As The World Turns
A dramatical sojourn through the Great White North.
Words and photos by Scott Pommier

Rodney Johnson is the man who’s responsible for the title of this story. The suggestion for the title sprang out of one of our nightly gossip sessions where we attempted to reconstruct the day’s events while deconstructing each others’ egos. The turbulent nature of the trip was indeed the stuff of soap operas. However, as the saying goes, “Discretion is the better part of valor.” This being the case, you get the vanilla pabulum version of the events.

Putting the Slam back in Slam City Jam, Paul Machnau and I arrived in Vancouver a few days earlier than the rest of the team. The idea was that we’d shoot a few extra photos to stockpile for an upcoming pro spotlight. Within a few hours, we had taken ourselves out of commission. I speared the area in between my anus and testicles (the perineum-ed.) after an attempted crooked grind on a six-inch-high flatbar turned into a pogo stick.

Some would say I was lucky not to rupture my urethra, but I maintain that there wasn’t any luck involved-it was pure skill. Paul opted for a less humiliating yet equally debilitating ankle roll. When the two of us walked down the hall in the hotel, we looked like a couple of zombies shuffle-stepping along in search of-oh, I don’t know-brains or something.

When the rest of the team arrived-Chad Fernandez, Neal Mims, Carlos De Andrade, Ryan Sheckler, Jason Masse, and Glenn Suggitt (who drove in from Alberta in his new Cadillac)-there were

a couple of extra members in the cast. Filmer Joe Krolick (perfectly ordinary), a team manager (as it should be), a mom (huh?), and another photographer (wait a second, what?).

Miscommunicado
When World Team Manager Rodney Johnson asked me to come on the tour, he neglected to tell me that World Industries staff photographer Dave Malenfant was coming along, too, and I didn’t know how to deal with the situation. I wasn’t even sure if Dave had known in advance that I was going to be there shooting as well.

For the first few days, we weren’t really sure what the protocol was, so we’d just start setting up and whoever looked like they had their flashes ready first would get to shoot. The confusion caused friction. The riders didn’t know who to ask to shoot them. For that matter, neither did I. Dave and I sorted things out amiably, while others clumsily tried to mediate. Dave handled the whole thing like a professional, while I on the other hand, resorted to griping about it to Paul. It ended up being a nonissue because Dave opted to forgo the rest of the trip and flew home early. Was it something I said?

While it is comforting to know that there are some things that remain constant in this chaotic world, most concerned wish that a heavy downpouring of rain on the weekend of Slam City Jam was not one of them. Nevertheless.

There was the odd break here and there, so whenever possible, I tried to break out of the contest scene and hit the streets. Contests, however, have a gravitational pull roughly equivalent to that of a black hole, thus the team spent much of their time at the arena. At least there were free carrot sticks in the media lounge. Sweet.

Masse Meltdown

In spite of the rain and the draw of a major professional skateboard match, we managed to get a little street skating in. As most everyone knows, Vancouver, B.C., Canada boasts quite a few decent spots even after a massive capping campaign a few years back. Most of the spots we went to were pleasantly hassle-free … well, not Masse’s spots.

For some reason, everything that Masse wanted to skate was pretty heated. He managed to get the boot from nearly everything he tried-whether it was security, Skytrain police, or the red-coated

“Downtown Ambassadors,” Jason was forever trying to plead his case to an uncaring and unsympathetic world. His frusttion lead to a pretty major meltdown.

Tensions had already been raised by a delayed hotel checkout and some miscommunication over skate etiquette vis-à–-vis a high-security Hubba ledge, and the situation came to a boiling point as Jason found himself at odds with nearly everyone, including “Mama Shecks.”

A few hours later, we were all on our way to Kelowna, except for Jason. He declined a ticket home, and instead opted to be left at the hotel to fend for himself.

Suggitt, The Cadillac Of Amateurs
Ordinarily, I steer clear of these gas-guzzling behemoths. Their outright opulence is contrary to my P.C. “tread lightly” sensibilities, and I’ve never been much of a fan of American cars. Glenn’s Cadillac Escalade (dubbed the Suggalade), however, was a warm cocoon of sanity and stability on a somewhat nerve-rattling trek across Western Canada.

The Suggalade was not jam-packed with people and product. No booze was being consumed, the music was playing at a tolerable level, and no one was singing along, much less rapping their knuckles on the window to the beat. And so I sought refuge within its cavernous interior whenever the option was mine.

K-Town
Kelowna is a jewel of a town nestled in the scenic fruit-growing Okanagan Valley. You couldn’t ask for a more picturesque view. Well, I suppose you could try, but who would you ask? And what could they possibly do about it? We stayed for only a few short days, but managed to hit a couple parks and a handful of street spots.

Kelowna’s Ryan Smith was in town recuperating from an elbow dislocation, so he acted as our tour guide, although it seemed like

Machnau knew the area just as well. Incidentally, this is true of most cities in Canada-Paul’s brain has a significant amount of RAM devoted to skate-spot locations.

Demo Days
The Ben Lee park was predictably packed with kids who

were equally predictably hungry for product. Everyone skated really well, especially Paul and Carlos De Andrade, but the kids were hardly impressed. They were more interested in what was in the van than what was happening on the street course. I suppose I would’ve been pretty excited to catch a board at a product toss in my younger days, but I can’t imagine battling hordes of other kids for a Wet Willy sticker rather than watching someone ollie out to noseblunt-slide on a double-kink. Kids today.

We left Kelowna the following day, and the drive to Edmonton was not unlike an episode of Wild Animal Kingdom. We saw herds of elk, a moose, a pack of wolves, and even a family of black bears. Throw some icy waterfalls, frozen lakes, and snow-topped mountains into the equation, and you get the idea. It was frustrating to not be able to stop and shoot photos every time I saw something neat, but skate trips are hardly the ideal time to work on a wildlife portfolio.

Eddy
Edmonton is Suggitt’s hometown, and he had loads of spots. With a crew of our size, departure times can be something of a fantasy, and getting to breakfast before 2:00 p.m. is sometimes an

accomplishment in itself. Once the vans were packed and everyone was present and accounted for, the rest fell into place. There wasn’t a day that went by where we didn’t come home with something. Although the general mood was hardly jovial, no one was getting ready to fly home early except for Ryan Shecklebottom (and his mom), who had to get back for school.

St. Albert
A suburb of Edmonton, St. Albert has a skate shop called Famous, which Glenn just so happens to manage, so for a brief moment, Suggitt went from a lowly amateur to the boss who was contracting the group to skate at his demo. What a difference a day makes!

The park was fun, and there was a huge turnout. Tons of skateboarders and tons of girls in bikini tops soaking up the sun and chasing the guys for autographs. Some of these girls must’ve

forgotten to bring posters and magazines for the team to sign because they resorted to having the fellas sign their names on body parts. Some chose PG-rated locations, and others, well …

End Of Days
After the demo, Glenn took everyone out to some Western-

themed steakhouse where we all celebrated the end of the tour. Some drank copious amounts, while others made plans to

rendezvous with some of the barely legal skate fans-some dabbled in both.

The next day, everyone flew home to their respective home bases. As we bid each other teary farewells at the airport, we promised to write each other and to never forget the magical time we all shared together.

d magazines for the team to sign because they resorted to having the fellas sign their names on body parts. Some chose PG-rated locations, and others, well …

End Of Days
After the demo, Glenn took everyone out to some Western-

themed steakhouse where we all celebrated the end of the tour. Some drank copious amounts, while others made plans to

rendezvous with some of the barely legal skate fans-some dabbled in both.

The next day, everyone flew home to their respective home bases. As we bid each other teary farewells at the airport, we promised to write each other and to never forget the magical time we all shared together.