Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BusStop goes to Tampa Pro - Part One: Friday

Setting up for this trip was a somewhat daunting task, and there were a few notable hurdles that I just had to plow right through. First of all, more than a couple of the hotels in Tampa seemed to be operated by people who rarely speak English, so room reservations were out. On top of that, I had reserved a rental van 3 different times. With the first one, Enterprise called back 2 days later telling me they don't own the van I wanted, or even a van at all. Nice. The local company called me back 2 days before the trip to tell me that their van broke down. Rad! Finally, I went to Budget Rental in OP and got shit taken care of.

Once Friday morning finally came around, I made the wakeup calls and rounded people up. The lineup of our crew drastically changed in the last few hours of departure, with a few calling out, a few not calling me at all, and a couple of new faces filling in empty spots. We were actually over capacity in the van, and everyone had to take turns sitting on the floor throughout the trip. The final lineup consisted of me driving, Captain J, Graver, Mike Murphy, Matt Fink, Laura, Moricophoto, and Chris Jolly.

Once we were all in the van, we headed south down 95 to our first stop, Flagler skatepark - AKA Wadsworth, AKA the Purple Park. Luckily, a senior citizen at Wendy's clued us in to the park's location, but not before he told a story about his favorite one-legged wrestler from Texas. It sounded as if he'd told the story quite a few times before-This is why I don't live in Palm Coast. Well. One of the reasons. I bet people down here get stories like that 8 times a day.
Mike Murphy, Pop Shove over the Box
Mike Murphy - Pop Shove to Flat

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Matt Fink, 360 Flip

After some searching, we found the park. This place was alright. I think one of the ramps had a bullet hole in it. From what it looked like, half of the ramps were older, done with some strange kind of metal prefab stuff, and the other half was sketchy Skatewave stuff that is slippery as hell. The miniramp was the same minimal-flat style as the one at the park out off Racetrack road in Jacksonville. Hard to skate. However, this one actually had a good hip and a spine ramp that went off the back, so it's not quite as bad. There were some other things that were interesting, if not awesome, like the picnic table that Fink skated, and the semi-pyramid in the corner that dropped off to flat on two sides.
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Captain J

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As a little side note to city planners, don't invest in Skatewave. I'm sure they are alright dudes and everything, but the ramps they build are total shit. Just my opinion. Thanks.

After we were done at the purple park, we were back on the road heading south toward the public park in New Smyrna Beach. On the way there, we saw some crazy spots, but unfortunately we didn't have much time to stop and skate. The new Smyrna Park was small but fun. The bowl looked sick, and it seemed to be a fun flow park to cruise around at. Once we all rode around the park a bit and got ready to film, it came to our realization that a key item was left at the last park - The lens for the video camera. Not willing to give up this 800 dollar item to the first person to find it, we hauled ass back up 95 in an effort to get to it before kids got out of school and could get their hands on it. Luckily, with some help from the locals, we got it back, though it was still a rattling experience.
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Indy Tweaker

With our gear accounted for, we headed south to I-4 to our next stop, the Maitland banks. These things are classic, and apparently this is what Team Pain based the brick quarter at Ed Austin on. Basically, this spot is almost a city block full of brick quarter pipes stretching running down the sidewalk and around 2 plaza-like corners. Half of it was skatestopped with flat bars across the foot of the transition, though it looks like some locals turned those flat bars into skateable objects, too. We skated here till it got dark. Graver Kickflipped to fakie and backide disastered, Murph did a varial pivot, and Fink just ripped it a new one in general. After this, we were done with skateboarding for the day.
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Kevin Graver
Graver, shot by Morico
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We headed south down I-4 toward Tampa. We made 3 more stops before reaching Days Inn in Tampa - Once to eat at Hooters in Lakeland, and twice due to a crew member drinking heavily on an empty stomach.
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I was glad to be at the hotel once we got there. Thanks to Laura's military discount, we got a hookup on the rooms, and I appreciated that. Thanks Laura. I went back to my room and crashed the f**k out.

As an added bonus, I have some footy from friday I took with my crappy handicam:

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