Los Angeles is Skatetown, USA
Los Angeles is the undisputed capital of skateboarding in 2013. The year-round sunny weather, unlimited spots, skateparks and backyard pools make L.A. the top skateboarding destination in the country. As X Games rolls through L.A. this Thursday, we take a look at the reasons why Tinseltown makes the world go round in skateboarding.
The 605 Ditch is probably the most photographed skate location in L.A. Everyone from Mark Gonzales, Raven Tershy and Marc Johnson have filmed tricks there, and the list keeps growing. Pat Duffy puts his stamp of approval on it with a frontside feeble grind.
Los Angeles has one of the largest concentrations of private backyard bowls in the country. You'll have to get permission to join the session, but once you do, these backyard bowls are some of the best concrete pits to skate in the world. Clockwise -- Jeff Grosso Smith grinds at Rusty's, an overview of Lance Mountain's slice of heaven and Arto Saari frontside feeble grinds during the night in his Hollywood backyard.
Downtown L.A. can be a ghost town after 5 p.m., but as the businesses shut their doors for the day, the skaters come out to play. Also the home to the Berrics, Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory and Nike's Sixth and Mill skatepark, downtown is filled with hidden skate spots and miles of concrete.
On any given day, Stoner Skatepark in Santa Monica plays host to some of L.A.'s most recognizable pro skateboarders -- Paul Rodriguez, Joey Brezinski, Eric Koston and Guy Mariano, to name just a few.
Mike Mo Capaldi
Mike Mo Capaldi hard flips a long 10 stair at one of the wide-open, spread out schoolyards of Southern California.
Pro skateboarder Josh Kalis treks up to Los Angeles from San Diego on a weekly basis just to get his licks in, and switch backside noseblunts, at the Beneficial ledges on Wilshire Blvd.
On a trip from his hometown of Orlando, Fla., Evan Smith and his Element teammates film and skate throughout the streets of L.A. Finding a carwash in L.A. is nothing new -- this is the city of cars, traffic and smog -- and Smith takes advantage of a blue walled wall-ride.
Davis Torgerson backside Smith grinds a bank-to-ledge in the City of Dreams.
Being resourceful is a must to make it in Los Angeles, and Cyril Jackson does a picture-perfect 360 flip off a loose grate in the ground and an old oil drum.
Los Angeles County comprises hundreds of smaller cities and neighborhoods, many of which are still untapped when it comes to searching out skate spots. Around every corner the chance of finding a new set of stairs or rail is high. Los Angeleno native Oscar Meza switch kickflips a 16 stair rail.
Venice Beach is the birthplace of modern skateboarding. In the '70s, the Z-Boys roamed the streets and back alleys, inventing a more aggressive style that changed the landscape of skating forever. The '80s continued that persona with pro skaters Natas Kaupass, Eric Dressen, Aaron "Fingers" Murray and Jesse Martinez, along with seminal skate rock band Suicidal Tendencies. In 2009, the Venice Skatepark was built on the beach and remains one of the largest skateparks in Southern California. Here Josh Borden floats a backside ollie over one of the hips in the snake run.
Austin, Tex., known for its abundance of skatable drainage ditches, will host the X Games in 2014. But don't be fooled: L.A. also has ditches aplenty and has seen its share of magazine covers and video parts filmed in its spillways. Mike Anderson takes advantage of the dried up L.A. River bed with a backside nose blunt.
Ahh, the schoolyard mini picnic tables -- an L.A. staple. Why do most of the schools in L.A. have these miniature tables for kids? The answer's obvious -- they're for kids -- but why then doesn't the rest of the country have them? Made famous in the early '90s, when Paulo Diaz and Salman Agah skated them switch, mini picnic tables are a must-skate when in L.A. Here Massimo Cavedoni backside 180 fake 5-0s in a classic setting.
Matt Miller switch heelflips a ledge off Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles High School
Los Angeles High School on Olympic Blvd. has perfect brink banks in front of the school, and has played its part in skate history. From Kevin Long to Anthony Van Engelen, these banks and the smaller ones inside the courtyard have seen some heavy sessions over the years. Louie Lopez adds to the trick list with blunt slide 180 in.
With the warm climate, Southern California has an abundance of skatable backyard pools. However, it costs a lot of money to keep a pool functional. Sometimes people get tired of or can't afford to keep the pool in working order, and instead of letting the water sit where mosquitoes and bugs breed, they drain them. John Fitzgerald lay-back Smith grinds while helping to keep the neighborhood malaria-free.
David Gonzalez moved to Long Beach from Bello, Colombia, where he spends his days playing guitar and skating all around Southern California. This bank is a lot steeper than it looks, but Gonzalez has no problems kickflipping the gap from make-shift tranny to tranny.
People have been driving past this rail on Sunset Blvd. for years and wonder why it hasn't been skated. There's an uphill runway and hugh crack in front of it, that's why. Several years ago Eric Hamamoto board slid this curved monster, but John Fitzgerald recently one-upped Hamamoto with this frontside board slide.
For some pro skateboarders, having their own private skateparks, or TFs (training facilities), is a great place to skate with friends away from the crowds, security guards and prying eyes of skate fans. When Steve Berra and Eric Koston opened the Berrics to a select few, the private skatepark trend exploded. Here Jason Dill tail-scrapes a backside wall-ride at an undisclosed private skatepark in the suburbs of L.A.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Deawon Song knows more secret, un-skated street spots than anyone. Jump in your car, turn on your navigation system, end up in Watts, and you might find this perfect bank where Song flicks this 360 flip.
Australian native and pro skateboarder Chima Ferguson lives in Hollywood and scours the streets of L.A. daily, looking for the elusive skate spot that hasn't already been skated by the 500 other pros who live in the city.
SoCal native Louie Lopez grew up skating the spots made famous in the skate magazines. Now he's a sponsored amateur on the verge of going pro and making spots famous for the generation behind him. Here Lopez 360 flips a gap in the outer regions of Los Angeles.
Ray Barbee personifies the L.A. skater, and has been paving the way for younger generations since his breakout video part in "Public Domain" in 1988. A propped-up loading dock in downtown acts as a launching pad for Barbee to get air.
Tristan Funkhouser half-Cab kickflips off a high ledge into a ditch.
When Mikey Taylor's not training for Street League, he's in the streets dialing in his smooth style and effortless flow.
Backyard pools are the holy grail of search-and-destroy skateboarding. Using Google Maps, renting a helicopter, driving down alleys, looking over fences, and searching home listings are all great ways to find empty pools. Zach Miller frontside airs at the Ridiculous pool, a house purchased by skaters because of the ridiculously perfect backyard pool.