Bubble Boys – Circa travels to the far corners of the globe.

Written By Lee DuPont

I currently work for C1RCA shoes, directing their first video. A couple of factors that convinced me to take this job were C1RCA’s great squad of riders and the virtually bottomless budget I would have to see that the video comes out the best it possibly can. For me, this is an ideal situation. It all sounded so perfect. Too perfect.

It wasn’t long until I found out the catch … a little man standing a mere five feet, five inches tall and speaking as if he’d swallowed an entire roll of griptape. He was assuming the position of team manager, although very little team managing was going on. Countless times I wished I’d never crossed paths with this guy and would go to any extent to remove him from my life-but there was one little problem. The owner of the company has a little brother. And what position would you give your little brother who always seemed to be messing up even the most basic tasks? In this case, the answer is Team Manager. Ryan’s his name and partying’s his game. So when Ryan rang me up to inform me of the world tour he was attempting to throw together, let’s just say I was slightly skeptical.

One, he was to be at the helm of this trip. Traveling to the far corners of the globe with your life in this man’s hands is flat-out frightening. Two, he was trying to put this trip together with all ten of C1RCA’s riders, a photographer, and me. Oh yeah, he also only had ten days until we were to fly out. Ten first-class around-the-world airline tickets are pricey as it is. Throw in a week-and-a-half notice and that price could very easily be doubled. I should’ve run for the hills, but I actually wanted to see what a mess he could make in such a short time.

I told him I was in on one condition. I wanted to sit in the “bubble” of the plane for the entire trip. “Lee, I don’t know if that’s possible,” Ryan stated.

“Well, I don’t really know if this whole trip is going to be possible!” I yelled back, knowing damn well that it was pushing the limits of what airlines can and will actually do for that many passengers. I was definitely testing the limits of how far Ryan would actually go to make this trip happen.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Ryan mumbled. Eight days later he had thirteen “bubble” seats ready to go. He called my bluff, and needless to say, I was shocked.

We all gathered at LAX and were to hop on board a first-class flight to Munich, where a big trade show was being held. Chad Muska hadn’t flown since September 11, 2001 and had several questions regarding aviation and what to do in case of a mid-Atlantic emergency. In the usual form, I made up a bunch of statistics and false facts on how safe those jumbo jets really are. I couldn’t tell if it was the lies or the red wine that was calming his nerves, but either way he seemed ready to fly.

The seating arrangement conveniently placed me next to Ryan, who for the rest of this article we’ll call “Baby Ice,” and Muska. Now Baby Ice and Muska are full-grown men, but throw them in the plush first-class seating of United Airlines with a couple bottles of wine and suddenly those full-grown men start sounding an awful lot like teenage girls. Ryan spilled his wine on Muska and Chad wasn’t very pleased, considering he was wearing his white sweatsuit. He did as anyone in that situation would-he took off his pants. Now the other passengers were shocked, to say the least, to see Muska’s bare ass walking up and down the aisle. He was quickly surrounded by the lovely United Airline staff of flight 636. The pilot was then notified of his unruly behavior and was set to land the plane in Iceland if he did not comply with the crew’s requests.

“He’ll be good,” slurred Baby Ice. “Just bring us one more glass of wine.”

“Sir,” the flight attendant interrupted, “you are both clearly intoxicated, and we surely can no longer serve either of you.”

“How about for 100 dollars?” Baby Ice asked wittily.

“Sir, no.”

“Not even one r a nightcap?”

“Sir, I am sorry, but no.”

“One more and we’ll go to sleep.”

“Sir, no.”

Two glasses of wine later and the party was back on. Chad wanted his pants cleaned and Baby Ice was too proud to clean them himself, so another 100 dollars to the flight attendant and away she went, scrubbing Muska’s sweatpants in the lavatory over the Atlantic Ocean. The red-stained pants were now a lovely shade of pink. Yeah, pink. Pink is so last season, and Chad wasn’t about to be caught wearing last season’s clothes.

“Baby Ice, give me your pants!”

“No,” Baby Ice muttered.

Chad didn’t like being shut down, so he took it to the only place you really could take it at 32,000 feet. “Let’s step outside! Don’t think I won’t kick your ass!”

Aha! Didn’t think he’d go there, did you?

Munich in January is a lovely city. At two degrees below zero it wasn’t ideal for filming. Bad planning by Baby Ice, bad time for me.

On to Barcelona where the city was already sprinkled with American skaters trying to take advantage of the city’s ideal settings. We were put up in a hostel until Baby Ice was mugged by a gang of Moroccans, who took him for his cell phone and all the cash he had on him. Tails between our legs, we decided to walk just a ways up the street to the lavish setting of Le Meridian Hotel. If that’s all it takes to get us into a decent hotel, I would’ve mugged Baby Ice myself a long time ago.

This was my fourth time visiting Spain, and I had always gone the route of renting a car. This time we traveled by train, and let me tell you it is the only way to fly … err, uh, ride. Let’s see, get stuck in rush-hour traffic on the roads or fifteen minutes by train and be whisked away to all corners of lovely Barcelona.

C1RCA has sent me on filming trips for a couple of years now, and I had yet to really see Peter Ramondetta skate. It’s not that he doesn’t skate-oh no, it’s the exact opposite-it’s just that he’d gotten hurt each time we were on a trip together. Peter-or The Pirate, as the rest of the boys called him-would and did skate everything with everyone the entire trip long. The Pirate would wake up every day and venture out into the city to pillage the bounty of spots that he came across. Then humbly, he would head back to the hotel to call it a day. Only at night would the evil side of The Pirate come out, as he repeatedly took every single person on this tour for their per diem with a swashbuckling roll of the dice.

Muska had the largest travel bag, but for the month-and-some-change-long tour we embarked on, he only brought one board. He cherished that board like it was the last one on Earth. One night while walking around Barcelona, Chad had seen a few kids tic-tacking around on their boards. Muska thought he would show them a thing or two about the proper use of the skateboard.

“Yo, dog! Do you mind if I … yeah … can I shred on your board for a minute … yeah … ?”

After carving around for a minute or two, Muska gave the kids a perfectly executed 360 flip. The kids were mumbling oohs and ahs in Spanish. They were very impressed to see one of their boards used in a way it had never been, but the fact that Chad did it all with a bottle of Spain’s finest brew in his hand really made the kids go gaga. When the kid got his board back, he realized that a couple of suds landed not in the Muska’s mouth but instead on his board. “Pinche puto!” the boys yelled.

Chad realized that the boy was none too happy, so being the honorable ambassador that he always is, he handed the boy a hundred dollars for his troubles.

We were off, and our next stop was the other side of the world. It’s a long time in the air from Barcelona to Melbourne, Australia. We decided to stop off in Singapore for a quick 24-hour layover, hopping off the plane to get to the hotel for a quick night’s sleep, and then back on another flight.

Melbourne hosted the World Cup contest at the time of our visit, and Chad reunited with his long lost pal Tom Penny. They were like peas and carrots. Attached at the hip, they skated off into the downtown Melbourne skyline shouting “Daggers!” as they slashed and rolled.

The trip went well, but it lacked that youthful feel that can only be brought on by a little gang I like to call the Immature Amateurs-Lenny Rivas, Tony Tave, Sierra Fellers, and Windsor James. Wow, what a group of hooligans. They brought constant energy to this extended journey. The majority of the little fellas had never left the United States, so to have them thrown on the wrong side of the world got them a bit excited. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, they ventured around Australia attacking everything in their path. Just as the pros started to get a bit burnt out on traveling, the Immature Amateurs took over. They would stay up all night with absolutely no parenting in sight. They ran wild over all floors of the hotel, only to be up at the crack of dawn, banging down my door and begging me to take them skating.

Adrian Lopez, on the other hand, was very quiet this entire trip. After handling his business in the streets of Barcelona and Melbourne, he seemed to disappear for days at a time. When he pulled me aside and told me of his plans to fly home early, I wasn’t surprised in the least. Adrian is notorious for catching an early morning flight and being halfway home before the rest of the crew even wakes up.

We were flown into Brisbane for two days by our Australian distributor with our only obligation being to put on a demo. The shop where the guys made their appearance had some pro surfer named Kelly Slater showing up to have an autograph signing the next day. There just happened to be a very big resemblance between the surf star and our team manager. Little girls who were confused on why Mr. Slater would show up a day early were practically throwing themselves on old Baby Ice. He even had some of the shop’s female employees fooled. I’m not sure what the surfer guy looks like, but keep in mind that Baby Ice is five feet, five inches and slightly chubby. That’s attractive? Wow, this surfer guy must really get laid.

We spent our second day in Brisbane at The Crocodile Hunter’s zoo. The Immature Amateurs spent the day overwhelmed by the odd assortment of animals that were all in arm’s reach. When Steve Irwin himself wouldn’t come out from backstage, Windsor let him know just how far he had traveled to see him. “Hey, Steve! Come out and feed these alligators!”

New Zealand was to be our last stop. With a cyclone hovering just off the coast for a week, the weather conditions were not in our favor. We did what we could with the hand we were dealt, filming under a covered hallway with rain pissing down sideways and misting every piece of equipment we brought out. I had seen enough. “It’s a wrap!” was echoing in my head day after day as I sat in my hotel room watching the storms roll in. I left early one morning with not a warning to anyone in the group. Sitting all alone high above the Pacific Ocean in the first-class bubble of one of United’s Airlines finest jumbo jets, I started reflecting on the last month of my life. It was all in the hands of a man by the name of Baby Ice. Everyone got back safe, and the trip was extremely productive, and that’s all you can really ask for. Job well done, Baby Ice, job well done.

ted with his long lost pal Tom Penny. They were like peas and carrots. Attached at the hip, they skated off into the downtown Melbourne skyline shouting “Daggers!” as they slashed and rolled.

The trip went well, but it lacked that youthful feel that can only be brought on by a little gang I like to call the Immature Amateurs-Lenny Rivas, Tony Tave, Sierra Fellers, and Windsor James. Wow, what a group of hooligans. They brought constant energy to this extended journey. The majority of the little fellas had never left the United States, so to have them thrown on the wrong side of the world got them a bit excited. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, they ventured around Australia attacking everything in their path. Just as the pros started to get a bit burnt out on traveling, the Immature Amateurs took over. They would stay up all night with absolutely no parenting in sight. They ran wild over all floors of the hotel, only to be up at the crack of dawn, banging down my door and begging me to take them skating.

Adrian Lopez, on the other hand, was very quiet this entire trip. After handling his business in the streets of Barcelona and Melbourne, he seemed to disappear for days at a time. When he pulled me aside and told me of his plans to fly home early, I wasn’t surprised in the least. Adrian is notorious for catching an early morning flight and being halfway home before the rest of the crew even wakes up.

We were flown into Brisbane for two days by our Australian distributor with our only obligation being to put on a demo. The shop where the guys made their appearance had some pro surfer named Kelly Slater showing up to have an autograph signing the next day. There just happened to be a very big resemblance between the surf star and our team manager. Little girls who were confused on why Mr. Slater would show up a day early were practically throwing themselves on old Baby Ice. He even had some of the shop’s female employees fooled. I’m not sure what the surfer guy looks like, but keep in mind that Baby Ice is five feet, five inches and slightly chubby. That’s attractive? Wow, this surfer guy must really get laid.

We spent our second day in Brisbane at The Crocodile Hunter’s zoo. The Immature Amateurs spent the day overwhelmed by the odd assortment of animals that were all in arm’s reach. When Steve Irwin himself wouldn’t come out from backstage, Windsor let him know just how far he had traveled to see him. “Hey, Steve! Come out and feed these alligators!”

New Zealand was to be our last stop. With a cyclone hovering just off the coast for a week, the weather conditions were not in our favor. We did what we could with the hand we were dealt, filming under a covered hallway with rain pissing down sideways and misting every piece of equipment we brought out. I had seen enough. “It’s a wrap!” was echoing in my head day after day as I sat in my hotel room watching the storms roll in. I left early one morning with not a warning to anyone in the group. Sitting all alone high above the Pacific Ocean in the first-class bubble of one of United’s Airlines finest jumbo jets, I started reflecting on the last month of my life. It was all in the hands of a man by the name of Baby Ice. Everyone got back safe, and the trip was extremely productive, and that’s all you can really ask for. Job well done, Baby Ice, job well done.