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Friday, February 26, 2010

Mike Green Skate park, Long Beach, CA

Long Beach has a great skate scene. My brother moved to Long Beach first and he was the one who introduced me to Long Beach. When I skated more often back in 1999 – 2000 my brother and I used to skate with the 508 crew with the likes of Rob Gonzales, Danny Montoya, Stephen Attardo, Dave Hoang, Tuan Nguyen, Stacy Lowrey, Justin Reynolds, Allison Castro, and many others. This was the time they were making the New Horizon video and a lot of the skating in the video came from those moments. At that time there weren’t any skate parks in Long Beach. We used to skate at the Civic Center, Belmont Plaza Pool, the Catalina Boat Landing, Cherry Park and all the other little spots in Long Beach. That was a good time but I always wondered with such a great skate scene in Long Beach why there are no skate parks here. I guess the city got the message because today there are four skate parks in Long Beach—El Dorado, Houghton, Cherry Park, and Mike Green. I will review all four parks; the first being the Mike Green Park which is the newest and my current favorite skate park in Long Beach.

Today my back is finally feeling better to skate. The last time I skated was in Venice about a week ago (see my last blog). My body doesn’t recover as well as it used to so Epson salt baths are good as well as having an awesome girlfriend to rub your back. Thanks honey, you rock! Anyway, Jeff Petrick wanted to go skate today because he has been filming lately and has been getting a lot of footage. He sounded excited so I wanted to watch him skate some spots. I know he has been excited to skate because he told me we were going to go skate at 9:00am and he called me at 8:15am to make sure that I was up. He is motivated to skate. He came to pick me up with Josh Erickson, one of Jeff’s high school buddies, and we proceeded over to AJ’s house. AJ is another great skater that moved here from Seattle and is currently killing it all over the place in Long Beach. He started a skateboard filming company where he wants to help promote young skate talent in the area which I think is really cool. You have to check out his blog which has some great footage of some good local skaters. AJ is not only a great skater but he is also a great host. When we got to his place we had to wake him up and as he was getting ready he put in the new Thrasher Video “Prevent this Tragedy” for us to watch, which got us all pumped up to skate. Thanks AJ! We then all decided to go to Mike Green Park to warm up.

For those of you that do not know him, “Michael K. Green” for which the park is named after, was a 19-year-old upcoming local Long Beach Skater who on April 2005 was caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting. He had no gang affiliations he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn’t know him but from what I’ve heard, he was a great guy and loved skateboarding. You can check out the Documentary “On the Grind” which showcases local Long Beach skaters and also highlights the Mike Green Story. In January 2010 they remodeled and reopened the skate park on 14th St. (between Pacific & Pine) and dedicated it to Mike Green. The Mike Green story is a tragic story and when skating at the park you know the locals feel it because they are very protective of the park. Even in a rough neighborhood the park is known as a memorial and is protected. Just ask the guy who tried to tag the park; needless to say he will not be visiting anymore. The park is great and I have been coming here a lot because it is close to where I live. It is a mixture of concrete and metal ramps with some kind of cool material for the surface which makes the ramps fast and smooth. It has two street areas and a mini half pipe. For me the best thing I like about the park is the half pipe, it is fast and fun. But over all, the whole park has something to offer for everyone.

Today when we got to the park there was no one there—the great thing about getting up early to skate is usually you will have the place all to yourself. The bad thing is that you have to get up or make sure your buddy gets you up, thanks Jeff! We got there at 10:00 am so nobody was up yet except for us. It just rained the night before so the park was not in the greatest shape. One of the design flaws of the park is the dirt sand ring around the whole park and, especially after a rain, the park gets really dirty with sand dust. It was ok though because we had the park all to ourselves. We all warmed up in the middle street area and I played a game of SKATE with Jeffery and AJ. They took me out early and I think AJ won. I went over to the mini ramp and tried to clean it up the best that I could and preceded to skate. I was still trying to take it easy because of my back but just doing some grinds and fakie rocks, was fine with me. I actually pulled a board slide to fakie which I was happy about because I had been trying them lately and I couldn’t do them. I guess I was feeling good today because I pulled it on the first try. I love getting my old tricks back; it’s like when you first started skating and got that rush when you pull tricks off for the first time. What a great feeling. I love skateboarding!

The Park has some great locals—in particular Billy Moya who was the first person to arrive after us. Billy is a local ripper who I met the last couple times I have been at the park. He is fun to watch skate because he looks like he is always having fun. Billy is a super cool guy and I can’t wait to see him skate in the next couple of years because I know he is going to be good.

While I was taking a couple pictures of the park I noticed some construction guys checking out the park and watching the skating. I ended up talking with them and found out that they were some of the guys that built the park. It was Michael Cross and Zach Cowie. I just wanted to say thanks guys for building a great park!

We ended up staying there till 11:30am and then went to go check out a couple of other spots to film but the guys were not feeling any of them. I ended up going back home because I had to go pick up my step-daughter from school, such is the family life.

Long Beach has one of the great skate scenes and I know I am going to have fun documenting my adventures here. With the addition of the Mike Green Park the scene is only getting better. Another reason I love the skate scene in Long Beach is because of the skaters. The Skaters here are like one big family and I believe all the skaters here are connected in one way or the other. So, if you haven’t been to Long Beach come to Mike Green Skate Park to meet the family. You will most likely see me there or any of the great skaters I mentioned. If so feel free to say “hi” and have fun skating!

DJ TimTim

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