Earth seems to be on a collision course with its 6th mass extinction of living creatures. Personally, I’d like to hope we can sort ourselves out before D-Day for the Human race but the odds seem stacked against us. Forest fires, flash floods, pandemics, deleted eco systems… Let’s just say we’re all fucked and the world as we know it is set to collapse. Which skateboarders would survive the apocalypse?
**Disclaimer: I’m not an illustrator and I have no skills with photoshop so you’ll just have to imagine the amazing illustrations that could have accompanied this text. Just to help spark the imagination I have added brief ideas for graphics. Freelance illustrators feel free to send in submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks and Sorry.**
Generally speaking, I often find skateboarding at odds with saving the environment. We ride boards made of wood which requires a ton of trees to get chopped down every year. We pride ourselves on pouring concrete everywhere (and building mega ramps which in turn requires even more wood) just so we can skate. And probably one of our most prized possessions, the urethane wheel, is virtually indestructible capable of outliving many future generations in a landfill somewhere.
But this isn’t about the shortcomings of the culture or industry of skateboarding. This is about the skaters themselves, in particular the pros and ams that inspire us to skate. If shit hit the fan, who would you like to be playing S.K.A.T.E. with?
The first person who comes to mind as a possible player in the post-apocalyptic future is The Master Of Disaster himself, Duane Peters. Seriously, Duane looks the part with his chain and padlock choker, blotchy tattoos all over his body and bad teeth. You can imagine him alongside Wez in Mad Max 2 riding a cast iron skateboard with spikes sticking out of the truck axles.
With such a tenacious grip on life despite having put his body through the wringer more than once, Duane Peters seems to be the perfect candidate to survive nuclear fall out and desolation.
*Insert image of Duane Peters and Wez riding a beat up motorcycle and sidecar in the desert some where. Mohican feathers, ripped t-shirts and dirty griptape.*
“Health is wealth” is an old adage only healthy people seem to know. How come? I guess the rest of the world is either too sick to care or just trying to live a happy life with a balanced diet of side salads and a side of fries.
Skateboard poster boy for the whole foods gang is Floridian Neen Williams. Neen tried living the fast life of getting hammers and hammered until he got broke and then he discovered the virtues of fitness training, a plant based diet and his own personal YouTube channel sizzling recipes for the masses.
As the four horsemen of the Apocalypse empty the shelves of every single shopping mall, sticking with Neen means you are guaranteed a healthy spin on your tinned tuna and rice menu and a morning workout to keep you ready to run from the zombies.
*Insert image of Neen Williams with Loony Toons Road Runner spinning legs running from tornadoes.*
When I think of Justin Eldridge’s goofy grin, I think of three things:
- Nollie nosegrinds into handrails
- Farting on the Nine Club with Chris Roberts
- And camping
It seems that anyone who knows Justin or talks about the guy touches on one of the three things mentioned above. Nollie nosegrinds are nice but frankly they aren’t going to help you when the lights go out. Neither are farts unless you want to keep people away. So Justin’s strength is love of camping.
There seems to be a running joke around Mr. Eldridge that if he isn’t skating he’s somewhere in the wilderness kayaking some rapids or setting up a hammock to sleep under the stars. Somewhere in there is a tale of an epic camp Justin had built only to have it usurped by a bonafide vagrant. This story goes to show Eldy’s exterior design skills are highly appreciated by survivalists.
*Insert image of Justin Eldridge lounging in front of log cabin with radioactive neon sign ‘Chez Eldy’.*
When Pat Duffy was introduced as some sort of indestructible Terminator sent from the future in The Questionable Video, the real half-man half-machine was his team mate, Danny Way. Danny is a beast that doctors have rebuilt again and again so that he can conquer adversity. The imminent end of times shouldn’t be a problem for Danny.
Something that has always amazed me about this versatile specimen is how he keeps coming back for more. A surfing accident left Danny paralysed from the next down but less than a year later he was landing no handed backside kickflips on the vert ramp. Bombdropping 28 feet off the top of the Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe guitar saw him separate his shoulder bailing on the quarterpipe transition below. Instead of waving goodbye with his good arm and heading to the hospital, Danny jumped back up and landed the freefall successfully. He destroyed his ankle on a failed attempt of leaping the Great Wall of China. After MacGyvering some duct tape to the articulation, he was off again to successfully backside 360 the chasm.
If my Linkedin profile had any of those accomplishments listed, I’d be chilling on the platform of the Mega Ramp watching the event horizon ready for what tomorrow would bring.
*Insert image of Danny Way / Robocop with helmet, knee pads and massive DC Shoes logo on his body armour, telling scruffy survivors “Goof or Regulat, you’ve coming with me!”.*
Here are some honourable mentions with at least one skill set or attribute that could get them a bit further than the rest of us but probably not guarantee their survival.
Jeremy Wray – If the ground opens up and fire erupts from the Earth’s core, Jeremy is probably the only skater that’s going to make the leap of faith to the other side and safety.
Chany Jeanguenin – Certified karate black belt, Chany isn’t taking any shit from bandits or zombies.
Brandon Biebel – Brandon looks like he has enough steroids and Mexican supplements in him to outrun a horse and fireman lift it afterwards. His bright white teeth could also come in handy in a blackout.
Who doesn’t have a chance in Hell of making it to the other side of the Apocalypse?
I’m sure a lot of you had Mike V. as your first pick to survive the collapse of civilisation. He has a history of being a tough guy who’ll take it to some random jocks just as much as he would an inanimate object like a plant pot or guardrail for example. Unfortunately, Mike also has a sensitive side. Long car journeys alone, spoken word appearances and the recent permanent addition of a helmet to his wardrobe have me thinking the skater who ran through graveyards for fun has somehow lost his edge. His old Etnies pro model shoes might make it through the lakes of fire and brimstone though.
*Insert image of Aliens staring and scratching head at immaculate pair of Etnies Mike Vallely shoes with nothing but destruction all around.*
When things go pear shaped, you need to act fast and get a move on. Even if Mark Suciu is probably the smartest and most calculated skateboarder to ever roll the Earth (except perhaps Rodney Mullen?), his mental struggle to think everything through to exhaustion is just going to waste precious time you don’t have. Mark also seems like a really nice guy and looks like he’d rather enjoy a book and cup of coffee on Central Perk’s couch. A dark and brooding promise of scorched earth and deadly disease just doesn’t seem like the sort of place you’d expect the cast of Friends to hang out.
*Insert image of Mark Suciu totally engrossed in a pile of books as a tsunami barrels down the street towards him.*
Sorry for your phone/keyboard / person sitting opposite you who just got sprayed with whatever just spurted out of your mouth in shock. But yeah, Heath Kirchart isn’t going to make it. Heath might be the prototype from which the gnarliest skaters are copied; however for all his impressive achievements and stoic demeanour, I don’t see how any of it would help when the ozone disappears and Earth’s temperatures rise by 5 to 10 degrees. On his board, Heath is a monster. Off his board Heath is a monster too. Either alone or with a select few, Heath has made successful financial investments and conquered some of Nature’s toughest challenges (White water rafting, cycling cross country, cliff climbing…). As physical accomplishments, what Heath has done puts him at least two levels above the rest. Chances are, if the world was ending and you were stuck with Heath, he’d have you doused in flammable liquid, lit alight and hot footing it towards a launch ramp into the sea. Heath is a suicidal maniac not a survival guru.
*Insert image of Heath Kirchart in WWF Undertaker outfit absailing off a cliff face above a pool of lava.*