First things first. The Wetboys are not gay. They're not the Wetfags, or the Homo Skate Crew, or the Denver Dicksuckers, or anything else they've been labeled in the hard-core skater world. Sure, some of them wear tight pants. Yes, their name was cribbed from a gay phone-sex ad. And okay, they have a history of getting wasted at parties and making out — with each other. Whipping out their cocks, peeing on each other and ejaculating on stuffed animals. Slicing each other with knives. But all that was just good, clean fun. Drink, drink, kiss, kiss, cut, cut. If you don't understand, then piss off. It's a Wetboys thing.
Second. Wetboys like to skate where they're not supposed to. Right now, Jerrod Saba is sitting on the curb, staring across the street at a wall. He looks at the bank leading up to it. This spot could work. It could really work. The Wetboys could own this spot. Or at least molest it a little. Disrobe it. Expose its possibilities.
Saba is 25 years old but could pass for twenty, with a reddish shock of scarecrow hair set atop a matching ragged frame. When he, Twiggs, Trevor and Sweets rolled up to this spot, they could tell it was a virgin (un-skated) because no gray skid marks marred its pristine white surface. This is a rare find for the Wetboys, who've had their way with just about every skate-worthy patch of concrete in town since they announced themselves on the Denver skate scene six years ago. The only thing that's kept this patch off the radar so long is its location in a ghettoized enclave huddled against a freeway and railroad tracks on the northeast end of the city.
Click here for video clips of the Wetboys in action.
Saba watches Sweets push furiously, then ram his board in an arch up the cinderblock while planting his hands on the ground below, like a surfer turning in to a wave.
"Nice!" Saba says. "I've never seen that one before."
"First time I ever tried," Sweets says, straightening his fedora and admitting that he was inspired by a recent re-re-re-viewing of the '70s skate/surf styles in the Dogtown and Z-boys documentary. As he skates away, white paint flakes flutter in the afternoon breeze, which also carries a faint whiff of boiling animal fat from the nearby dog-food factory.
As Trevor, a wiry twenty-year-old in black vato sunglasses, squeaks his board into a frontside wallride — "Aw, yeah!" — Saba's brain returns to thoughts of filming, television producers, boom mikes and contracts. Liquid Theory, an L.A. production company, wants to film a pilot for MTV focusing on the crazy lives of a group of Colorado skaters. Local skater/acrobat/stuntman William Spencer and members of the Wetboys have been tapped as featured characters for the proposed reality show. The working title: Hollerado, a play on a two-year-old video.
But as the unofficial point man for the skate crew, Saba has had trouble balancing the needs of the production company with the opinions of his fellow Wetboys, who regard MTV as the pinnacle of corporate pop-culture lameness. Saba himself cringes at the thought of the Wetboys getting stuck in reality show-type reality with real/fake dialogue and real/fake adventures. "It would be cool if they would just let us do our thing," he says to his friends. "Not try to set us up on stupid little tasks or make it into some extreme-sports thing."
"Sounds to me like it's just the Real World: Denver, but with shitbags," says Twiggs, who's skating nearby, dressed in a filthy white undershirt and cut-off slacks that show off his blurry, homemade tattoos. As the crew's contrarian in residence, Twiggs has made it known that he wants nothing to do with MTV or any efforts to turn the Wetboys into professional skate retards a la Jackass, Jackass: The Movie or Jackass 2, the sequel.
Third. There's nothing professional about a Wetboy's life. It's not all about skateboarding, drinking and drugs, of course. Sometimes it's about chicks. Sometimes it's about music and art. But mostly it's about friends and fun. That's the one thing the hating-ass-haters out there can't deny when they watch one of the Wetboys' skate videos floating around the Internet: These dudes look like they're having fun.
An amorphous concept — fun. It's what people allow themselves to have when they're not trying to look cool or mature. Or serious. Seriousness killed skateboarding. Blame the corporations, blame ESPN, blame the well-meaning skatepark builders and YMCA camp directors, blame a society that took a perfectly worthless, childish diversion and turned it into something legitimate. Into an activity that people would consider to be — blehh — a sport.
For the Wetboys — about two dozen guys spread across Colorado and Arizona but mostly in Denver — skateboarding has been a kind of four-wheeled fountain of youth, a font of fun. When they all lived under the same roof — in a series of exceptionally filthy residences known as "the Wethouses" — they could use their boards to fend off the dour expectations of adulthood. But now, lacking a common pad, it's been much more difficult to round up the dudes for a good old-fashioned, waste-of-the-day skate session.
From the curb, Saba grumbles that even with this MTV pilot supposedly coming up, they seem to be skating together less than ever. Still, the show could represent one last chance for major fun. If it gets picked up, there's talk of setting the Wetboys up in some sort of warehouse near downtown. "We could drag in couches, set up some random ramps, instead of MTV finishing it with what they think is cool," says Saba. And then they could film at spots like this and show the world how the Wetboys roll.
Micah Hollinger, the original Wetboy, could fly up from Tucson. "Naughty could do his wacky foot-plant thing," says Saba, admiring the wall. "William could fly off the side and ride off the fence. It'd be crazy."
Get wet with Sweets: I'm from Denver, grew up on the west side and the north side. When I was really young, I lived on an Indian reservation with my dad, in Arizona, but mostly I've lived in Denver.
I started skating when I was eight years old. I'm 27 now. In 2000, I was living with Paul and Saba and like ten other dudes in a two-bedroom apartment across from the old 303 skate shop in Arvada. We had two guys sharing each room, and then everyone else slept wherever they could. Some of the guys were still in high school, just living on their own. None of us really had parents we could go to, so we kind of like took care of each other. Some of the guys, their moms were into drugs or alcohol, so we figured a lot of these kids were better off staying with us. We all lived together just so we could go skating and not worry about anything else. We weren't the Wetboys or anything then. Just super-tight friends.
To pay rent, a bunch of us worked at this telemarketing firm selling timeshares. Paul isn't the most outgoing dude in the world, but he was crazy good at selling timeshares. Saba and I sucked so bad, it was pathetic — we hardly sold shit. Then one day there was this skateboard demo going on at the Denver Skatepark, and we told Paul we were going to quit so we could go to it. He didn't want to lose the job because he was so awesome at it. But then he just said, "Fuck it, let's go," and we all quit together and went skating.
Fourth. The Wetboys are not a skateboard team. Nor are they a skateboard club. They are a crew. Homies who like to skate and party, that's all. You cannot join. No offense, bro. You might be a really awesome skater, maybe the best in your city. It doesn't matter. While the ranks of the Wetboys comprise some really great skaters, some of the top street skaters in Colorado, they are not interested in having the best and brightest as part of their lineup, the way a skateboard company or shop team would.
Consider Tall Kan, that big, lovable mope from California — he doesn't even skate, and he's like the Wetboy mascot. Or the not-to-be-identified graffiti writer who became an honorary member of the Wetboys a couple of years back and started spray-painting the odd name across the city, baffling taggers and property owners alike. And then there are the random associates and groupies who float around the circle, people who look wet, skate wet and party wet but not are not technically members.
Ask — as many have — and you'll get this reply: "You've got to kill a Wetboy to be a Wetboy."
But in reality, explains Adam Crew, a Wetboy needs to "just be a dude that we're down with." Ask what, exactly, this means, and you'll get a blank stare, maybe a shrug. The particular Wetboy you put the question to will slouch into the couch, stare into his cigarette or disappear into the kitchen in search of a fresh drink. Still, you can figure out much of the formula yourself: Mix one part personality with one part skate skills, a dash of don't-give-a-fuck and shake. Oh, and don't forget this:
Fifth. You have to make out with a Wetboy to be a Wetboy.
Make out, as in close your eyes, part your lips, lean in and just do it. Meaning you set down your beer, grab some hair and, like, stick your tongue in another dude's mouth.
This ritual has nothing to do with being gay, the Wetboys assert. A little homoerotic, sure. But not homosexual, because they are not homosexuals. They're homies who like to skate and party. That's all!
"We're really just some dudes chillin', trying to smoke herbs, watching skateboard videos," says Crew.
To really understand this, you must go back to 2001. Saba and Micah, both in their late teens, were on a return flight to Denver from San Diego. Saba had grown up here, moving between his mother's and father's houses before barely managing to graduate from an alternative high school in Lakewood. Micah had fled his home town in Alaska and bounced through various cities before meeting Saba and a bunch of the other skaters who hung around 303 Boards — people like Paul Azevedo, Sweets and Styles. Now Saba and Micah were coming back from a skateboarding trip and looking at a porno magazine, one of those glossy publications that features breasts the size of volleyballs. In the back, near the bottom of the page, was a small advertisement featuring a bare-chested, penis-gripping male model who bore an amazing resemblance to Mike Vallely, a legendary professional skater and belligerent meathead best known for pounding the snot out of security guards at skateboarding demonstrations. Call 1-800-WETBOYS, urged the look-alike. It was hilarious. It was perfect.
The name caught on quickly with their friends. They started writing it on the top of their boards in white paint. On their T-shirts, scrawled in black marker. The Wetboys.
When a bunch of the Arizona guys — skaters like Don Naughty and Twiggs — migrated to Denver, the local scene began buzzing about the Wetboys. It had as much to do with their style as their ability. There was something loose about it. Free. They seemed less concerned with mastering the stock skate tricks of the day laid out by professionals in videos and magazines than they were with discovering their own quirky maneuvers and doing them well. So well that acquaintances began referring to themselves as Wetboys. Kids at the skatepark began writing the Wetboys name on their boards. Dudes no one had ever met before began flashing the hand signal, touching the tips of their thumb and index finger in a circle while spreading the other three fingers to make a W and a B. Their gang sign.
Something had to be done to protect the Wetboys. They needed an initiation rite — an act that would brand a dude for life. Break a beer bottle over your head? Jump off a roof? Get jumped? It all seemed too easy for a bunch of skaters who take bone-crunching slams every day. Moreover, it all seemed too serious, too adult, and not at all in the proper spirit. They wanted something that would truly separate the men from the Wetboys.
And that's when it came to them. Since their name was inspired by a gay porn ad, Saba explains, "I think we subconsciously put it together and thought, 'You've got to kiss a Wetboy.'"
It's past midnight, and the party is starting to pick up as more Wetboys arrive, filling Sweets's house in Five Points with smoke and laughter. Saba is cradled in the bend of an elbow-shaped couch, remembering: "A lot of people would rather get jumped in than have to make out with a friend."
But in those early days, it was the only thing gnarly enough to "weed out the squares," as Styles likes to say. The kissing would most often take place at parties like this one, at the old Wetboys houses. Late, when everyone was properly sauced and shouting, stumbling across the linoleum. Sometimes a boy would make out with just one Wetboy, sometimes multiple. The latter was known as a "Kamikaze."
"It was like hijinks," says Sweets. "We thought it was funny. Nobody wants to kiss a dude. It's fucking gross. It was more of a charge, almost like skydiving or something. Like, 'Oh, God, this sucks.' It's scary."
Sweets's roommate, 23-year-old Marika Evanger, once walked into a room where two Wetboys were making out. She thought it was hot — and she didn't buy all that reluctant gross-out stuff. "I honestly think that's what's appealing," she says. "I think the fact that they are completely straight guys who just love each other — it's more of an endearing thing. It was always just, 'We love each other enough and we don't care.'"
Get wet with Mike Reilly: Once we all moved into the same house, all the skate community was coming over every night, and it became like the Wetboys house. But before that, it was like writing Wetboys on my grip tape and shit like that. And people would be like, "What's up with that?" and I'd say, "It's just all of us, our group of friends or whatever." For us, it was deep for like two years before that. But then we had this video and this insane party house downtown, and it hit everybody. It was like, "We have a really sick house, no one can get in trouble, we have a place for everybody, and then, let's just do it." Everyone moved in.
That's actually the exact point where we had to stop being like, "Anybody can be a Wetboy." Because for a minute it was like, "Oh, you're one of our friends and you're down, cool, rep it, whatever." I mean, even though at that point there was like me and Styles and Chad and a couple other people who had tattoos, it was still like none of us were super stressed out. My tat is this tube of red lipstick writing "Wetboys" across my inner arm in cursive. When I got it, I just thought, "What am I probably going to be a part of the rest of my life?" The Wetboys, for sure. Like, what am I never going to regret — hopefully. It seemed like the best idea at the time.
In Arizona, where he moved two years ago to escape the winter, Micah screen-prints shirts and other clothing items under his own label, Bangarang! The term comes from the 1991 Disney movie Hook, which had a grown-up Peter Pan returning to Neverland. "Bangarang!" is what the Lost Boys would shout as a slang stand-in for "Awesome!" Micah was in elementary school when the film was released. He remembers loving the thought of all those boys living up in a huge tree, playing games, fighting pirates, riding around on Disney's approximation of a skateboard, sleeping where they fell. He liked that feeling, that energy.
Add in beers instead of pixie dust, and it wasn't that far from life at one of the Wethouses. Exploring alleyways, talking with hoboes, running from the cops, filming — and then coming home to a constant party.
"It was just freedom, you know?" remembers Gordie Cousino, a male-model-pretty skater known for technical flip tricks. "You'd go and just skate all day long. You'd go back, get a couple of tall cans and a fifth of Skol and get fucked up and watch the tricks that you did that day."
For Michael Burnett, editor-at-large for Thrasher magazine, regional skateboard crews creating their own identity is nothing new. In the 1970s there was the legendary Dogtown in L.A., which begat Frogtown in San Diego and Fogtown in San Francisco. In the '80s it was Team Steam on the East Coast, King Glug in Atlanta, Hesh Crew in San Diego. In the '90s, skaters in Vancouver created the Red Dragons. The Silly Pink Bunnies, originally out of San Fran, are now national. He thinks the Wetboys were heavily influenced by the Pissdrunx, "elegantly wasted rock-and-rollers" out of Los Angeles who are typified by pro skateboarder Jim Greco's drunk-addled antics. "As far as acting gay," Burnett says, "imagine that you're a nineteen-year-old in a post-Jackass world: What do you got to do? It's like what's punker than punk? How punk can you get? We can make out with a dude. So, yeah, what's sketchier than that?"
None of the rented houses lasted more than a year; bills and angry landlords inevitably forced the Wetboys to move on. The first house, a dilapidated Denver Square at Fourth Avenue and Inca Street, became the go-to place for skateboard scenesters after the release of the first Wetboy video, Til the Birds Chirp, in 2005. People were attracted by the group's good-times-for-all mindset and casual style, an urban-refugee look born more of necessity than fashion sense. Many of them lacked jobs, and they shared clothes, food and money. Some had sponsorships with skateboard companies that gave them free product, which could be sold on the street or at secondhand stores for quick cash. They slept in the back yard when the party people wouldn't shut up. They got bread from a nearby church food bank and ate huge pots of spaghetti. When making out evolved from an initiation rite into a nightly party custom, some Wetboys raised the stakes by playfully cutting unsuspecting friends. Razor blades grew into knives, knives into swords. Then a trip to the hospital ended the fun, so a truce was called. Another pastime involved masturbating on a pink teddy bear, a game one observer dubbed "Bearkakke." There were no leaders; decisions were generally made through consensus — if they were made at all. It was like an anarchist collective, but without all the hippie-dippie political shit.
The skateboarding footage reflected this closeness. While one Wetboy was doing a trick on a rail, another would be in the background doing a cartwheel. Or multiple Wetboys might do tricks at the same time. Mark Spencer, who had been filming Wetboys members for years, was so inspired by their camaraderie that he created a contest devoted to skateboard crews. He called it Way of the Warriors, after the 1979 cult film The Warriors, and encouraged skateboard cliques across the state to create team names and identities and produce their own videos.
He received entries from the God Squad, 1086, Trick Factory and others from as far away as Kansas. When the videos premiered at the Bluebird Theater in 2005, the Wetboys were the obvious winners. They'd perfected the practice of skating in a group — a "party line," they called it — with elaborate, playful choreography that combined creative, unseen tricks on random urban objects.
Since the early '90s, videos had been skateboarding's primary mode of communication. The big-time videos would usually add the so-called "mess-around" tricks — the wacky stuff that the pros might do between difficult shots — behind the end credits. But the Wetboys integrated this silliness throughout their production and backed it up with great skating. "This vid is a great example of the beauty of skateboarding, innovative, creative," says one viewer on YouTube, where the clip continues to receive thousands of hits a day. "Makes me want to start skateboarding again," says another.
"It was just their presence on screen," says Spencer. "They had flair, the way they skated, style — and a lot of stuff they put in the video was interesting and kept things moving. The editing was really good."
The start of the Wetboys' 2006 contest submission has them exiting a moving car and "ghost-riding the whip" while they do tricks on the street, after which they climb back in and drive off. They won the title again that year. But some of the competition grumbled that their win was based more on hype than substance.
The backlash was beginning.
Get wet with Don Naughty: I'm from Texas originally, then I moved to Arizona when I was young, young, like eight. I've been skating since I was a little kid, because of my uncle. I saw him skating or something. I met Styles and Jerrod and all the friends when they visited down south. I came up to Denver to check it out and loved the hell out of this city.
We've gotten into some crazy shit. I admit it. Peeing on fools. I pissed on Chalky; that's how he got initiated. Thomas dumped a forty on his head and I peed on his feet and made him dance. Like, "Dance, you sumbitch!" He got it pretty easy, actually. I made out with some fucking dudes. It's gnarly. But if you like guys, I guess it's not gnarly. But fuck. At first people won't do it, but once you get drunk, they're like, "Whatever," then they're like 'Rawwr!' That's the only way to do it.
Back in the day, we'd only work at a job just to get a paycheck and then quit. Shit like that. I worked at a pizza place, and when I went in for my check, I walked in with a T-shirt that I wrote "I QUIT!" across the front. They told me about it later. I was blacked-out drunk. Right now I got a job busing tables. I'm mostly couch-surfing now. You know, saving up.
I don't really think about the Wetboys as a thing. We're just a group of people who found the right group of people. Nothing else. We were all in the same shit, just having fun. It's skateboarding, dude.
Sixth. Some Wetboys don't kiss and tell. Paul, for example. He's sitting on a keg shell in the back room of the Lion's Lair, which is reserved for employees and Wetboys. Tonight is $2 U Call It night, also known unofficially as Wetboy Wednesday, when the tribe convenes to burn through their hard-earned tip money and get "stupid drunk" as efficiently as possible. Ever since last summer, when they moved out of the "Wetboys Compound," a row of houses on Capitol Hill, bars have been their gathering place.
Paul, who just broke up with his girlfriend, doesn't even want to think about making out. He rubs his beard and looks like he might tip over, like one of those balancing rocks in the Utah desert.
Even as their reputation as hard-core skaters and partyers spread beyond Colorado's borders, it became clear to the Wetboys that their making-out ritual had crossed some line. A 2005 article in Automatic, an Orange County-based skateboard magazine, promised an interesting look at the Wetboys, but quickly degenerated into a snarky, innuendo-filled rant. Skaters from Kansas on tour in Michigan had to endure hours of Wetboy jokes just because they were friends with skaters in Denver. Mark Spencer got anonymous phone calls from out-of-state skaters threatening to beat the shit out of the Wetboy faggots. Skateboard teams touring through town were reluctant to meet with the Wetboys, thinking they were some clan of crackhead queer skaters who might, like, try to rape them or something. Big-name professional skaters who'd formerly professed their allegiance covered up their Wetboys tattoos.
The Wetboys had caught on fast, and they fell out of favor just as fast. "People of no formal affiliation got tattooed and claimed Wetboys," remembers Greg Robinson, team manager for Zero Skateboards. "But then it was gone like nothing ever happened. Everyone on the outside cusp retracted their support, and all that was left was this general distaste, like, 'Oh, you're from Colorado? Are you a Wetboy? Those guys are fucking fags.'"
The Wetboys became the bogeymen of the skate world.
"It was just like high school all over again," Micah recalls. "Part of skateboarding is that you're not the jocks. Skateboarding was supposed to be a scene that accepted all the outcasts, was more tolerant."
Drunk girls making out for a room full of guys is now a Girls Gone Wild cliche. No one assumes that smooching sorority sisters are actual dyed-in-the-wool dykes ready to write off men forever. But for boys, even Wetboys, the standards are different.
"But our thing is that we aren't gay, we aren't faggots," Paul slurs. "I bet we get more chicks than anybody. Really. We don't really make out with dudes anymore. It was kind of a phase." Paul recently adopted a puppy from a friend. He named it Rufio, after the red-haired Lost Boy in Hook, the one who took over when Peter Pan left, who couldn't fly but could fight and skateboard. He says he never considered the connection to Micah's Bangarang! company, but just liked the name.
Naughty bursts through the door, screaming that his dance moves are the best: "I'm a walking, talking dance par-tay!" Naughty often makes such proclamations — about his moves, or how he likes the way his boogers smell, or how just once he'd like to do it to a really, really old lady.
"But if we had to put down someone else into the crew," Paul says, his eyes closing and head bobbing, "we'd for sure have to get our kiss on."
Hearing this, Naughty starts to laugh, but the whiskey he's pouring down his throat gets in the way. A mixture of vomit and bad liquor sprays out his nostrils and onto the floor. "Ugh, I'm okay," he says, pauses. "I'm fine."
He uses a rancid bar towel to wipe down his flannel. "I forgot that I hate whiskey," he proclaims. Then he heads back out the door to find some chicks to dance with.
Get wet with Dave Davis: I always say that I'm the redheaded stepchild of the Wetboys. That's why I call myself "The Dry Girl." I met Styles years ago, when he first moved here from Arizona, but I also knew Trevor and Saba before that. Just hanging out, drinking with them, skating. I've had these open warrants on me for the past four years, so I haven't been able to skate anywhere but the skatepark. But now I got them cleared up, so I can start hitting up the streets again.
They don't give a fuck, and that's good, because I don't give a fuck. It's the way we live life, day by day. It was just a bunch of kids that didn't give a fuck about life. I don't think I had to do an official initiation, but I've definitely been intoxicated a few times and gotten wet as fuck. Made out a while ago with Gordy and other fools. I crashed at a few of the Wethouses. I had a room at the one on Capitol Hill; it was gnarly. You'd wake up wondering who the hell is sleeping next to you. Who the hell is this girl, and where did she come from?
The filthy bathroom was the worst thing. The downstairs one was clogged and had shit overflowing for like a year. Shit on the floor. We just shut the door and never went in. I swear there was a shit monster living in there. I heard it breathing once. It just sat in there and ate shit.
I got a clean bathroom now. I got my own place with my girlfriend, who I've been with for nine months. It's nice. It sucks not having a Wethouse, but now it's like when you see one of the dudes, you're almost more stoked because you haven't been living on top of them for the past month. But I'm over it. I'm going to be thirty in a few years.
A cigarette clutched in his left hand, Saba wipes the water off a block of marble with his right. It's a gray day, right after a spring snowstorm. Businesspeople are walking by Skyline Park wearing scarves and knit caps.
"Are you going to try to slide the rail?" Trevor asks.
Saba shakes his head and looks over at his girlfriend, a timid little thing hidden behind bangs and a bike rack on the sidewalk. They've known each other about a year and a half. She comes out with him "sometimes, when he asks," she says, but admits that it can get pretty boring watching them try to land skateboard tricks after the thirtieth-ish try. Saba works not far from here, at an upscale Mexican restaurant catering to yuppies and yuppie wannabes. He makes sure the beer and wine are stocked, the kegs full. He doesn't have to talk to anyone. It's the greatest job he's ever had.
He stands on one end of a long cement block, then hops on his board and ollies over the rail, attempting to ride down some stairs on the opposite end. But his board pops too high and flies ten feet into the chilly sky, nearly landing on some pantsuit-wearing professional women, who flash him an angry look.
Mark Spencer is here with his video camera. He adjusts the lens and gets back into position. The Wetboys' entry for the 2007 Way of the Warriors contest wasn't up to par with the previous year's submission. Maybe the prizes weren't as good, but it's never been about the prizes. It's about pride. Street cred, the only currency that should matter. And right now, for whatever reason — pursuing personal ambitions, pursuing the bottom of a bottle — the Wetboys are no longer the Way of the Warriors champions. But dudes can't skate every day, all day. They get tired of being broke and hung over. They get jobs and girlfriends and apartments with clean towels. Reilly has stopped skateboarding. Jay is in prison for assault. Gordie is moving to California to work for a skateboard company. Thomas is leaving for Maine next week.
The Warriors title has passed on to a different crew.
Spencer is trying to get some footage for the reality-show pilot, which will also include old Wetboys video. His own experience with the reality show has been "bipolar," the 27-year-old says, and frowns. "They say they want to show our world. I'm hoping they'll get as far away from the reality-show formula as possible."
Life of Ryan, MTV's current reality show based on seventeen-year-old pro-skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, gives him nightmares. "It's exactly the representation of skateboarding that I don't want," Spencer says. Rich kids driving around Southern California McMansions in SUVs complaining about how they can't get girlfriends and win contests. Unlike a Wetboys video, the Sheckler show does not make you want to run out and skateboard. Run out to the mall, maybe, where you can buy a Sheckler T-shirt, but not go skateboarding.
A show that captures the Wetboys honestly could be an antidote. But Micah wonders if this is even possible. The producers "want the Wetboys in 2003 that they'd heard about to be on the show now, when a lot of people have changed or whatever," he says. Can you ever go back to the way things were, like grown-up Peter Pan, and recapture the magic, the fun, the pure love between boys? Can you grow up without growing up?
Saba keeps trying his trick. He almost lands it once, but his board shoots into the street and traffic. Cars slam on their brakes as the board rolls under an Element, hits the wheel of a parked delivery van and bounces back into the hands of Saba, who is dodging passing cars.
He eventually sticks it, riding his wheels like a washboard down the stairs and maneuvering around an older woman waiting for a bus. "Nice!" Naughty cheers. "And you made it smoothly by this lovely lady right here."
The woman smiles. She tells Saba about her grandson, who likes to skateboard. "He's not as good as you, though," she says. "Or your friends."
"Yeah." Saba seems unsure how to reply. "It's fun."
Now all they need are some fresh spots.
Get wet with Jerrod Saba: I think all of it is evolving into an older, more mature version of what it once was. Especially since the whole party-line, weird kind of skating has gotten way played out. I just saw an Arizona crew battle video from this year, and you can just see so many people doing it. Which is cool, but it seems like it's not our shit anymore. It's standard. It was a gimmick, sort of, but it was our gimmick, our way of having fun with each other. When everyone else does it, it's like, who are we?
A lot more Wetboys have jobs today than they used to. It's scary. I don't know. I guess it feels good to see some dudes trying to do well for themselves. Even me, I think it'd be cool to find jacked-up houses and fix them, resell them. Like sort of the opposite of what we did at a Wethouse.
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But sometimes I see people doing the same kind of fun skating, like younger kids, and I think, "Awesome, I love that." We all still feel that. So, yeah, definitely — if it doesn't suck, this reality show could get things re-sparked for the Wetboys. It could be like even gnarlier than it was before. We could actually get some funds to do all the weird ideas we always talked about. That kind of love never goes away.
Seventh. You can't buy a Wetboys T-shirt. You can't buy a Wetboys skateboard. But the Wetboys still have their imitators on YouTube, where young skaters from across the country show their videos inspired by the Denver crew. One post shows a group of teenagers in France doing their best to re-create the "party line"-style skateboard run created by the Wetboys. Dude does a trick and then kicks the board to his friend, who does a trick of his own. In the background, someone does a cartwheel. "It stinks because it doesn't have technical tricks," complains the sole post, in French. "It's badly filmed, it shakes, not professional, it's not at all professional!"
Boys will be boys.