bearings, concave, Kryptonics, concrete, griptape, Warren Miller, Mic-E Reyes, Julien Stranger, Cholo, Alex Horn, Scott Smiley, Nicola, Matt Gallardo, Grant Bacetti, Mike Ranquet, Ron Soderstrom, Granny, Ted Motz, Randy Rice, Curtis Head, from Ald.Ed.Ly, the Hammer aka the Yreka flash, Tom Hogardies, that dude red-headed Willie, the 5, Trevor Harshman, Beth and Dawndra, Richie, Rabi’s buddy, Tracey, Ryan Kingman, Tom Boyle, Darren Menditto, Dave Duncan, Butch Sturbins, Chad Vogt, Danny Minnick, Snoop, Steve Smith and Les Smith. Thanks to Jake Brown for the Mega Ramp board, Mark Gonzales, Lee Ralph and Spittle. Thanks to Dave Reul, Zakima, Chet Childress, Hamoody, Amir Asad, Abu Asad, Halid Abode, Tavitah, Jeff Kimbrough, Eric Lee, Eric Dawkins, Dirty, Geth Noble, Carter Dennis, Kenny Reed, Kyle Gatsby, Donnie, Snacks, Charley, Bryan, Dog Boy, Snowman, Danny, Murdey, Simon Smith, Hank, Aron, Deeter, Dustin fukin Carter, the Grinch, Lance Laprarie, Mick Lowe and Todd Prince. Thanks to Dan Hawksworth for shootin’ that board at my face when I was coming up the tranny. Thanks to Lee Taylor, Jeff Phillips, Craig Johnson, Mike Crum, Brian Schaefer, Max Schaaf, Phil Shao, Ruben Orkin, John Cardiel, TZ, Jay One Scott, White Joe, Paul Kathy, Frank, Chris, Peter, Denny, Kate and Jason Ranette, Miss Loss, Miss Chamberlin, Sister Margaret, Father Lane, Father Crow, Morris and Brian Wainwright, Marc Corbett, Sergie Ventura, Brian Bean, Pig Pen, Neil Heddings, Travis Willis, Germ, Lil Jon, Tedders, Buddy and Rick, Marty and John Musch, Steve Wright, Jordan Skillz, Davey Rogers, Carl Saunders, Mike Sanders, Bob and Christy Allen, Salba, Marty Jakobowski, Homer from West Point, Mississippi, Jeff Grosso, Navarrette, Sam Hitz, Peter Hewitt, Al Partanen, Schmitty, Tony Hawk, Miki Vuckovich and the Tony Hawk Foundation, Tim Trudell, Ryan Sheckler and the Sheckler Foundation, Gerry Monamotsui, Preston, Rhino, Joey Tershay, Mike from Beer City, Duane Peters, Tom Peha, Kyle at Blk Market Skateshop, Pat Quirk, Stephen Hauser, Kettle, Sammy Baca, PCPete, Mo, Mike, Chad, Jimmy Moore, Wez, Hanford, Troy Nichols, Steve Benton, Russ and Tim from Fallout, Brewce Martin, Russ and Amy Brown, Matlock, T-mo, Andy Ferguson, Andy Roy, Tony Johnson, Austin Klanfoush, Ben Niebuhr, Brice Niebuhr, Bryan Hartman, Chase M. Turner, Mike Swim, Chris Collette, Christopher Winthrow, Derek Plourde, Erik Coleman, Evan Okeson, Garrett Gunn, Jeremy Smith, Joe Chopek, Justin M. Grubbs, Kevin A. Lane, Kyle Gallagher, Matt L. Jordan, Micah Shapiro, Rich McGafety, Ryan Harris, Ryan McWhirter, Sage Bolyard, Melanie Sky, Rose and Talissa, Scott Sorenson, Sky Thompson, Stephen Kropff Jr., Jeff King, Terri Craft, Juice Magazine and you reading this wherever you are.
What is your Duty Now For The Future?
To continue this Life of Pain that began in 1975 on a sidewalk in Seattle. To the people I’ve met, the good times we’ve had, you know you’re having a good time when you look around and see your boys having a good time. This is only the beginning of the end of the beginning of the raddest world we could have created together. You are a creator, amidst the chaos. Congratulations. We did it. Now go out there and make some waves.