INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE DRAGUNS
INTERVIEW AND INTRODUCTION BY JIM MURPHY
PHOTOS BY PHIL JACKSON AND ZOLI
After Burnside took off, the skaters in Philadelphia knew it was their turn to step it up and start building some renegade concrete somewhere, somehow. Skateboarders like Carlos, Dan Tag and George Draguns who had been skating for years, were totally down for anything skateable in the Philly area, whether it be a vert ramp, a concrete bowl or a grand mixture of the two. The highway next to the FDR park in Philly was a perfect spot and, over the years, many people with concrete and vert ramp building skills would roll up on the scene to help make the dream become a reality. So how did this all start? Who made the calls on what was to be built and how big? Who got the ‘crete and shaped it? Who are those old vert soldiers riding the vert ramp next to the sprawling concrete? Why would the city of Philadelphia let this all go down? Check out these interviews to give you an inside look at the devolution of the FDR SKATEPARK!
“The Northeast vert skater is his own separate beast. There are tons of them too. There are tons of guys who still go skate the Peanut Bowl and hang out until the vert session starts.”
Hello, George? Are you ready to get this interview going, brother?
Oh, yeah. Let’s do this. I’m ready. Let me put my seatbelt on.
Okay, strap in. Name, rank and serial number…
Well, my name is George Draguns and I’m 42 years young.
Let’s talk about how you ended up in Philly at a State College where you had a killer backyard ramp and then this FDR thing started happening. Tell me about when you first heard about what was going down at FDR?
I was working with Dan Tag and Rick Charnoski and so we went down there to FDR. I was sick of going to CheapSkates because we had the routine of going to CheapSkates once a week and that had run its course. It’s an hour and a half drive with traffic. We decided we should just build something down at FDR because there was definitely a vibe of people just building stuff when they wanted to. I was like, “We should build a vert ramp.”
When you heard about people building concrete down there, were you thinking they might build a pool?
No. I wasn’t even in that mindset. I was like, “We should just go cost effective.” I knew we had Sean Miller’s ramp leftovers at Darren’s Menditto’s dad’s restaurant and the old Brick Ramp was there with scraps of other ramps. It was like a pragmatic thing. We had enough to get the frame done and a lot of the sheeting was already there. There was plenty of steel left over, so it was the ultimate scrapper project. It was like, “Let’s see how far we can get with it.”