Duffman: 4 Lokos & America's Wang.
IT'S HARD ENOUGH to get a trip out of your board sponsor. Were you surprised when your bearing sponsor wanted to do a tour?
I was. I haven't been on a trip in well over a year with Foundation, and then I get a call from Vern Laird asking if I want to go on a Bones bearings trip. Hell yeah I'm down! I had no clue who was going to be there since there's so many guys on the team. It's pretty awesome that a bearing company can get a trip together when so many other companies can't pull it.
There's a nice mark-up on those bearings, I hear.
I'm guessing there must be. We all know they're the best bearings in the world, and they're well worth it. And I'm not just saying that because I ride for them. I was one of those guys paying for that high mark-up for many years.
There were like 35, 45 people on this trip.
I'd say closer to a dozen or two dozen, but we never had everyone together at the same time. It was almost like two groups--the cooler guys, and then the normal dudes. The cooler dudes came and met up with us one night at the spot, but otherwise they were kinda busy in Miami doing their own thing with Ed Selego and Joel Meinholz.
So what nerds were left behind with you?
We're all nerds. But in our van, we had guys who wanted to skate 100-percent all day, every day. It was me, Ben Hatchell, Boo Johnson, Luis Tolentino, Clint Peterson, Andrew Langi, and Steven Reeves, plus a couple other dudes. That was the crew who all flew in together and drove from Tampa to Miami. And Evan Smith. That guy's the coolest cat of them all. I've never seen such good skating go down in my life. Not to fan out too much, but he's phenomenal.
What is he, Canadian?
Fuck, he might as well be Canadian mixed with Brazilian. He was that good. He'd sneak outside the circle and do something utterly amazing every time.
Since you're on the Bones Swiss team, do you flaunt it and change your bearings every day?
I've had the same set on for well over eight months. There was a stash of bearings on the trip--I was trying to pull a fast one, swipe 'em all and bring 'em back home with me, but they were China Reds, not Bones Swiss.
What's your take on Florida in general?
Homer Simpson said it best: It's America's wang. Florida has great skatespots, but it's kinda like Texas. It's not always my favorite place to go when I think about it. But once I get there it's always a good time.
How does the Duffman handle a place like Florida?
I handle it pretty well. It's got the Atlantic ocean, go boogieboard some waves, eat some good ol' Southern food--black beans and rice--then call it a day.
How do you have to alter your gear for the Florida humidity?
That's always a problem. I had to call CCS and get some new pants because the humidity wasn't working so good with my jeans. I needed something that stretched a little better. Some extra elasticity in the Florida heat? Definitely or you're not lifting your legs above your knees, ever. You're kinda stuck in one place. I don't much care for the Florida humidity.
How did the Grizzly Adams beard work in the humidity?
That's always fun. In Northern Florida, people don't pay much attention to what you look like. There's a bunch of rednecks up there. But I'm not lookin' too fly down in Miami with the beard and tight jeans at the beach.
What's Boo Johnson really like?
Boo's a cool cat, man. He sits on the phone, tries to holler at some chicks on the Twitter. But I'm down for the Boo Johnson. He's got the coolest name out there in skating. Kinda crazy, kinda awesome. He's a rad kid and he fuckin' rips, too. That was the first time I'd met him or seen him skate and I was stoked to become his friend.
When I think of those dudes struttin' around South Beach, the only guy who I could see fitting in out of your crew is Luis Tolentino.
That dude is my homie for life. He's one of the coolest guys I've ever gone on a trip with. Sometimes you meet skaters who are pissed off the whole time on tour, but then you meet other guys and you become friends right away. Like a Josh Harmony type, who's a fun guy to be around and always cracking jokes. That's how Lu was. Hollerin' at chicks all day, just insanity. Same thing as Boo, I had no clue what to expect. He has some raw power.
You had some skate royalty on the trip, too, like Kenny Anderson.
Kenny's a trip because he's one of my all-time favorites. Legend status--he's Kenny A-Mazing. He's a down-to-Earth, cool dude. I was talking to him about vintage cars, rebuilding Mercedes, his wife and kids--and he rips. Kenny's bad-ass. He has every right to be the biggest cock because he's a legend, but he's the most humble person and is always down for a good time. You can only handle so much skate talk on a tour, so when you get an older guy who wants to talk about other things, it's always enjoyable.
I saw this crazy roof spot that Forrest Kirby was skating. That thing looked insane.
That one was for the cool crew--we weren't allowed to go on that session. We were left back at the hotel. So I never actually saw the red nipple on top of the roof.
What's Andrew Langi like?
He's almost like a Nick Merlino type, straight insanity. At first you want to choke him out but then you realize he's having fun, so you just say "Fuck it" and let him enjoy it.
Was he putting down those Four Lokos?
That shit's crazy. He was definitely downing them--him and Hatchell. Hatchell's like the undercover drinker. He's definitely ready to have a good time.
I know the Duff Man doesn't drink, but if he was going to, would you go for that candy-flavored stuff?
I don't think the Four Loko is my cup of tea. I'm thinking more of a White Russian. I like chocolate milk and I like The Dude, so I'm thinking a White Russian must be pretty tight.
Alright, let's cut to the chase. Tell us about this horrific slam.
Forrest Kirby wanted to switch nosegrind or back tail this out-ledge. So we went to watch Forrest skate, and Tolentino was like, "Hey Duffman, you think you can ollie this?" And Forrest said, "Yeah, ollie it!" I was trying to get him stoked to skate the ledge too, so I thought, "Fuck it, I'll go for this thing." I tried a couple. I knew there was a pole at the bottom, like a School Crossing sign--some kinda pole was sticking out. I was scared to commit because if I got wheel bite or leaned the wrong way, I was gonna crash right into this pole. But the whole crew was egging me on, trying to get me pumped to do it, so I was like, "Fuck the world! High-speed death!" I said, "Luis, this is for you," committed, and ... I'm not too sure what happened next. Maybe the speed wasn't all there because you only get one good throw down, so I tried to stretch out the ollie. But I must have stretched it out too much. Maybe my foot came off a bit, because next thing you know I'm flying into the pole. I totally got meat-hooked by it. Fall down, bummed. Felt like my shoulder got ripped out of the socket. I instantly knew my shoulder was fucked. My collarbone was crushed as well. Sat there on the sidewalk kinda pissed off for a few minutes, got back up, watched Forrest try to his trick, and flew home from Miami a couple days later. Typical slam story. Eat shit, go back for more next time. Like it said in T-Eddys, "Accident Prone." Bound to happen.
If you could explain this Bones Swiss Miami trip in one sentence, what would you say about it?
I'm goin' back again for Tampa Pro! Can't wait! In all honesty, it was a cool tour and one of the coolest trips I've ever been on. So random--that's what tours should be. Otherwise you're just doing the same thing everyday. This trip had so much flavor to it. It was completely different and a lot of fun.
CAPTIONS BY COREY DUFFEL
PHOTOS BY DEVILLE