BGPs #1

Jeremy Wray –  Sidewalk Ollie – Color Skateboards Video

The following testimonial is entirely fictional and based on a brief moment in Skateboarding history.

“I remember that day! That day changed my world!”

Billy Crabtree remembers the day he witnessed Jeremy Wray ollie an 18 foot gap out of a simple curb cut. It was 1993 and Billy was 6 years old at the time.

“My twin brother and I were just heading down our street when this guy came speeding past us at mach 10. Luckily another guy ushered us out of the way to avoid getting run over or squashed. There was a pop, a whoosh and a thud as the skater launched through the air, took flight for what seemed like an eternity, then landed and sped away at break-neck speed.”

That skater was Jeremy Wray, a young professional filming tricks with his friends, Jason Dill and Ted Newsome. Ted held the camera while Jason policed the sidewalk to avoid any accidents.

“I mean, Mickey and I hung out on our street every day. Our parents would only let us go to the end of the block but no further, so we knew that stretch of road like the backs of our hands. It was a quiet street with a dozen or so houses lined up, each with some fresh green grass out front and driveways big enough for a couple of cars. Calfornian suburbia by excellence. But yeah, it was a quiet neighbourhood so if anything was up, we were sure to check it out.”

As twins, Billy and Mickey were forced to share a lot of their toys. Even if this caused some bickering and tantrums, a simple game of Rock-Paper-Scissors usually decided who got what. That day, Mickey got the race bike. Billy was on foot.

“My brother Mickey had won the roshambo that morning to ride the bike, so I was walking. Our mom and dad made a good living but they refused to buy two of everything just because we were twins. We had to share. I got to say, that bike was a valued asset for a 6 year old. It was a BMX decked out like a racing motorbike. It had a nose cover, body work, tail and even a fake gas tank!”  

As the two brothers made their way down the street, they spotted a couple of older kids with skateboards standing around looking at a hole in the pavement. One of the skaters had a video camera, one had no shoes on and one was lounging in the grass. Neither of the brothers has spotted Jeremy further up the street.

“We saw these older guys lurking around with skateboards and a camera. None of them were skating which was kind of odd. Mickey and I figured we could see if they’d let us ride their boards instead. Just as we were about to step over to the guy with the camera to borrow his board, the one with no shoes on pulled us aside and told us to watch out. Watch out for what? Mickey asked. Just then another guy who was actually skating shot past and took off like an airplane. He was heading straight for the hole in the sidewalk but he passed it and rolled away safely. I could not believe it! The skater had leapt the equivalent of Michael Jordan leaping from the 3-point line to dunk! Airtime baby!”

As Jeremy Wray sped off into the distance, Ted caught Billy’s reaction on camera. The young boy could not believe his eyes. Did you see that? Where’s the mark? How did he do that? The questions buzzed from the flabbergasted child. Mickey just sat on his bike speechless.

“It was incredible! One minute he’s heading straight for a massive hole and the next he’s flying like a bird with no strings attached. Just a board and four wheels. If Mickey or me had tried to clear that gap on our bike we’d have gotten smoked. I was in such shock that when the shoeless guy came up to high-five me and celebrate, I could hardly react. Instead I slapped our bike in disbelief.”

Billy and Mickey Crabtree

Since that day, Billy never looked at things the same. Children often read fantastic stories about flying, but on that sunny afternoon in Southern California, Billy witnessed a man take flight for real. 

“We told everyone about what we saw but nobody believed us. Kids at class laughed. Teachers scoffed and our parents said my brother and I weren’t allowed any Kool-Aid for a week. Too much sugar. I remember showing the little bump and gap to some BMXers and even they said it was impossible. For weeks, my brother and I would race on our bike towards the gap but there was no way to clear it. I mean I might have gotten a couple of feet but nothing like that one skater.”

After a week without Kool-Aid and looks of disbelief from everyone they knew, Billy and Mickey begged their parents for a skateboard at Christmas. It was a long 6 months before Santa Claus delivered a brand new set-up for the pair to share. The twins specified in their letter to Father Christmas that the deck had to be a Jeremy Wray Color Skateboard. Unfortunately, the elves were all out so the children had to settle for a generic mall board. The truth of the matter was that Color Skateboards went out of business and disappeared very shortly after releasing their first video. 

“We were gutted we didn’t get a Color board. The filmer told us who the skater was and that he had a pro-model skateboard with Color Skateboards. My brother and I wanted the exact same deck with those tiny wheels. Instead we got a fat tank of a board with massive pink wheels. Our parents saw we were disappointed but we made do and still had a ton of fun with that first skateboard. My brother and I would take turns pulling one another towards the gap and just launch as far as we could. We even measured our wheels after every session to see if they were getting any smaller and closer to what Jeremy rode. Needless to say, we never cleared the gap and our wheels remained the same size no matter how hard we pushed.”

Today Billy Crabtree works for a leading aerodynamics company,  developing parts for solar-powered aircraft. His life-changing experience as a 6 year old turned on his fascination for Man’s ability to become airborne. His twin brother Mickey continued to race bikes and even reached the semi-professional ranks of motocross racing.

“I just got to say ‘Thank You’ to Jeremy Wray. His ollie blew my mind and really changed the way I saw the world around me. On top of that, the skaters were cool guys. I just hope that one dude got some shoes because his feet smelt funky!”

Starts at 26:46

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