Photos: Chris Swainston
Welcome to suburbia, where miles upon miles of white vinyl fencing and acres of perfectly groomed emerald green grass outline row after row of dark taupe, taupe, light taupe and grey cookie cutter homes. Mom's Porsche Boxter sits in the garage while dad's Dodge monster truck flaunts his manhood curbside. A handful of tortured souls sneak bong-rips in the basement and hide twelve packs of PBR under the bed plotting their escape from this purgatory of boredom. There is no denying the monotonous life of suburbia. However, is there something more lurking amongst flower boxes and steep driveways—an untapped resource of skatetopia perhaps?
The hunt for suburban spots started while I was living in south Draper. I'd had my fill of 57in HD porn streaming through high speed Internet. Turning the same lines through the local parks was becoming tiresome. I was in need of change. I knew there were spots out there hiding amongst the homes. I rallied some troops and began the search. Kendall Johnson was first on the search party. While waiting for Trax to train us up to the University we starting scouring around a back alley. Hidden amongst overgrown vines and dilapidated asphalt we uncovered a gap popping out of someone's driveway over a tree stump and into a steep little bank. A bit of clean up was needed before Kendall could start poppin' and stompin'. He rolled away clean with a solid snap landing deep into the tranny. Unfortunately this new spot came with a toll. Slipping out in the tranny Kendall put his hand down, shredding his palm in the loose gravel.
The best part about this mission was how it was going to force everyone look at skating in a different way. You're not going to find perfect 8 stairs, butter benches and Dracula sitting in front of people's homes. Dirk Hogan was searching around the corner from our recently discovered gap, contorting his skate brain for something to shred when a seven-stair rail caught his eye. No runway was available for this set and no runway would be needed. Dirk perched up alongside the wall next to the rail and tail pop board slid, back 50, feeble and crooked grinded the rail. Popping onto handrails has enough death factors already, but to literally do it with zero speed is an entire other level of gnarly. The days search mission was a success. It was beer o'clock so we packed it up and took it to the porch.
No matter what time of day it is, skate brains never rest. On one of the many lovely days spent sipping the day away, Isaiah Beh spotted a lonely handrail across the street that was short, tall, mellow and begging to be skated. Isaiah got a trick on it, but I wasn't around to record it. Another man on the search party, Kordell Black, would capture the photo on another day.
We had investigated many of the residential areas throughout the avenues, Liberty Park and filtering into Sugarhouse. Keeping a keen eye was the key. We wouldn't travel far before finding at least something skateable, be it a rock wallie, drops off of porches or sidewalk bumps from tree roots pushing up sections of concrete. There was almost more to skate in the 'burbs than in the city. Unfortunately just like the city, the 'burbs come with 24/7 security. You think that underpaid mall security gets pissed off while they chase you around the parking lot—try dealing with a home owner walking out front when you are sizing up a spot on their own private property. At least that's what I would expect. We were lucky enough not to have any angry encounters. I think the key is to skate during business hours while all the drones are busy shuffling away in their cubicles. Nothing feels better than landing tricks quickly and quietly, because it's way easier to land tricks then try them all day.
With so many fun spots already uncovered within such a close proximity I wanted to expand the search further east where there would undoubtedly be some goods hidden amongst the neighborhoods near the mountains base. I wasn't very familiar with the area and needed a guide. Who better than Dirt Mcgirt himself. When I called Sean Hadley up to tell him what I was looking for, he already had spots in mind. I love Dirty, but fuck he is the ultimate lagger every time we try and go skate. He has to do his laundry first, then shower after its done and watch four hours of Sponge Bob while drinking boxed wine and Jager. While Dirty dicked around, Milo (Dirt's dog) had this spot he had been trying to come up on for some time. Milo and I trotted over to this double overhead wood fence and he boosted over it with ease and perfect form. Done and done, what up now Dirty? Your doggy got pops what you got? Not one to be outdone we rolled over a tall drop into a steep driveway. Fresh out of the shower with no warm up, Dirty was already carcass-hucking down this drop. Dirty ain't no stranger to danger and some blood was shed before he rolled away smooth with a switch 180.
It was time for our search party to take a break. Suburbia spans the valley and offers an almost infinite amount of land to explore. The nearly limitless boundaries of suburbia offer the freedom to adventure anywhere. Getting out of the city to shred some new ground keeps skating fresh and gets your mind thinking. There is no way of knowing what you'll stumble upon until you get out and start exploring. Elementary schools and churches nestled amongst the homes are good places to search out ledges, stair sets and rails. Also remember to hunt through the numerous beige megaplex shopping centers popping up throughout the valley. In-between homes and down the back streets is where you'll find the most inventive spots. It takes some work to uncover these suburban treasures, they are well hidden. Drive slow homies and keep your eagle eyes peeled.