Port Huron, Michigan, may best be known as the hometown of Cody Cepeda and Pine Grove Park. However, thanks to PHSTV, the Port Huron School District’s Television Station and the video they released yesterday titled: “*1988 – Skateboards at Pine Grove Park;” *skateboarding opened a window into 1988, into the lives of a group of youngsters on the local Alpine Cycling Shop Team. The grainy footage is amazing, the narrative is amazing, and really, overall the production is pretty solid. The significance of this video is more than just a window into the past. It’s told from a perspective outside of skating, and thus, becomes a gauge of people’s perception of the skateboarding boom in the late 80s. And you know what? They’re not talking shit, and it’s descriptive and informative.
“Skateboards became popular overnight, only to fade out in a short time. Well, they’re back, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed, they are in force.”
The narrator proceeds to describe the construction of an 80s skateboard: “What a product today’s skateboards are, measuring around 10-inches by 30-inches. Today’s skateboards are made of a stiffer seven-ply wood base, shaped in a concave manner for stability and offer the skateboarder a large surface area to implant stickers of an obvious foreign nature.”
In an effort to support skateboarding in the Port Huron area, Alpine Cycles held tryouts for a skate team. “After 2-minute freestyle runs, along with ramp jumps, 6 skateboarders were picked: Mark Vasquez, Ben Fasel, Ryan Proctor, Jeff Wilson, Jeff Hoch, and Richie Pond.”
Along with the six riders, Alpine Cycles employee, Don Morgon was the “team captain.” Interesting enough, there was also an appointed team medic and spiritual advisor. That’s pretty awesome. Let’s hope team medics and spiritual advisors make a comeback.
The bulk of the video consists of interviews with the riders, asking them how they got into skating, what it takes to learn tricks and dealing with injuries. The thing is, we’ve seen stuff like this in the past, but mostly of big names and pros. There is something to be said about the organic nature of this video. It captures a local skate crew’s love for skateboarding in a time where we see many of today’s skateboarders attempting to emulate.
As Don Morgan was asked – Why did you guys form this club? He responds: “It’s more of a team to promote the sport and try and create a favorable impression on the community. We got a bunch of positive attitude guys. We mostly just skate and have fun.”
In a time where skateboarders are left with their arms open and palms facing upward asking “what happened?” This video is important. It takes us back to how it all started, or really, how it all kept going. We sometimes lose sight of skateboarding’s humble beginnings, not just for the pros but for all of us. The local kids love skating just as much a the pros and have since the very beginning.
PHSchoolsTV is a part of CPHS-6, striving to highlight all the positive academic, artistic, and athletic events in the Port Huron area.