Volcom's "RV Rampage" Article

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It was Remy Stratton’s idea to put a 34-year-old vehicle on the road for a skate tour through America—a 1983 Blue Bird Wanderlodge to be exact. It’s older than most of the guys who were riding in it, but hot damn, it’s one fine looking piece of machinery. Remy’s wizard mechanic got the bus dialed in and Jake Smith plotted the course: 13 of the best ’boarders on the planet hitting 18 cities, crushing 2,500 miles and shredding all the spots we could find in between. Let’s get this road party started!

Volcom photo2 750pxI believe I can fly… Chris Pfanner, frontside 180 into the crust     Photo: Mehring

Volcom photo3 750pxPay the troll toll, let ‘er roll. Collin Provost, frontside nosegrind     Photo: Mehring

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Volcom photo6 750pxOur driver tail dropped into this bank. Axel opted to go up and out. Wallie to grip grind     Photo: Mehring

Volcom photo7 750pxDane Burman’s from Down Under but he’s usually up and over—backside 50-50 in Caswell’s SJ     Photo: Hammeke

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“This thing is fucking sick!” is the most common reaction to the ‘lodge, and climbing the steps and entering the doors brings you right into the heart of the beast. Traveling in an RV creates a different type of vibe than going on a normal trip. Collin Provost said it best: “When you’re in a van you can only talk to the dudes beside you, but in here you can talk to everybody.” There’s a laundry list of perks to cruising around in a motorhome rather than in a van, the most obvious being comfort: there’s simply not a bad seat in the ‘lodge. There’s also numerous nooks quiet enough to call your lady back home to check on the dogs and there’s two twin beds in the rear in case you need to sleep off a late-night eager.

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The dinette table is the epicenter of the party, though, with its padded edges making it perfect for rolling joints, collecting questionable gas-station purchases and most importantly of all—dice games. Towards the end of the trip, a beer-can cactus even sprouted from the table. It became a money-growing palm tree the next evening. True story! Collin and Pfanner did a killer job on the beer-can remodel. I’m still looking for a place to get my very own Coors Light chandelier installed.

Volcom photo11 750pxAxle Crusher is not a nickname given ironically. Mr. Cruysberghs earns his moniker with a long-distance feeble     Photo: Hammeke

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Turns out you need Class B license to drive such a beast, which none of us had. Luckily, Remy found Jarrod Pimental from Plymouth, Massachusetts, owner of an outfitted vintage bus himself. Donny Barley clued us into Jarrod’s existence through an Instagram comment, and the guy could do it all: drive the rig, wrench on it, clean it, park it, sweep out spots, tail drop into banks like a young Bam Margera. He ended up skating the demos with us and signing autographs. By the end of the trip, he wasn’t just our driver, he was one of us. We went bowling in Atlanta and Jarrod was hucking balls down the lane at warp speed. Grant was yelling, “There you go, Jarrod! Let out the road rage!” Instantly, we knew that GT had just gifted him with his new nickname. And just like that, Road Rage was born.

Volcom photo12 750pxThere’s a short list of dudes that can make pop shoves look good. GT is sure as hell included     Photo: Hammeke

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Were you surprised when Remy Stratton called you up and asked you to drive the Wanderlodge?
I was super surprised. It wasn’t a sure thing at first but I already felt like I won the lottery, regardless.


Had you met any of the guys on the team before or did you just get thrown into this blind?
Totally blind. But every single person on the team is rad.


What was the craziest thing that you saw go down on the trip?
The Grant demo in Atlanta. That was the highlight of my life.


Who was your favorite dude to deal with?
Daan Van Der Linden was regularly entertaining. He’s very enjoyable to hang out with.


Were you blown away by the skating on the trip? Had you ever seen anything like that in person?
I’ve seen stuff like it but not to that extent. I was thoroughly surprised at some of the things I saw attempted and then made.


What will you miss the most about being out there on the road with these guys?
Omar’s freestyles, Daan ordering dinner, early morning coffee with Pfanner, group texts and total carnage all over the country.


Will you be driving the Wanderlodge on future trips?
I am already packed and ready to go.

Volcom photo13 750pxEverything’s comin’ up roses at the Flower Shop—GT tucks and Omar ducks. Could’ve been a whole different take on the butt shot     Photo: Hammeke

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Volcom photo16 750pxWhen the dog’s away, the Pfanman will play. Backside flip—third time’s a charm     Photo: Hammeke

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The Northeast is known for its crusty spots, harsh accents and in this case, stubborn attitudes. We were in Baltimore and Pfanner was itching to skate a bump to bar that our guide Tim had shown us. Unfortunately, there was a lady on the phone sitting at the spot blocking the bump. After she ended her call, we politely asked if she could move, to which she responded, “Fuck off. Go do that shit somewhere else!” Alec, Pfanner and Jake tried to charm her into moving but it wasn’t happening. We gleaned from her phone call that it was her birthday. Spending your birthday at the laundromat would probably put anybody in a crappy mood, so we decided to quit harassing her and come back the next day.

 

The next morning we headed back to the spot and the lady was gone but there was now an illegally-parked car blocking the run up. We found the owner of the car inside and asked her if she could move it. She also told us to “Fuck off.”
We tried skating around the vehicle and the lady eventually came out and told us that she’d made a phone call. We assumed she’d called the cops, but she actually called her tribal-tatted dad who showed up with his Rottweiler. He took his turn guarding the spot, claiming that his daughter called him crying, saying that she was being harassed. Rather than risk a dog/dad attack, we left empty handed once again. A few hours later we circled back in hopes of getting one actual shot at skating the damn thing. Luckily, there were no pissed-off birthday gals, no tribal dads, no illegally-parked cars and no Rottweilers. Pfanman celebrated by stomping a backside flip over the bar and we were out. Later, haters.

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We were at a park in Sparks, Nevada, and Matt Mullen, one of the videographers on the trip, mentioned to Dustin that he had his drone with him and it was on. “Can you drone me a beer?” he asked. Matt thought it was worth a try. A cold Stella Artois, a shoelace, a sticker and some electrical tape were gathered and the hijinx were on! Dustin laid down in the parking lot and Matt went to work, trying to land the beer into Dustin’s eagerly-awaiting hand. I’m not sure if it was user error or if Matt was just messing with DD, but as soon as the bottle hit his palm, the drone took to the skies, leaving Dustin sudsless. Don’t worry—I’m pretty sure he was able to find a beer or two back in the ‘lodge. Pissdrunx always find a way—

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Volcom photo21 750pxWe all know he can boost, but GOT DANG! Pfanner takes to the skies in Tennessee     Photo: Mehring

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As soon as we got to St. Louis, Road Rage was asking if we were going to Sk8 Liborius. We had no idea what he was talking about, but after a quick Google search Jonathan Mehring was frothing to go. A private skatepark built inside an old Catholic church? Sign us up! On the last day in St. Louis we got the number to get in. A huge thanks to the guys who built and maintain the place for letting us skate; you guys have such a rad scene happening there. We had gone to the St. Losers Comb video premiere the night before and we were all a little hungover (to put it mildly). It was also raining when we woke up, so a private skatepark inside a church seemed like the perfect place to spend the morning. There was a flea market going on around the ramps when we got there, but the mini ramp and jump box were a go. All of the dudes were digging the vibes: Collin came up on a vintage Alan Jackson tee while Daan opted for a David Allen Coe design. After the obligatory thrifting subsided, slowly but surely the sesh got fired up. It was like the skate gods forgave our sins and cured our hangovers. Let there be shred!

Volcom photo22 750pxWhat could be more appropriate than a Madonna in a Catholic church? Omar Hassan comes correct      Photo: Mehring

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Volcom photo24 750pxThe graffiti is questionable but Daan’s Indy 360 is undeniable. Angel face gets heavenly in St. Louis     Photo: Mehring

Volcom photo25 750pxThe Wanderlodge lurks while Alec Majerus works. Kinky switch 50-50 for the homies in the motorhome     Photo: Hammeke

Volcom photo26 750pxCaswell took a couple of slams and trips to the bushes on this roller coaster, but that didn’t stop San Jose’s finest from stomping this boardslide. Tilt Mode 4EVA     Photo: Hammeke

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Caswell has a pretty bomb Pho place at the end of his street. Maybe that’s why he’ll never leave San Jose, or maybe it’s because there’s so many good spots to skate. Don’t like this curved double kinker? No worries! Caswell’s got six more spots lined up. And unless there’s a San Jose Sharks game on, Caswell will be right there with you shredding. On its short list of downfalls, the Wanderlodge is not a stealthy/silent vehicle: you can hear that engine roaring from a couple of blocks away. The fine people of SJ didn’t seem to mind, though. A couple of times we thought people approaching us were going to give us the boot, but they just wanted to know more about the ’lodge. In fact, the only time I recall almost getting busted was at Lake Cunningham skatepark. Grant had to hide his board so the cops wouldn’t give him a ticket for not wearing a helmet. Don’t you know? SOTYs don’t need no helmets!

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Volcom photo30 750pxThe back tail slipped away but this kickflip nosegrind was all Alec’s     Photo: Hammeke

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Caswell Berry brought along some dice on the very first Wanderlodge trip and playing 3s quickly became the number one time killer on the road. I’d say at least $1,000 changed hands over the course of the three trips. One night while driving between NJ and Philly, Daan racked up a bit of a debt on the table. He kept borrowing money and pretty soon was over $100 in the hole. The following day we were in Philadelphia and rolled up to this long hubba that Alec wanted to back tail. The ledge itself was good, but the roll up was at a slight angle and Alec couldn’t figure out exactly how to hop on it. After he threw in the towel, Daan started looking at it. He claims back tails are the safest trick to bail on, but I’m not sure anyone agrees with that. As the cameras were being packed into the ‘lodge, someone offered him $20 to try it. I then offered him $10 (all I had in my wallet), Ant offered him $100 and to top it all off, Hammeke offered him 30 beers! One-hundred-and-thirty dollars was enough to cover his debt and the beers were just a bonus, so Daan decided to give it a go. On the first one he locked in and kicked out. Lannie and Ant instantly went to the RV to grab their bags. Within 30 minutes, Daan was rolling away debt free and 30 beers richer. I’m pretty sure he lost any money he had left over at the dice table that night, and we definitely finished all of the beers before the trip was over.

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Volcom photo32 750pxWith 130 bucks and 30 beers on the line, Daan stepped to this hefty hubba and put it down. Back tail to pay off the dice debt     Photo: Hammeke

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Showing love for the local shops and putting on demos was one of the main goals for these trips, and starting off the last leg in Atlanta it was a no-brainer to do something at Thomas Taylor’s (GT’s dad) Stratosphere Skateboards and a demo at Grant’s local park in the 4th Ward. The Stratosphere gig was billed as a pizza party, but Tom drug some jump ramps into the parking lot and a heavy session commenced. After the event wound down, the whole crew headed around the corner to the local watering hole, Elmyr. Many nights in ATL start and end at the bar. Grant told me the entire Antihero team has been kicked out of there at one point or another. The next morning we grabbed breakfast and met up with Justin Brock at a bump-to-bar spot to shake off our hangovers before the demo. Grant, Collin and K-Walks all got tricks, but it also made us late for the skatepark event. Oh well, who shows up to those things on time anyway? We finally got to the 4th Ward park and it was packed! About 200 people were already there, and as soon as Grant dropped in we knew that was all anybody wanted to see. Even the other riders just wanted to watch GT annihilate his home park, and he sure as hell did not disappoint. After he put on a show for a few straight hours, we grilled up some hot dogs for the kids and the homie Kamal whipped up some epic seafood over the hot coals. When the lights came on at night, the kids were still so hyped that they were launching into the bowl with Thomas egging them on. The Taylors hold it down for the ATL.

Volcom photo33 750pxWelcome to the main event! GT, FSA in ATL     Photo: Hammeke

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Volcom photo35 sequence 750px 2xDropping hammers before the demo? That’s how a SOTY does it! K-Walks, Smith grind kickflip out     Sequence: Mehring

 

Volcom photo35 750pxHands-free (and landlord-approved) frontside wallride over the garage. Milton knows the rules     Photo: Mehring

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Milton crushed every demo we went to, skating from start to finish and destroying every obstacle put in front of him. In the streets, however, he couldn’t seem to catch a break: uphill run ups, crusty ground, shitty bondo jobs, security, cops—you name it and it was there stopping him from landing tricks. In Kansas City on the very last day of the trip, everyone was burnt from skating back-to-back demos, except Milton, so we only went to spots that he’d want to skate. We headed to a massive square rail that K-Walks had previously front boarded, but got kicked out instantly just looking at it. Up the street there’s a spot on top of a parking-garage entrance where you can do tricks into a marble bank. Same story: the security guards instantly swarmed us, but they weren’t going to climb up and drag him down, so Milton just kept trying to wallie into the bank. About ten tries later, he rolled away and we bombed the hill back to the ’lodge, leaving the guards in our dust. The next spot we had in mind for him was a gap over a garage, and it just so happened that the landlord of the building skates. He came out and watched while Milton did a wallride over it. I wish all of our street battles had been so easy. By then it was after 5pm, which meant the square-rail spot would probably be hassle free. This would be the very last spot we’d hit on the trip and Milton landed a nosegrind in only three tries! It was the perfect way to end the tour.

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Volcom photo37 750pxThree security guards were yelling at Milton to get down which was his plan all along. Wallie into the bank     Photo: Mehring

Volcom photo38 750pxLast spot, last minute, last trick of the tour, Milton nosegrinds through a fairy-tale ender! Good job, all you wanderers     Photo: Mehring

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All of these dudes went hard in streets, laid it all out at the demos and had the best of times doing it. There’s no doubt we’ll be talking about these Wanderlodge trips into our old age. And good luck trying to get any of our crew back in a 15-passenger van after these missions. If you missed the action, don’t worry. The ’lodge will still be out there wandering. We’ll be back on the road sooner than later, in your town, skating whatever you skate and partying where you party. We actually can’t wait to get the ’lodge the F outta Dodge once again.

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