Over the past few years there’s been a pretty heavy exodus of friends leaving NYC for the sun-bleached streets of Los Angeles. Which always left me a bit baffled. But then the winter of 2015 hit and all of us found ourselves trapped in our apartments, unable to skate through nearly 3 straight months of snow, wind and blistering cold.
So as the winter of 2016 approached we wanted to give the Theories of Atlantis crew a chance to escape the cold and keep skating. I had recently been to LA and while cruising through a couple of small beach towns it hit me that I had never really seen the rad aesthetic of that classic surf culture captured in a skate video project. I became pretty obsessed with that look and vibe so that sealed the deal for me that LA was the city for our trip.
We also felt like it would be interesting to see the TOA skaters’ take on skating LA. What kind of spots they would find and if they would approach it in a different way. We also had a lot of friends in the LA area who we don’t often get to skate with and we figured it would be a good excuse to include them in a TOA project and make it less of a “This is our crew shredding your city” kind of thing and more just something that captured the experience and vibe of our trip, skating with friends and being stoked to not be snowed in. – Josh Stewart
Although the novelty of driving around in a van from spot to spot was fun for about a week, we started yearning to just push around. So we started driving into areas in or around downtown, parking and just skating from spot to spot. One of these evenings we parked in Korea Town and stumbled across this spot that Brendan Carroll started eyeing up. With the runway going through a bus stop full of crazy homeless maniacs and the landing being the exit for a Denny’s which rolled out into a busy street, the scene here was complete chaos. Adding to that, the fact that we noticed the Denny’s driveway was functioning as a pick-up/drop-off point for high-price European hookers, it was hard to stay focused on Brendan as he barreled towards this beastly flat rail. Thankfully he switched ollied it multiple times so we could capture one in between the distractions from the homeless, the cars, the pedestrians and the hookers.
After putting some time in searching around the LA area, a small beach town called Manhattan Beach soon became one of our favorite destinations. Parking the car at the beach and just roaming through the downhill back alleys of rich people’s mansions kept us out of the car and able to find and skate some more unique spots. Canadian Traffic am Joe Yates took advantage and got a sick downhill line while Ben Gore perched on someone’s balcony and captured Joe mid-line in this sick little atmospheric photo.
John Baragwanath‘s name might be tough on the tongue but his skating sure is easy on the eyes. This frustrating bump spot in some depressing warehouse district seemed like a pass when we first pulled up on it. But watching John loft kickflips over the pole changed it into a pretty nice thing to watch. And when the corn on the cob peddler guy rolled up and we all got some lunch hand delivered to us it sealed the deal for an overall rad experience, despite the gloomy surroundings.
Sometimes the most ridiculous trick is the last thing that a spot is really calling for. When we crept up on this rad little spot, everyone sized up what the best move might be. But Taylor Nawrocki noticed the flow of the ride away and realized a simple noseslide hop-out would float nicely and nestle just right into the downhill landing, riding out all the way into the tunnel of love.
Taylor Nawrocki was the only skater who was along for the entirety of the LA trip. Which was rad because he was an asset at nearly every leg. If he wasn’t skating or filming a trick himself, he’d offer to film second angles or make snack runs for myself and the other skaters. He may not have been too good at dressing appropriately for the LA heat, but he definitely was a solid soldier of our little skate army.
With a personality as rad as his style, any time we can get Vincent Alvarez in the mix, we are stoked. Vincent had never met anyone in our crew other than myself, but he was immediately welcoming and proceeded to give us a tour of his neighborhood in East LA. We quickly confirmed that Vincent can make spots out of pretty much nothing after our crew found it pretty difficult to put anything together at most places he took us to. But in hindsight this may have just been an excuse for everyone to be able to sit down and just watch Vincent skate. And if that’s the case, I can’t blame them.
Our local LA friends thought it was ridiculous that we wanted to skate schoolyard spots. But, what they didn’t realize was that those were the spots that had the one thing we lacked the most back in NYC…..space. Being able to skate in a massive open flatground area without a million people in the way is a serious novelty for all of us. But throw in some baby picnic tables and mellow banks surrounding the entire perimeter and it added up to one of the most fun experiences during our entire trip. Taylor Nawrocki put the classic Gardner picnic table to use early into the trip with this switch kickflip step-off.