benson, jonah, quinn, cardiel, rattray, marty, oleg, brent, and molly all with bikes on the road

Ok, so we did it. Myself, Brent, Molly, Marty, Quinn, Benson, Jonah, Oleg, and Cards rode 100 miles to Lincoln City, then we met up with Philippa and Ivor, camped out at the Art Barn in Beaver Creek and the next day went to Lincoln City skatepark and I beat the crap out of myself until I landed an Egg Plant. It wasn’t the greatest Egg ever landed but it was a good Egg, so I’ll take it. Maybe in a week or two, once my body stops feeling like it’s been beaten with sticks by an angry mob of leprechauns, I will try another one just on principal. Either way, Joe showed up in time and shot a pretty nice photo of it and Jon and Kurt shot everything on video so we can put together the little documentary over the next little while. Stay tuned and thanks for the support. You can help fund the ongoing cause of Scottish Mental Health awareness and Suicide outreach, education and prevention, here. Thanks, love to all…check the pics below and then get out there and do good stuff.

The crew mashing
Cardiel, Marty and Quinn mashing along the Nestucca River Road.
Cardiel Mashing
All hail.

Cards Rattray Sk8 Mafia gang sign

egg plant attempt.
Poopy style. Not inverted. Just getting more and more beat up.

The patches ready to ship
Ready for the post office.


the good egg embroidered patchI’m raising money for the Scottish Association of Mental Health because in 2011 my sister, Katrina, took her own life.

Up to that point she had spent her adult life climbing up to manic summits and descending down into dark valleys. But none of us knew how dark and confused those valleys had become.

Of course, when my Stepfather text messaged me with a frantic three exclamation points, “John. Call home NOW!!!”, I knew that something crazy had to have gone down, but nothing can prepare you for the total disembowelment that news like that arrives with.

Katrina had been outwardly happy, fun-loving, hard-working and loved by her friends. But somehow she’d been swept to a point where she just couldn’t see that at all anymore. As a little girl she was a talented figure skater and had even got back into that and horse riding in the months prior to her last day. That had all faded away, and looking back it had faded away with an alarming velocity.

In the turbulent months that followed Katrina’s death, my cousin, Liam, changed his life path and got a job working with the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH). They’re a non-profit in Scotland who provide suicide outreach, education, and mental-health support to all who need it. They Can always use more cash and rely on a variety of funding sources, like this Just Giving campaign I set up. Of course, fundraising begins with the word, “fun”, so to encourage some donations I’ve decided to ride my bicycle to the Oregon Coast and relearn Egg Plants. I haven’t done an Egg Plant in at least 8 years, so we’ll see how that goes. Please support the cause and wish me luck. I will need it.

a photograph of Katrina Rattray

3 Years Deep: Travel, Truth and Lies with the Little Man

One of the perks of parenthood is lying to your kid.

“Dada! What’s that?” Ivor asks, straining in his seat to get a better view of the wood mill, a huge plume of white vapor billowing skyward from its chimney stack.

“That, Ivor…is a cloud factory!”

Cloudscape from plane window
Above the clouds…
A thin layer of cloud separates the mottled green brown earth and the blue sky.
Between the clouds…
A view of the central highlands as we make our approach towards Inverness airport
Below the clouds…
A view of a mill with a plume of white vapor billowing out of a chimney. If you were 3 you'd think it was a cloud factory.
A cloud factory.

We’re in Scotland for a rare summer visit and we’ve deplaned from KLM flight 929, Amsterdam to Inverness, on May 28th 2016. It’s Ivor’s 3rd birthday and he is psyched. But my bag is stuck in Holland and as we talk to the KLM agent about lost luggage retrieval it suddenly dawns on Ivor, his birthday present is in that bag. He throws his head backwards with the sudden, jolting, seizure-like movement of a lamb in a slaughterhouse. It’s a reaction of utter mortal fear. He emits a blood-curdling scream full of pain and suffering. Philippa struggles to hold him. During these moments he’s like an umbrella in a hurricane.
“NOOOO!” Philippa yells. “Stay calm. We’ll get the bag. You’ll get your present. One day you’ll do this freak out thing and I won’t be able to hold you. You’ll be smashed on the floor and that will NOT be good.”
I’m not sure Ivor can hear these words amid his screams and sobs.
“Waaahhhh waaaaaannnntt maaaaaaaaa peh sent!” he yells through bubbling snot and tears.
The KLM agent lady doesn’t understand what he’s saying. She can’t comprehend his garbled three-year old language. She stares. I stare. Ivor’s a mess. Think fast, how do we solve this problem? Yes, the first-world quick fix: cold hard cash! “We’ll go to Sainsbury’s and see what toys they have, ok?” This is not a lie. This is a sacred promise that must be kept. An oath. Ivor’s face begins to return to normal.
“Awwww. It’ll be ok, wee man.” says the agent lady, smiling, calm and professional. She looks at her screen, taps in a code and looks up at me. “Can you fill out this form please?”

Ivor, age three, strains to see if we are at Sainsbury's yet.
Are we at Sainsbury’s yet?
Ivor kneels on the asphalt floor of the Sainsbury's car park testing his new Blaze Monster Truck toy . It is a sunny day in Nairn.
Problem solved.
Ivor holds up three fingers to show you his new age.
Yup. 2+1. That’s right. Uh Huh.

Happiness returns…

Ivor leaps off the pier wall onto the white sand of Nairn beach.
Every moment of every day, rest assured, somewhere, somehow, someone is catching some air.
A gull wheels overhead
Meanwhile, overhead…

Things to Do in Portland When You’ve Bred. 2. Opal Creek

As we all know, having a kid marks the death, destruction & total annihilation of your old life. It is done, gone, over, finito. That’s not to say your new life after birth can’t have its bright moments. They’re just a little different from the old bright moments.
For our 13th wedding anniversary we’re trekking to Jawbone Flats in the Opal Creek Wilderness Area, to a tranquil & beautiful solar & hydro powered education center deep in the old growth forest of the Pacific North West. Ivor is 2 and it’s clear this is not the wedding anniversary trip of 5 years ago. This trip is altogether more…midlife. The crew: Philippa, Ivor, myself and Jennifer, the Mother-in-Law. Off we go.


Thumbs down from Ivor.




Old growth all around us.


Back in the day there were mining and logging operations down this way. They dragged a load of heavy gear down. These cogs are apparently from the USS Oregon.


This old steam engine powered the saw mill maybe.




The storage shed’s not looking too bad. A dab of paint, it could be quite lovely.



Here we are. Electrics powered by solar and hydro. No internet for guests unless it’s a life-threatening emergency. Set phasers to airplane mode.


Crank start.




Warhol fans.



It’s important to always travel with these essential survival items known as Monster Trucks.


I call this one Killah Bee. Ivor calls it Dragon Fly. We’re from different eras.








Raft racing with a small log that looks like a hot dog bun.


Old rusty stuff everywhere.


Cabin 7. Very nice.



Off to Opal Pool. It seems to be this way.



Hydro outflow.


Old Pelton Wheel.








Always try to remain as it suggests.


Heavy traffic.






The creek.



So it goes.







The boy.



The chocolate thief.

P1100345Distracted by cartography.



Things to do with no internet.


As mentioned, the cabin is wonderful.





Heading home.


Wherever you go, skateboarding is with you. Random Toy Machine art, spotted in the wilderness.


The final meltdown.


Can’t say it’ll get any easier, little man.

A Dreamcatcher in New Zealand

Andy just sent me the dreamcatcher teeshirt from the New Zealand trip, that one time when I smashed my collar bone into painful fragments. Remember? It was around 2005 and the trip was with P-Stone, O’Meally, Mumford, Shane Cross, Duffy, Chet, Strubing & Mendizibal. Mumford had recently quit Zero and was attempting to make some waves with his Legacy brand under the Dwindle umbrella. Hence Duffy, Strubing and Shane.

Staring into the empty eye-sockets of that longhorn skull the dreamcatcher prompted me to search through an old hard drive.

converse all stars and dreamcatcher tee shirt

Photos emerged featuring P-Stone rocking hair like he’d lost a bet.p stone bad hair day

Still smiling, still stoked.IMG_1642

Mendizibal blazed the pipe at New Lynn. This park is rad. Legend has it the plans were sent from the states in inches and the local contractors read them as centimeters. Full Spinal Tap Stonehenge shit. Amazing. If you watch Riding the Long White Cloud you can hear me say the same thing in real voice words.IMG_1657

Rhyss let us crash at his house and showed us around Auckland. He looks a bit shifty here but he’s a good lad, Rhyss. Hope you’re doing well, mate.IMG_1666

At the time of the trip Andy Henry was working as a post-grad in some neuroscience department of NYU. He joined in on the trip just because. Smart dude old Andy. Intelligent. Erudite.IMG_1667

If Andy hadn’t come on the trip then nobody would have put Petrol in the Diesel tank. This made him feel less smart. It made him question the value of all that time reading dumb science books.

Siphon skills remedied that. Andy drained that tank into a pair of 10-Gallon containers while Pat smoked cigs within spitting range. IMG_1734



At this other old bowl thing I can’t remember the name of Chet screeched through a few of his classic signature backside bluntslides while O’Meally lurked in the bushes.IMG_1684IMG_1689

The trusty Mountain Co-op hammock strung up behind Rhyss’s place.IMG_1699

Rowdy Roddy Piper?IMG_1723

Justin erupted from the volcano like a hot blast of lava fire.IMG_1776

What’s your secret, Justin?IMG_1799

It’s simple.IMG_1800

What’s your secret, Chet?IMG_1801IMG_1802


Other stuff happened and then I got broke off. Tried a dumb trick on an 8 foot high concrete vert ramp. In Riding the Long White Cloud Rick does multiple Miller Flips on the same ramp. When we realized my collar bone was shattered Duffy assured me it would be fine. “I’ve broken my collar bone like 20 times or something” he said. Very reassuring. Thanks for that, Pat. In due course the fragments fused and the pain subsided.IMG_1804




Things to Do in Portland When You’ve Bred – 1. Oregon City

Having a kid really changes things. You could say fucks things up. The bright side is that there’s less time to do dumb shit and every spare moment increases in value like the work of a good artist who just bit the big one. Certain stuff is out. Staying up late partying at the bar is a no go, not too much of a bummer there. I definitely skate less, not a terribly bad thing; I’ve been skating for years. The little dude pretty much needs to be home for a nap every day by 2 or else total nuclear meltdown occurs. So on those bases this is the first of a series of posts about shit to do around Portland in your new life after birth. Installment 1, the Historical Highland Stillhouse loop trail.

We decided on Oregon City because I’d like to see the Falkirk Wheel, a wonder of engineering, but it’s in Scotland and we’re in Portland. From Philippa’s research Oregon City sounds like it has some industry, and also a municipal elevator on a vertical street called elevator street. That sounds wonder-of-engineering enough, so we bundle the little man into his padded restraining seat and hit the road.
If we were looking for something reminiscent of Scotland then we’ve made a good choice. Driving up McLoughlin Blvd by the Willamette past the Oregon City Bridge reminds me of the River Dee at Riverside Drive near Duthie Park in Aberdeen.
P1070163 We pull off into this handy little car park and screech to a stop right in front of this historical-fact-packed wooden sign, where a craggy old balustrade runs along top of the steep riverbank overlooking a barrio-load of ramshackle mill houses. It’s like the Aberdeen paper mill on steroids.
Panoramic view of the mills on the Willamette at Oregon CityMad industry surrounds a section of river that looks as though its bed got stomped on by some giant rampaging toddler. It’s a strange sinkhole and if you happen to know the geology that created it then please let us know in the comments. Especially if the geological process was actually a load of dynamite.
P1070164 P1070166

McLoughlin Boulevard is the section of highway 99E that links Oregon City and Portland. It runs into Martin Luther King Boulevard and Grand Avenue just past the Ross Island Bridge. The bomb-ass graffiti on this plaque would be all the more bomb if it wasn’t being thoroughly interfered with by a bunch of historical info about pioneering, indian language knowing, fur trading, medical licence having, murder rap beating, long-haired french canadian scottish dude Dr John Mcloughlin, after whom this section of highway is named.

He looks pissed about something or other. P1070169P1070170
And Ivor decided to wear his fox sweater for the day. P1070171We turned round and walked back down to find the municipal elevator when all of a sudden we got stoked to find even more historical info on the other side of that wooden sign we’d parked by.
P1070173 P1070174A little further east along the pavement we could see that there was a walkway up on the bluff. It had to lead to the municipal elevator. It just had to. We ran boldly across the highway by this spider’s web and into the dirty soft mud by those bushes beneath the east end of the Museum of the Oregon Territory. The Museum looks sinister on a day like this. Note: if you don’t run across the highway there’s a footbridge just a little further down the road.  P1070176 P1070178 The walkway that runs along the top of the bluff is McLoughlin Promenade. Somewhere along here has to be the municipal elevator and Ivor intends to find it.P1070180
Tight views of the sinkholey bit.
Electrical boxes.
Reasonable advice.
The only Blue Heron we saw.
Aha! The 1954 observation deck of the municipal elevator!

From up top.
From down below.
The first elevator went into operation in 1915. It was a wood, steel, hydraulic contraption that took up to 5 minutes to ascend the 90 feet and caused all the nearby water pressure to drop; when it worked. When it failed you had to squeeze out the trap door and back down the sketchy ladder. 9 years later they went electric, got efficient and in the 50s did the full rebuild. The whole story – with its local house of cards style political shenanigans and a load more fun historical details – is on the little History of the Oregon City Municipal Elevator pamphlet you can get from inside the elevator right next to the attendant. He’s got local knowledge and directed us to a kids play park back up top in the town. That’s where we headed next.
OG bluff ascent.

P1070191 Ivor was wilin’ out at this point.P1070192P1070193
Walking up the stairs like some sort of pimp or something.

That’s just how he do.
Decorative cast iron tree grates by Olympic Foundry! Boo Ya! In case you’re unaware Olympic Foundry’s been busting out products metal style since 1900.
Nice brickwork.
Didn’t go in here but here it is.
Ice T never mentioned this in his biography.
Fire engines. Always thankful for those.


Swing steez.


Goonies-looking houses everywhere.

Local corvids at 5th and Washington.
Nice old Ford pickup on High Street by 3rd.
Cut back through to the bluff top.
Made use of the footbridge this time. If you’re a skater then it’s worth noting that if you had the right skillset, plywood (or maybe just brass balls) and a good photographer you could get a wild photo here. Gravette?

Wild geese.
There’s that museum again. Sinister but probably full of interesting historical stuff.
The walk loops us all the way back to the Highland Stillhouse, a Scottish pub that I’ll go on the record and say is legit.
Is this the hoe?
P1070232 P1070233
It’s often advisable to maximize screen time in these situations.
P1070235 P1070236 P1070237 P1070238 P1070239

A Bunch of Amateurs

Fate recently returned me to the Skatepark of Tampa. On this occasion I would be attending the 2013 Tampa Am contest.
The night before the trip I became filled with a desire to capture some of the action so I stood in the front room with my camera and tossed a wild thing up towards the ceiling. If the built in flash on the little Lumix could freeze the motion of this fierce stuffed beast then photographing a back nose blunt in a dimly lit Florida warehouse would be child’s play, or at least an approximation thereof.
wild thing 1
Nailed it!
wild thing 2
Upon arriving at the Skatepark of Tampa I found Kevin Wilkins of The Skateboard Mag reflecting on the absurd injustice of it all.
And Colin Kennedy, Nike SB Europe’s dream manager, remaining stoic.
It didn’t take too long to track down a back nose blunt. Aha! See! The onboard flash can do it! On closer inspection you’ll find that if your ISO is maxed out it gives it that sand-sculpture look. Perfect for Instagram.
cameraflashThen Jon lent me an external flash unit.
flashguruI sought out fresh meat. One of the most gifted technical street skaters of our time.
talent1Kickflip light test looks okay.
test1Back lip skewered by a pillar? It’ll do.
I decided to head outside into the gentle late afternoon Tampa light and mingle. Much nicer.
shier1Dare I say gorgeous?
shier2I found Big News being discussed.



True professionals,

RodentWu afficionados.


tfunkAnd even more dream management.

Brief, beautiful, sordid moments of clarity and oblivion swirled all around me like some strange visual poem.
A Floridian poem.
Full of strange characters and tall Englishmen.
P1020116Tyshawn remained in a New York state of mind.
P1020101 P1020107 P1020105And as the dice battle raged round the back…

…things took a turn for the worse round the front.

More and more bills got thrown into the mix…
As carnage ensued.

Dice were rolled.
Eggs were hurled.
Dice. Rolling.
Eggs. Flying.
Fortunes were won and lost.
As a few brave souls charged for the finish line.
And to the victors go the spoils.
victorsSkateboarding is safe and well.

Getting There: The 2012 Dew Tour in SF

The streetstyle setup – at the 2012 SF stop of the Dew Tour – was one of the raddest things I’ve ever skated. Who’d have thought? Mountain Dew, killing it. Omar Salazar had a hand in designing the course.
course diagram 1
I’d been thinking something like this would be super fun for a while now. In my version there’s a couple of wooden driveway bumps and a slalom course leading to some banks with ledges then a gap with a hubba and then a quarterpipe at the end. My version is in a forest where sunlight dances through a wild and verdant canopy. It’s all a little reminiscent of the brilliant short piece Spike Jonze made with Rick Howard in Mouse.
Anyway, the Dew setup was like my imaginary version only not as leafy or pussyish. Continue reading Getting There: The 2012 Dew Tour in SF