With the Internet and everything associated with it, I guarantee that most of you out there have at least a few “friends” that you’ve never met. If you don’t know what I’m talkig about, congratulations! You are much cooler than me and the 70 million other losers on “Mybook” or whatever social networking website is cool this month. Anyway, the point of all this is it’s easy to meet people as long as you don’t have to actually interact with them face to face. About three years ago, I got a photograph in the mail from one of my “friends.” This friend happened to be a semi-well-known photographer named Jai Tanju. On the back of this photograph was Jai’s address and the words “Print Exchange 2006.” I decided to send Jai a photo back, and within a few months, I was receiving photos from at least 15 different people I had never met. Keep in mind I was receiving these photos in physical form, not online. I was lucky enough to meet Jai in person a few times over the years, so when I had to decide where to go for spring break this year, I decided to go to Jai’s hometown of San Jose, Calif. Basically, I wanted to go on a solo skate mission like I did back in the days when I lived in a small town and was constantly driving to the city in search of spots. I had a few friends in San Jose I’ve skated with in the past, so I was planning on getting some shredding done.
When I arrived in San Jose, I was disappointed to learn that the wet weather had followed me all the way from Salt Lake. It was too wet to skate, so I ended up spending the night watching TV with some friends in their apartment. The next morning, the rain quit for a few minutes, but the clouds looked ready to destroy my skate dreams at any minute. I called Jai and we met up and took Frida, Jai’s dog, for a walk through downtown SJ. We hit up a local coffee joint and spent about three hours walking around with Frida. After coffee we went back to Jai’s house for a minute.
Jai’s friend, The Kid (if you don’t know who The Kid is you seriously need to turn off Fully Flared for a minute), came over and wanted to go skate Sunnyvale Skatepark. What an idea that was! Sunnyvale wasn’t crowded at all, but the 10 or so people who were there were mostly big-name pros. I’m not going to list their names here, but let’s just say I “enjoi’d” watching them put the park on “tiltmode.” The best thing about seeing all those guys at the park was they honestly looked like they were just having fun. Nothing really serious went down and all these guys seemed content just to skate flatground or the kiddie pool section of the park.
I noticed a guy taking photos of the dudes skating and I asked Jai who he was. It turned out to be Kyle Camarillo who, though I had never actually met him, I had been exchanging mail with for a few years. Some crazy shit went down over the course of the day, but I didn’t shoot much of it because Kyle was shooting some top secret Transworld stuff that you’ll probably see in a few months. Besides, poaching is lame. I was perfectly happy to take photos of all the other interesting stuff that was going on besides the actual skateboarding. I did get to shoot a photo of The Kid doing one of my all time favorite tricks, the frontside rock, on a cool spot.
After skating was done for the day, I met up with my friends Ant and Drea to go to an art show. Interestingly enough, the hostess of the art show was none other than Nancy Ahn, another person who I had only known as a pen pal. I finally met Nancy and her husband Vu in person for the first time. After the show, we walked the 10 or so blocks to The Cinebar in downtown San Jose. The bar was really crowded, but the music was good and everyone was hyped. I think Drea might have summed up my Cinebar experience the best when she said, “I bet you’ve seen most of these people in skate videos and now you get to see them in their finest form.” It was definitely a day to remember, and helped me realize how small the world of skateboarding really is. Some washed up old skater from Utah ended up sitting on a curb with some big name pros talking about Lost. What a wonderful world.