I think we can all agree that not only is New Jersey the greatest place on earth but it is also the center of skateboarding's universe. Aside from all the great pro and amateur skaters New Jersey has produced directly, indirectly every pro and industry guy has a six-degree of Kevin Bacon from New Jersey. Don't believe me?
Chris Cole: went to grammar school in South Jersey.
Ricky Oyola: Born and raised in Jersey.
Don Brown (President of Sole Technology) & Ian Deacon (owner of Flip): both bought one-way tickets to Newark Airport in the '80s and never looked back.
Dave Swift (Photo Editor of The Skateboard Mag): His sister lives in North Jersey.
Doug Johnson (Owner of Autobahn Wheels): From Jersey.
Eric Koston: Shaq is his favorite basketball player and Shaq is from Newark, New Jersey.
The list goes on and on.
And don't get me started on New York City. I just watched Rick & Buddy's amazing NYC documentary, "Deathbowl to Downtown" and I spent the entire movie going, "He's from Jersey. Jersey. Him too. He's from Jersey. Yup, Jersey." Everyone is from Jersey.
In the next issue of The Skateboard Mag (#71, The one after the Photo Annual with Matt Price's amazing uprail photo of Ryan Lay on the cover.) I do a Cold Call interview with '70s OG skater Dave Hackett and he tells me about some of the naughtiness that went down at the legendary Cherry Hill Skatepark (which guys like Tony Hawk still, 25 years later, regard as one of their favorite parks ever.) with the owner's daughter.
Recently, skate icon Chris Pastras came back to his home of Jersey and took a quick walking tour with me to some of my favorite spots including the brickyard of Sayreville, NJ that is responsible for the creation of the now-doomed Brooklyn Banks.
That same week the Habitat team (which is basically an all-Jersey team, seeing as how Kerry Getz lives in Jersey now) came to NJ Skateshop for their Wawa Weekend Tour. And despite being completely biased, you have to believe us when we say, "New Jersey is the best place on earth." I mean, how can that many skaters be wrong? (Unless we're talking about Spandex, of course.)