Southland Tales: Skatercross

Photo by: Michael Essington

Photo by: Michael Essington

Back in September of 1978, after a year or so of idolizing all the Dogtown guys, my father took my brother and I down to Skatercross in Reseda and got us memberships; I was twelve, my brother was eight.

One of the funniest things about Skatercross was their application. At the age of thirty you qualified for a discount, because you were considered a senior citizen. My father was thirty-two and not amused. Another of the things I remember most about this application was the three categories: “Novice, Intermediate,” and “Pro.” I was horribly pissed, because my dad checked, “Novice” on mine. I remember freaking, asking my dad, “Why novice?” And he said, “Because you are.” I was very disillusioned, hadn’t he seen me hop off of curbs? Grind along the edge of the sidewalk? Obviously, he knew nothing of skateboarding.

Skating into the starting point of Skatercross was frightening. You had your choice of going up to this two-story ramp and skating down into the bowl at top speed or starting out at ground level. This was my first attempt at a skate park so I started at ground level just putting along as fast as I could go and suddenly half a dozen kids come barreling down on me from the ramp, everybody’s screaming: “lookout to your right! Lookout left!” A few sailing over me via the bowls walls. It was crazy! My brother and I skated for a few hours, until dad scooped us up for dinner. I remember feeling very cool after that. Every street skater wants to attempt a park. I remember looking at pictures of Tony Alva airborne in skate parks in Santa Monica, wishing it were me (minus the crazy hair). So, for the next few months I showed everybody and their momma my Skatercross membership card. I later acquired the nickname Mellow Cat (from Linda “Ziggy” Daniels) taken from the Skateboarder Magazine comic by Ted Richards.

Fast forward thirty years to July 2008, my four-year-old son and I spent a Sunday afternoon restoring an old Kryptonics skateboard I had. It was missing a wheel, bearings were rusted, screws and bolts were rusted. So, over the course of an afternoon I replaced the screws and bolts, put on new wheels and bearings, my son, Lucas, put on the wheels, I just tightened them. Same kind of stuff I used to do with my dad (when he had the patience) before we lost him in 2005. Eventually, everything comes full circle.

Michael Essington

About Michael Essington

Michael Essington is an American author and poet, most famous for his Mike Check column. Over the years Essington has done dozens of celebrity interviews, as well as hundreds of music reviews. The weekly Mike Check column, which appears on Strange Reaction, has also been printed in The Los Angeles Beat and the very popular Deep Red Magazine. Essington's column is read weekly by thousands of fans from Los Angeles to Denmark. Essington has been writing since his high school days. He is married to wife, Elizabeth, and has two children, daughter, Breana & son Lucas. And has a dog, Max, that Essington suspects may have a learning disability or a general lack of life goals.
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One Response to Southland Tales: Skatercross

  1. Eddie Cook says:

    Love the story. I never rode at Skatercross, but I remember seeing pictures of Jay Adams riding there. Awesome

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