Letters 1 - January–April, 2000

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Letters and articles reflect the views and opinions of the writers only and not necessarily of Real Skate or its staff.


From Drew Weste
A Letter To The Busy Souls:
Skating is one of the ways that I escape from this world, and all the bullshit it brings with it. Yet, in the recent past, I have found less and less time in being able to do it. Lack of time is the utmost plague in the world. School has taken over, and ambition depends on it. So, my time diminishing, I can't take a quick ride when ever I can. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying it. It makes it sweeter. The times that I do get out, are the most joyful times I can have, now. The sure passion of it exhilarates me to the end, helping me let go of all the tension, and fucked up stuff in my life. It makes life all that much better. As to school, this is a problem that luckily can be solved. By just doing the damn work, I get all the joy of not having to do it. Sounds weird don't it? Paradoxes are the food that feeds reality. Sometimes doing the opposite of what you want to do, leads to be able to do the things you do want to do. Fucked up ain't it? So, I guess what I'm trying to get across, is that sometimes skating isn't the most important thing, but if you let all the other things work out, it can be great. And when all the shit gets to you, fuck it, and take the board out. I don't think it could be any simpler.

From Lee Bender
Skateboard to have fun, not for money. Do skateboard tricks because they are fun, not because they look good. Skateboard forever, not because its cool now. It used to be great and it's still good, but the direction of it all? Where is it going? I remember getting beat up and picked on as a kid by jocks simply because I had a skateboard. My friends and music were my only outlets. Let's not let this become anymore mainstream. Buy Consolidated.

From IR
Two words: GO SKATE!

from Marie Tran
Way to go! It's nice to see young girls shredding. I've been riding for almost 4 years now and it helps me get through life. It helped me find myself. Hopefully, it will help other girls out there. God knows how much girls need self-confidence these days. It's inspiring to see that not all 12 year old girls want to conform. Good job.

From Tayva Martinez
RIP Curt Hsiang—
I've been thinking a lot over the past few days... Skateboarding has lost another one of it's heroes. On January 8, 2000, Curtis Hsiang of the Bay Area, California, bit the dust for lack of a better word/phrase. It seems all too unreal... Fuck, we've lost quite a few people in the past year and a half. First was Phil [Shao], none of us saw that coming. I still can't believe that he is gone. True shit, I dreamed him the night he was killed, him standing in the distance in a forest, similar to that of Santa Cruz, with an almost white glow around him, similar to that photo used on the Shao memorial ad that Think ran following his death. He looked happy as fuck, too. Upon awakening that morning, I got the urge to call one of Phil's best friends, Tim McKenney. I hadn't talked to him and a while and just wanted to say hi and shit like that. It was then that I found out the shocking news. I seriously almost puked when I heard. Plus Tim crying on the phone really fucked me up.
       Phil's passing was hard enough to deal with, but next came Ruben [Orkin]. I dunno if any of you read Slap Magazine, but I had a letter published regarding Ruben and my dealings with him. He had been sick for a very long time with cancer and finally lost his battle in early 1999... 29 fucking years young. Ruben was definitely an asset to the NorCal skateboarding community... Tim Brauch came next, 25 years young with a heart attack. Mother's Day, at that. I can imagine how bad his family, especially his mother, is taking this. I remember at Jake Phelps' birthday party, he burned a board of Tim's in a crazy ass bonfire he made in the BBQ grill. I remember someone saying "No, don't do that, it's Tim's!" But I knew what Jake meant when he did it. It was like a closing.
       I just found out about Matt Neely when I found out about Curt. However, I didn't know him personally, but I had seen him here and there. Even though there was no real personal connection, it still is heartbreaking to hear the news. Especially it being one after another, and so on. Fuck, it's hard to imagine these guys gone. I was away from CA with each and every one of these deaths, so I feel kind of distant as far as it all goes... I can imagine the pain everyone is feeling. It's like one right after another. I keep thinking, "Who's next?"
       The freaky part of all of this is all the skateboarders that passed are all from the same area of California (SF Bay Area), and were all, pretty much, from the same social crowd. A good friend of mine and I were talking on the phone last night, how we should disassociate ourselves from the group, 'cause we might be next.... shit, who knows. I know our time is limited on this earth and we're all bound to pass sooner or later (dying is definitely unstoppable)... Sometimes I wish it could be someone else. The last year and a half has definitely been a difficult one. With get-togethers with my friends (especially those of the skateboarding type), I can see the pain in my friends, missing those we've lost. I know you have to get on with your life, but it can definitely be difficult, especially if you've spent a considerable amount of time around these people.
       I just can't believe it was Curtis... Fuck, I remember the last time I saw him, ripping at Phelps' party back in September. I've always respected him for his skateboarding—seeing photos and videos. Pool skating is definitely my favorite form [of skateboarding], and he did it very, very well... I would get stoked, especially seeing footage of him and Rube. Aside from skateboarding, I know Curt was a good person; shit, he took care of Ruben for the last couple days of his life and, from what I understand, was there at the time of his passing. He was always very polite... It was like his personality and his skateboarding didn't match up, you know? hahaha... I've never seen anyone slam like him, he could definitely take a beating.
       Death is definitely a shitty subject, but at least he went out doing something he loved; skateboarding. What a way to go, you know? You know he was probably very happy at the time of his passing. Despite the tragedy, knowing that seriously makes me smile. Let us all hope that this is the last soldier we lose for a very long time.

From Marie T.
To all girls out there:
I was changing in the girls locker when I couldn't help but overhear an all too familiar conversation: "... man, my legs are so fat! ... what are you saying! ... you wouldn't understand, you're so perfect..." I knew that nothing could change that girl's mind. It's impossible to convince a girl that she's fine the way she is. I know, I've been there. I remember going through mags wishing I had a model's body. I've watched so many of my friends go on ''diets" (just another word for anorexia). I was into a lot of competitive sports but I quit to keep my sanity. I quit for the rules, coaches, and expectations. After, I sort of retreated from the world a little to figure out where I was. That's when I started skateboarding. I spent my summer in front of my house figuring out how to ollie. Skating gave me the best feeling: I was finally doing something for myself. My 4 years of skating taught me so much about myself. It opened my eyes to the world.
      Sometimes, I try to get some of my friends (girls) to try. The usual answer is: "Oh, no, I'm sure it's fun but I would look stupid... " or "It's easy for you because you don't care...." My heart pinches every time I hear that. I dunno, maybe I understand a bit better when I see guys with naked girls on their grip tape, those reef adds in magazines, or those groupie girls trying to pick up guys. I guess that projects a certain image that girls don't want to be a part of. I also hear (never actually seen) about girls being harassed for riding. I know it sucks but there are losers here and there, and it shouldn't affect you. There are more nice kids out there.
       If you're a girl thinking of taking up skateboarding, but holding back a bit (and if you've gotten this far in my letter), I say: Go for it; you've been inspired to do something for yourself so try it out! You can't imagine how much support and respect you'll get from other riders! If you eventually fall in love with skating as I did, you'll see how much self confidence you get from it. I started completely on my own, and never had a session on my own unless I needed to. This kind of hobby has so much heart and soul that it's hard not to be addicted. Hopefully, you'll go out there and find out what I mean.
      Also, hopefully, you won't ever go buy another ''beauty" magazine. I love skateboarding. Give it a try. I promise you will get a smile from it.
      p.s. (To guys out there who think they have it just as bad as girls, just look around at billboards, mags... or just ask your little sister who worships Brittney Spears because she's ''so perfect.")

From Noe Valladolid. AKA The BigDude
Last June the skateboard community lost a friend. You may or may not know who Timo Baxter was. For those who don't know; Timo was a skater, he was a good person who loved skating and lived for skating. Timo loved life, but Timo's time on this Earth was taken in a brutal attack. Timo was robbed of his board and backpack and then thrown off a bridge.
       Many never got a chance to know Timo. Betty, a good friend of Timo, did not want his death to go in vain. A press ban prohibited the news of Timo from spreading. Betty made it her duty to let others know about Timo. Betty spread the word on the Internet. We learned about violence, we learned about loss and the pain of living. But we also learned about hope. We learned that by remembering Timo, by talking about the problems that face skaters everyday, we can do something about it.
       Timo taught us to enjoy life, to appreciate everything we do. Skateboarding is a special thing that we all share in common. This brings our community closer than you think. So the next time you are having problems, or feeling down, do realize one thing: Realize that you are not alone. Skaters have to keep on pushing...for Timo's sake. Thanks.

Editor's Note: This tragedy took place in London, England and it is my understanding that the press ban has been lifted. Three young men have been charged with murder, attempted murder (of Timo's friend Gabriel Cornish who swam to safety and was rescued), and robbery, (reports the Evening Standard.)
       Betty and BigDude have put up a website,
SkateVoice, in the memory of Timo Baxter. "This is a place where skaters unite. Where the voice of skaters, parents, and community leaders can share their thoughts and experiences to better help each other overcome adversity." Please visit their site.

From Natalie J. Sen
Hi I am Natalie from Riverside California! I am 16 years old and I have been skating for almost a year; I just started. But I am pretty good at it. I am already into the kick flip step, but I actually sk8 for fun! Because I got to admit it, it is sooooo much fun and I love it! And, I want to grow up to be a pro skater. I hope I would get to that big step, but some people think I am just a poser, only because I wear a lot of different skater shoes to school and I wear girls clothes, they swear if you're a sk8ter I have to wear baggy clothes and all. I actually dress really nice I do, but when I get home then I will change clothes and put my baggy pants that show my belly :O) and my hurly, Shorty's or Volcom shirt. I am very good at school, and I'm in 11th grade. I just hate how people can be so dumb sometimes, they just talk trash on people they don't even know. I get a long better with guys then girls, they actually know how to respect me better.
      Girls sometimes get too over protective when I hang out with like they say "cutest guys in the school," I don't think so, they are just my friends and most of them are skaters. Here in California OH MY GOSH there are soooooo many skaters, specially in Riverside. Riverside is all about skating or surfing or else snowboarding. But like I say sometimes, WHY WASTE YOUR TIME LISTENING TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO LIFE AND JUST SIT THERE AND JUDGE YOU WHEN THEY DON'T EVEN HAVE A CLUE ABOUT WHO YOU REALLY ARE AS A PERSON? I guess most of people in my school judge you by the way you dress, who cares, all I know is that is that skaters rule.
      The other day I went to this sk8 park, well not really a sk8 park, a place where most of my skater friends hang, we got caught by the police, it sucked so bad, so we begged the officer to let us sk8 for just a while not a lot, and OH MY GOSH, he act such a jerk to us! That was really messed up! So when he left we told him to F*** OFF and we tried to find another sk8 park since there is a lot of them over here we didn't have any problems finding one. But oh well I guess that's how cops are. Most of them say they are doing their job but there is nothing wrong using a damn skateboard on a damn street is not like it makes any noises anyways. They are just jerks and I think cops need to get a better job then whatever the hell they have right now! And oh yeah let us sk8 in peace!. AND SKATEBOARDING IS SO NOT A CRIME!

      People have dreams and most of them try their hardest to accomplish them. So if I have the dream of becoming a pro skater then I might try to do the best on my hard work. Cause is not easy just waking up and saying "you know what today I am gonna get sponsored" it doesn't work like that! You have to put a lot of work depending on what career you want to keep on doing.
      My fav skaters are, CHAD MUSKA, TONY HAWK, BOB BURNQUIST, MOSES ITKONEN, COLNIN MCKAY, MIKE CARROLL, JOSH KASPER. They are the coolest. So hope to hear from any of you guys soon! It was very cool writing you guys and telling y'all my lil skating stories! I'm hungry so I think I am gonna go grab some hamburgers...lol. And remember, SKATEBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME, COPS ARE A CRIME. Late!

From Paulla Hardy/BettyB
This letter is to thank all those people, both real and "virtual" that have supported me since the murder of my friend Timo Baxter last June. As some of you may be aware (those of you that live in the UK and have been near anything media-like today) all 6 of the accused have been found guilty of Murder, Attempted murder and Robbery. They have not yet been sentenced, but have been remanded in custody until May 19th when they will re appear at the Old Bailey in London. The story has been published by all major national newspapers and featured on many news programmes.
      Obviously, I am very happy that these people have been bought to justice, but it is no compensation for the loss of a fantastic person like Timo. No matter how much I hate what they have done, I feel more pity for them than I do hatred.
      I miss my friend as much today as I did at the time of the murder, and if my unborn baby (due on the first anniversary of Timos death) grows up to be anyway near as good a person as Timo, I will be very proud. I have many reports from news papers and if anyone would like to see them, please e-mail me, and I will send them too you. Once again, thank you everyone for your time, support, and friendship.

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