Mark Su­ciu Road Trip

Transworld Snowboarding - - NEWS -

The no­tion was sim­ple: Mark Su­ciu, Si­las Bax­ter-Neal and Frankie Spears hit the road from New York to Texas and hit spots all along the way. This shit will never get old!

From New York to Pitts­burgh, then Cleve­land, Detroit, Colum­bus, In­di­ana, St. Louis, Tulsa, Ok­la­homa City, Deringer’s par­ents’ farm in Mannsville, then Austin, and end­ing (in my opin­ion) on a back­yard bal­cony in an Austin sub­urb where three of us sat in the dark, look­ing down at the creek, the other two smok­ing, all of us tired af­ter the Fourth of July cel­e­bra­tion that day. We were talk­ing about our trip. “We have clips from ev­ery city,” Justin says, happy with the footage he got. “That’s more than enough for a video.” He’s sit­ting on the ground with his back to the wall of the house, his black hood up. He passes the spliff to Jazz and says, “I’m stoked you were able to come.” Jazz is a sculp­tor and has al­ways skated but never pro­fes­sion­ally. He and I en­vi­sioned this trip as a full cross-coun­try drive but we’d stopped halfway, which he doesn’t mind, he tells Justin. It felt like the real thing.

Jazz had never done such a long road trip and it started to wear on him af­ter spend­ing the first day in the van on the way to Pitts­burgh. But when we came into town, he tells Justin and me, and fire­works shot up be­hind the sky­scrapers and all seven of us yelled like they’d gone off for our ar­rival, he came back to life. It also helped that we ate sand­wiches at Pri­manti Bros right away. Then we were in a Lyft, five of us go­ing to Gooski’s to meet Nick Panza for beers. Our driver, Maria, told Matt she didn’t mind him rolling up—“Weed and cig­a­rettes is cool, just no coke and no meth”—and filled us in on the protest that shut down the park­way that night, hun­dreds of peo­ple mourn­ing Ant­won Rose Jr., a black high school honors stu­dent mur­dered by a po­lice of­fi­cer. Moved by what she said, I had the feel­ing of be­ing shocked into the present tense of a city that was hid­den in the space of my men­tal Amer­ica, tucked into the moun­tains be­tween New York and Cal­i­for­nia. Maria’s daugh­ter had gone with her fourth grade class to join the protests that day and Maria, a black mother, had to be­gin the long con­ver­sa­tion of racism with her, and too early, she said. Jazz tells us on the bal­cony that he’s glad we ended up in one of the protests on our last day in town, when we ex­ited a restau­rant onto a crowded, blocked-off street. Justin and I nod.

On the bal­cony Jazz says an event like the protests hap­pened at ev­ery stop, some­thing that caught the whole city’s at­ten­tion. Detroit had their In­de­pen­dence Day fire­works the night we got in—they cel­e­brate early with the neigh­bor­ing Cana­dian city of Wind­sor. In St. Louis, a tor­nado siren sounded and the clouds turned from gray to black. We rushed to our ho­tel, but the tor­nado never hit. And here in Austin, a few hours ago, Fourth of July fire­works went off down­town.

That’s how cross-coun­try trips are, Justin says to Jazz and me. And you see skate com­mu­ni­ties come to­gether. Si­las’ Cab back nose­blunt mis­sion at Mil­liones turned into a Sun­day drink­ing ses­sion with the lo­cals— Panza, Evan Smith, Drew Win­don. Justin Bohl in Detroit telling us about the Wig, its his­tory and up­com­ing de­mo­li­tion. Hang­ing out with Gabe Ke­hoe, Randy Ploesser and Jabari Pendle­ton at the Gramo­phone in St. Louis and skat­ing House Park in Austin with Elias Bing­ham.

I laugh and say to Jazz and Justin that I knew all along the Kos­ton rail in Colum­bus was knobbed yet still made us stay in that town. There were other spots, but the town’s an ar­chi­tec­ture mecca—I’d seen a movie that took place there and wanted to visit. We checked in at one a.m. and I drove around by my­self. The van felt haunted with­out the oth­ers. There’s a scene in that movie where the ac­tors sit in their car be­fore a glow­ing mod­ernist build­ing, so I found it and did the same. I thought about be­ing in the mid­dle of In­di­ana, in the mid­dle of a skate trip and skate ca­reer. I started to feel less real than those ac­tors, I tell my two friends on a bal­cony above a creek in Austin, and our trip seems only as real as a movie.

When I was a kid I told my par­ents at the din­ner ta­ble that I wanted a life where I’d travel as much as pos­si­ble in or­der to make mem­o­ries in dif­fer­ent places. By do­ing that I thought I would feel like I’d lived more, done more. My par­ents only en­cour­aged me. Mem­o­ries of other places stayed dis­tinct in my mind, while life at home al­most amounted to one in­di­vid­ual me­mory. But when I was a kid I as­sumed that by see­ing I could change things, or would be changed by them—that see­ing would do more than take away my ig­no­rance. Now, last­ing mem­o­ries don’t seem to form with­out a foun­da­tional feel­ing of the city where they’re made, a re­la­tion­ship that takes months to build. And it’s hard to imag­ine I’ve been to all the far-flung places I’ve been.

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