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Ditches bitches.

DOWN THE DRAIN

DITCH SKATING HAS BEEN AROUND at least as long as street and pool riding, and while its origins lack the glamorous golden-maned imagery of bowl early days, it's spawned of the same do-it-yourself, skate-the-unskateable spirit. When the funplex skateparks of the late '70s and early '80s dosed, you can imagine the pained sigh of acceptance as the skate community returned to the clunky banks and rough runs of the ditches. And while many mourned their beloved snakes and clovers, a new breed invaded the drains in a quasi-street, mock-halfpipe style that spawned moves as beloved as the boneless and forgettable as the hazard. The early '90s saw ditches largely abandoned (along with 70 percent of the rest of skateboarding's history), but the Beryl bank attacks of Daewon and Klein gave a hint that they wouldn't be lost forever. The Oughts saw skaters taking their modern street skills back to the rough ravines, matching up hardflips with harsh banks, as much in the name of progression as desperation at the difficulty of finding handrails on a weekday. The new bucks, clueless as to ditch skating's checkered past. have gone--predictably--buck wild. Ditches are hot again. And with Geoff Rowley's mind-melting 360 ollie Thrasher cover, they've joined the El Toros and Wallenbergs as acceptable A-List terrain. Bring your big guns, boys. It's all downhill from here.

1. WALLOS

MADE FAMOUS in 1987's The Search for Animal Chin, this Hawaiian ditch was the Holy Grail for bank bombers ready to test their luck on its steep and sandpapery hips. Now overgrown and sort of fucked up (after the state built a road up its flatbottom), Wallos is left largely to nostalgia victims and the occasional Natural Koncept pro. Regardless, Haole, still a wild, wild ride.

Fun Fact: In 'Chin, a fully-padded Mike McGill performs a goddamn handplant down the "Air Bowl."

Funner Fact: Not even Hawaiian legend Kale Sandridge knows the origin of Wallos' name.

2. SKIP'S

FOUNDED BY HUNTINGTON BEACH BLACK LABEL PRO Skip Pronier in the late '80s, Skip's is a miles-long paved stretch of the Santa Ana river that features countless wallrides, bumps, banks, and other obstacles with varying degrees of smoothness and rad. Though you can still find plenty of space to pop a boneless, Skip's is the place where modern street found its way into the ditch.

Fun Fact: All Boulala was the first person to ollie the entire bank to flat.

Funner Fact: Mark Appleyard has taken at least five dumps there.

3. INDIAN SCHOOL

GET DROPPED OFF high in the hills and you can bomb Albuquerque's Indian School Ditch for miles without ever having to push. The mid-section features the step-up bank and adjacent wallride (as seen in KOTR), while the bottom is topped with jersey barriers and weird drop-ins. In terms of pure, four-wheeled fun, Indian School might be the best ditch of all time.

Fun Fact: Frontside grinding the bank to wall earns automatic gnat status.

Funner Fact: Reigning local Rocky Norton can bench press a PT Cruiser.

4. THE DRAINS SITUATED NEAR THE MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA AIRPORT, the Drains are more of a streetstyle affair (a la Skip's), with a river jump, a Euro gap, post rides, and smooth banks to pop tricks into or monster moves over.

Fun Fact: Yes, you smelled right--there's sewage in that river!

Funner Fact: Despite a glut of coverage, the Drains have only been skated for the last five years.

5. EZ-7

LESS OF A SNAKE RUN than a rudimentary halfpipe, Houston's EZ-7 has been sessioned for over 20 years by locals from John "Tex" Gibson to Guru Khalsa. Special features include an uphill channel (which Gonz famously kickflipped in '87), a bench extension, and nearby woods to smoke weed and make out in.

Fun Fact: After failed attempts to stop the fun, the cheapskate city council recently granted EZ-7 official skatepark status.

Funner Fact: If you do manage to lure a special someone into the woods, keep your pants on. There's poison ivy everywhere.

HOW TO BE A DITCH GRAFFITI ARTIST

I KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about real graffiti culture. Those crazy letters and shit? I've been told that they actually spell stuff. I don't know. I'm too old to try and fake any type of urban street culture bullshit. I'm from the fuckin' country. But I do know a shitload about ditch graffiti. You wanna get down with that scene? Read on, Johnny.

Go to Wal-Mart and buy a can of the shittiest spray paint they have. Dgn't be trying to get all fancy with your Krylon bullshit. This is ditch graffiti. The shittier it looks the better. And yeah, I know, you don't want to shop at Wal-Mart because they're fucking up America. But where I'm from the only place to buy spray paint anywhere close to the ditch is going to be WaI-Mart so you're gonna have to suck it up, hippie.

Okay, so you have your can of shitty spray paint. Oh yeah, make sure to buy either black, red, or florescent green. Not sure why, but those are the rules. So grab your can and step into the ditch. Try to find the wall that is most visible to the public. Now try to think of the dumbest fucking phrase you can come up with. If you need help, some popular themes include: moms who service men's genitalia with their mouths, schoolmates who enjoy sex that involves butts, the Misfits, Independent tucks (yeah, tucks--you gotta misspell that shit), dudes that live in your town who are far less superior at skateboarding than you are, heavy metal, weed, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and dinosaurs having sex with each other. Actually I just made up that last one. But I think it would be pretty cool if people started spray painting dinosaurs fucking. Just to make sure that the adults have "no idea what the fuck is going on with the kids these days."

But I digress. So come up with your phrase and paint that shit as big as you can. Misspell at least one word and be sure to disregard all rules of typography. Kerning? Tracking? What the fuck is that? Oh yeah, all caps. That's mandatory. And the drippier the better. If you're going to be adding some sort of graphical element to enhance your graffiti, then make sure that your drawing skills are not above a third grade level. If you're good at drawing then just stick to the letters. And if you're at a loss for what type of imagery you should be working with, just remember these three words: crudely rendered penis.

That's really all there is to it. I personally don't do any type of ditch graffiti because in my opinion that's just red flags for cops to start busting people. But if you're the kind of dude who is doing ditch graffiti, you probably don't have the ability to form any type of sequential thought pattern so in your mind you're not doing anything wrong. Right? Right.

So, to recap: Go buy some shitty spray paint, go to the ditch, find the most visible wall, spray paint whatever dumbfuck inbred thought you have running through your head, and then just sit back and wait for the spot to become a bust. You're now a ditch graffiti artist. Good job, fucker.

GSD: DITCH-PRO

I know you were a Del Mar local and all, but is it safe to say you were the first ditch pro?

Hell yeah! And so many other ditch pros followed in my footsteps! I never skated anything else. As a kid, I was under the impression that your pro model was in the shape of a shovel for clearing out ditches. Is there any truth to that?

Absolutely. Most dudes thought the GSD deck was the bomb--I mean bomb-shaped--but if you look closely, you'll see it was actually a proud member of the spade family.

Did you ever get shit from the vert pros for being a ditch pro?

Hell yeah! They were all over my mellow-angled shit for not gettin' extremely perpendicular.

You are also credited with inventing a classic ditch move, the boneless one. How did it happen?

In December 1979, influenced by a trick I saw in Skateboarder magazine called the footplant--done backside, planting the rear foot--I thought up a frontside version, planting the front foot. It all happened when Robert Hamrick, Mark Mounts, and I were messing around with our boards while sitting on the floor in Robert's house. We considered this trick impossible and promptly forgot about it for the next few months. Mark called me up in the spring, breathless, announcing he'd just pulled "that trick" I had thought up. I rushed down to the DO, only to find him popping the first boneless ones three feet off the main bank. Within a few minutes, I was doing that "impossible" trick too. We were blown away at how much higher, and easier, we could boost than with a backside footplant. At first, the trick was given the literal, and not exactly catchy, "front-footed frontside footplant" moniker, which stuck for over a year until Robert re-named it the boneless one after his favorite puppet, Harry the Boneless One.

Who does the best boneless ones?

Gumby.

When was the last time you did a boneless one?

Probably in the early '90s. It's hard to remember.

What's the best ditch graffiti you've ever seen?

The words "I'm polite," which I spray painted on the wall of a pool in San Jose. Okay, it wasn't a ditch, but who's fudging? Me.

Did you ever write anything in a ditch?

No, but I have written sentences on a blackboard. Just kidding. Back in the '70s we used to spray paint graffiti into the Hitch Bitch Ditch in Cincinnati straight out of Mount Baldy photos in Skateboarder magazine. How creative.

What are the best ditches of all time?

The Lemon Grove Ditch in San Diego, Flower Street in Santa Aria, the Oceanside Ditch in Oceanside, the Hitch Bitch Ditch in Cincinnati, the Morgan Hill Ditch near San Jose, Sanoland in Cardiff. Lemon Grove was incredible. One section was about four-feet deep, had plenty of flatbottom, round trannies, steep flat wall banks, and sharp lips. It was better than a mini-ramp or a skatepark.

Who are the best ditch skaters?

The Big Boys.
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Article Details
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Author:Burnett, Michael
Publication:Thrasher
Date:Jul 1, 2006
Words:1729
Previous Article:Myths, truths, and traditions could only mean Greece.
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