éS Game Of SKATE Tour

The éS Game of SKATE Tour started out like any other skate road trip—lots of last minute gathering and hurrying and packing. But this tour hit the road without any pros or sponsored ams, and with a slightly different goal in mind: our mission was to present the Boost Mobile éS Game of SKATE on Eric Koston’s behalf in 12 cities around the United States and come home with 12 qualifiers for the World Championships in San Diego in September.

The format for all the éS Games of SKATE is the same: it’s a head-to-head, single elimination tournament with one winner. In case of an odd number of skaters, we do a three-way game of SKATE in the earliest round possible, creating a final round with anywhere from three to seven skaters. The top skaters at each event all went home with a couple of T-shirts and an éS Game of SKATE medal. The top three won shoes from éS, and the winner earned an all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego for the Boost Mobile éS Game of SKATE World Championships, as well as a Boost Mobile camera phone and re-Boost card.

Armed with a quiver of Girl, Chocolate, and Firm boards courtesy of Sam at Girl and Lance Mountain, and plenty of Ricta Wheels and shoes from éS, the crew consisted of brothers Javi and Blinka Cortes, and Pepito Galindo, who were collectively known as “Brown Town due to their residence in that neighborhood in Orange, California. Next were Kelly O’Rourke, affectionately known as “Big Red, Taylor Corner, and your humble narrator, rounding out the crew of skate rats, who managed to play more games of SKATE at rest areas, gas stations, and restaurants than anyone else in the history of road trips. We know because we kept track until it got over 700!

The van we cruised in was a luxurious 12 passenger Ford E-350. Dodge and Chevy vans are not acceptable for long road trips, and as any road warrior will tell you, and this Ford was in it for the long haul, set up with an Alpine stereo with iPod hookups, XM Radio, and a custom-made rack in back for organization. We needed organization to hold all the stuff we had to give away: 100 Boost Mobile T-shirts, video games, CDs, TransWorld Skateboarding Magazines, Napoleon Dynamite chapsticks, and tons of banners at each stop! We also had a fleet of phones from Boost Mobile which kept everyone connected with girls and friends at home no matter where we were, which was good, since even the most grizzled road veterans like to keep in touch.

The tour started out in Orange, California, at the new Active Ride shop, with about 75 skaters in the éS Game of SKATE. Boost Mobile set the tone for support of the tour with cool foam letters, tons of goodies for the goody bags for everyone who entered, and great company—Janae from Boost proved to be a great help for the entire tour, and for that we all thank her immensely! So back to the Game of SKATE: although Joseph Varela and Donny Mitchell gave him a good run for his money, Derek Fukuhara came out on top. So far, so good—one game, one winner! The next stop was San Jose.

Our partner in San Jose was Skate Works, a great skate shop owned by the Strubing family, and the game was in the parking lot behind the store. 86 skaters dwindled down to five: Sebo Walker, J.R. Cerezo, Adam Lindsey, Blake Swendson, and Joe Suddoth. Adam Lindsey came out on top and finally took his headphones off—they’d helped him concentrate throughout the whole game, and it worked. Adam is heading to San Diego on September 10! Oh, yeah! I wanna give a shout out to my boy in SJ, Chuck Norris!

Sandy, Utah, our shop partner MiloSport, and a long drive were next. The Game of SKATE was right next to the new Lone Peak Skatepark at a basketball court, which worked out perfectly. Thanks to Josh at MiloSport for the scouting help! Everything was going great as we entered the third round—working from 84 skaters down to 42, then 21. With about an hour left, a freak storm came out of the west, spewing wind and rain all over the Salt Lake area for about an hour,nd spinning the éS tent into the skatepark fence.

Luckily, the heavy-duty Boost tent stayed put and moms with young kids were able to get some shelter for the worst part of the storm. Without a true contingency plan for rain, but thinking quickly, a group of skaters discovered that the picnic tables in the nearby covered gazebo were bolted down with nuts that fit a skate wrench. We were able to finish the Game, one game at a time, with a great crew of spectators sticking it out, having a great time. The top five were: Chris Fowler in fifth, Jason Weston in fourth, Walker Chesser in third. Crowd and skater favorite Sam Hubble got second, and Chris Grenier got the big top spot. It had been challenging, fun, and successful, but we were glad to get out of Salt Lake and the rain.

After an all-nighter got us into Denver, a skate session at the downtown skatepark helped wake most of us up enough to keep driving. Our next stop was Oklahoma City, where the locals at Fast Forward set us up with a great spot for the Game at a local church. With a covered arena roof keeping a lot of heat away and a lot of friendly folks around, the Church of the Harvest was a great host. A group of Dallas locals, including full-on comedian Mark DeSouza, made the trip up to skate and have fun. Rippers from Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas also made the trip. The éS Game of SKATE crew made friends with this crazy cat named Street Mike, who made it into the third round and the top 16. The top four were: Nick Thomas, Ryan Schorman, Patrick Andruchow, and Brandon Sowards, and in the end Patrick earned the trip to the finals.

A suburb of Chicago, Illinois, called Tinley Park, was next. Held in the parking lot of Krush Skatepark, the Game of SKATE had 90 skaters, a lot of moms and dads, and a great Boost barbecue. It was a great event, and it also marked the start of some easier drives for the crew, so we were all a little more relaxed. Rob Warren made the drive from Omaha, Nebraska, and stole the thunder from the locals by taking the top spot. The other guys in the top five were Matt Borroughs, Paul Van Berkum, Pepito Galindo, and Eric Thomas. Good job, Rob! See you in San Diego.

After some adventures in car washing courtesy of some high school cheerleaders, a trip to the airport to pick up our first visitor, my sister Laura, and a great visit to Woodward, we made it to New York City. At Woodward we discovered our first place with no cell service, so it was good to be back in civilization and in communication. The kids were putting the Boost phones to the test and the phones were performing with flying colors! Games, text messages, Web browsing, IMs, as well as more than their fair share of getting dropped, landed on, and kicked around, and they were still going.

Going from the relative calm of Woodward to New York City could be culture shock if we hadn’t been on the road for so long. The éS Game of SKATE in New York was in Tompkins Square Park, and with 187 skaters and over 1000 spectators, this was by far the biggest skateboarding event I’d ever seen without pro skateboarders! The chaos throughout the day was just enough to keep it interesting, and after the typical minor conflicts we needled it down to the top six guys: Matt Zicopula, Pedro Garboza, Brandon Burchs, Kyle Debernardi, Aaron Weber, and Sam Morgan.

The youngest skater in the finals, Lil’ Matt Zicopula, took on everyone with the patience and poise of someone far more experienced, emerged on top of the heat and will be in San Diego in September. Special thanks to Dave from Autumn, Joe Bragan, Steve Rodriguez, Rodney Torres, and my man Qwayne for all their help. We couldn’t have done that one without you! Craig, Jim, Janae, and the crew from Boost took us to a great Spanish tapas meal in New York like most of us had never had before. It was delicious—thank you!

A few misadventures with fireworks and cops, a hit-and-run taxicab nailing a bike, and a tourist trip to Ellis Island later, we were on our way to Boston to meet up with our friends Matt Willigan, Patrick Malley, and Devoe from True East, who was our shop partner for Boston. The éS Game of SKATE was held at the Chinatown spot, and although we were kind of nervous about blowing out a spot for the locals, Devoe assured us things were cool, and once we set the locals up with some T-shirts and hats, everything was aces. 105 skaters entered the contest, and it was a good one.

It was pretty funny to see George Camel go out in the first round. Not that we wish ill will upon George, but at last year’s éS Game of SKATE with our friends at Coliseum out in Melrose, George tried to tell 60 skaters that a one-footed ollie isn’t a trick, so it was just a bit sweet. Last year’s one-footed ollier John Phat was nowhere to be found this year, which was a bummer, but Nick G. and Gavin Nolan were back and still ripping. Something about skateboarding in Boston is just special, and this day was no exception. The top seven skaters were: Lee Berman, Nick G., Zack DePiero, John Phillips, Greg Cotto, Daniel Hoffman, and the winner, Dave Bachinsky. Cheers, Dave!

Philadelphia was next, and since I had more than a few people who had never been to the city of brotherly love before, we took the mandatory tour of the spots: Love Park, City Hall, the bridge spot, FDR. A call to my old friend Bam got nothing in return, so the trip to Westchester never happened. Bummer. But things were great when another old friend, Jay Brundege, and his FromOhio Skateboards crew showed up. Not only did he take the kids skating, but he helped us out the next day when 120 showed up for the Game of SKATE. Thanks to the folks at Franklin’s Paine www.franklinspaine.org, we had a great spot, at the east end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, right in front of the Rocky steps. Jim Cavanaugh and the folks from Franklin’s Paine have been working tirelessly to get the skatepark going on the Schuylkill River, a few miles from Love Park, and the day of the Game of SKATE they had just finished final designs, so Jim set up a little easel to show them off. And they look good! Anyway, the top four skaters from Philadelphia were Tim Wynne, who you’ll be seeing more of in the years to come if he keeps at it; Spencer Brown, Pat Hickey, and Tim Thompson. Tim Thompson not only took home the trip to San Diego, but a bright future as well. Congratulations, Tim. A special thanks to Jeremy Hurwitz, who helped hold things together not only in Philly but at our next stop, the next day, in Frederick, Maryland.

Our friend Jay and the FromOhio crew followed us into Maryland and helped again the next day. Thanks, guys! I made the mistake of calling Frederick “Fredericksburg one time during the éS Game of SKATE, and you could cut the pride in that place with a knife, it was so thick—I won’t make that mistake again, no. The folks at PitCrew went all out promoting the Game of SKATE, and it showed. Not only did they sort us out with a great place to hold the game, they got 166 kids and most of the skate community and their parents out, as well, from as far away as Baltimore and DC. A roller hockey rink works great—smooth ground, not too slippery, and an enclosed area to “control 200 skaters.

This was one of the most enjoyable days on the tour—the people were amazing, and the Game of SKATE was lots of fun. The top five were Bobby Worrest, Matt Ray, Danny Gotimer, Will Stackus, and Andre Rucker. When the dust settled, Bobby Worrest took the top spot. Other notables included éS art guru Matt Willigan losing to Bobby Worrest in the top ten, and Spencer Brown, who placed top 5 in Philly, making it to the top 10 as well. Brothers Matt and Cody Ray from Baltimore also impressed with a healthy bag of tricks and some clean skating.

Matt and Laura left the next morning and we missed them both—they’d been inspiring and fun to have around, and helpful, too. Perfect road trip companions. After a hefty drive to central Florida, which included stoe on our way to Boston to meet up with our friends Matt Willigan, Patrick Malley, and Devoe from True East, who was our shop partner for Boston. The éS Game of SKATE was held at the Chinatown spot, and although we were kind of nervous about blowing out a spot for the locals, Devoe assured us things were cool, and once we set the locals up with some T-shirts and hats, everything was aces. 105 skaters entered the contest, and it was a good one.

It was pretty funny to see George Camel go out in the first round. Not that we wish ill will upon George, but at last year’s éS Game of SKATE with our friends at Coliseum out in Melrose, George tried to tell 60 skaters that a one-footed ollie isn’t a trick, so it was just a bit sweet. Last year’s one-footed ollier John Phat was nowhere to be found this year, which was a bummer, but Nick G. and Gavin Nolan were back and still ripping. Something about skateboarding in Boston is just special, and this day was no exception. The top seven skaters were: Lee Berman, Nick G., Zack DePiero, John Phillips, Greg Cotto, Daniel Hoffman, and the winner, Dave Bachinsky. Cheers, Dave!

Philadelphia was next, and since I had more than a few people who had never been to the city of brotherly love before, we took the mandatory tour of the spots: Love Park, City Hall, the bridge spot, FDR. A call to my old friend Bam got nothing in return, so the trip to Westchester never happened. Bummer. But things were great when another old friend, Jay Brundege, and his FromOhio Skateboards crew showed up. Not only did he take the kids skating, but he helped us out the next day when 120 showed up for the Game of SKATE. Thanks to the folks at Franklin’s Paine www.franklinspaine.org, we had a great spot, at the east end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, right in front of the Rocky steps. Jim Cavanaugh and the folks from Franklin’s Paine have been working tirelessly to get the skatepark going on the Schuylkill River, a few miles from Love Park, and the day of the Game of SKATE they had just finished final designs, so Jim set up a little easel to show them off. And they look good! Anyway, the top four skaters from Philadelphia were Tim Wynne, who you’ll be seeing more of in the years to come if he keeps at it; Spencer Brown, Pat Hickey, and Tim Thompson. Tim Thompson not only took home the trip to San Diego, but a bright future as well. Congratulations, Tim. A special thanks to Jeremy Hurwitz, who helped hold things together not only in Philly but at our next stop, the next day, in Frederick, Maryland.

Our friend Jay and the FromOhio crew followed us into Maryland and helped again the next day. Thanks, guys! I made the mistake of calling Frederick “Fredericksburg one time during the éS Game of SKATE, and you could cut the pride in that place with a knife, it was so thick—I won’t make that mistake again, no. The folks at PitCrew went all out promoting the Game of SKATE, and it showed. Not only did they sort us out with a great place to hold the game, they got 166 kids and most of the skate community and their parents out, as well, from as far away as Baltimore and DC. A roller hockey rink works great—smooth ground, not too slippery, and an enclosed area to “control 200 skaters.

This was one of the most enjoyable days on the tour—the people were amazing, and the Game of SKATE was lots of fun. The top five were Bobby Worrest, Matt Ray, Danny Gotimer, Will Stackus, and Andre Rucker. When the dust settled, Bobby Worrest took the top spot. Other notables included éS art guru Matt Willigan losing to Bobby Worrest in the top ten, and Spencer Brown, who placed top 5 in Philly, making it to the top 10 as well. Brothers Matt and Cody Ray from Baltimore also impressed with a healthy bag of tricks and some clean skating.

Matt and Laura left the next morning and we missed them both—they’d been inspiring and fun to have around, and helpful, too. Perfect road trip companions. After a hefty drive to central Florida, which included stops for fireworks, way too much time on the phone to girlfriends (Javi), some long-distance heartbreak (Kelly), a crazy accident in Georgia which stopped all traffic and sent Big Red, Taylor, Pepito and Oscar skating down the middle of the freeway, and post-Hurricane Dennis weather in Florida, we arrived in Tampa.

Brian Schaefer, Ryan Clements, and the crew from Skatepark of Tampa are the standard for grass-roots skateboarding events in the US, and we were psyched to have them host an éS Game of SKATE. The éS crew was all surprised at how small the park is after seeing it only in video for years and years, and the had a lot of fun skating. I was psyched to see the kids skating the mini ramp and the bowl in back, too.

Seventy-six skaters entered the game, and they all attacked with typical Florida vigor. The top five were: Parker Landers, Connor Kammerer, Malcolm Seaman, P.J. Castellano, and local fan favorite Robby Kirkland. Young Malcolm came out on top, and will be making the trek to San Diego for the finals in September. Thanks to Mike Andrusczko and all the SPoT boys for being kind hosts.

Hotlanta was our next stop, and it lived up to its nickname. Demetrius and the Fast Forward staff, and the friendly crew at the Skatepark of Atlanta, were our hosts for a fun-filled afternoon. We had help from Britney and Julie, I caught up on old times with Brian, and, oh yeah, some great skateboarding went down once again. The top four were Rhett Freeman, Alan Blaha, Maury Blankenship, and David Clark, who ended up earning the trip to San Diego.

Atlanta was the last Game of SKATE for five days—the next one was scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona—so we had a good meal and headed towards Hazard County Skatepark and a visit with our old friend Jonah. It was great to see Jonah and catch up a little, and yep, even roll around some. The park is awesome, and if you’re in the area you’d be a fool not to check it out.

With five days to get to Arizona, a car full of fireworks, 100 degree heat, and New Orleans in the path, we were destined for trouble. Between struggling to find a place to blow up the fireworks, crossing Mobile Bay on a ferry to escape, getting arrested for skating a skatepark in Texas (I’d tell you more, but the case is still in court as of this writing), some of the Game of SKATE crew seeing their first live boobs in New Orleans, and a bit of homesickness finally setting in as we headed west for the first time in three weeks, it was an interesting five days. And if we thought it was hot in Texas, boy were we wrong!

We arrived in Phoenix to 112 degree heat, but after very little skating for a few days, the boys wanted to hit up some parks. The new park in Tempe rules, and the crew spent a couple hours jumping up the Euro gaps and skating the rails while I got used to skating pool coping again. The Mesa park was next, where we met some kids who were going to enter the éS Game of SKATE the next day. After a few rounds of getting schooled by the locals, we headed off to some air conditioning and a pool.

The next morning a trip to the local waterslide park was in order, where Big Red and Pepito met some girls and swapped MySpaces. The waterpark kept us partially cool until it was time to head off to the skatepark. When we started the Game of SKATE, it was still 103 degrees! The 182 skaters in the contest didn’t mind, though, and kept the heat going deep into the evening. The top six skaters were: Even Obeson, Tim Adams, Zak Gonzales, Steve Chavosky, Dave Smith, and John Moore, who won.

As we headed home and started reflecting on the tour, we realized what a fun and successful trip it had been. Thanks to Boost Mobile, éS Footwear, the Firm, and TransWorld Skateboarding Magazine, almost every skater went home with something—T-shirt, stickers, DVDs, magainzes, etc. A lot of effort and support went into the tour, and as with any skateboarding tour, it takes people who believe in skateboarding to get in a van and get sweaty and diirty and tired and drive across the country. Skateboarders do it all time, because we love skateboarding. Boost Mobile supported the éS Game of SKATE tour because they believe in skateboarding. Does your cell phone company?

All told there were 1251 skaters in the US tournament, and we weeded them down to 12 skaters. These 12 will meet up with the four international winners from Japan, Europe, Australia, and Canada, in San Diego, for the éS Game of SKATE Amateur World Championships, presented by Boost Mobile. The date is September 10, 2005, and the event is free and open to the public. Immediately following the Amateur World Championships, the winner will be seeded into the Pro Finals of Eric Koston’s éS Game of SKATE to try to win $15,000 in the culmination of the world’s largest skateboard contest ever.—Mark Waters

www.gameofskate.com
www.boostmobile.com
www.skateboarding.com
www.thefirmskateboards.net
www.crailtap.com

for fireworks, way too much time on the phone to girlfriends (Javi), some long-distance heartbreak (Kelly), a crazy accident in Georgia which stopped all traffic and sent Big Red, Taylor, Pepito and Oscar skating down the middle of the freeway, and post-Hurricane Dennis weather in Florida, we arrived in Tampa.

Brian Schaefer, Ryan Clements, and the crew from Skatepark of Tampa are the standard for grass-roots skateboarding events in the US, and we were psyched to have them host an éS Game of SKATE. The éS crew was all surprised at how small the park is after seeing it only in video for years and years, and the had a lot of fun skating. I was psyched to see the kids skating the mini ramp and the bowl in back, too.

Seventy-six skaters entered the game, and they all attacked with typical Florida vigor. The top five were: Parker Landers, Connor Kammerer, Malcolm Seaman, P.J. Castellano, and local fan favorite Robby Kirkland. Young Malcolm came out on top, and will be making the trek to San Diego for the finals in September. Thanks to Mike Andrusczko and all the SPoT boys for being kind hosts.

Hotlanta was our next stop, and it lived up to its nickname. Demetrius and the Fast Forward staff, and the friendly crew at the Skatepark of Atlanta, were our hosts for a fun-filled afternoon. We had help from Britney and Julie, I caught up on old times with Brian, and, oh yeah, some great skateboarding went down once again. The top four were Rhett Freeman, Alan Blaha, Maury Blankenship, and David Clark, who ended up earning the trip to San Diego.

Atlanta was the last Game of SKATE for five days—the next one was scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona—so we had a good meal and headed towards Hazard County Skatepark and a visit with our old friend Jonah. It was great to see Jonah and catch up a little, and yep, even roll around some. The park is awesome, and if you’re in the area you’d be a fool not to check it out.

With five days to get to Arizona, a car full of fireworks, 100 degree heat, and New Orleans in the path, we were destined for trouble. Between struggling to find a place to blow up the fireworks, crossing Mobile Bay on a ferry to escape, getting arrested for skating a skatepark in Texas (I’d tell you more, but the case is still in court as of this writing), some of the Game of SKATE crew seeing their first live boobs in New Orleans, and a bit of homesickness finally setting in as we headed west for the first time in three weeks, it was an interesting five days. And if we thought it was hot in Texas, boy were we wrong!

We arrived in Phoenix to 112 degree heat, but after very little skating for a few days, the boys wanted to hit up some parks. The new park in Tempe rules, and the crew spent a couple hours jumping up the Euro gaps and skating the rails while I got used to skating pool coping again. The Mesa park was next, where we met some kids who were going to enter the éS Game of SKATE the next day. After a few rounds of getting schooled by the locals, we headed off to some air conditioning and a pool.

The next morning a trip to the local waterslide park was in order, where Big Red and Pepito met some girls and swapped MySpaces. The waterpark kept us partially cool until it was time to head off to the skatepark. When we started the Game of SKATE, it was still 103 degrees! The 182 skaters in the contest didn’t mind, though, and kept the heat going deep into the evening. The top six skaters were: Even Obeson, Tim Adams, Zak Gonzales, Steve Chavosky, Dave Smith, and John Moore, who won.

As we headed home and started reflecting on the tour, we realized what a fun and successful trip it had been. Thanks to Boost Mobile, éS Footwear, the Firm, and TransWorld Skateboarding Magazine, almost every skater went home with something—T-shirt, stickers, DVDs, magainzes, etc. A lot of effort and support went into the tour, and as with any skateboarding tour, it takes people who believe in skateboarding to get in a van and get sweaty and dirty and tired and drive across the country. Skateboarders do it all time, because we love skateboarding. Boost Mobile supported the éS Game of SKATE tour because they believe in skateboarding. Does your cell phone company?

All told there were 1251 skaters in the US tournament, and we weeded them down to 12 skaters. These 12 will meet up with the four international winners from Japan, Europe, Australia, and Canada, in San Diego, for the éS Game of SKATE Amateur World Championships, presented by Boost Mobile. The date is September 10, 2005, and the event is free and open to the public. Immediately following the Amateur World Championships, the winner will be seeded into the Pro Finals of Eric Koston’s éS Game of SKATE to try to win $15,000 in the culmination of the world’s largest skateboard contest ever.—Mark Waters

www.gameofskate.com
www.boostmobile.com
www.skateboarding.com
www.thefirmskateboards.net
www.crailtap.com

y and dirty and tired and drive across the country. Skateboarders do it all time, because we love skateboarding. Boost Mobile supported the éS Game of SKATE tour because they believe in skateboarding. Does your cell phone company?

All told there were 1251 skaters in the US tournament, and we weeded them down to 12 skaters. These 12 will meet up with the four international winners from Japan, Europe, Australia, and Canada, in San Diego, for the éS Game of SKATE Amateur World Championships, presented by Boost Mobile. The date is September 10, 2005, and the event is free and open to the public. Immediately following the Amateur World Championships, the winner will be seeded into the Pro Finals of Eric Koston’s éS Game of SKATE to try to win $15,000 in the culmination of the world’s largest skateboard contest ever.—Mark Waters

www.gameofskate.com
www.boostmobile.com
www.skateboarding.com
www.thefirmskateboards.net
www.crailtap.com