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 

Toke Jam Flyer 1985

Wiggyflyer 2A

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!

Dan Heyman Toke Jam 1985.jpeg

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!”

Bob Umbel 1985

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…!

May 1985.A

bs air: Timmy Cunningham / photo: bob umbel


lien air: Tim “Puker” Whistler

Josh Marlow 1985

bs air: Josh Marlow / photo provided by KL, via: keith davidson


 sad plant: Josh Marlow / photo: sam boo

Micro Wiggy's 1985

pre jam fs grind: Mike “Micro Man” Mapp / photo provided by: KL


layback air: Doug Mayer / photo: sam boo

Shawn Mclean Wiggy's 1985

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

May 1985.B

eggplant: “Radiation Ray” Young / photo: bob umbel

May 1985.C

bs ollie: “Radiation Ray” Young / photo: bob umbel  

In depth coverage by Bruce Adams – Lapper Mag Vol. 1 #4 1985

Bruce Adams write-up in Lapper Mag Vol. 1 #4 pg1

 Bruce Adams write-up in Lapper Mag Vol. 1 #4 pg2.jpg


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