Ups and downs in the Great White North.
By Tony Heitz
Having never spent much time in Canada, I was a bit apprehensive about a tour through Red Dragons territory. Questions kept popping into my head—mostly regarding customs, traveling with underage kid Greg Myers, and two non-Americans (Alex Carolino and Florentin Marfaing). My fears started to escalate before we even boarded our flight.
Florentin—who was flying into Cincinnati, Ohio from Paris to meet up with Alex and me—had already been detained by customs due to not knowing my home address. Finally, after three hours of being held, he was released and able to board our flight to Edmonton. Our layover in Minneapolis, Minnesota allowed us to meet up with Greg—who informed me that he left his paperwork stating I was his legal guardian at home. Sure enough, as we went through customs, they pulled Greg and me aside eventually and we explained our situation to a Canadian agent. Fortunately, we were able to get Greg’s mom on the phone, and we soon joined the rest of our party.
Reaching the baggage-claim area, we found a half-asleep Ted De Gros with his headphones on. After getting our bags, the crew headed to the hotel to meet Josh Kalis and Ryan Gee, who were already there waiting for us. Brennan Conroy, the team filmer, arrived shortly thereafter, and then everyone fell asleep.
When morning arrived, Josh, Gee, and I went on the hunt for a Starbucks. After a long walk, the mission was finally accomplished. We picked up our host Colin McKay at the airport, then decided some rental cars were in order. Our first demo was at Stuntwoods Skatepark. At this point, Alex and Flo realized they’d left their trucks and wheels back at the hotel. Thankfully, Glenn Suggit and the guys at Famous Skate Shop were able to help out with some new ones. Josh, Greg, and Ted skated, while Colin did an excellent job of emceeing. Flo and Alex soon joined them, and everyone skated very well. We were all reminded of Josh’s love for skating at this particular demo—not only was he the first person skating, but we had to literally drag him off the course to get some food.
The next day’s mission was to do some street skating, so our crew headed back over to Famous to meet up with Glenn and some of the guys. Our mission started out at a blue flat rail and ended at a three-stair gap. Greg shined at both spots—he was on fire and that lasted the whole trip.
Our next demo was Red Deer. Red Deer? That’s what I thought as well. After our autograph signing at the West 49th shop in the mall, our group headed over to the Red Deer skatepark, which turned out to be pretty small. As soon as we arrived, Colin got the crowd hyped by reprising his role as MC. This guy knows how to have fun, and it helped everyone loosen up a bit and have some fun themselves. Before the demo was over, Ted and Colin put some money together to have a best-trick contest for the locals. Kids were getting broke off, but eventually most of them had landed their tricks. I’m at a loss for what trick actually won, though.
As we loaded up, a girl asked the guys to sign her car—bad idea. Before it was over, Gee had turned her car into an M3 and the signatures were so big that they took up entire door panels. We had enough of Red Deer and decided to drive to Calgary.
While some of the guys went to skate a spot, I picked up Rob Dyrdek and Mikey Taylor at the airport, both of whom were having their own nightmares with customs.
The next day, Josh woke up with his neck completely immobile. Thankfully, there was a chiropractor at the same place as the demo, so Josh got his much needed relief. Colin flew back in and brought our tour guide/team mascot Reggie—Colin’s dog—with him.
The DC Nationals was the final contest in a series of contests that go on throughout Canada. The guys at Centre Distribution really do a great job of helping to keep skating unified throughouut Canada.
Toronto was next on our agenda, so we all had to catch our flights—this is where my nightmare began. When I woke up, I had an unbelievable toothache. We had a signing and a demo that day, so I dealt with those first. Reggie was the center of attention at the signing, and then the crew headed over to a demo at Shred Central. A guy named Jimbo runs Shred Central, and he’s a member of the legendary Jaks Crew. Seeing Rob and Josh battle the flatbar was unreal—they continually tried to one-up each other. Those kids got a real treat that day.
I finally made it to a dentist and got some medicine. When I woke up the next morning, the left side of my face had blown up to the size of a basketball. I panicked and headed back to the dentist to see what was wrong. He got me another prescription and I was okay.
Mikey, Greg, Ted, Brennan, Gee, and I headed to the bank-to-ledge that Toronto is notorious for. The guys skated for a while, and then we decided to make the trek to Ottawa to catch up with the other guys. We had two signings scheduled for Ottawa, the second at Top Of The World skate shop. The guys there are great, and they hooked us up with Jay, who took us to some spots. As we got kicked out of one spot, Greg ollied off a mountain and over a rail. The group then headed to a handrail, where Flo rolled his ankle badly. Thankfully, we only had one demo left to do in Montreal.
The sound of rain woke me up. Unfortunately, the demo was outside, so it didn’t happen, so Underworld Skate Shop was the next destination to sign some posters.
Some of the guys flew out that night, and the rest of us took off in the morning. Overall, we had a great time in Canada. Reggie was a great host/guide, and everyone’s looking forward to doing it all over again. Thanks, Centre.