Something happened to me the other night that I just have to share with all of you. I’ve been skateboarding since 1977 and working at TWS since 1989, and I finally got my first skateboarding ticket. It happened just before Christmas 2000, when I got a call from videographer Lee Dupont to come shoot photos of Alex Gall at a rail in Dana Point. I met up with Lee, Alex, Jay Thorpe, and Erik Ellington at the infamous Crown Valley rail at 11:00 p.m. Lee set up the lights while Alex and Erik warmed up on the rail. I drank my coffee and kicked it off to the side.
After a few minutes of skating, Alex wasn’t feeling it, so he and Jay went to sleep in Lee’s car. Erik kept skating, but he eventually slammed on his wrist, and we went out to the parking lot to check the footy. A few minutes later, a cop car showed up. He shined his light on us, then on the rail. We didn’t really pay much attention, just figured it was time to go¿session over. He got out of his car, shined his light on the sign, which read “Absolutely No Skateboarding,” and asked us the age-old question, “What are you guys doing here?”
To which we replied, “We were going to skate, but now … we’ll pack up and go.”
Just then four more sheriff cars pulled up, and the next thing you know, we had all these policemen surrounding us like we were plotting to kill the mayor of Dana Point or something. They made Erik, Lee, and I sit on the curb and asked us if anyone else was with us. We told them two other dudes were sleeping in the car, and right then an officer rousted Alex and Jay from their deep slumber and had them sit on the curb next to us. They asked for IDs and frisked us one by one but found nothing out of the ordinary. We were kind of laughing about how thorough they were being. Getting a ticket hadn’t even crossed our minds, but there they were, filling out citations for all of us.
While the officers wrote us up, another cop pulled into the parking lot, got out of his car, looked at us, walked up to the rail, and looked around. Then he commented to one of the officers, “You’re not seriously giving these guys tickets for skateboarding, are you? Don’t you have anything better to do?”
An officer spoke up, “Why don’t you get the hell out of here?” The two had a five-minute argument about law-enforcement techniques. Lee stood up to thank the cop who had our backs as he was walking to his patrol car. The other cop yelled for Lee to sit his ass back on the curb. We all shut up, ’cause now the cops looked pissed, and you never know what a cop is capable of doing.
They finally finished writing tickets, gave them to us, and told us that if they found us here again they’d confiscate all our stuff as evidence. We couldn’t believe it. These guys were insane. I’m honored to have gotten a ticket for skateboarding, but I wish I’d actually been skating when I got it. I’m sure Alex and Jay are pretty psyched to have gotten sleeping … um … I mean skateboarding tickets. Lee and I are going to fight ours in court, that is, if it actually gets that far. I’ll let you know what happens in a future issue.¿Dave Swift