Girl Skateboards pro skaters signing posters at Blindside. Photo: Michael Sanchez
This year, Girl Skateboards celebrates its 20th year in business. The company was founded by Rick Howard, Mike Carroll and Spike Jonze after leaving World Industries. It has been a mainstay of the skateboard industry since 1993. Since then, it has spawned a number of companies under the distribution company of the same name. Trucks, clothing, shoes, boards—you could be decked out in Girl Distribution Company products, and not even know it. To celebrate the newest film from Girl and Chocolate Skateboards, Pretty Sweet, a tour of the United States was put together.
I have yet to see the video because it is not free in a mag, free online, nor is it The Deathwish Video. Be that as it may, I was still excited when I heard about this event. Blindside Company was the host of the Salt Lake City signing/demo. At 2 p.m. the signing at the shop would start, and then at 4 p.m., Rose Park Skate Park is where the demo would be. The line for the signing was insane to see, people were lined up for about five businesses in the southern direction of the shop. A lady poked her head out of a flower shop, asking what was going on. The lady was pretty nice, as it was explained to her that pro skateboarders were in town promoting a video—that posters and what not could be signed by the pros. It must have been strange to see packs of hoodlums slowly walking past her store. The customers of a golf store had to finagle their way past this oddity. It seemed as if we were performing some sort of social experiment. Some people asked what was happening, and others tried to ignore the human wall.
The signing was well planned, only 10 or so people were allowed in the shop at a time. I imagine this prevented things from being stolen and it felt more relaxed with only a few people meeting the pros at a time. I was given a poster, which I had signed by all of the guys on the team. Marc Johnson was even willing to sign my Converse shoe. “A Converse shoe? I ain’t signin’ no Converse shoe!” Johnson said, as he looked over at Kenny Anderson, making sure Anderson heard his comment. Sean Malto seemed happy to see anybody who walked into the shop. “I don’t ride loose trucks, it was kind of just a freak thing,” Malto said, after being asked what happened at Street League. In one of his runs, Malto was going up for a crooked grind, when his truck went to pieces before he popped his Ollie. He did not get another try at his run, which rightfully pissed the crowd off. Every person I met at the signing table seemed glad to be there and they were happy to answer any questions. The Trunk Boyz and all of the legends were in attendance—overall the signing went off without any hiccups.
After the signing, it was decided by my friends and me that we needed some food. Dee’s Family Restaurant was right across the strip mall from Blindside, so it was chosen based on convenience. Our waiter told us a story of when the mayor stopped by: “This guy came in butt-ass naked, freaking out the mayor. Then, he ran into the kitchen where he slipped on the tile and split his head open,” he said—I guess you should wear shoes if you decide to go streaking. He also let us know that we should come by late at night, because that is when all the sexy drunk girls come by, fresh out the club and looking to sober up. Once we left the restaurant, we noticed that all of the pros were in the parking lot, playing frisbee. This was cool to see and all, but we wanted to get a good spot at the demo—so we decided to leave. Howard on the left running by, Malto stood in front of my car looking lost, and Anderson walked by on the left, as I was about to make a left turn. It was a joke trying to leave the strip mall. I could have ran over at least two pro skaters if I wanted to. We waited a minute or two, for the coast to be clear and then we proceeded.
The turnout for the demo felt larger than the one for the signing. All around the park, people were lined up shoulder to shoulder. Tranny was ripped and tech skills were shown off. Raven Tershy blasted a huge frontside air, and a backside indy nosebone over the hip. Elijah Berle had foot plants on lock, and also did a frontside boneless just like the one on the tour poster. Howard, Carroll, Johnson and Eric Koston all had some tricks. In the end, Malto dominated the ledge with his manny tricks. Nollie kickflip nose manuel to nollie kicklip out, and frontside 180 fakie manny to fakie backside 180 out were some memorable Malto tricks. Free hotdogs and drinks were provided at the demo––even the local ice cream truck showed up to take our money.
There were two skate contests held on this day, in addition to the Pretty Sweet Tour. I can only imagine how many people would have been at the signing/demo, if the tour was the only thing happening. I feel that skateboarding is getting bigger than it ever has been. Events like this ensure that there will be a skateboard scene in Utah for the years to come. They let us have contact with people we may have only seen in videos. It also is humbling to see that they don’t land every trick first try. The Pretty Sweet Tour was a fun, free thing to go to, on a sunny day. I guess I might have to check out the video—one of these days.