BRUCE "THE OX"
around four years ago, i found myself on a european trip with the team black label. we were all scarred and bruised having done demos and photo shoots all across the surface of the moon and the rebuilt facade of war torn central europe. these went on for several weeks and a much needed break from the constant slamming of one's body down on the pavement was needed. our team had gone from seven healthy , ambitious athletes, to three tired, sore, and angry young men. i'd seen the remaining four get sent home due to one broken wrist, one seperated shoulder, a near death case of pnumonia, and a concussion resulting in siezeure. i was pretty over the idea of being in europe , stuck in a foreign landscape and never hearing english. i wouldn't call it homesick,(since i could care less about getting back to LA) just sick of the present state of things. it seemed everywhere we'd go, there wasn't time enough for personal excursions or even half a day to go check out the city. just people expecting you to shred their set-up, or wanting some type of mini interview from you, or rushing you off to a skate-shop autograph session. you really start to feel like a whore after a while and begin to see why dudes like matt Hensley decided to hang it up and forgo the pro skateboarder life. this isn't why i started skating and ain't what i expected when i decided that being a sponsored skateboarder was about the coolest thing in the world (which it is). i don't know why, but after this tour i decided to accept an invitation to Ireland and do an interview for the european magazine 'kingpin'. although the idea of spending more time in a strange land with different customs and odd accents made me want to vomit, i thought (as i always do) this all could be over tomorrow and you'd better take every oppritunity that skateboarding wants to give you. i was totally beat and boarded the plane to dublin not knowing whom i was to meet up with, i'd never met an irish skater before, let alone an irish skate magazine editor. fuck it, live this life to the fullest. i prepared myself for more skating and my sore body was hating me, i was about to try and pull off shooting an interview in the span of a week in a country severely lacking in skate-spots with a history of an eleven month rainy season. upon arrival, i saw , thank god, a couple of dudes who looked like they might have skated. this was to be the editor and photographer. they instantly, and without provocation, insisted to me that "this is Ireland, and we take a back seat approach to skating here". i was told that, not only was there nothing at all expected of me, but it was all my show. where, when and whatever i wanted. aaaaaahhhh, i sighed. things are looking up. that evening i was to be introduced to Bruce 'the OX'. the rawest skateboarder i've ever met. Bruce 'the OX' and i hit it off instantly. he regailed me of tales of his trips to america in search of full-pipes, i was told of many Bruce 'the OX' missions that would involve hours upon hours of digging and shoveling sweeping and pick-axeing his way to some simple type of a bank to ledge or a 200 year old fountain that he just knew was skatable if he only could dig it out. i saw photos and footage of he and his mates trecking across grasslands and taking blow-up rafts out to remote areas just to get to a cement quarter pipe that was full of mud. there were missions of repelling, no joke, down into the earth into pitch black tunnels with coal-miner lights on their heads, trying to skate some abandoned tunnels. the one that really sticks with me was the footage of them crawling into the sewer systems with gas masks on and skating the sewage pipes and literally falling in shit. no magazine, no 411vm filmer following them around. all in the name of skateboarding. this is living? i thought. what this dude had gone through, his drive to seek out the unskated, the uncharted spots, made my last three weeks look like a cakewalk. right then and there i was born again. never again would i bitch about the life of a sponsored skateboarder being a bummer. this, right here in front of me , was real skateboarding, for the love of it. if skateboarding is our religion, then Bruce 'the OX' is our messiah. you'll never see this dude in a magazine, and probably never hear of him after this , but that is the heart of the whole thing. whenever i feel like focusing my board, or hate on this life due to getting kicked out of spots all day or whatever, i think of The OX. and i smile. and i skate.