For a North Hollywood skatepark I was severely let down. As I sat on the ground below a 5 foot drop off bank with my camera in hand looking at the locals rolling around I had to say I thought it would be a little more ghetto. Pro skater Antwuan Dixon posted up at a picnic table with a 40oz and face tattoos to my left seemed about right for what I was expecting, but these lanky, alien like kids in skin tight pants trying to ollie down two stairs in fashion boots was really throwing me off.
Joe McKeag rolled back around to the compost I was sitting on to check a shot, shining with the afterglow of just pulling a huge 6 foot tuck no hander off a bank. “You’re gonna hate me, but I missed it” I said as I showed him the shot of his hands only partially extended. “AW MATT LINGO YOU’RE KILLING ME!” It’s part of my job that I hate the most, when someone is risking bodily harm for a picture and you don’t deliver.
Joe had been working towards the trick for a while, and I thought I had figured out where he would be fully clicked, or in other words where the trick would peak out. He was riding on an ankle injury from a nine foot drop to bank we shot the day before, and I knew he was hurting each time he came down on it. On the last try when he came off the ledge he threw his arms out earlier then I expected and I snapped it a fraction of a second off, creating a disappointing shot of his elbows bent.
He went back for it again and pulled it again, this time the flash going off just as his arms fully outstretched from the bike. I really can’t explain that gun fighter reflex you get, when your trigger finger squeezes at just the right time and you capture that 1/125th of a second when the bars are backwards in a bar spin or the rear triangle is completely opposite the rider in a tail whip, but it’s tough to nail. What’s even tougher is telling a rider you missed the trick, and they have to risk life and limb and huck themselves off a 6 foot drop yet again.