Photos by Peter Day
Words by John Seidler
“On the eve of the release of the new Zion O’Friel Pro model, we thought we had it all figured out. Every year the Skate Movement people throw a Go Skate Day event at the Corning skatepark the weekend closest to actual Go Skate Day. We are the sponsors of the Bowl event at that contest, so we figured that was easy, just piggyback the board release with the event, piece of cake, right?… No… That event got cancelled!
Within minutes of finding out about the cancellation, I called up Zion and suggested that in lieu of that event we should do a San Francisco to Portland road trip! That we should round up not only our regular team but as many other shredders as we could get on board and Bbarge relentlessly Northward.
On June 22nd I picked up Zion and another one of our Oregon team members, Joey O’Leary at the Oakland Airport, where we secured our home on wheels for the next week, a 15 person Ford Transit van. Also along at that point were Vaquero team rider Dezmin Lane and top grom Gabe Gomez. After an hour or so of your typical Bay Area traffic we arrived at our first stop Potrero! There we picked up a few more of what would be the crew for the trip, Photographer/Videographer Peter Day, Two more of our groms, Christian Grenier and Colin Bailey. And finally by friend local shred favorite Chris (Ratface) Jatoft. We also knew we would be joined at that session by our buddies and Potrero frequent fliers Jeff Hedges and Demarcus James.
Demarcus just got the cast off of his broken foot the day before but was already just killing it. He was kind of moping when he came up and said:
“Sounds like a rad trip you guys are doing, I wish I had been invited”
I was like “Dude, you’re are always invited. I thought you were still broken off! Just jump in and we’ll figure out the rest later”.
He gave me a sly smile “yeah, I brought all my stuff”
And it was on!
We said our farewells at Potrero, threw out a bunch of product for the local kids and it was off to Power Inn.
Power Inn Session was good and one could sense that the crew was starting to meld together and push each other in new directions. A lot of these guys have only skated together in competitions so it was cool to see them just chilling and getting each other fired up. Ratface had taken a real bellringer at PI a couple of weeks earlier so it was great to see him get his redemption.
We camped out at Woodson Bridge Park that first night which is right outside of beautiful Corning California. Another one of these little towns in the middle of nowhere that just happens to have an incredible skatepark. The next morning we were joined there by Dewey Wilson and Jimbo Gilbert. Of course the session was just crazy and if not for the inevitable midday heat we would have hung out for even longer. Jimbo took a bit of a bellringer himself that day, but ended up buying his wife a lovely Skate Crime G-String and that always ends well!
We had to do a stopover at Subculture in Redbluff not only because Miranda is awesome and bought a bunch of Zion boards, but we were able to stock up on other necessities as well. Because as well as being a skate shop, Subculture is a smoke shop too! If ever in Redbluff be sure to stop in!
By the time we got to Shasta that afternoon things were really getting cooking. Team Captain Mark “Barno” Kneass and Masters hopeful Bob Buckelew had the place set up like a real event with tunes, an announcing booth and stacks of local pizzas. It was at this point too we were joined by Brandon Durrett, owner of SBS clothing, and one of his top skaters and our good buddy Jared Albright. A bunch of the Shasta locals came out to skate with us and keep the shred levels high. Another off the hook session followed by copious amounts of beer and tequila around the campfire. Barno brought out a couple of guitars and we jammed on into the night with Ratface soloing away on his harmonica…
Medford was totally rad! Our first Oregon stop was met not only with a bunch of ripper locals, but Rita from Jacks Board House busted out the BBQ and fed everyone. This is also where the rest of our Oregon team members (Skyler Grocholski and Ryan Rowley) jumped on board along with our good buddy Travis Augustine. Travis not only kills it skating but he’s an excellent filmer as well. The crew we had accumulated by this point could destroy just about anything. Sadly we had to skip Grants Pass. Which was a shame because there was a whole crew of skaters over there waiting for us. But by now it was becoming apparent how difficult it is to get 14 people in and out of the van and from one place to the other with any sort of time table in mind. So it was on up to Myrtle Creek where the insanity levels just got bigger and higher. Zion, Dezmin, Demarcus, Ratface and everyone else, just pushing each other further.
Just outside of Eugene we found a private campground that could actually handle all of us. And because we knew once we got to the new Eugene park it would be super hard to get people moving again, we decided to plop down for two nights there. Again tons of ripper locals came out and with our heavy crew that park took a beating that day! I’m pretty sure the guy with the local taco truck had to close down after we fed everyone, for lack of supplies.
Thankfully Gabes mom, Katy Belton, was along to help me manage things. The daily grind of making sure everyone was fed, had their smoking and drinking needs met and manage to find a place to stay each night was a full time job for us both. Before we left the Bay Area we knew the van would not be big enough for all of us. With skaters, skate gear, camping gear, photography gear, food, beer, Redbulls and enough product not only to sell but to replace the endless procession of broken boards this particular group could produce. So we loaded up the Charger and each day after getting our own fill of skating would take the bare necessities to the next campground, while those guys would continue filming and skating on into the night.
Next stop, Portland, Zion’s current home stomping grounds. At Glenhaven Zion threw out some incredible stuff with that home park flow that just got everyone else hyped. Jatoft figuring out those head scratching lines he does and Demarcus testing out that freshly healed foot with inverts and Miller flips. While me and Katy headed down to Lincoln City to secure the nights accommodations. The boys went on to tear up Burnside and then a late night session at Trusty Switchblade Bowl.
Lincoln City is another one of those epic spots that you can hardly absorb in a single day. So much big and fast terrain that it was hard to track who was doing what, where and when. Demarcus got a cool clip of himself and Kevin Kowalski going down the speed track and Zion was getting seriously upside-down in the capsule. Another all day adventure there, then off to Mc Minnville for a mini session and a quick Midnight commando raid of Eugene one last time before the late night crash all the way back down in Klamath Falls.
The Klammath Falls kids were awesome and came out in the 90+ degree sun all day long to shred with us. This is also the home park for three of our team members, Skyler, Joey and Ryan as well as Travis Augustine. And it shows. Those guys tore the place apart and got everyone fired up despite the hot weather. This one little kid ate shit during the board toss and in true skater form some older kid gave him the board after he stacked. Pretty awesome! Then it was homeward sadly, one could certainly learn to live like that, skate by day camp by night, but back to reality we went. Until we do it again, Thanks to everyone!!” – John Seidler
Photos by Peter Day