Have you ever tried to write a skateboarding tour article? I remember the first few times I got to write about a tour. I was so excited to get to have the power of the pen and that inspiration ran pretty easily into an article.
Words & Photos By Andrew Peters
I've been on a lot of skate trips the last ten or so years of shooting, I love them, but it seems harder and harder to find a way to translate what happens on a trip to the reader and still keep yourself satisfied. If there's a particular story that is long enough to fill out an article, it's a breeze. But often, no matter how much fun you've had with your best friends on the road, it can seem just like any other trip when it's time to recount.
We went to Kansas. We met in the lobby of the hotel at 11 a.m. and jumped in the van, got breakfast, drove to a lot of spots… like, a lot of spots, got kicked out of a bunch and got away with a few in between. We would skate until dark, get dinner, then go and skate again and light something up. Often we'd find a skatepark for Ronnie to go upside down at while the rest of the boys drank beer and smoked. Then we'd go back to the hotel and sit in a windy corridor, beer in hand to send us into the next day and do it all again.
The corridor was the main post-skate-day- hang-spot. Sometimes there's a common room that everyone links up at, but on this trip we had a weird tunnel that had some benches to sit on and enough shadows to hide in for the most part. The thing about weird shadowy tunnels is that you generally find other people that are trying to hide and do bad shit, so we met every single delinquent that was staying at this hotel.
The most memorable delinquent was Toddy Cuba. On the first night in our spot we met a middle-aged guy named Tim—who we refused to call Tim—renaming him Todd. Todd had a Cuba shirt on, like a midriff top hanging his belly out the bottom, so the nickname Toddy Cuba was quickly established. We figured with a couple extra years our senior Todd would have some pretty cool stories to tell us, but nope, he wanted to drink our beers and be part of the gang without a single story contribution. He tried to make up for it by going to his room and getting us his sketchy weed pipe that everyone politely refused. Then finally he teased us with, "Just don't ask me about the murders in Fort Worth." Everyone paused… Wait, what about the murders in Fort Worth? And he just wouldn't give it up. We still don't know if he just pulled that out of nowhere. He's either got a million stories he wouldn't admit to us or he is actually the most boring guy we've ever met. The new nickname might be one of his finer attributes to date. Considering all of Toddy's shortcomings, we adored him. We embraced his spirit as a mascot for the rest of the trip. Many of the tricks done while we were in Kansas were carried by the myth of Toddy Cuba.
There were a lot of 'bars' (raps) spat in the corridor. The conquest to have an artillery of bars each night was lead by Tyson. There would be some random YouTube trap instrumental called "Smoke," "Dope" or "No Sleep" and Tyson would take off. Dan Lu had some pretty serious rhymes and Chima and Ronnie weren't afraid to take the mic either. We even managed to get a few verses out of other passing hotel guests, with a couple too many under their belt also.
One night we ventured out of the corridor because there was an oil convention with a bunch of evil motherfuckers in one room and we needed to investigate. Typically they were applauding each other's darkness, sipping wine and eating hor d'oeuvres. We decided we should get some sort of justice in the room and drink some of their booze and eat some snacks. One of the main guys figured we weren't actually welcome, but Chima quickly convinced him that we were from the Australian sector. This guy really wasn't buying it and went and checked if there was an Australian sector, which there wasn't. We were promptly escorted out of the room but managed to grab a few gallons of gas worth of bar treats.
Did you know that Kansas City isn't in Kansas? I absolutely did not and it's really fucking confusing. No wonder Dorothy got lost. I don't even know if we went to Kansas. I think there's beef between Kansas and Kansas City, it sounds to me like they're chasing their tail. Just give Kansas its city already. Or maybe they are just so proud of being a farm state they're like, "City? Fuck that, Missouri can have it!" I also thought of Kansas City as some cute innocent little town that is so far away from everything that it doesn't know of any corruption or crime, but Kansas City is like Chicago's quiet, mischievous brother. Prohibition, they were like, "Eh, doesn't apply to us, no one even knows we're here, lets make moonshine, click our red boots and try to find a wizard." There's a rich Italian mafia heritage all over the place and the more and more I could inquire into it, I just wanted to know about Toddy Cubas's murders in Fort Worth, Texas.
We only met Toddy once but every night we would be at the corridor sharing stories of the legend, hoping he would reappear. It's hard to put your finger on what makes a trip good, but this was a really good one. I think the theme of the trip normally gets set up pretty early on and our theme was Toddy Cuba. He didn't know where the fuck he was, had his own weird shit to offer but most of all just wanted to be part of the team. He was along for the ride wherever it went.