Grassroots Research And Development

Imagine if Black Label offered a signature Anthony “Ragdoll”Scalamare necktie. Or if War Effort came out with signature BrianYoung floor lamps. What if Flip had a signature Andrew Gordontoolbox?

Considering the broad-based growth of interest inskateboarding, these thoughts could one day become a reality.

Anyone who’s flipped through the pages of most majorskateboard catalogs over the past year or so–or anyone who’sattended a recent trade show–has likely been unable to help butnotice that accessories (in the broadest sense of the word) are “allthe rage” in skateboarding today. From Black Label’s Swiss Armyknife to Element’s incense holder and Independent’s license-plateframe, the examples go on and on. A number of companies,including Spitfire, offer Zippo lighters. Virtually everyone offers astudded belt. And these items are just the tip of the accessory-berg.

So when this issue of SKATE Biz rolled around, Ifigured what better way to promote accessories than at thegrassroots level by a group of sponsored skateboarders.

I mean, anyone who lives in the modern Westernworld–moreover, in the United States Of America–knows there’sno better place to find accessories than at a garage sale. Culturally,garage sales are the pinnacle of thrift, bargains, and well, creativity.

So a date was set to go garage-sale shopping for accessorieswith a group of prominent skateboarders–some establishedtrendsetters and fans of accessories, and others just keen kids. Iinvited fourteen guys on this accessories research-and-developmentmission, hoping and expecting at least half of them to show up. As isthe nature of skateboarding and skateboarders, making plans rarelyworks, especially when the plan is to meet at eight o’clock on aSaturday morning (prime garage-sale season).

Invites were sent to a gripload of skateboarders. Namely BillWeiss, Josh Beagle, Justin Roy, Charlie Thomas, Richie Belton,Kristian Svitak, Brian Young, Harold Daltin, Anthony “Ragdoll”Scalamare, Adelmo Jr., Andrew Gordon, Kevin Staab, James Atkin,and Gautam Sahi, a 27-year-old up-and-coming am from Lafayette,Louisiana who rides for Killing Machine Hardware, 35 mm, andBrown Beanies. Weiss and Svitak couldn’t accept the invite due toprevious commitments. Everyone else gave me the, “Yeah, cool.”Beagle even pinkie-swore he’d make it but canceled the nightbefore–apparently upon realizing he would have to leave thevicinity of San Diego. Justin told Charlie to tell me that he didn’twant to wake up at seven in the morning. I called Richie the nightbefore to remind him to show up in the morning, but he had alreadygone out. So Richie’s mom and I had a nice little giggle over thephone about the probability of Richie showing up to a coffee shop at8:00 a.m. He didn’t. And Charlie slept through the whole thing.

So in the end, we had a crew of eight guys. Perfect.

The objective? To take these skateboarders on a researchmission to a slew of Encinitas, California garage sales to shop forgoods they believe may redefine the direction of accessories inskateboarding.

We had a solid accessories R&D crew comprised of the eightpeople who showed up.

Miki Vuckovich arrived to shoot the photos, and I offeredgenerous amounts of support (“Yes, that jacket looks great onyou.”), and even direction (“Guys, we’re supposed to be looking foraccessories, not a new couch for your living room.”).

So once everyone had their nonfat lattes and decaf triple-shot mochas, as well as their shopping allowances of twenty buckseach, we were on the road. We hit up twelve garage sales in fourhours. That’s three an hour, including driving time.

The purchases made were, well, interesting. Brian scored afloor lamp at the first garage sale, where James bought a ratherstylish pair of black leather boots, and Staab picked up somewonderful baby toys.

At the next sale, Ragdoll found the perfect purple plasticscooter, little Andrew found a nice hammer, and Harold found atelevision set for five bucks, which the guys later skated (Andrewcrooked grinded it, and James threw out a fastplant on it).

The mission continued and so did the bargains! Ragdoll andJames got matching Dukes Of Hazard watches for $4.99each, not to mention the pink pseudo-psychadelic hanging lamp thatRagdoll picked up for only a dollar. Adelmo bought many, manyblankets. Incredibly stoked at the end of the day after counting hissix blankets, he exclaimed: “Now we have more blankets for theBrazilians at our home.” He also bought two ice-cube trays. Gautambought a few pairs of women’s shoes–especially noteworthy werethe blue faux-crocodile slip-on pumps that he wore to skate thetelevision set.

Our mission was accomplished. This group ofskateboarders had hooked up stuff they didn’t even know theyneeded, like kids going into a skate shop for a board and walkingout with a new wallet and skate tool. “It’s great,” says Ragdoll whenasked about the accessorization of skateboarding. “I’m all aboutaccessories.”

So much can be said about garage sales. They offer greatbargains and a certain insight into people’s minds–both the sellers’and the buyers’. In most countries, people take their old stuff to themarketplace, but in the U.S. they invite strangers right into theirhomes to haggle over nickels and dimes.

Shopping, bargains, consumption, and moreover,accessories–it’s all so wonderfully American.