With all of the web videos and what have you the art of the true flatland video may be endangered. When a video came out back in the day and you would order it, check the mail box everyday until it came, and watch it a 1,000 times. To honor this once proud tradition I’m going to review some older videos.
First video I'm going to review is Bobby Carter's Explorations. I first meet Bobby at a Great Lakes Flatland Jam a in like 2001 or something. I knew he was from Michigan, but lived in sunny California. He was in town, so he showed up at the jam. I remember buying Explorations and the 25th Parallel on VHS. Yeah VHS! I love rewinding things. 7 years have pasted since this video came out, and it's a very good example flatland from it's time.
This video has always taken me on a little journey. I would watch this thing and either think two things. I would watch Hollywood Steve's weird stuff and feel like going out to the parking lot and goofing off thinking up the weirdest stuff I could or I would watch Stephen Cerra and feel like going out and flowing. There is a lot of amazing riding in this video. Loads of different styles and tons of originality. Nobody's style was a carbon copy back then. These were the lovely days before pumping, it was all about the hard switch. It's interesting to compare and contrast Bobby's old work with his current work. No matter witch way I slice this video the same sentence keeps popping in my head. When I watch this video I feel like going out and riding flatland.
I asked Bobby a few questions about the video...
Year(s) the video was filmed?
That must have been 1999 and 2000.
When did it come out?
Yeah, it came out in 2000. So, I filmed in 1999 and into 2000. The new millennium, HA! HA!
The infamous Ralphs spot is in this video. Was that the major spot for people in your area then?
Ralphs was the main spot back then. Stephen Cerra would ride there during the day and then Tagi, Hollywood Steve, and myself would ride there every night. We had visitors from all over the world. The lighting was perfect. The trash compactor smelled though. We were probably being poisoned! HA! HA! Now the ground has gotten too wavy, but I guess a couple people go there once in a long while because they live so close.
OK so this video features a lot of Cali riders. Explain the scene in Cali at that time.
I just watched the video last night for the first time in years. It brought back a lot of memories of what was going on at the time. 1999 was the tail end of the Huntington Beach era. HB was slowing down and Long Beach and Hollywood were the new hotspots. Altogether there were more riders in the LA area than now. A lot of people were visiting from overseas for the contests (X-trials, AFL, X-games, etc.) I was new to California back then. I was just meeting all the people I had seen in the mags and other videos. It was cool!
What was your living situation and daily life like at this time?
Same number, same ‘hood. I was a graduate student back then. Go to school -> Go ride with friends. Repeat.
Have any of the riders in the video dropped off since it was filmed?
I don’t know...there are a lot of riders in the video. I’ve lost contact with some of them, but most are still riding. Just about all of them have moved forward with their lives though. A couple of riders are married with children!
What is your favorite thing about the video?
I just remember the fun times sessioning with everyone.
Almost every rider from the Cali scene is in it, regardless of skill level. Watching it in 2008, I realize that the first time I met most of the overseas riders was at those sessions. I’ve known Kotaro Tanaka, Azuma “U-haul” Yuho, and Shinichiro Hara for almost 10 years now. It’s cool to have a first meeting documented like that....