Melbourne to Adelaide to Perth and back was the route to redemption, and not a moment was wasted on booze and debauchery. If you didn't pick up on the sarcasm, then you've already missed the boat. I can't help you. Kevin Long, Leo Romero, Brandon Westgate, Braydon Szafranski, Bryan Herman, and Andrew Reynolds were the money boys, while Jetski, Mino, Neck Face, and myself, Larry the Grim Hot Wing, slarfed along in the wings. Throw in your random Wade Burkett, Ali Boulala, Beagle One-ism, and Goat Junt sightings, and this trip was what dreams are made of. If I could sum up the entire excursion in one word, it would be a sound--the screech of a Pterodactyl.
ANDREW "ANOTHER FRONTSIDE ELIP" REYNOLDS
BOSSMAN HAS KID named Stella. She's not even a kid yet still just a baby, and whether he named her after Stella in Marlon Brandon's A streetcar named Desire I'm not so sure. But a kid can slow things down a bit when it comes to having the time to go out and skate. Good thing the Bossman only needs to go out once a week to film 12 minutes of footage. As for Asstralia, he was struck with us for over 10 days with nothing to do but put 'thane to' crete. Bossman's inter child comes out when he's on an all-day mission with no hotel in sight and a pack King of the Road this year--so keep your eyes peeled.
BRYAN "CHECK OUT MY NEW SHOE" HERMAN
IT NEVER FAILS that getting hurt doing something other than skating sucks way worse than getting hurt skating. (There's the most obvious sentence in the world.) Herm came on the entire trip with us but didn't skate, due to a metal plate in his leg from riding his motorcycle. Don't worry; by the time you read this he'll be schralping around the streets doing chest-high switch frontside 180 heelflips and some of the best hardflips in the business (next to Lacey Baker).
KEVIN "SPANK-DIZZLE" LONG
IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW Dizzle, you might think he's a stargazing member of a Bowie-esque boy band. Oh con-traire! Lurking beneath those boyish good looks is a murderous CHUD, infested with the need to lip your rips off. That's kung fu speak for stylizing your scene, especially your bank spot. Spank brought his chick with him--which is a big faux pas in the world of traveling amongst skaters. Luckily she's a good gal, and the instinct to slaughter was deferred. Spank really came out of his shell in Oz and laid it down like none other. Rip this, shred that, zing it over the hip--all while wearing a generic Neil Blender shirt--and Spank was in the zone. Frontside flip that double in Perth. Now that was sick!
LEO "THE MEXICAN BIRDMAN" ROMERO
LEO SPEAKS fluent Dactyl (Pterodactyl, you slow fucks). A Dactyl screech is kind of like using the word "word." Word can be used as a question: "Yo, I just saw T-Bone's tre flip in the Osiris video. It was sick!" Then you would say, "Word?" Word can be used as an exclamation point, "Yo, I'm not even on mushrooms. I just love Portland. Word!" Word can also be used as a confirmation or an agreement to something, "Man, that dude's mom is kind of hot. I'd do her." If you agreed, you'd reply, "Word."
Well, a Dactyl screech for Leo takes the place of almost all written and spoken language on the globe and melds it into a simplified communication technique. Next time you see the 'Mero, give him a high five, cock your head to one side, shrug your shoulders, and give out a wounded Dactyl screech. He'll either screech back, buy you a soda, or signaturize your sister's gut with a Sharpie. Either way, he'll know exactly what you're saying. Good luck.
BRANDON "NEVER TALK" WESTGATE
I ASKED JETSKI to help write some of this article 'cause I have penmanship Tourette's, a symptom that causes me to have no idea what I'm writing, what I'm writing about, or why I'm writing in the first place. But after reading some of what Jet wrote, I think you're better off letting me explain our trip. Actually, read what Jet wrote about Westgate and you'll know what I mean. "I've got one word to summarize Brandon, 'damn!' Brandon is the man, plain and simple. I've never seen so much pop in such a small guy. Quiet and humble is how he rolls; although, his skating speaks volumes. I overheard kids talking about him at the demo in Melbourne, saying, 'Hey, did you see how big that was!' They could have been talking about the size of his hands, 'cause those things are huge, but I'm pretty sure they were referring to the height of his tricks."
What the fuck was that? The size of his hands? I mean, the kid's from Massachusetts and he skates with Frenchy Nick Dom and he's balls to the wall--and Jet writes some soft core spewage like that for Thrasher magazine! Writing for skaters is like finger painting, you don't have to know how to draw, just smush together some pretty colors and let it ride. You better hide, Jet. I cumming for you. Wait, that was a spelling error.
BRANDON "HETFIELD" SZFAZZ??Z?KY
NICKNAMES ARE FUN to come up with for other people, but it's hard to make one really stick. All the ones I think of suck, and that's why I let other people come up with them--then I just leech off theirs. Sal Barbier has mastered the art of nicknaming skaters. We were skating the spine ditch behind Brooklyn Projects one day when Braydon and Baby Skitzo showed up. Braydon, of course, was shiftless and back tailing all over the place and jocking me to teach him how to do real rock and rolls. Not that pansy style where your back truck doesn't hit the coping, but that Jason Jesse-type shit, where you try to break the deck and your back foot is tweaked upside down. Anyway, Braydon took a run where he rocked over the spine and stalled just a nanosecond too long, and it threw Sal into a frenzy. "God damn, man! Why don't you make a ham sandwich while you're up there taking a lunch break? You think Alphonzo ever sat on the spine that long?! Learn how to smash over that thing, Hetfield!" With the long blond hair, sporadic tattoos, and wetsuit pants, Braydon was a dead ringer for James of Metallica. It suites him perfectly, and that's all I can think of when I see his mug.