A day at Bonsor by Wee Ming Wong
Back in the day.... back in the day.... back in the day.... I am so sick and tired of hearing BACK IN THE DAY!! Ageing is inevitable as it comes with more responsibilities but is it a real reason to not skate? The stuff you hear about breaking arms, legs and whatever you can imagine is certainly true, but in your head. Life is full of risk but is that light pole that you might hit gonna stop you from driving? Common sense will prove that by slowing down and taking it easy, odds are on your side. Címon dudes, the reason they make pads is to protect your ass. I see old guys on the ski hills and I see old guys playing hockey, letís just cut the BSÖ. SHUT UP and start skating. No one is asking you to do a mctwist and the cost of admission is not an excuse. Spring is now here so come on out and relive those days you keep talking about.
As society outlawed skateboarding for safety concerns in the late 70ís and early 80ís by shutting down what we wanted to skate, the majority of us minorities drifted in different directions for one reason or another. The next 20 or so years bred a new generation of skaters known for their street style by annoying the hell out of everyone flipping their boards and grinding away public property. It is however a blessing in disguise as politicians has come to realize that if they canít beat them, they better join them. Fast forward 25 plus years, skateboarding is too much to ignore as it is now here to stay with skate parks popping up every which way you look. And with the help of the Z Boys documentary, skaters of the past are now curious of what they are missing and want back in. We have come full circle as every road we have taken, has led us right back here doing what we love to do. Skate transition.
With that said and as far as I am concerned, you can look no further than Spectrumís Bonsor skate park in Burnaby. With three separate sections, this park accommodates all skill levels of skateboarding from beginner to the most advance skaters. The street side has many the ledges and stairs to keep kids honest throughout the day and on side of the law. The dog leg section is great for learning and relearning transition or just simply cruising around. And of course the vert junkies love the deep bowl with the full pipe which is by far the gnarliest in Vancouver with quick tight transitions, glass like cement and pool coping.
On a typical dry weekend day at Bonsor, you may see grand master "Mad Carver" Don Hartley along with the legendary PD of www.skullskates.com who actually stuck around and witnessed all the changes. Along with me and a growing number of others, we are reliving our past only now with greyer hairs, slower movement and bigger guts. One by one you see another older face re-appearing armed with nostalgic reasons and possessing a burning passion to rip. Names like Hui, Herman Hundle and Jack Wong have come alive along with many others. Ripping Squad bros of the 70's, Rich and Mike Lien have reappeared last summer and now have rediscovered the horizontal feeling on a vertical surface. Mike has been carving around and grinding the coping like he's 15 and Rich is pulling off Rock N Rolls to my surprise of how quick their progression has been. Niko Weis you were recently seen on BCTV, get the dust off your board!!
Most of us are well into our 40's, some like Don and his dreadlock bro Hui are 50 something while hanging around like kids with our kids. Several generations of skateboarders are now merged into one sweet park and Bonsor is it. Most of us will always pad up because at our age we donít need to be cool. Our ability to step on a board will speak for itself as we hope to influence the younger kids the importance of protecting our skin and bones. After all itís keeping us alive and itís why we still here. The latest and biggest trick is certainly out of the question as weíll leave that pressure to the pros. We skate within our abilities with hopes of providing a little inspiration while allowing our bodies to be our guide.
Although our energy level has reduced over the years, this amazing fountain of youth is rejuvenating us through meditation of our next line. As we rest, younger dudes wander to the bowl in an attempt to experience the world of transitions, pool coping and the natural flow of old school bowl riding. With smiles of awe, they carefully walk to the edge of the bowl and gingerly looking down. When it's empty they'll jump in and carve around the bottom, perhaps a kick turn or two with a devilish smile trying to keep balance as if they were walking a tight rope. Occasionally they hit the transition shooting their boards to the sky as they slam flat on their asses in pain. For those that can hit the top, youíll often hear them say "This dam coping sticks out so much I canít do shit, I need real coping" - in reference to metal. Shit man you shit head, POOL COPING IS REAL COPING!!
As the day moves on, the 20 something and early 30ís crowd finally appears as they like their sleep. These guys are at their prime and have no fear and they skate everything from miniramps to kinked transition. Their demonstration of balance and quick foot work is incredible as they shred the coping and ollie around as if their boards are stuck to their shoes. Here we have a clash of new and old school as a heated session begins raising the level of skating. These dudes bring to vert a shit load of technical mini ramp tricks that only a gamer will know. Kevin Marrat, Johnny B and Chris McCallum are names that come to mind. These dudes are pad less as their legs are lightning fast for running out with a good strong back! Letís just see how they do in the test of time.
Through all this, the next wave of skaters is also in the mix. James "The Front Side Kid" and Sean his "Backside Bro" along with Owen are turning heads and dropping jaws. We often get weird looks of parents and wannabe skaters that are tempted and others watching as if weíre freaks of nature. We notice their surprising facial expressions and curious questions of our age and why. Weíll have a small chat and exchange a smile or two then get up and take another run because itís way of life, itís what we do. And like old times, weíre still the minority as there are not too many vert skaters around. However, it still keeps us out of trouble and better yet, now it prevents our bodies from seizing up! Then of course weíll sit again, crack open a cold beer or two as it sure beats golfing and wondering how good we would be if we never stopped skating and guess what we talk about? You got it.... BACK IN THE F****N DAY!!
Wee - arrWee.com