DUTY NOW FOR THE FUTURE RETROSPECTIVE
INTERVIEW BY JIM MURPHY
PHOTO BY BRYAN ELKUS
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?
Do it yourself has been my attitude since I began building parks. As far as a homemade spot, I would have to say my recent favorite is the Lamp Post Inn 1/4 pipe with parking block, Bar-B-Q, picnic tables, and right outside my room. I must admit that I didn’t skate it, but I didn’t have to drive anywhere and I could drink as much beer as I wanted.
Who is the one person that influenced you the most in building skateparks?
Duane Bigelow (Cherry Hill) really opened my eyes to how perfect concrete could be, but it was Ed Olson (Lakewood) who first showed me how to finish shot-crete on really deep bowls without kinks.
What’s your favorite skatepark now?
Always the last one: Ann Arbor.
What do you think has been the biggest innovation in skatepark building over the years?
This is kind of basic stuff but for me putting a guide blade on a templet to cut shotcrete more precisely and quickly really made the whole process a lot more consistent. Oh yeah and radius fiberglass bull floats were huge. Before that we just used a flexy fresno.
Where do you see park building going in the next ten years? Do you see skatepark building as a long-term trend?
There’s no reason to believe that skateparks won’t keep getting built, if for no other reason than to replace all the lame ones already in place. (I assume you mean building, not design.) The way we build parks is pretty well established. Our results are really consistent on any shape you can imagine, so I don’t really see the need for much change to methods. There are definitely a lot more skaters out there that are learning to be incredible finishers and craftsmen and that will continue to make more parks better quality.
What innovations have happened in skatepark building that have become obsolete and aren’t being built right now?
Can’t think of anything I wouldn’t use if it was effective, but I used to use piano wire a lot on straight concrete edges. There were so many concrete lips that we used it all the time. I should start using it again.
What is your favorite pool shape? Favorite pool coping?
Amoeba because it can end up being any shape and size. Kidneys are cool because they can be really small and still be really fun. Penrose is the best but not consistent enough for public parks. Golden State is a lot harder and holds up better.
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?
Giant mogul field. Feel the power!
Who is on your crew right now?
There are about 12 guys that I use depending on who is available. Core crew I just used on Ann Arbor: Kyle Gallager, Ryan Podswitch, Joey Chopek and Eddie Aliota. These guys are the shit! Great finishers and always have each other’s back, all insane skaters too. Everyone on my crew is cool, no assholes and no attitude out on the job.
Anyone you want to thank?
Tony Alva and Steve Olson were superstars when I was getting started and their friendship made me believe that I was an important part of a very exciting time in skateboarding. So thanks to them and all the skaters who have supported and encouraged me over the years. Also, thanks to my wife, Birgitta, who deals with all the jerks that are a part of doing business and doesn’t give me a hard time for disappearing for 2-3 months at a time to go do the fun stuff.
What is your Duty Now for the Future?