I had been out looking for new skate spots, with a couple skaters in mind to shoot with; Andy Roy, in particular. On Sunday I cruised over to Pizzanista to meet up with Andy to head out with after he wrapped up filming a new Rip Ride episode.
I got there and Jesse Paez was the guest. I listened in on the taping, and about their time together as teammates and touring stories about pure ruckus. I have to say I watch the podcast every week and love it. The show is pure skateboarding and very entertaining. I don’t think I have seen Jesse in at least 10 years and he was all smiles, and when Andy said "let's go skate" I was stoked.
During the middle of the taping Jesse and Andy mentioned how much they wanted to get out and skate with Jeremy Wray, who was a guest on Rip Ride recently and lived nearby. By coincidence, I'd run into Jeremy a few nights earlier at an art show, and we chatted about getting out and shooting some pics together. So as Andy and Jesse were talking about Jeremy, I shot him a text about our mission after the podcast wrapped and Jeremy said he would come meet us.
Backtrack to when I showed up at Pizzanista right as the taping started, a few people were there and I began saying hello. I met Jesse’s wife and Skinny Vinny and had a nice chat with Kevin Marks. I also met Zen from Japan. As the taping wrapped and we all headed for our cars to embark on our skate mission, I waved Zen over to ride with me.
At that point, I thought he was with the guys. We got in the car and headed out, I began asking him questions and very quickly figured out he didn’t speak English: he had me ask questions thru Google Translator on his phone. With a few questions I came to know that he was here in LA alone; he'd taken three buses and a train ride to get to Long Beach from West LA. He was a skater, and some friends told him if he went to Pizzanista he would meet Salman Agah. Immediately, I called Salman and got his voicemail and left a message that this skater came all the way from Japan, and he was on a mission to meet him. I had Zen say hello to Salman’s voicemail. Zen seemed pretty stoked.
I then tried to figure out if Zen actually knew who Andy or Jesse were. I couldn't understand if he knew or not. About three skate spots in, Jeremy Wray appears to join us and Zen wasn’t sure who Jeremy was. I pulled up the Water Tower YouTube clip of Jeremy, and Zen’s face lit up like a birthday cake. We hit a few more skate spots and at the last spot, it was Jeremy and Zen skating together while I snapped some pics.
Skateboarding once again proved amazing in making memories. Zen flew out the next day, and I am pretty sure Andy, Jesse, Jeremy, Skinny Vinny and I made his day. I got a few pics of Zen with the guys and a couple skate flics too. Zen had a pretty sic front rock at the Scum Ditch. I had no idea, when we were departing Pizzanista, that Zen was there randomly. He had a skateboard and skate shoes on: that alone got him a pass to skate with a few legends.
After all these years out skating and taking pics, and with all the craziness in the world today, skaters still have a code that transcends language, race, sex, and all other pc codes. You have board and some shoes and your one of the crew, no questions asked.
Jeremy Wray. @jeremy_wray
Jesse Paez. @jessepaez75
Zen Haruyama. @zen_haruyana