Photo: Nicholas Chatfield-Taylor
What's that? You weren't aware Southern California is big on action sports? Have you ever loooked at a map, asshole? Beaches, mountains, deserts, and Hollywood High are all a short road trip away. A good portion of the "atheletes" are xtreme tools with jacked-up trucks who think they're superior and like to pick fights for no reason whatsoever. These are the dicks who show up at the industry brodeo known as ASR to "get waaaaasted and paaaartty at the Social D show, brah!" instead of intelligently discussing how bad things are in the industry, and asking "What the fuck's with the Volcom booth this year? They have rollerblades!"
That said, there's also a decent scene of kids who are supercool and into art and music (like Stussy or RVCA, who are pretty much killing it), aren't dirty, and who see chicks as equals rather than just some hot ass for the taking (before you get mad, we are well aware that tons of girls also kick ass at their sports). Interestingly enough, a whole bunch of them are Christians. These dudes defy the hardpartying, ho-fucking stereotype.
If you've been living in your mommy's basement and just emailing the dudes at Element stuff like "HI im a 15yrold sick ska8r dude, bam and vallely is a legend, sick, ok here's my vid, sponsor me pls write back," here are a few tips to get you integrated into the whole actionsports world, dude.
Skate guys have several distinct types: the punk/metalish dudes who wear those tight Ragdoll Ambiguous pants, the hip-hop guys in their LRG and puffy DCs, the iPath hippie rasta skaters, and the arty types who are super into eS, music, photography, and art. Also: vert vs. street. Etnies has a good contest every year with Goofy vs. Regular at their skate park in Lake Forest. While you're out there, you can go on over and skate the rails across from Captain Cream. Or, Aliso Creek?
Tons of BMX guys live in Austin or North Carolina and the South, but of course they're all over Southern California too—it's just that for some reason, being a redneck BMXer is just so much more endearing and classic, especially when they wear flannel and Vans. Still, there are a lot of them in Riverside and Corona. There's constant battles between skaters and BMXers at parks, so find some San Diego dry ditches instead.
Moto, MX, whatever you want to call it—these guys are fucking badass, straight up. Anyone who does those back-flip heel clickers and cordovas and lands on his wheels is A-OK by us. Even though the Metal Mulisha (RIP, Jeremy Lusk) used to give the dudes a bad rap by showing up everywhere and kicking everyone's ass, a lot of moto guys only look mean on the outside. Tell 'em you like Slayer and you'll have an instant friend. You want tracks? Try Glen Helen Raceway in Devore, or Lake Elsinor.
These guys are sort of like a combination of surfers and skaters on white powder. Every single person here snowboards, and they all go to Big Bear and use Burton boards (who pretty much own board sports, sucker, with Gravis, etc. etc.) and wear Analog. Top that with some insane (but funny) Von Zipper goggles, and you're fucking blinding us, man.
Go to Huntington Beach and you'll get a good idea of the surfer stereotype— although there are those smart, talented dudes, as well as the ones who get all spiritual about the ocean and shit. In Southern California, the waters are always cold, no matter the air temperature, so you'll always need a wetsuit (but when you don't, you can get some Quiksilver no-rash board shorts—they're super-supportive of the industry, as are other brands like Hurley), and the Santa Anas are a good thing. Gotta make sure you have your Vestal watch's alarm set so you can drag your ass out of bed at, like, 5 AM. Surfers are very territorial about their spots. Consider yourself warned.