Winging It Coast To Coast- Up in the air with the Globe Shoes team

You can imagine my excitement when Dave Swift asked me if I would be interested in joining the Globe Shoes team on their U.S. tour. Without knowing too many of the details, I eagerly accepted. The one thing I did know was I’d be traveling to New York, Colorado, Texas, and finishing up back in California. We would also be traveling from demo to demo by airplane¿a welcome relief after spending the better half of my summer in a sweaty, stinky team van. With my gear packed, I left for the airport.

The first stop was scheduled for the Riverside Skatepark in New York. On the way to the park, we thought there was a chance the demo would be canceled due to some thunderstorms lingering in the area, but by demo time it had dried up enough for everyone to skate. Before the demo, I met with the crew I would be traveling with: Jayme Fortune, Gershon Mosley, Rodney Mullen, his wife Traci, filmers Angus Smith and Brandon Manzanares, and Team Manager Andy Meade. Handshakes were exchanged, introductions were made, and the demo began. Gershon and Jayme worked over the hip, while Rodney took care of the funbox. Their relentless assault of the street course continued until the rain once again began to fall. As the skateboarding slowed, the crowd turned its attention to the heap of product being tossed out. In the frenzy to recover Globe Shoes paraphernalia, Angus and his camera became victims of the madness. He was blindsided by some kid who sent his camera flying off its tripod and onto the ground. The kid had no concern for anything other than to get some free stuff. When the dust finally settled, Angus and his camera came out bruised but not broken. The increasing rain sent us seeking shelter back at our hotel. After a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant, we got ready for the next day’s trip to Colorado and turned in early.

Arriving at the airport, we learned that due to inclement weather (thunderstorms over New York and New Jersey), our flight out of the city was going to be delayed, and possibly canceled. This became the first of many delays on the trip. After two hours of patiently waiting in line, we were finally able to rebook our tickets and board a plane headed for Denver. I was seated wedged between two strangers and across from a screaming baby¿this, along with the nauseating smell of airline pasta filling the cabin, made what should have been a quick flight to Denver three hours of pure hell.

We finally arrived, and after a quick stop at our hotel to check in, we went downtown to a party thrown for the team. We closed the bar, then went to an after-party down the street. This place wasn’t really happening, but inside the warehouse where the party was being held were dozens of old bikes just lying around. Schwinns with banana seats, ten-speeds, beach cruisers, mountain bikes¿you name it, they were all there to be ridden. After a couple wheelies and a few laps around the block on the different samples of pedal power, we decided it was time to leave.

The next demo was at Cornerstone Skatepark in Denver, Colorado. The place was packed with kids everywhere. Everyone skated equally well, but Rodney dazzled them with a perfect mix of his old-school flair and his modern technical wizardry. After three hours of baking in the heat and listening to some clown on a microphone challenge everyone’s knowledge of skateboarding history, the demo turned in to a full-blown autograph session. Our work in Colorado was done, and soon we’d be on our way to Texas.

We arrived in Dallas, and after a Texas-sized steak, we sneaked out to Freestyle Skatepark for a midnight session. Jayme and Gershon familiarized themselves with the course in preparation for the next day, and I was able to shoot a couple photos without worrying about my equipment being knocked over and smashed. After an exhausting day, we retreated to our hotel for some well-deserved rest.

Our first order of business the following morning was to make an apppearance at a mall shop for an autograph signing. We were met by Beedle, who led us to the middle of the mall where they had everything set up. Kids had already begun to line up, some even missing school to be there. Autographs were signed, pictures were taken, then finally it was demo time. As we pulled up to the park, we could tell this demo was going to be huge by the number of spaces remaining in the parking lot. Rodney had arrived about fifteen minutes before us, and as soon as we walked through the door, we saw him hard at work. The spectators had cleared a circle for him, and he was in the middle doing his thing to the applause of everyone in attendance. Once the rest of the course was cleared, Jayme, Gershon, and a handful of other local rippers held it down as well. Another demo down, back on the plane!

On to our last stop, but not before a few more complications: Andy, Angus, and Brandon had different flight plans than the rest of us: they were to fly directly to San Francisco, whereas we had to stop off in Denver before heading west. Of course, they made it to their destination with no problem, but we, on the other hand, had some problems. First off, our flight to Denver was about 45 minutes late. No big deal, right? It wouldn’t have been if we didn’t have to connect with another flight right away¿but we did. After an incredibly turbulent flight and a sketchy landing, we made it to Denver with about ten minutes before our next flight was scheduled to leave. We rushed to the gate only to learn that the plane we were supposed to take to San Francisco had been grounded in Cheyenne, Wyoming because it was unsafe to land in Denver. That’s right, it was unsafe to land at the airport where we had just landed! Think about that for a minute. So anyway, another two-hour delay, and we were finally on our way to San Francisco. We met up with the rest of the group, got to our hotel, and called it a night.

Finally, our last demo. This one was scheduled for a Y.M.C.A. skatecamp. Danny Gonzalez joined up with the group, and we made our way there. The kids were psyched when everyone arrived. The weather was warm but a welcome relief to the humid temperatures of Texas. It also happened to be Rodney’s birthday that day, and the highlight of this demo had to be the 50 or so kids, along with everyone else in attendance, singing “Happy Birthday” to him. I wish he could have seen the look on his own face when everyone erupted in song. The cake was cut and distributed amongst the crowd, and the last demo ended on a positive note, so to speak. With one last flight to catch, we left for the airport, checked our luggage in, and headed to our gate. It was time to go home.