Photography and text by Matt Mecaro
Demos, long drives, team vans, laundromats, dirty hotel rooms. Smells like summer tour. I just spent the months of June and July driving more than 15,000 miles across the United States on the Status Skateboards Summer Tour. Along for the ride were Jim Bates, Dustin Charlton, Nick Gies, Rod James, Ross Norman, Mike Rosa, and a few friends we met along the way. We saw plenty of amazing landscapes, met some interesting people, and just barely managed to stay out of jail.
Jim BatesDuring a shop appearance at our first stop in Texas, we meet some of the local kids who want to show us around. With nothing planned for the rest of the day, we decide to take them up on their offer. They bring us to this gazebo in the middle of a park. It consists of a smooth, covered cement area resting on top of six stairs, with very steep handrails lining the perimeter. I’m not sure those kids are really ready for what is about to go down. Jim Bates, backside flip over the rail … the hard way.
Jim Bates”Hey kids!” Thought Jim was done wrecking your spot? Think again. Steep kickflip boardslide.
Jim BatesJim Bates is probably the nicest person you will ever meet. For some reason, though, he was the only one on this trip to repeatedly get hassled by the police. Chicago was no exception. This time, however, procedure was not followed correctly, and the officer left before we did. Jim glances over to me with a befuddled look on his face, then he does what any other skateboarder would do, he keeps skating. Frontside flip over the gap.
Jim BatesBefore this tour, I had never been to Washington D.C. Like every traveling tourist, I wanted to get a look at the White House just to say I had seen it. Well, the one chance I had was at night, and unfortunately it wasn’t even lit up. Thanks anyway, Irma, maybe next time. Jim Bates pays homage to America’s first president with this backside flip in front of the Washington Monument.
Adam GrahamI met Adam Graham for the first time in Washington D.C. He was getting into this nosegrind, so I ask him if I can shoot a photo. “Sure,” he says. Backside nosegrind without a safety net.
Rod JamesWhen you spend two months cramped up in a van with eight other people, you begin to pick up on each other’s peculiar little habits. Whether it is incredibly annoying or something just a little odd, we are all guilty. If you’ve ever eaten with Rod James, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You see, he never verbally orders his meal. Instead, he points with his finger to whatever he wants on the menu. Strange, perhaps, but it’s just one of those things. As we leave this restaurant, Rod notices a corner of the parking lot that drops away. Without saying a word, he points to the gap and orders up a backside 180 somewhere in Oklahoma.
Steve VanascoWe make it to New York City for the Fourth of July. We skate around the city for a while, then head over the Brooklyn Bridge to Queens for a barbecue. After some good food, a few laps around the block on the scooter, and our own personal fireworks display, we decide to check out the fountain at Flushings. While others dance in the water, Steve Vanasco stays high and dry with this switch frontside noseslide on the block moments before the real fireworks went off.
Dustin CharltonDustin, aren’t you glad I didn’t make you wear the bunny ears? Switch noseslide, Atlanta, Georgia.
Dustin CharltonAh man! We drove all the way from California and the water is on. Screw it! Dustin Charlton, frontside noseslide, Orlando, Florida.
Mike RosaWe spend the majority of our time driving in the wee hours of the night. If we make it to our final destination after 6:00 a.m., we can check into our hotel room and keep it for the following day. On our way into Tulsa, Oklahoma, we spot this bank in a supermarket parking lot. With a couple hours to kill, Mike Rosa knocks out a noseslide on the top bar at four in the morning.
Jarrod SabaColorado is our last stop on the tour. In my opinion, this is where it should have started and ended. We spend a little over a week in and around Denver, where we accomplish more than anywhere else. The abundance of skateable terrain, not to mention the local talent, is truly incredible. Special thanks go to Ryan, Mark, Travis, and of course Jarrod Saba for taking the time to show us around. Ollie out to boardslide.
Ross NormanWith a day off from our demanding demo schedule, we decide to take a break and make the four-hour drive south to Miami from Orlando. After a quick stop in South Beach for a little sightseeing, we make our way to the famous Synagogue Rails. While John cools off in the fountain, Ross Norman turns up the heat with a switch crooked grind.
Ross NormanOn our way through Georgia we have a little run-in with the law. We get caught in a speed trap and are clocked going 82 in a 55 m.p.h. zone. After a driver’s license check, the state trooper returns to our van and informs me that because California is a non-compact state, he should be taking me to jail. Fortunately for us, he is lazy and doesn’t feel like doing the paperwork. He ends up letting us go with only a warning. For the rest of the tour we’re left wondering, “What is a non-compact state?” Ross Norman switch noseblunts while searching for answers at the checkered spot, Atlanta, Georgia.
Back of vanAll those hours playing Tetris finally pay off.
Team photoIn a recent issue, Consumer Reports conducted a reader survey on the top family restaurants. Waffle House came in a disappointing twelfth on the list. Perhaps if they had polled traveling skateboarders, it may have done better.
Steve and Jim at Freedom PlazaTourists often stick out like a sore thumb, and they’re also much easier to catch. D.C.’s Park Police putting the “Free” in Freedom Plaza.