Seven Skateboarders Tell Their On-The-Road Horror Stories

Author: Eric Stricker and Nate Sherwood

Tony Hawk, Rob Dyrdek, Ragdoll, Colin McKay, Colt Cannon, Mark Appleyard, and Eli Reed have traveled the world over. Ità­s most oftentimes a fun ride, but different people in different places equals a wide array of situations. And in this instance, not so good ones. Sometimes the bad stuff happens across the Atlantic, and other times within mere miles of home, but all we know is that after you read these, that rounded, parched curb outside your house will never have sounded so good!

COLT CANNON

Unexpected Thoughts Of Peace On Broken Wings

I was around twenty years old when I took a trip to Japan with the Element team. Actually, it was just Kenny Hughes and meóescorted by Ryan Kingman (team manager at the time) and Dennis McGrath (staff photographer at the time). Ià­d been flying worldwide since I was around nineteen, but flying still never sat right with me. On every flight, I kiss my hand and rub the outside of the plane just before I board, praying I get to my destination safely. I guess you could say Ià­m superstitious.

We stayed in Japan for about a week going to a trade show and opening the first Element skateboard shop. It was an easy trip compared to most skate trips. Most nights, we tried getting our distributor drunk off sake bombs (heà­d never done them before).

The trip came to an end, and it was time to fly back home. Now when it comes to flying home, Ià­m twice as tense. Reason being, I donà­t know, I just want to get home badly.

So I kissed my hand before I boarded and got to my seat. I sat right in between Kenny and Ryan. As both are quite big individuals, I obviously wasnà­t psyched. The flight took off, and I started listening to my iPod and tried as hard as I could to get some sleep.

A few hours into the flight, I was awakened by some turbulence. I tensed up instantly. The plane got hit again with violent turbulence. At this point, I freaked out. My body started sweating and my heart pumped just from a few bumps. Then all of a sudden, the plane took what seemed like a 50- to 100-foot drop in altitude, then started shaking nonstop as if the Almighty himself grabbed the plane with his hand and started shaking it.

I looked out the window Ryan was sitting at. He closed it just as I looked over. I could see lightning and hard-hitting rain. The plane kept getting thrown around like we were falling from the sky. I could feel the tilt of the plane losing altitude, but how much altitude, I didnà­t know. I blasted my iPod at full volume, playing the song ìIà­m The Oneà® by Van Halen, killing my ears to take away some of the thought that we might be going down.

The plane didnà­t let up at all. I was scared and needed comfort, so I looked at Ryan and asked to hold his hand. He gave me a funny look, then put his hand out for me to hold. I looked over at Kenny, and he gave me the same funny look but without the same outcome. We said our good-byes, then shook handsóand said good-byes, again. After that, I sat back in my chair with my right hand holding Ryanà­s hand, my left hand making sure the song was repeated.

I could feel the large containers that held the luggage down below hitting the plane. It still felt like we were going down. I was almost certain we were going to crash. I had thoughts going through my head of how much I didnà­t want to die. I wanted so much for the turbulence to stop and to get off the flight. At the peak of these thoughts, the plane seemed to level off, as if we were going to land.

At that moment, I thought we were landing on water and that I was about to die. I braced myself for whatever was about to happen. I actually had a moment of peace with myself that death was inevitable and that dying in distress was pointless.

A few moments passed while I was in this mind-set. Then all of a sudden, the turbulence stopped. The plane stabilized, and everything seemed to be ay. After two hours of uncertainty, I could finally say, ìIà­m going to live.à® I couldnà­t believe it. Ryan looked at me to get his hand back and opened the window. We werenà­t anywhere near the water, I just thought we were. Kenny, Ryan, and I were all relieved that everything was going to be all right. Ryanà­s hand was a bit sore and my ears were a bit numb, but we were going to make it.

As we landed at LAX airport and left the plane, I asked a few of the flight attendants if that was one of the worst flights theyà­d ever been on. All of them, except for one, agreed it got pretty rough. I look back at that flight and hope I never have to go through that again.

Travel Lesson Learned: Donà­t tense up upon impact.

ROB DYRDEK

Gettinà­ Hose In Different Area Codes

Without a doubt, the number-one sketchiest hotel in all of skateboarding is located in Tampa, Florida. Yes, anyone whoà­s frequented the Tampa Pro knows that ità­s the Milner Hotel.

Ià­ve been going to Tampa since I was sixteen just to hang and skate with former Alien Workshop teamriders Bo Turner and Scott Conklin, so Ià­m ten-plus years deep in that place.

Just so you know, they like to rent out rooms at the Milner to bums and crackheads. As a last ditch effort after one of the guys at the Holiday Inn fóked up my reservation, I decided to check in to, or shall I say got stuck at, the Milner. Now people have been killed there, for sure. In fact, Ià­m positive someone was killed in the room they put me in. First of all, there was blood all over the floor, drips under the bed and fully ingrained in the carpet. Then I look over to turn on the A/C and thereà­s some bloody panty hose jammed in the A/C vent! Who the fók wears panty hose in Florida? Maybe hookers? Damn straight. That hotel is so fóking jacked, it could be an article in itself. And you know this is just the tip of the icebergóthe story of Scott Conklin will be told someday and the world will be amazed.

Travel Lesson Learned: Book that shit way in advance.

TONY HAWK

Temporarily Possessed Or Just A Friendly Ghost?

It all started when I was coming back from a demo in Lyon, France with Christian Hosoi and Mike Frazier. The organizers screwed up our travel arrangements and didnà­t have a hotel set up for us in Paris the night before we flew home. Now, bear in mind that this was the 90s, when skateboarding wasnà­t quite as popular, so we only received 200 dollars each for the demoóit was going to cost at least that much to find a hotel at the last minute. We were basically stranded for the night, so we decided to go to a skate spot and see if we could stay with a local. One guy was kind enough to let us crash at his momà­s flat, where the four of us slept in a cramped room typical of Paris city-dwellers.† 

† †  † Finally trying to get comfortable as we now had a place to rest our heads, I all of a sudden felt my entire body go numb as if something else was in control of it. The feeling went away after a few minutes (probably less, time doesnà­t go fast enough when you feel in trouble), but then I could sense someone walking through the room. I assumed it was Mike or Christian going or returning from the bathroom. Just then I heard Mike say, ìDude, what are you looking at?à® to a figure near the window. Christian answered, ìHuh?à® from his space on the floor, and we suddenly realized that it was not one of us. We all sat up to look and the figure vanished in an instant. There was a collective gasp in the room. We then sat up for a while talking about how we all felt the strange presence, but none of us wanted to acknowledge it when it was moving through the room. I have no idea how any of us got back to sleep that night (or if we did at all).

Travel Lesson Learned: Rely on ìorganizersà® at your own risk, but we canà­t help you with the ghosts who roam where they do.

MARK APPLEYARD

Off The Rails On A Crazy Train

A few years ago, I was skating in Spain when I broke my arm, so my girlfriend and I decided weà­d take a little trip to Morocco. After a week of walking around and seeing sites, we boarded a train for northern Africa to do a little more touring. I was rocking a cast at the time and also had no socks on for the entire weekóneedless to say, my feet were stinking. So anyway, since Morocco is a Muslim state, by law they put the women in one sleeper car and the men in another.

After listening to all this indecipherable-in-Arabic drama about why we were getting split up, I finally decided to go to sleep in the menà­s car. I took off my shoes and laid down, when an hour later I awoke to this French guy swearing at the top of his lungsófirst in French, and then, so he could further get his point across, in English: ìYour feet smell like shit!à®

Off to the bathroom I went.

I really tried to clean à­em in the sink, and I went back to the menà­s car, but in all honesty, my feet still stunk. I mean, it is summer in Moroccoóyour feet will smell without socks after a single minute. Avoiding all confrontation with the French man, I just snuck into the womenà­s sleeper car and crashed in my girlà­s bunk. Trying to stay low-key, I was lucky enough to get out of there without any serious drama. I just kinda nodded and smiled my way through Morocco.

Travel Lesson Learned: Donà­t forget your socks, and when in doubt, smile.† † † † 

ELI REED

White Boys In The Projects Means ìUp To No Goodà®

I was on a trip to New York City and staying at my buddy Harifà­s place between 13th and C in Manhattan. Alongside were Danny Renaud and Jon Newportóa bunch of white kids ìup in the projects,à® if you will. Jon had been staying at Harifà­s for some time now, and actually paying rent, so you could assume he was a little more recognized by the other tenants.

After a long day of skating, we headed out for the night and waited for the elevator. As the doors opened, inside were none other than two of NYCà­s finest making their rounds. We got in, and in the discomfort of a quiet elevator, I remembered something funny that had happened earlier in the day, and let out a bit of a smirkóone that must have been threatening to the cops. You know, à­cause a 150-pound white kid laughing next to you would have you scared, too.

ìWhatà­s so funny, kid? Whatà­s so funny?à® they started their power trip.

Before I could even say a word, Ià­m up with my hands against the wall being fully patted down and asked why Ià­m there. All three of us are in the same predicament.

ìYouà­re here to get drugs, huh? White kids come to the ghetto to get drugs, huh?à®

ìNo, sir,à® I said as I kept calm. And it didnà­t help that all I had was a paper I.D., being that I was still awaiting the arrival of my first real driverà­s license. That only pushed them to lay harder into me, and as I was about to be cuffed and brought to the station, some random Puerto Rican dude walks up like, ìYo! These kids are my boys! Yo, they mad cool! Let them go, man! I live here!à® He was like the hood local, and the only thing I could think of is he must have known Jon, à­cause the kid was our hall pass, if only for the night.

Travel Lesson Learned: Make friends with the locals right off the bat and always carry proper identification.

† 

COLIN MCKAY

Mafia-Run Hotel Encourages Dude-On-Dude Action

Back in the mid 90s, I was on a Plan B/City Stars tour through Europe. Checking into a hotel in Amsterdam, it was me, Danny Way, Pat Duffy, Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Joey Suriel, and photographer Jody Morris. We were a big group, so we got a big room. As we walked into our room, we found it to be quite nice and clean. There were numerous beds in the room, a few more than there were of us, so we only took up about half the place. And let me remind you right now, this was a hotel, not a hostel. We all went to sleep only to wake the next day with five random dudes in the beds that were empty when we passed out. Looking around to make sure all oy girlfriend and I decided weà­d take a little trip to Morocco. After a week of walking around and seeing sites, we boarded a train for northern Africa to do a little more touring. I was rocking a cast at the time and also had no socks on for the entire weekóneedless to say, my feet were stinking. So anyway, since Morocco is a Muslim state, by law they put the women in one sleeper car and the men in another.

After listening to all this indecipherable-in-Arabic drama about why we were getting split up, I finally decided to go to sleep in the menà­s car. I took off my shoes and laid down, when an hour later I awoke to this French guy swearing at the top of his lungsófirst in French, and then, so he could further get his point across, in English: ìYour feet smell like shit!à®

Off to the bathroom I went.

I really tried to clean à­em in the sink, and I went back to the menà­s car, but in all honesty, my feet still stunk. I mean, it is summer in Moroccoóyour feet will smell without socks after a single minute. Avoiding all confrontation with the French man, I just snuck into the womenà­s sleeper car and crashed in my girlà­s bunk. Trying to stay low-key, I was lucky enough to get out of there without any serious drama. I just kinda nodded and smiled my way through Morocco.

Travel Lesson Learned: Donà­t forget your socks, and when in doubt, smile.† † † † 

ELI REED

White Boys In The Projects Means ìUp To No Goodà®

I was on a trip to New York City and staying at my buddy Harifà­s place between 13th and C in Manhattan. Alongside were Danny Renaud and Jon Newportóa bunch of white kids ìup in the projects,à® if you will. Jon had been staying at Harifà­s for some time now, and actually paying rent, so you could assume he was a little more recognized by the other tenants.

After a long day of skating, we headed out for the night and waited for the elevator. As the doors opened, inside were none other than two of NYCà­s finest making their rounds. We got in, and in the discomfort of a quiet elevator, I remembered something funny that had happened earlier in the day, and let out a bit of a smirkóone that must have been threatening to the cops. You know, à­cause a 150-pound white kid laughing next to you would have you scared, too.

ìWhatà­s so funny, kid? Whatà­s so funny?à® they started their power trip.

Before I could even say a word, Ià­m up with my hands against the wall being fully patted down and asked why Ià­m there. All three of us are in the same predicament.

ìYouà­re here to get drugs, huh? White kids come to the ghetto to get drugs, huh?à®

ìNo, sir,à® I said as I kept calm. And it didnà­t help that all I had was a paper I.D., being that I was still awaiting the arrival of my first real driverà­s license. That only pushed them to lay harder into me, and as I was about to be cuffed and brought to the station, some random Puerto Rican dude walks up like, ìYo! These kids are my boys! Yo, they mad cool! Let them go, man! I live here!à® He was like the hood local, and the only thing I could think of is he must have known Jon, à­cause the kid was our hall pass, if only for the night.

Travel Lesson Learned: Make friends with the locals right off the bat and always carry proper identification.

† 

COLIN MCKAY

Mafia-Run Hotel Encourages Dude-On-Dude Action

Back in the mid 90s, I was on a Plan B/City Stars tour through Europe. Checking into a hotel in Amsterdam, it was me, Danny Way, Pat Duffy, Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Joey Suriel, and photographer Jody Morris. We were a big group, so we got a big room. As we walked into our room, we found it to be quite nice and clean. There were numerous beds in the room, a few more than there were of us, so we only took up about half the place. And let me remind you right now, this was a hotel, not a hostel. We all went to sleep only to wake the next day with five random dudes in the beds that were empty when we passed out. Looking around to make sure all our belongings were still there, you can understand how we were pissed.

It turns out the hotel clerk rented out our room to these guys as well. So there was a bit of a language barrier there, but even now we still have no clue as to why the guy at the front desk allowed this to happen. Ità­s definitely not something that should ever happen, language barrier or not, and to this day it remains the most sketchy place Ià­ve ever woken up in.

Travel Lesson Learned: Bringing a translator is underrated.

RAGDOLL

Greenroom Goes Red

Every good, or in this case bad, story always starts out with a crew, and this was one green-ass crew. It was me, Slash, Gregnog, Shuriken Shannon, Adrian Mallory, The Nuge, Sammy Baca, and the one who let this story all unfoldóweà­ll call him ìZeus, The God Of Party Destructionà® (and anything else nasty, if he so feels).

While on a filming trip in my hometown of Las Vegas, we all arrived fairly early to our room at the Gold Coastónine or ten at night being considerable early as there is no last call in Vegas. Zeusà­ eyes lit up immediately as he set his sights on the Vegas challengeócan you out-drink the sun and the moon? Well, we were all up to the challenge, so off to the bar we went.

After a few 7 and 7s, Jack and Cokes, White Russians, and countless shots in between, we were off to a good start. The next thing I know, Ià­m smashed in a cab with the rest of the crewóthink five rolled, shit tacos. ìGold Coast,à® we yell to the cabbie. Who knows what the hell we were screaming before I came out of my time warp. Thank god we made it safe and sound up until then.

Wait a minute, Zeus was still ragingóso hard that I was in charge of helping him with his two left feet as we got to the hotel elevator. Sixth floorà– seventh floorà– we were getting close to getting the fók out of the elevator and in the room where the rest of the crew was getting green. Dingóninth floor, and we were outta there.

Smash. Just one more hall to our door, and I looked over my shoulder to see Zeus attempting to take out the ninth-story window with his elbow. He couldnà­t so much as put a dent in it, so I thought it was hilarious, and then crashóhis head smashed through the fóking window with the most violent shattering Ià­ve ever heard. Aghhh! As I saw his head still through the window, my instincts told me to grab himónot because of the trouble that was sure to come, but because this motherfóker almost fell out the window. I snatched him before he nearly did a swan dive nine stories to his pudding of a death.

We started sprinting to the end of the hall, and we made it. I fell asleep under the sink, and fairly comfortably, too, considering I had a splitting headache and no blanket. Just right thenà– crack! That was the sound my ribs made when the cops kicked me there. ìLet me see your hands!à® they demanded. I showed them my handsówith two middle fingers extended. Yankóa standard chokehold later, I was up against the wall in the hallway where they tried to get me to rat out who broke the window.

ìWhat window would that be?à® I grinned.

ìThe one we found this cell phone by,à® the à­roided-out-looking cop answered.

It was my phone, and I was in a pickle. I like pickles, so I held my ground and played stupid while more cops tried to ìjust give us a name and you can go.à® The walkie-talkies screamed as the other cops turned up the abuse on my homeys. Then came the man I call Zeus, bloody from a punch to the dome, his face raw and red from rugburn, or what weà­ll call the copsà­ ìtactics.à® As they tried to wake Zeus up, they didnà­t quite know what they were getting into, and thatà­s when the thunder struck. Smashóone cop got it to the balls while another dodged a phone book hurled in his direction. It took at least five cops to tame and finally handcuff Zeus, and off to the station he went while we were escorted from the premises.

Seven a.m. the next morning, the phone rang. It was Zeus, and he had beeen let go freeówell, if you consider paying 600 bucks for the window back free, which given the circumstances, I do. Turns out the guy was at the bar, prepping for the demo in five hours.

Travel Lesson Learned: Always have enough money to bust your ass out of trouble.

ìAVOID THE HORRORà® Sidebar 1:

7 SKATE TRIPS NOT TO PLAN

These are the seven latest additions to the U.S. governmentà­s ìwe donà­t recommend you go thereà® list. Kenny Reed, you taking notes?

Nigeria

Haiti

Indonesia

Zimbabwe

Lebanon

Liberia

Yemen

ìAVOID THE HORRORà® Sidebar 2:

3 THINGS THATà­LL ALWAYS GET YOU OUT OF A STICKY SITUATION

Always have these on hand while in countries where the police are known to be corrupt and youà­ll be A-okay.

Extra Skate Product

Considering boards cost an arm and a leg overseas, you should always have extra product on hand while traveling abroad, but Anthony Van Engelen once signed a board for an L.A. cop so he could skate a spot hassle-free. Viva la freedom!

Budweiser

Ità­s a sure betóthe skate van full of white kids gets pulled over every time while visiting our friendly neighbors to the south, Mexico. Luckily the policia will let you off scot-free with as little as a $3.49 six-pack of the red and white.

Local Currency

It takes up the least amount of space in your bag (or in your pocket) and is always guaranteed to be the most coveted and widely accepted form of under-the-table payment. Get your barter on before cash is extinct.belongings were still there, you can understand how we were pissed.

It turns out the hotel clerk rented out our room to these guys as well. So there was a bit of a language barrier there, but even now we still have no clue as to why the guy at the front desk allowed this to happen. Ità­s definitely not something that should ever happen, language barrier or not, and to this day it remains the most sketchy place Ià­ve ever woken up in.

Travel Lesson Learned: Bringing a translator is underrated.

RAGDOLL

Greenroom Goes Red

Every good, or in this case bad, story always starts out with a crew, and this was one green-ass crew. It was me, Slash, Gregnog, Shuriken Shannon, Adrian Mallory, The Nuge, Sammy Baca, and the one who let this story all unfoldóweà­ll call him ìZeus, The God Of Party Destructionà® (and anything else nasty, if he so feels).

While on a filming trip in my hometown of Las Vegas, we all arrived fairly early to our room at the Gold Coastónine or ten at night being considerable early as there is no last call in Vegas. Zeusà­ eyes lit up immediately as he set his sights on the Vegas challengeócan you out-drink the sun and the moon? Well, we were all up to the challenge, so off to the bar we went.

After a few 7 and 7s, Jack and Cokes, White Russians, and countless shots in between, we were off to a good start. The next thing I know, Ià­m smashed in a cab with the rest of the crewóthink five rolled, shit tacos. ìGold Coast,à® we yell to the cabbie. Who knows what the hell we were screaming before I came out of my time warp. Thank god we made it safe and sound up until then.

Wait a minute, Zeus was still ragingóso hard that I was in charge of helping him with his two left feet as we got to the hotel elevator. Sixth floorà– seventh floorà– we were getting close to getting the fók out of the elevator and in the room where the rest of the crew was getting green. Dingóninth floor, and we were outta there.

Smash. Just one more hall to our door, and I looked over my shoulder to see Zeus attempting to take out the ninth-story window with his elbow. He couldnà­t so much as put a dent in it, so I thought it was hilarious, and then crashóhis head smashed through the fóking window with the most violent shattering Ià­ve ever heard. Aghhh! As I saw his head still through the window, my instincts told me to grab himónot because of the trouble that was sure to come, but because this motherfóker almost fell out the window. I snatched him before he nearly did a swan dive nine stories to his pudding of a death.

We started sprinting to the end of the hall, and we made it. I fell asleep under the sink, and fairly comfortably, too, considering I had a splitting headache and no blanket. Just right thenà– crack! That was the sound my ribs made when the cops kicked me there. ìLet me see your hands!à® they demanded. I showed them my handsówith two middle fingers extended. Yankóa standard chokehold later, I was up against the wall in the hallway where they tried to get me to rat out who broke the window.

ìWhat window would that be?à® I grinned.

ìThe one we found this cell phone by,à® the à­roided-out-looking cop answered.

It was my phone, and I was in a pickle. I like pickles, so I held my ground and played stupid while more cops tried to ìjust give us a name and you can go.à® The walkie-talkies screamed as the other cops turned up the abuse on my homeys. Then came the man I call Zeus, bloody from a punch to the dome, his face raw and red from rugburn, or what weà­ll call the copsà­ ìtactics.à® As they tried to wake Zeus up, they didnà­t quite know what they were getting into, and thatà­s when the thunder struck. Smashóone cop got it to the balls while another dodged a phone book hurled in his direction. It took at least five cops to tame and finally handcuff Zeus, and off to the station he went while we were escorted from the premises.

Seven a.m. the next morning, the phone rang. It was Zeus, and he had been let go freeówell, if you consider paying 600 bucks for the window back free, which given the circumstances, I do. Turns out the guy was at the bar, prepping for the demo in five hours.

Travel Lesson Learned: Always have enough money to bust your ass out of trouble.

ìAVOID THE HORRORà® Sidebar 1:

7 SKATE TRIPS NOT TO PLAN

These are the seven latest additions to the U.S. governmentà­s ìwe donà­t recommend you go thereà® list. Kenny Reed, you taking notes?

Nigeria

Haiti

Indonesia

Zimbabwe

Lebanon

Liberia

Yemen

ìAVOID THE HORRORà® Sidebar 2:

3 THINGS THATà­LL ALWAYS GET YOU OUT OF A STICKY SITUATION

Always have these on hand while in countries where the police are known to be corrupt and youà­ll be A-okay.

Extra Skate Product

Considering boards cost an arm and a leg overseas, you should always have extra product on hand while traveling abroad, but Anthony Van Engelen once signed a board for an L.A. cop so he could skate a spot hassle-free. Viva la freedom!

Budweiser

Ità­s a sure betóthe skate van full of white kids gets pulled over every time while visiting our friendly neighbors to the south, Mexico. Luckily the policia will let you off scot-free with as little as a $3.49 six-pack of the red and white.

Local Currency

It takes up the least amount of space in your bag (or in your pocket) and is always guaranteed to be the most coveted and widely accepted form of under-the-table payment. Get your barter on before cash is extinct. had been let go freeówell, if you consider paying 600 bucks for the window back free, which given the circumstances, I do. Turns out the guy was at the bar, prepping for the demo in five hours.

Travel Lesson Learned: Always have enough money to bust your ass out of trouble.

ìAVOID THE HORRORà® Sidebar 1:

7 SKATE TRIPS NOT TO PLAN

These are the seven latest additions to the U.S. governmentà­s ìwe donà­t recommend you go thereà® list. Kenny Reed, you taking notes?

Nigeria

Haiti

Indonesia

Zimbabwe

Lebanon

Liberia

Yemen

ìAVOID THE HORRORà® Sidebar 2:

3 THINGS THATà­LL ALWAYS GET YOU OUT OF A STICKY SITUATION

Always have these on hand while in countries where the police are known to be corrupt and youà­ll be A-okay.

Extra Skate Product

Considering boards cost an arm and a leg overseas, you should always have extra product on hand while traveling abroad, but Anthony Van Engelen once signed a board for an L.A. cop so he could skate a spot hassle-free. Viva la freedom!

Budweiser

Ità­s a sure betóthe skate van full of white kids gets pulled over every time while visiting our friendly neighbors to the south, Mexico. Luckily the policia will let you off scot-free with as little as a $3.49 six-pack of the red and white.

Local Currency

It takes up the least amount of space in your bag (or in your pocket) and is always guaranteed to be the most coveted and widely accepted form of under-the-table payment. Get your barter on before cash is extinct.