Words by Adam Creagan | Illustrations by James Callahan
IS SKATING A SPORT OR NOT? This question has been posed for over 40 years. The funny thing is, the people with the most informed opinion on the matter, skaters themselves, have never cared either way. Skaters know this “sport” question is a paradox only in the minds of outsiders trying to look in. And if a creeper wants insight into skating, we’ll be happy to arrange some roll-in enlightenment for them. Hell, we’ll even call the coroner and notify their next of kin. If, however, skating does go the route of conventional sports with its scoreboards, coaches, and city-based teams, we’d like to think skating’s raw elements would remain. For instance, one sociological philosophy indicates that... eh, fuck it. Who are we fooling? This whole set-up is just an excuse to create some jacked team logos.
Strengths: Revolutionary spirit, wonderful/horrible shop vids, produced National Treasures like Paul Revere, John F. Kennedy, and PJ Ladd
Weaknesses: Beantown flatulence, the cobblestone blues, tea parties, Post Traumatic Jereme Rogers Syndrome, snooty Harvard grads
Line-Up: PJ Ladd, Ryan Gallant, Dave Bachinsky, Colin Fiske
SAN FRANCISCO HILL BOMBERS
Strengths: Iconic spots, access to the mag, Frank Gerwer reality tours, don’t need a car, bombing those hills
Weaknesses: Walking back up those hills, fixed-gear collisions, bum-turd landmines, burrito comatose, “I used to skate” burnouts
Line-Up: Tommy Guerrero, TNT, Dennis Busenitz, Peter Ramondetta, Lee Yankou (honorary)
LAS VEGAS STALEFISH
Strengths: No clocks, pumped-in oxygen, plenty of company when you hit rock-bottom, maybe some bullshit about the risk/reward parallels of skating and gambling?
Weaknesses: Flabby tourists, second-hand douchery, cumulus clouds of Axe body spray, Elvis impersonators
Line-Up: Chad Muska, Braydon Szafranski, Ragdoll, Sammy Baca
PHOENIX SNAKE SESHERS
Strengths: Pools (if you’re in the know), lots of lizard-skinned oddballs, fun to watch Ben Hatchell visit and destroy everything in sight
Weaknesses: Sand in your bearings, tumbleweeds, heatstroke, Wile E. Coyote, snake bite may require venom-suck from Joe Hammeke
Line-Up: Robbie Brockel, Nick Trapasso, Jaws, whoever got 3rd at PHX AM
Strengths: Motivated skaters, dream-like skateparks (if you rip tranny), no-name locals better than your favorite pro, Sasquatch sightings
Weaknesses: Smells fishy, Noah’s Ark-type rain, nightmare-like skateparks (if you suck at tranny), forlorn lumberjacks, Sasquatch attacks
Line-Up: Cory Kennedy, David Gravette, Chad Vogt
LOS ANGELES KINGPINS
Strengths: Birthplace of skate stoke, weather so nice it seems computer-programmed, enough filmers to get a 4th angle on your rocket-ass kickflop
Weaknesses: Blown-out spots, show-biz vultures, hard to live up to a century of Hollywood hype, show-biz road kill
Line-Up: Too many to name
Strengths: Spots not blown out, beautiful women, acceptance of strange fashions/trends/pastels, America’s dong can’t be wrong
Weaknesses: Weird animals, nightlife zombies, swamp trogs (no, literally, swamp trogs), sketchy dudes with illicit wealth
Line-Up: Forrest Kirby, Dango, Danny Fuenzalida, Mindbender
RICHMOND, VA DIRT DOGS
Strengths: East Coast underdogs always have secret spots, home of Born Ugly, cheap living, sleepy southern cops, GWAR afterbirth has spawned interesting freaks
Weaknesses: Confederate-era roads are urethane-unfriendly, zero skate parks, Sahara summers/Arctic winters, rednecks and yuppies form a yin-yang balance of bummer
Line-Up: Gilbert Crockett, Josh Swyers, Trent Hazelwood, Bernie McGrew, Ali Mills (invented the nollie flip!)
SAN DIEGO POOL SHARKS
Strengths: Throw a rock: hit a skate prodigy, sunshine, spotting obscure/rad ex-pros from every decade, Washington St. is polar opposite of daycare/pad nanny/prison parks
Weaknesses: Dudes with saltwater brains, even the skate-stoppers have skate-stoppers, hearing that “Smolik already landed that in 1999”
Line-Up: Tommy Sandoval, Peter Hewitt, Tom Remillard, hundreds of transplant rippers
PORTLAND BOWL TROLLS
Strengths: Huge old man army, proximity to the shoe biz, took the world 20 years to catch up to Burnside’s DIY ethos
Weaknesses: Annoying Portlandia quotes, mildew grows on your couch/clothes/face, nine months of rain
Line-Up: Neil Heddings, Pigpen, Matt Beach, Brent Atchley
CHICAGO CARCASS TOSSERS
Strengths: Terminator super-cop no longer programmed to hunt-destroy all skaters, the wind saves you two pushes (depends on direction)
Weaknesses: The wind adds four pushes (depends on direction), “Lake-effect cold” fancy way of saying “no skate for you,” Real talk? The Sea Wall sucks—your board goes in the drink
Line-Up: Neen Williams, Kalis was there for a minute, Patrick Melcher, Stevie Dread
DETROIT TANK GIRLS
Strengths: Probably lots of underground hip-hop, buy a home for $8,000, a certain poetry to urban decay, self-contained scene not tripping on the “skate industry”
Weaknesses: Each session might be your last, flea bite sleep deprivation, far-flung suburbanites all say they’re from The D
Line-Up: Elissa Steamer, Marisa Dal Santo, Vanessa Torres, Staci Scohy, Carabeth Burnside
AUSTIN, TX HESHERS
Strengths: Fun-as-hell ditches, friendly vibe, still a couple of years until the town’s totally blown-out
Weaknesses: SXSW circle jerks, non-stop migration of weirdos from both coasts, surface-of-the-sun heat
Line-Up: Um...shit. We should have emailed Sieben
PHILADELPHIA CRETE BANDITS
Strengths: FDR (No, not the park. The 32nd president. He did a great job), lingering clout of late ’90s Love Park, cheap unhealthy food, Ricky Oyola
Weaknesses: Liberty Bell tinnitus (look it up, genius), our buddy said all the babes moved to New York
Line-Up: Chris Cole, Bam Margera, Anthony Pappalardo, Ishod Wair
NEW YORK SKATE RATS
Strengths: We’re supposed to say something about pizza, right?, raw streets, a million opportunities
Weaknesses: Raw sewage, a million distractions, the city never sleeps but your friends never skate, property-owners not thrilled their home is a “spot”
Line-Up: Who knows? You can’t spend one summer there and claim NYC, man
Write your own town's Team Name (with Strengths, Weaknesses, Line-up) in the Comments section. Or re-mix the ones above. The best one wins a free package.
3/28/2016Jerry Hsu returns to the cover of the mag with a tech-gnar masterpiece–nollie backside 180 to fakie 5-0. Welcome back, Jer!
1/11/2016You seen that part yet? Unreal. Evan is a one of a kind skate wizard. He’s a bit of a mystery, so here you get to know the guy behind the magic.
2/19/2015AVE is a true skateboard warrior. Check out this interview from our March '15 issue.
11/26/2014The Skate Tank's been on more missions than any vehicle in the world. There's too many guests to name in the rawest edit of the year, but it feels so good to see Figgy get an ender again.
10/17/2014Now that you've seen his part, get to know Jeremy a little better with his interview from our November issue.