The Fellowship of Skateboarding
The Fellowship of skateboarding
by Bob Umbel
The gathering of Skate Tribes, Clans or if you prefer Crews….represents skaters, skating on their own terms for all the right reasons! Before social media and cell phones, flyers and telephones were the only way of telling you where the next gathering would be and what mayhem and fun was to be expected. The flyer for all intents and purposes could make or break the turnout….
2 Flyers from the Toke Ramp Jam 1985
Keeper of the flyer: Dan Heyman
One such gathering took place back in April of 1985 in Richard “Wiggy” Austin’s backyard. The thought of a BIG vert ramp built to perfection and standards that came to be expected from the E.C.T.T.…was the motivation. During the Reagan era….gas was cheap and East Coast skaters, used to traveling most likely pitched in everything that they had to get there. In fact, that is what stood out the most for me that weekend….All of the hardcore skaters that jumped in their cars and drove for hours to attend. Skaters from all over Maryland, Virginia, New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, etc….that’s the way it was on the east coast in the 80’s. Needless to say, parking was outta hand!
fs invert: Dan Heyman / photo: bob stuckey
Everyone started arriving the night before to hang out and party….E.C.T.T., the O.C. skaters, The Loud Ones, The Public Menace, The Keystoners, the Refrigerator Raiders….It was during this time Team KL was born. The story goes like this; there were only about 7 or so skaters in the Sponsored division & the Unsponsored division had way more skaters. Shawn McLean wanted to skate in sponsored so he could get more runs, but he didn’t have any sponsors, so he spray painted KL on his board & claimed he skated for Team KL. He said he liked Keith Lenharr’s style so that is why he chose him as his supposed sponsor. Fred Smith saw what Shawn was doing & he too wanted to skate in the sponsored division, so he immediately spray painted KL on his board. Before it was all said & done, a handful of others joined the team that weekend.
invert: Keith Lenharr
KL”The OG crews/lifers around the Mid-Atlantic came together organically out of true passion 2 just skateboard! There weren’t many of us & we figured out a way 2 connect & go rip!”
Wiggy said it best, “Question: What do you get when you throw together 75 skaters, 4 kegs of beer, a bio ramp with a new layer, a sunny weekend, a house to rage in, stoked betty’s and snobby upper middle class neighbors who hate all of the above? Answer: You figure it out….but it was called the Toke Ramp Jam!”
fs air: Bob Umbel / photo: bob stokey
Mrs. Austin was obviously very cool and one of the nicest people any of us had ever met! She had to be for allowing Wiggy to build a 12ft high ramp in the backyard. When construction started on the ramp she couldn’t have foreseen the things that would come to pass.
pre Wall of Wiggy fs air: Dave Tobin
Dave Tobin’s Dad stopped by the jam and commented to his son“Gosh David, all those people with tattoos! It’s not the tattoos…but the tattoos are like evil and scary!”
In the Washington D.C. area and in particular Potomac, skaters were socially rejected. We did not follow any of those unwritten rules, so to speak and of course we were contrary to the herd mentality. With that said…the ramp didn’t last as long as Wiggy or any of us would have liked…!!!
The final result….everyone had a BLAST at the 2 day party…!
bs air: Timmy Cunningham / photo: bob umbel
lien air: Tim “Puker” Whistler
bs air: Josh Marlow / photo provided by KL, via: keith davidson
sad plant: Josh Marlow / photo: sam boo
pre jam fs grind: Mike “Micro Man” Mapp / photo provided by: KL
layback air: Doug Mayer / photo: sam boo
fs air: Shawn McLean / photo provided by: KL
bs air: Shawn McLean / photo: sam boo
fs roll in: Shawn McLean / photo provided by: dave tobin
eggplant: “Radiation Ray” Young / photo: bob umbel
bs ollie: “Radiation Ray” Young / photo: bob umbel
In depth coverage by Bruce Adams – Lapper Mag Vol. 1 #4 1985
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