No Hotels' "Spot! Pull Over" Article
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MIKE HEIKKILA
WORDS BY MIKE KERSHNAR
The Call of The Open Road; A Cross Continental Adventure in a Covered Wagon.
May The Good Times Go On Forever and The Journey Never End.
No Hotels is a group of lifelong friends and skateboarders that answer the call of adventure, the call of the wild, the call of the open road. With gas in the tank of the spaceship, we don’t need much to cover a lot of ground. Everyone is more than comfortable with a sleeping bag, ground pad, and tent, or directly under the stars. Hundreds of dollars a night to simply lie down in a darkened chamber and rest for a few hours? No thanks, we prefer a fire next to a lake, some soft earth under some trees near a stream, a hill in the middle of a field, an old church, a barn, or a rooftop. The good vibes of the crew multiply and fly out in all directions. The rallying cry of “Spot! Pull Over” works for any glistening gem seen out the window be it a set of stairs, a ditch, or swimming hole. Spontaneity reigns supreme, cooking over a fire beats a lonely roadside diner, a proper double hack circle beats a scattered mood, and renegading a can of beer beats a slow sip. With faith and resilience the crew crossed the continent width and lengthwise, California to New York, over the course of a month strengthening themselves, stacking skate clips and lifelong memories. The No Hotels model is accessible, purist, and built to last. It is as accessible as a lone desert highway, stretching out to your doorstep beckoning.
Evan practicing some skate yoga amongst the camping gear before we were informed that apparently it is against the rules of this consumer haven to shoot any photographs whatsoever in any Walmart location. You hear that kids? No Walmart selfies ever.
Chris Blake gets acquainted with LA with this frontside 180 over a spiked iron fence. The red gothic hand painted sign behind him says either God is Love or Skate and Destroy depending on how you translate it.
Rob W executes a head high backside tailslide in his skywalking kicks, but the Inglewood boulevard locals show no interest.
Alex and Niels preparing to sleep out under the Nevada stars. This location was so hot at night you could sleep outside with no sleeping bag, blanket, or shirt, like a real wild animal.
The photographer demonstrates the ideal male body and a high temperature all terrain camping situation aka what to do when you have a hammock but no trees.
Sean searching for the American dream. Is it a dog, a woman, and a white picket fence? A never-ending showdown on lonely roads with the bros? Or perhaps a combination of the two?
The No Hotels custom Dad Cam by Sony. This baby captured endless hours of scenery, shotgun beer blasts, skateboarding stunts, and bewildered citizens. Paint pens are useful to customize and colorize nearly everything.
The expansive Southwest lends itself to the No Hotels lifestyle. This way of camping was not as low-profile in NYC and Chicago but we made it work.
Sean getting Jurassic with a nose manual nollie flip out shortly before the situation went fully Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
Chris with a crooked grind tail grab on a federal building in Denver. While trying this trick there was a never-ending parade of street characters shouting rap lyrics and warnings at Chris but he kept his cool and pulled it smoothly for the prostitutes and Juggalos.
No Hotels urban real estate. The white picket fence sunrise dream come true in Denver!
Niels and his sleeping bag blending in nicely to some Colorado florals. Comfortable enough to sleep in while getting rained on.
Chris with an ollie over noseblunt slide in Chicago. Notice how his stylish vintage country Reba shirt matches the Stussy graffiti.
Chizzy Chad totally locked into this frontside bluntslide pop out to regular on a busy Chicago street corner. On one bail he slipped out on, a jogger fully leaped right over him without missing a step as he lay on the ground. It was like the inverse of the old skater kickflipping a bum move.
Rob had to throwdown and push uphill to get this ollie to disaster and pop back in. His board was constantly flying into traffic and bewildering drivers but he persevered. It was one of those magic moments where motorists and pedestrians had no idea what the heck was going on with the crew.
Evan's foot was still broken on the journey but now and again he would use his tremendous powers of the mind and bust out despite the pain and doctor’s warnings. Here he nosegrinds to fakie over into a rough bank behind an IHOP dumpster.
Niels is a perfect specimen of evolution. Here he is pictured perfectly suited to his environment within a coral reef of a tour vehicle.
A 2am gas station fill up on the road in the middle of nowhere became a heavy session. The workers were amazed and let the sesh go down despite complaints from other motorists. Niels with a quick footed ollie up to backtail kickflip out. A celebration of ramen and snacks ensued afterwards.
Now performing on Mr. Smalls B stage, it ís No Hotels after an overnight drive to Pittsburgh!
Ultraman Jake Johnson and his new psychologist Sigmund on their home turf in PA.
Star Head Body with his head in the clouds, on a clean guy in the sky transfer on the backyard spine ramp of the legendary Jake Johnson. Full kundalini.
Rob W with a heavy combo platter. Ollie over the rail, bomb the ledge, board slide through the kink of the final rail on freshman move in day at Penn State. Needless to say, the young ladies loved it.
Evan nasal grinded the channel on his cruiser board between the raindrops within moments of pulling up at the spot.
How many stairs is this rail we are gonna peep? Chris nosegrinds over the back of this untouched JJ hosted PA no-stair rail.
We spent a week at Woodward camp, not hard to find spots to set our gear up with miles of Amish country around.
Sean, Niels and Ev telling yo momma jokes outside the best and only bar in town.
Evan blasts a stylish boneless on cinderblock quarter that Jake built after some spray painting in the rain.
Jake has this thing hidden in a jungle, you won’t find it unless he wants you to.
First day in NYC! Rob with an ollie up, wallride pop out in Brooklyn. This move definitely disturbed and startled many a totebag clad urbanite just trying to enjoy their seven dollar coffee in peace.
D.U.M.B.O. stands for down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. You can see it back there as Chad pops out of a frontside feeble past the pole thats trying to stop him.
Alex went Daewon in Brooklyn and arranged a construction site to his liking and properly flipped out in a visually appealing landscape.
Chad with a crossover backlip at Blubba just before skating to the hotdog cart for the 3rd time.
Evan in motion on a wallie kickflip, putting together combinations like a complex chord on the guitar. A lovable human, a supersonic persona of warmth and agility.
On the final day Rob W goes full Spiderman on some midtown scaffolding for this tail drop to fakie before splitting out of NYC. The proof is in the pudding true believers!
10/18/2021Mike Kershnar's showing paintings, prints and photos featuring Evan Smith, Kyle Walker, Victoria Ruesga and more. If you're in the City, show up.
9/29/2021The DC team and 1,000 skaters converged at LES Skatepark for the 14th annual Harold Hunter Day celebration. Check the recap, then come to the next one.
9/21/2021The Homies fire up a jump-ramp session and make it rain champagne for Roman's promotion. It never gets old.
9/20/2021Roman rips Ripon and annihilates some sketchy street spots while Evan, Cody and Maité back him up. Congrats on the pro sled!
9/20/2021Long Beach's sloshiest rolled out hard to welcome Roman Pabich into the professional ranks. Clean rips, heavy revs and fun, fun, fun. Congrats, Ro-Ro!