YoBeat West Coast Skate Tour


The Northwest United States is a pretty amazing place. Almost every town, no matter how minuscule, has their own concrete skate park. Nowhere else in the country do you see such commitment to encouraging kids to loiter somewhere other than in front of 711. It was with this in mind that I set out on the second Yo Beat skateboard tour, this time originating in Bellingham, WA. In tow was local skateboard superstar Terrill Simecki, insurance in case we didn’t run into any pros, but for road trip purposes useless, due to a lack of five speed driving experiences.

The biter. I really thought Terrill would fight this kid, but I didn’t even see him step to this trick. What’s up now!

Bright and early Friday morning (2 pm is bright and early after a night of 40’s, okay) we set out for destination number one, Newburg, Oregon. Some quick math told us that with Newburg being a good five hours away, and darkness setting in at five, we might not make it, so we made a slight change of plans. First stop, Everett. Everett is basically the armpit of Washington state, but like I said before, that doesn’t matter, because they put their money into important things like a skate park.

Terrill ollies the Everett pyramid.

We rolled up to the park, got out of the car, and immediately realized that it was very cold out. At this point I decided I was going to wear my snowboard jacket for the remainder of the trip, no matter what. The park was crowded, mostly with bikers. Until this point I’ve never had a problem with bikes, but these guys were big and scary, and made me decide I’d rather take photos than skate. The park itself was really fun, a street course, consisting of a pyramid, a box with a rail, some quarter pipes, banks and a spine that opened into a bowl, which at it’s highest point was about eight feet. If everyone and their brother weren’t skating, there would have been an unlimited number of fun lines.

At this point I thought Terrill was about to start a fight with a little kid who was trying (successfully) to one-up his trick, so I decided it was time to move on. Instead, he had to land his trick (a kgrind) and do a few different tricks before he was ready to move on.

Next stop was Sea Skate. This park is in the heart of Seattle in the Seattle Center. Partially funded by Pearl Jam, it’s very unique. It’s mainly a street course, but there’s a bowl-like thing on one corner. This bowl spells nothing but death to anyone who dares to use it. Here I found two things to be quite entertaining. The first was a guy in Capri pants talking on his cell phone while skating across the park. The second was Jeff Moran. For those of you who don’t know (or don’t care), Jeff is originally from New Hampshire, and lived in Burlington, VT for several years. Although I knew he now made his home somewhere on the west side, I was somewhat surprised to run into him here.

It was getting dark, and all that was happening was me falling on my side repeatedly. I decided I would stand at the gate and wait for Terrill, and that’s when I heard two girls behind me say, “You go girl.” Rather naively I turned around and asked them why they weren’t skating. They informed me that they didn’t know how, but intended to bring back their “blades” and show the boys some girl power. That in mind, it was time to go.

Terrill seemed really excited about our next stop, Sea Tac. So excited, that even with bumper-to-bumper traffic we managed to blow past the exit. We turned around and finally arrived at the park. He had warned me that I wouldn’t much care for the park, but I was going to be tough. The park was a pyramid with bankramps and quarterpipes on either side, and that’s all. I will give it props for being extremely well lit, but after about ten minutes of trying to skate weird transitions, I decided to retire to taking photos. After a while of this it was clear that Terrill actually did like this park, and had no intentions of leaving anytime soon. To rectify this, I agreed to go to Jack in the Box, my least favorite fast food restaurant (because their food kills people) if we could just leave. Soon enough, we were on our way to Portland.

Terrill at SeaTac. I hope you enjoy this trick, you may see a few more of them.

In Portland we had arranged to stay with my friend Thor. Unfortunately, he had only lived there for a few weeks and was unable to give his directions to his house. Luckily I had been there once before, and was able to use my jedi senses to find it.

The next morning I took it upon myself to drag everyone out of bed at 8 am. If I was going skateboarding on a Saturday, I figured the good plan would be to get there early. Around ten o’clock, we finally rolled into Newburg. This place was rumored to be the best park in the country, made by the same guys who built Burnside, as well as a lot of the other sick parks in Oregon. Another rumor I’d hear about it was the day before, Kurt Wastell was there starting fights because he didn’t want to wear a helmet.

The park is located in the middle of nowhere on a farm in the outskirts of the town. There is also a moto track, although it didn’t look quite operational at the time. The park is fairly big, and made the best use of space I’ve ever seen. This park was way too fun to take any pictures of, and I’m too lazy to describe it, so let’s just say, you should go there yourself, and you won’t be disappointed.

Around midday food was calling me, and I rounded up the troops to go get a snack. As we sat there eating our gas-station Subway sandwiches in the car, we debated what to do next. Although I wanted to skate Newburg some more, I also wanted to check out some other parks. Like I said before, Thor had only recently moved to Oregon, so he wasn’t much help. He did say however, that he’d heard Eugene had a new park that was supposed to be really good. He also said that Eugene was an hour away. Overzealous as usual, I point the car south and we were on our way there.

After about an hour in the car, Thor offered to drive. Practically falling asleep behind the wheel I agreed, and it was at this point I pulled out my trusty Atlas. Eugene was right there, in the middle of Oregon, about an hour further than we were. Well on a road trip, you never turn back, so we kept on going.

What happens when you let someone else use your camera to take a picture. Eugene #3

Once we got there, we stopped at a gas station to get directions to the park. The nice lady sent us on our way to Amazon Park, which sounded pretty extreme to me. We could see the park in the distance, so we got out of the car and skated in its general direction. As it turned out, it wasn’t actually far away, just small. In fact it was little more than a drainage-ditch style snake run with a bunch of dirty kids skating around. We were quick to ask one of them directions to a different park (supposedly there were three) and we were back in the car, on our way to Churchill Skate Park.

Churchhill Skateboard Park

This park was halfway across town, at the bottom of a hill with a church on top (what a clever name). The park was about 20,000 square feet, but contained 50,000 square feet worth of ramps. Needless to say, it was a little tight, and at this point Terrill said, “I haven’t seen anyone ollie since Washington.” He seemed somewhat distraught about this, so I took it upon myself to find out the location of the next park.

With N’SYNC blasting (a must for any road trip), we came upon the final park, Cal Young. All you need to know about this place is that this is where the cool kids were. There were about 50 kids trying to be Muska skating around the super mellow pyramid. The park was entirely a street course, so Thor and I entertained ourselves by pretending two quarterpipes were the world’s widest mini ramp. Amazingly enough, this proved to be the funnest activity of the day.

Finally, Terrill and the Eugene pyramid.

Thor wouldn’t let me take any pictures of him skateboarding, so this is all he gets.

After a while of this, Thor and I began to become disgusted with all the yeah’s we were receiving for our lip tricks. The final straw came when Thor got a “Sick!” after doing a rock and roll. The kids at the park had never seen such a trick, and it was pretty clear that skateboarding’s downfall has already started. With this in mind, we started on our 3-hour drive back to Portland and bid the W.C. Skate Tour a fond farewell. In case you were wondering, I didn’t take off my jacket once.

This is the moon. I thought it was pretty, but it didn’t transfer very well to digital film at 70 MPH.