Every skateboard deck tells a story, whether you’re looking at used ones laying around in someone’s garage or look at the sealed boards at your skate shop. Sometimes you look at one of your own decks and remember all of the experiences it has accompanied you through. The more you stare at it, the more stories and memories come up. I have already written three articles about the stories of some of my skateboards. This article will be the fourth entry in the series. In this, I want to tell you all about the memories I’ve collected with the Creature Stu Graham deck.
I bought this deck late in October of 2016, as my first popsicle-shaped deck in a long time, since all of my previous skateboards for the past two years have been funny shaped. I have to say that after skating all of those shaped decks, the popsicle felt fresh again and not like the standard that I felt accustomed to before trying shaped boards.
The first session was on Halloween 2016. With the new deck, I also skated new shoes. Well, the shoes weren’t really new; I’ve had them lying around for a while and decided to throw my old ones out for the new skateboard. As you can see, I’ve had a blast on my first session with the Creature. For some reason, there was a shopping cart at the skatepark, and I was having some fun with it. After all, that’s what skateboarding’s all about.
After the funny first session and SkatePunk gaining more momentum, I felt motivated to create a How-To video of my favorite trick, the Boneless. As some of you may be aware, the Boneless is something like a signature move for me. My viewers expect it, and I love to deliver.
The temperature dropped drastically over the following week, and when I came to the skatepark, I found a layer of ice on all of the obstacles. Doing a Boardslide on a plastic tube that has ice on top felt pretty badass. On top of that, I consider myself more of a winter guy. I feel like you can always dress warmer, but there ain’t much that you can do about the heat.
Initially, I wanted to do a Christmas special where I skate around town in a Santa costume. However, the friend that assisted me already felt quite embarrassed by wearing his helper costume at the skatepark, so we stuck to the park only. The filming and the final video turned out very funny nonetheless. Definitely a day I like to look back on at least once a year.
As 2017 came around, I felt motivated to skate and improve the production quality of my videos. This showed in the uploads from 2017 on forward. I started to learn more about creating a video and making it fun to watch, and during that year, I’ve uploaded some of my favorite videos. Since I was skating so much for my standards, my skating got to the point of being consistent. Without a doubt, a lot of it has to do with the great feel and overall quality and stability of the Creature Stu Graham deck. I like to think that (almost) all of the videos that I did in 2017 have a low cringe factor and high rewatch-ability.
The Crazy Netherlands
During the early days of SkatePunk, I felt like it was necessary to have a skate team. So as soon as this project started, I asked some skaters on YouTube that I thought were an excellent fit for the team if they wanted to be a part. The first skateboarder that agreed was Martijn, aka Marty. Marty is from the Netherlands and ran the (compared to SkatePunk) quite prominent YouTube-Channel ‚SkateandThrash ‘. They had great humor -primarily fart jokes- and killed the flat ground game with their skateboard.
Since I’m from Germany, the Netherlands ‘ neighbor, Martijn, and I decided to meet up. So I booked train tickets and went on a trip to the Netherlands from the 3rd until the 6th of March, 2017.
The train arrived on time in Rotterdam, and Marty was supposed to pick me up from the central train station in that city. Marty wasn’t there. We sent pictures back and forth and had a few calls until he realized that he was waiting for me at the Rotterdam main station instead of the central train station. We eventually found each other tens of minutes later. After that, we went to the subway and then hopped on a few busses. It was quite a bit of a stretch to finally reach his place. The town he lived in was the stereotypical Netherlands in a nutshell. Except for the ‚coffee‘-shops. It was a beautiful place, and I want to see more of this countries landscape in the future.
We barely arrived at Marty’s house, and then we left again. Martijn and I went to a friend of his to eat something. Following that, we went to some old, sketchy-looking barn surrounded by many scrap cars slightly outside of town. It was dark, and I remember thinking that this is either how I’m gonna get murdered or is the start of something crazy. Luckily, it was the latter (duh). After grabbing a few drinks at that place, we went to the place where Marty worked, a bar. That meant we did get our drinks for free. Needless to say, we spent quite a bit of time there. Later that night (when I thought it was time to say goodnight), the bar closed down, and we went to some dude’s house, which was the uncle of someone there (I forgot who was related to him, as I was drunk). That guy had three motorcycles in the living room. Apparently, there was a party going on in that house as we were at the bar, and we are continuing it right now, in a kitchen/living room that is not very big, housing like seven or eight people, three motorcycles, and lots of alcohol. A while later, we went home to Marty’s place to finally get some sleep. It was well past 6AM, and the birds were already singing some early morning songs.
I don’t know how we did it, but we naturally woke up around 10AM on the same morning and weren’t tired a bit. After breakfast and a conventional morning routine, we got some skating in. We did a little bit of everything, flat ground, skatepark, goofing around on the plank with wheels. As it got dark, I think you can guess at this point which way we were heading. THE BAR! That meant free drinking again, and even when I said that I’m good, the owner looked at me and said, “What German are you not wanting beer?” And placed another beer on the table.
As the weekend came to an end, we couldn’t get any skating since it was raining (also a characteristic of that country). During my travel back home on Monday, I met up with a childhood friend at the train station in cologne. We haven’t met in 11 years at that point. He was one of my best friends, and one day he was gone; nobody really knew a reason; apparently, he didn’t either.
I continued to stay motivated and went out to skate at every given a chance. This showed in my videos. Not just my editing and overall feel of what a good video was supposed to be improved, but my skating got better. During that time, I saw a spreadsheet at my local skatepark (even though I never saw someone else there), and it said that there was going to be a skateboarding contest in my hometown!
I found out who was going to host this contest. It was Jörg, a guy that recently opened a skate shop in his garage. That’s how we first met. I haven’t bought skateboarding equipment anywhere else since then. He let me know that he might need help to get the ramps to the location, and I agreed to help him (and take them down again).
I initially didn’t want to take part in the contest, but the fact that the money that he took for signing in was going to go to another project changed my mind. I’ve mentioned this contest in my Skateboarding Anxiety article. I didn’t intend to rank high in this contest, but I wanted to make an impression. I occasionally pushed my limits by finding the tallest drop and doing a Boneless down during that time. That’s what I did in this contest; I’ve also tried some mellow stuff, like Slappy Noseslides and Boardslides. I did the latter on a flat rail which slipped and caused me to faceplant in front of the crowd of roughly 150 people. My chin was bleeding, but it also made an impression. Not the one that I intended to, but I won’t complain. Needless to say, I didn’t do too good in the final ranking, but it was good enough to get the last free deck for skating at the contest. I took it out for few sessions, but it now serves as the board of my Filmer Setup.
The initial point of the contest was to raise my town’s awareness of skateboarding and fund the following project, which was a mini ramp in our local waterpark.
Eventually, we got the green light to build that mini ramp. All of the local skaters got together, and every helping hand was welcome. After a few weeks, it was made and passed all the safety regulations by the TÜV in Germany. The German TÜV is the organization that takes care of most of the safety regulations in Germany. They need to check your car every two years, some products have a seal of the TÜV, and they also check places like playgrounds or skate parks. Well, a skate park is essentially a playground without an age limit.
Speaking of the TÜV and getting your car checked, this was also the period in which I bought my first own car. While cars are cool and all, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth, and even to this day, if I wouldn’t need a car for my job, I’d probably sell it.
Once the mini ramp was built, I went there frequently at first but quickly lost interest in it. I filmed three videos total for YouTube there, but my excitement decreased.
The lack of excitement for the mini ramp maybe didn’t have anything to do with the place, but rather myself. I started to feel a mental shift. It felt like there were clouds up in my mind. They kept getting bigger and bigger. I didn’t want to get out of bed, let alone go to work. Everything I did or thought felt grey. I was in the middle of my apprenticeship, but I felt like quitting. I essentially lost my ability to smile. I felt down, saw no point in doing anything, and in return, did nearly nothing. The only thing that helped me keep my sanity was long gaming nights with friends and the love I received through my dog’s presence.
I don’t know why my mind started to act like this, but it sucked. This feeling eventually faded away the following year, but I still remember this time frame as a very dark and depressing stage.
DIY or Die
Once fall came around and the water park closed for the season, I didn’t really miss the mini ramp. It’s probably connected to the feelings that I further explained in my Skateboard Anxiety article. There was a woman and her son living right in front of the waterpark, and she was nice enough to store some ramps in her front yard. That way, we could occasionally meet up, place some obstacles on the street (which was essentially unused outside of summer), and have a session. The sporadic messages on a day off in our group chat to go to that street actually excited me a little bit. I wasn’t going to that abandoned skatepark anymore that I went to frequently the past years. There was a new park built in that town, which is 20 minutes away. Even though that park is exceptionally well planned and built, I didn’t feel like going there due to the reasons I discussed in my Skateboard Anxiety article. And, as I said, my mind wasn’t in a motivational state.
The last video that I did with the Creature Stu Graham Deck was a special one for my 21st birthday. I did 21 of my favorite flat-ground tricks and made a fun video out of it. Following that, I did a Livestream while setting up my new board and taking the trucks off the Creature one.
A piece of this skateboard lives on in my current setup as I took the rail from it and screwed it onto the Santa Cruz that I ride now. The Creature Stu Graham Pro Model accompanied me through some of the most memorable times I still regularly think about. I got to film plenty of footage with it and managed to pull some banger Tricks. It was a temporary exit out of the reality that made me feel down and depressed. I’m actually quite impressed with the quality of this deck, as it didn’t snap and still looks (and probably is) skate-able. Thanks to Creature for making such quality products. Thanks to everyone who was a part of SkatePunk then (especially Julio, as he still is a part of it today). Thanks to Marty for letting me come over. And thanks to my dog Lina who continuously hung out in my room with me when times were rough.
Lina passed away in November 2017, just following the events I covered in this story.
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