So we were driving dirt roads in a small Mexican town trying to find this full pipe that we heard about. I knew Al Partanen and some guys had skated it previous to us. We drive past it once and there were all these Mexican families set up for camping and cooking food and swimming, and we weren't sure if that was the spot at first. We came back and parked, I was like, "Buenos tardes," and we were on our way from there.
We walked down to the water, and there were all these kids swimming and playing in the water, but this water was green, like really green. Then cross the rocks and go through some brush, and then I just saw it. It was like 30 feet at least, like a Millennium-sized, 30-foot full pipe just in front of me. We just started walking in it and the ground was just like hard-packed dirt, rocks, and mud, and then there were rats.
We got to the end of the tunnel, and someone had dug out about a 30-foot wide section of it, but the concrete itself was the gnarliest concrete I've probably ever skated on, super rough and lumpy. There were huge gouges so you couldn't skate it with hard wheels. So I put the soft wheels on and started skating it. Then the other thing that made this full pipe gnarly were these pieces of rebar that stuck out about an inch in spots, and they were every four feet on both sides.
I had to run up and throw my board and pump fakie, just pump up and down a bunch, and then start carving it. I hit rebar a couple times and just bounced over it. It actually sliced my wheel and took a big chunk out of it, but I eventually just figured out the line so that I could start throwing up Frontside Ollies.
The concrete was so rough and old. It was so worn out that my wheels were wearing the surface off as I was skating it. I was able to do powerslides in the over-vert, which I've never experienced before. It was crazy. This was like a religious skate experience. There are very few of these in the world, and this was the gnarliest one I’d been to.
This type of experience is the whole reason of doing a road trip like I did. Especially going to new countries, you're searching for something new, something crazy, some just insane concrete to put wheels on, like that's basically it. That's why you go on a road trip, or at least why I do—I want to find the obscure stuff that's out there, and this full pipe was kind of it. It sounds so cheesy, but it was breathtaking.
As told to Jeff Thorburn
Photo by Daniel Vigenor