WORDS John Kreutter PHOTOS Spencer Flaherty
When I was younger I was very fortunate to have gotten into skating in an area with a rad community of people who were motivated and active. Lansdowne Skatepark is one of the earliest established skate parks still standing in Maryland. It’s pretty much one massive ditch with a bunch of different routes and little features to hit. I remember the first time I skated the park with my friend Jacob years ago. When we first arrived, I was in awe of this gigantic cement, tagged up, park. I noticed this dude chilling with all sorts of different boards. He had all kinds of skate stuff lined up that I had never seen before. He had super-long Gravity Skateboards decks, old school re-issue boards with soft wheels, and one that especially caught my eye was a deck with a hammerhead nose. I eventually got a bit curious, and closer—I had to see what was up!
While checking out his boards, I met Nino Almazon, the owner of all of these fascinating setups. After skating with him a bit more, he taught me a lot about hard wheel sliding, downhill, and also took me to a lot of rad spots. He eventually showed me footage of Sergio Yuppie doing crazy stuff down hills. From there, I was more than pumped to learn how to do the stuff that Sergio could do.
A year or so later I hosted my own slide jam in Baltimore, Maryland with AVE Skate Shop. I sent a couple of emails to Gravity Skateboards to see if they’d be interested in sponsoring my event. After getting no response, I sent Sergio a Facebook message hoping he’d be able to help. He quickly hit me back and told me that he’d like very much to come to Maryland to judge the event and that he could definitely get Gravity on board as an event sponsor. I continued organizing the event, and it grew larger than I had ever originally expected. When the time came, Sergio flew out and killed it at the slide jam. Over 200 people came out and from there I was only motivated more to keep it all going.
Soon after that, I began traveling to skate new terrain as much as I could and I got more into DH freeriding on soft wheels. I wanted to be able to do everything I had already learned on hard wheels, now on softer wheels. The way that all of the above-mentioned went down really helped develop my style of riding today. Everyone you skate with and every spot you session influence the way you skate and will eventually help to form your own style. That said, I am forever grateful for all the skaters and skate spots I have had the privilege to encounter and experience. I believe it’s important to remember where ya came from. Continue respecting your roots, and in the process, hopefully you’ll help someone else to develop and grow their roots in a positive and diverse way. If you’d like to share a story about how you got into skating—or if you have any questions—please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below and I’ll hit ya back for sure.
Signed with love,