The Ed Womble Interview in Coping Block Skateboarding Magazine


Ed when did you get your first skateboard and what kind was it? 

I think it was 1968.  I had Chicago single bushing trucks and clay loose ball bearing wheels.  Skated all over the place on that thing and learned how to adjust wheels, you had to.

How long did that board last you? 

A few years, brought it to Florida in 1971.  It was '75 when I saw GBM riding another board.  I was back the moment I saw him doing stuff I had never seen before.

Were you reading Skateboarder Magazine at that time or did that come later? 

Later.  I think I pre date the mags.  When it came out it was the reference guide for sure. I learned inverts and laybacks from studying the sequential photos? 

                                  Ed Womble laying back on the banks of the Sensation Basin.

What was the must have “set up” on your skate deck in those days? 

For me I was always needing something that would float me, I skated surfy, sketchy and fast but sloppy.  Kryptonics made a nice deck that I loved, INDY TRUCKS was the main thing.  If it had Indys, I could ride it.   Powell Peralta wheels usually, cubics?  

Where was the nearest skate park from where you lived and when did you first skate it?

George, John and Mama Dorothy McClellan and I did the property survey on the Clearwater Skate Park.  We skated it while it was being built.  That was what? 1976?  You should have seen the original plan.  THAT would have been wild.

How long did it take for you to become a “local”, and who were the core skaters at the spots you skated? 

Clearwater Skate Park:  I was local from day one there.  Locals there were Fisher, Rademaker brothers, Safety Al, Dave (I hate you because you're so smooth) Adams, George and John McClellan, Splat Parker (RIP Pat, love you man), Tim Hubbard, Tony Simotes and Mike Coocia.  Oh yeah, some grom named Jimmy Marcus too.

When I got to Gainesville I was not welcomed easily.  Talk about a vibe!  After I ate it time and time again and kept skating Mason finally started talking to me.  This was after months of skating by myself while they tried to ignore me.  If they were skating the pool and I started to as well, they moved to the snake = so subtle.  Possibly wearing the Clearwater Team shirt didn’t help.

The Basin:  Bruce Mason, Chris Baucom, Rodney Mullins, Peter Andrews, Ronnie Brown, Wes Aho, Tony Romano, John McGuigan, Keith Hollein, Russ Thompson, Barry Zaritsky (he did skate occasionally), Donny and Sam Myhre, Monty Nolder….  Not a bad crew eh?  And I know I am missing people….sensi clouds the memory.

                                                 Last session picture at Clearwater Skatepark

How were you getting to the skate park? 

The GBM dream ship silver van, my parent’s cars, I also skated there.  Whatever it took.  Good times…  And in Gainesville I skated 5 miles each way until I eventually convinced Mason that campus was on his way to the park…not so much, but his little silver Toyota Corolla had serious jams and a new 60 month battery, so we left the stereo on while we skated and when we got back to the car tunes were already blaring.

Were your parents into skateboarding? 

They were crushed, but they never said so.  I was being scouted to play pro baseball.  The idea of winning or losing on your own merits got me fired up.  After they saw how driven I was and how hard I was working they were, let's say heartened I was applying myself.  Do the best you can do at whatever you do.  And I did, except for that whole college grades area.

To help set the time frame of all this, what else was going on around you then? 

I had just quit baseball after eight years, and my brother and sister were at school. I was always on the boat at Caladesi Island, disco was sputtering, the Cars were just coming on strong and I was heading to UF.  So here I was alone with my parents, quit baseball and took up the nothing 'sport' of skateboarding.  My amazing parents did not freak.   Until, I came home from UF one year and declared I would be skating in California that summer.  No you will not.  Then they left for Europe and I thumbed to Bobby Mandario's house in Daytona and we DROVE to LA.  Skated in the Del Mar Series.  Could not pull off the invert so I got 24th or something out of 70 guys.  Had to sell my board for cash to go, so Gelfand flowed me a board and wheels and I bought 169's for $5 from Bulky (well $4 really but he still won’t take the buck I shorted him to this day).  Took the red eye home to Tampa and my Dad picked me up at the airport.  Not a fun ride home.  But I skated that night!  With copers fresh from Del mar.  Remember those?

               Ed Womble inverted over the massive vertical walls of the Sensation Basin.

Of the following, which is your order of preference Ed, Blondes, Brunettes, or Red Heads? 

Cindy Rugo first, then any of them if they put with my shit, no preference!!!

Were you rocking a “Flyaway”, a “Norcon”, or an early “Pro-tec” helmet in those days? 

Standard progression.  Norcon, Pro-tec, Flay Away.  Bruce Mason and I had matching ones.  You just felt too freaking good with one of those bad boys on.  $50 for a helmet in 1978 was A LOT of money.

At some point you must’ve witnessed some gnarly skating at one of the parks, what skater represented your earliest influence and skate stoke?

GBM remains the inspiration.  Never has anyone with more length than a skater should have, demand of himself that he achieve things on a skateboard that he should not be able to do.  He wants it bad.  The man has a lot of try in him.

When did you first get sponsored and by whom? 

Clearwater Skate Park in '76, Sensation Basin in '78 and then it was on.  I was basically on flow from everywhere.  Shot a commercial for Osh Kosh B'Gosh.  And therein lies the pro status.  I got paid for that commercial.  So I rode for SIO, GBM and Schmitt.  Never had a formal relationship with any one company per se.  Now I did screw up a bunch of relationships with my attitude.

          Ed Womble sporting a Sims Superlight during the dayz of glory.

Rice or Potatoes?

French fries….  LOOK AT ME!

Did you have any private backyard pools or ramps that you and your crew skated then?

We drained a typical municipal pool on Clearwater Beach and called it Log Cabins, for some obscure reason I believe GBM knows, or was it Log Cave Ins?  That pool was deep with a quick flat wall, death box all around.  It prepared me for the Basin I didn’t know I would be skating.  We threw dozens of fish and grime and crap out of that pool.  GBM cut the copper ladders out to sell for pump money.

What was your first impression of the Sensation Basin Skate Park especially the snake run, and when did you first visit it? 

HOLY CRAP!!!  First time there I got baked with George Wilson in the parking lot before I went in, he's starts killing it and my feeble kick turn was barely on the transition.  I got better.  Kind of reminds me of driving up to Skate Wave the first time, only this was vert.

                         The famed Sensation Basin Vertical Snake Run.

Did you ever camp out in the park?

Funny, I never did, but what a place.  Skate all day, fish, cook out, listen to tunes, cruise the skate path and bake, have a beer.  There were college girls roller-skating by the dozen.  It truly was the best time of my life save my baby daughters, of course.  They are awesome!

What was it about the Sensation Basin in your mind that made it stand apart from the bay area skate parks of that era?

First of all, it is hard to explain to someone who never went there but there were like three acres of concrete.  It consisted of a Snake Run which was a vertical snake run, the Pool Bowl, Monster Bowl, a banked freestyle area, the Surf Run, a huge freestyle area (100 yards square with a mirror wall for Rodney Mullen) and a half mile path for skating around a stocked pay fishing lake.

Regarding the Snake run.  It was nothing but focus.  You could skate and skate hard anywhere.  At the Basin if you messed up, you paid dearly.  And you had to work the humps!  There is nothing like a quick tranny and 12' of wall with 4 feet of vert to challenge you.  If you pitch you land at the bottom on scratchy concrete.  Knee sliding was not an option.  I missed a lot of local skating in Tampa Bay but my style was loose anyway, so ramps and me where not on friendly terms.  Man needs space….mess coming up so quick and I'm not ready!!!

        Ed Womble working an old school handplant in the Basin's Bowl.

Pepsi or Coke?  

Coke, love that stuff.  *Slurp*

How many skate parks around the state did you get to skate back then?

Cadillac Wheels (OMG) camped out in that parking lot.
Rainbow Wave
Skate Wave
Earthin Surfin
Ground Swell
Solid Surf? (Had the water slide?) 
Sensation Basin
Clearwater Skate Park

What was the energy level like at skate contests back then compared to today?

It was more kind of elite; how do you say this?  You were happy to see people who shared your passion, but then you wanted them to leave when you saw they were better than you!  Skateboarding was way more surf influenced!  Shorts were way too short!  and it was more team oriented.   A van would roll up and out would spill 5 Walker Team guys, or Kona Ratt owners.   The elite comment comes from the fact that was so few good skaters around.  It was like a validation that someone somewhere else had been working on what you had been.   The stoke level was extremely high. 

Did you get to compete frequently or just on occasion?

I skate everything available for four years.  Florida, Alabama, California.  Then my grades went to a level where I would drop out of college if I got another D.  So I went to work on school.  Everyone knows there's no money in skating….

                          Big Ed reminding the coping that he still owns it.

Who are your all time favorite skaters?  

Steve Olson, GBM, Kelly Lynn and Bruce Mason.   

Let’s get into the “Sun n Fun” competitions that were put on by the Clearwater Skate Park people and the city of Clearwater.  Did you participate in any of those events and do you think Slalom is missing in today’s skateboarding events?

Muriel Yantiss poured in heart into that event; an amazing amount of work.  I loved all of the events and the scene was awesome.  Visiting pros from Cal and everyone from all over the state came.  I road down Drew Street the other day, with the wind you barely roll.  Remember Rodney Mullins winning every event he entered one year.   Not sure you could ever pull that type of event off again with so many disciplines and so many days. 

Vans or Nikes?

 I wore Jox back in the day, but now for me it’s Van's.  NEVER NIKE!!  It's not a skate company.

                                      Doubles action on the Basins Walls.

Back in the day there were skaters that were all Sims, Kryptonic, G&S, Z-Flex, Astral, Markel, etc, for years!  They didn’t even have to be on the teams, but they had a loyalty towards a particular manufacturer that doesn’t exist much today. Why do you think that is? 

I loved SIMS, Z-Flex had the bad boy image with Dave Hart, and he was a terror. They were kind of like the “black hat” cowboy image.  Kryptonics was good too!  Plus, to get any flow from a manufacturer, you had to have the product on display with stickers FIRST!  There was so much innovation going on with product that you developed an allegiance with each new thing that worked for you.  10" concave Brad Bowman was awesome.  We wanted to look good and shred!

How did you handle the time period when the skate parks started to close down? 

That was about the time my GPA was one step away from 'go home for a year' status.  The Basin was closing, Clearwater closed, Rainbow Wave closed, etc.   And I skated kind of like Bulky so my ramp riding was dreadful anyway.  So I kept my boards but focused on finishing college.  I had a piece of the Basin concrete for decades.  Not sure where it is now.  I still dream of that place.

In your opinion what’s missing in today’s skateboarding that existed in the era’s past?

Working with “SpoT” (Skate Park of Tampa) on Boards for Bros, I used to think there was something missing, but now I do not; skateboarding is just different now.  The team thing is long gone and organizing skaters is like herding cats anyway.   We do this because it IS individual.  Gone are the good ole days, and here are today's good ole days.  Viva la difference!

You were voted into the Florida Skater Hall Of Fame, how did you feel upon the announcement of this great achievement? 

I was stunned and happy.  To be voted in by your peers is a wonderful feeling.  I wasn't in a 'fraternity' in college and then as time went by and the Internet allowed us to get back in touch, I realize that I WAS in a fraternity after all.  I was living in North Carolina when I discovered the website I was so stoked to find out about all my old friends! Felt damn good.  Still does.  The burden of voting the right people in is one that I take very seriously.  And there are a lot of good candidates. You are one!

                                                                Ed and his girls.

What has kept you around skateboarding all these years? 

Individuality, the fact that even at 50 when I skate I feel free.  Taking my time, choosing my line.

Transition skateboarding, or Street Skateboarding? 

I always loved round wall.  There’s something gravitationally illegal about it.  Surf style with a hint of extreme air is a good mix.  Yeah, we skated street but we surfed the street and curbs, rails and steps - nah?  I believe that the closing of parks due to legal issues and the fact that you will not ever kill the fun that you get from skating, left a vacuum of places to skate which in turn led to more street skating development and that wound up being a pain in corporate big wigs rear end.  Comes around goes around.  If they build parks and pools everywhere you will still be able to see when school let out.  The kids will skate.  The cats out of the bag.

                 Ed's energy is still raging.  Above: Ed Womble thrashing the lip.

Did having children of your own change any perspective of skateboarding that you had?

Not really.  They love the fact that I skate.  You know how some media guys have said that they had to experience acid one time in order to report on it?  Well if you have skated it helps you to understand a lot about why people do the things they do.  You just say, yeah, I get that.  I try to teach my kids from my experiences - good and bad.  I try.

What is your affiliation with the Florida Gators? 

I spent six years there, and got one four year major, and now oldest goes to school there.  Love me some Gator sports.  When I was there the football team was miserable.  I am enjoying our recent success but know that this too may change.  GO GATORS!

How often do you get to skate these days? 

This is embarrassing.  Almost never.  Life deals you things sometimes and then you cannot afford to be hurt.  Skating scared is no way to skate.  I think there is a higher probability of getting hurt when you cannot go for it.  When I do skate I want to skate well.  And I will never be able to skate the way I want to again.  Last year I did a nice grind and got hung up a bit, slammed straight down at Dunedin.  Had to drive myself to the hospital and was unable to do anything for a week.  Me no like.  So, down hills and around the neighborhood often, does that count?

If given the opportunity to live your skate past all over again knowing what you know now, is there anything you’d have done differently?

Learned more tricks after I learned the invert, pure backside air set up perfectly at 3rd wall.  Never learned it. 
I would have enrolled in the 'how to be a good sponsored athlete' school.  I was an obnoxious kid and loud and no one wants to sponsor that.  We worked so hard, we were 'punk' and we didn’t want anyone to tell us what to do.  Well that blew various possible sponsorships that I will not name.  I am still learning to deal with my inner demons…One day at a time.

Any companies or individuals from the past or present that you’d like to give a shout out to or a thank you to at this time?

Phil Chiocchio Sensation Basin                 a Saint
Barry Zaritski - SIO                               a Prophet
Muriel Yantiss                                       the most giving woman who I do not call Mom.

Any lasts comments?

Boards for Bros is now in our 5th year! Donate your old stuff to us or to some kid.  Give the gift of stoke.
Hope to see you at Kona in January next year for the HOF!!!

Chicken, or Beef Ed?

Push, Carve, Grind!

For more great Skateboarding stories please visit

The Bruce Whiteside Interview from Coping Block Skateboarding Magazine Issue #3

                                         Bruce Whiteside always attacks the lip at speed and at will.

How long have we’ve known each other?

A long time, we went to the same elementary school in the first grade, Fairmont Park. I don’t think we hung out then. Later, I moved away for a while. We started hanging out when I moved back to the “Burg”, round ’77 or ’78. If you count first grade, Forty Years!

When did you get your first skateboard and what kind was it?

I skated for a long time before I ever had my own board. There was always one around, a brother’s, a cousin’s, who ever was into it. I got my first board right after urethane wheels became available, it was this orange Hawaiian print fiberglass board from Kmart with lose bearings. The wheels in the back were wider than the front. Looking back, it was really crappy, but at the time I felt like I won the Lotto! I got my first “Real” board in the late 70’s. A Dogtown, P.V.C. tail tap, with Lazer Trucks and Hobie Dos XX wheels. I still remember the smell of the adhesive on the grip tape as my mom was driving me home from Earthin Surfin Skate Park.

Did you ever imagine Skateboarding being as big in your life as it ended up being?

No, If I had of, I would have made more of it, but so would have everyone. I had no concept that I would be riding a skateboard at forty four. I remember skating Clearwater Skate Park with Fish, before I knew him well, when some kid asked him, “Hey man, how old are you”? He replied “I’m nineteen, I’m a F’n old man”. I thought to myself, “Man, I’ll probable be done a long time before that.”

                                          Bruce during a Burg Bowl "Old Man" Session going off.

You’ve been apart of many ramp designs and construction, how many would you say? Plus, talk about the “Nacho Ramp” and it’s design.

Don’t know how many, I’ve just always been a strong proponent of the DIY skate scene.
I’ve always tried to help anyone who wanted to build something, especially those who needed the help. The Nacho (v.1,2,&3) was born out the lack of a skate scene of any kind, in St. Pete. The final version was a 20’ X 6’ – 7’ mini with elliptical transitions. A lot of people were building elliptical ramps, but they were putting the shorter (faster) side of the transition at the bottom of the arc, making the top of the wall more mellow than the bottom. We inverted this idea, making the bottom slower and the top faster. It worked out really well. The result was a smaller ramp that rode like a bigger ramp due to the pitch at the top. The added bonus was that longer, drawn out tranny at the bottom kept your speed much better than just rolling across flat bottom. We got lucky with the design! A lot of kids learned to skate there.

                               Night time skate festivities at the "Nacho Ramp" in St. Pete, Florida

What now defunct local skate park was your favorite?

Don’t know if I had a favorite. I liked different things about each of them. It seemed like as soon as one closed, we just migrated to which ever one was closet in our radius. Earthin, then Rolling Waves, then Clearwater, then Rainbow, then sometimes the Basin. “Earthin Surfin” and Rolling Waves didn’t really have anything good, but they were close. Clearwater had the little Half-Pipe. Rainbow Wave probably had the most skateable terrain, a freestyle area with little hips, good snake run, little bowl, and that flat-walled half-pipe with epoxy coated coping. Like snot on ice!!

Skateboarding has given you so many friends over the years, which ones are you still in contact with today?

More than I thought I would be. I talk with you and Grigley the most, but I’m still in contact with the rest of the original St. Pete crew on a pretty regular basis. Schmitt, Chuck Hults, Bill Procko, and John McGuigian. I even got a call from Michael Daly a few weeks ago, I see Monty once in awhile, and I hung out with Todd Webb at Procko’s house last year. Those are all guys from the St. Pete ramp/Skate Park era.
I still skate with some of the people who were around the “Nacho Ramp”, Tullie, Justin Mastry, Ed =2.0 Conti, and Will Godfrey. They’re really good guys, they make up the “Burg Bowl” crew.

                                              Bruce Whiteside, Monty Nolder, and Paul Schmitt.

Paul Schmitt, Let’s get into your association with him and any projects including ramps you worked with him on?

Paul helped us build the final few versions of the St. Pete Ramp. I think he used to build sailboats, or something, so he knew how to use tools early on. I worked for him, along with Chuck Hults, at the original Schmitt Stix Factory, which was just a storage unit at the end of Busch Blvd in Tampa. I made boards, packaged rails, and deigned some of the graphics on the early models. In the years that have passed since everybody moved west, Paul has always been really supportive of the original St. Pete Crew and this area. He’s quick to flow equipment, and even helped us out with the manufacture of the “Burg Bowl Deck Series.

What are your thoughts on steel coping versus pool coping?

I hold no prejudices.

Is there any previous skate sessions in the past that stick out in your memory and why?

No, not really, just certain places and time frames, the early day’s of the St. Pete Ramp, before the scene got too big. The Hey day of the “Nacho Ramp”, and the big parties, Warren Dunn’s Ramp in Tampa, Chuck and I used to skip work at Schmitt’s and go skate there. I guess any session that includes good friends.

What was your dream “complete set up” as a teenager, and what are you skating today?

Money was pretty tight when I was young, so new boards were rare. One Christmas my mom bought me a Sims Brad Bowman “Superman” model with Indy 169’s and yellow Gyros. Other than my wedding and the birth of my children, this may have been the greatest day of my life! Just kidding, but I was stoke! Right now I’m riding a 8.75 “Burg Bowl” shape with Indys and OJ III’s.

Who are your all time favorite skaters?

Obviously all of my friends, yourself included, but locally from the early days, I was impressed and influenced by people like Michael Daly, Matt Davies, John Grigley, and Chuck Hults was always a blast to skate with. Floridians? Folmer, Beauregard, Monty, Buck and Shawn Peddie. As far as people I didn’t know, photos in the magazines and stuff like that, I always thought Chris Strople, Brad Bowman had great style. I always liked Duane Peters’s full on aggro. I’m sure I left a lot of people out that I’ll remember and feel bad about later.

                                        Bruce Rock n Roll inside a fiberglass boat mold, gnarly!

When did you meet the Beastie Boys?

Wow! That old story is still banging around? I really don’t know them. When they were touring in the eighties, some of them, their support staff, and the other touring bands (Fishbone?, Murphy’s Law?) hung out at the “Nacho Ramp”, drank a lot, and fell down a lot, for a few days. MCA took me, Thom Nicholson and my girlfriend at the time to breakfast after the show, that’s about it.

What was going through your mind when the last ply of new wood was screwed into the infamous St. Pete Ramp?

What happens if I fall over the platform in the dark! In those days before the last ply was down, John and I were usually already skating with Paul Schmitt yelling at us to stop because he was the only one still working! You had to Ollie the extension cords in the flat.

                                    Bruce Whiteside Laying down the law on some gnarly coping.

Now that you are married with children of your own, what views in life have changed for you?

                                                   The love of his life, his loving wife Wendy.

Things that you once thought were important, or necessary, no longer are. You can’t drink as much anymore either, even though sometimes you’d like too!!

Of the following words and phrases, which one means the most to your and why?
Nelly, Flips, Charlie, broom stick coping, Big Gulps, Chipped PVC, Water Logged, Catus, Hobie XX, Dan’s Pizza, Finger Boards, Drew Craypo, Boxing Style, Mullet, Johnny Hit and Run Pauline, Creature Feature, and Roadside quarter-pipe.

There’s some scary phrases in there, but I’m kinda fond of “Flips” and “Roadside Quarter – Pipe”, they went well together in my neighborhood.

                                                   Bruce rocketing up through a fast plant.

Elaborate on the importance of sticker placement in the early eighties?


What’s your favorite skate trick?

Can’t do’em anymore, but a really solid, lofty Backside Alley-Oop. Simple, Clean, because they generate a really fun weightless feeling when done properly. Oh yeah, and I’m think I’m supposed to say “Smith Grinds”.

                              Bruce Whiteside flying high above the St. Pete Ramp like clock work.

How often do you skate these days?

Not as often as I would like. Responsibilities and the body of a ninety year old keep me off my board most of the time. Over the past two years I’ve only skated a handful of times. Skated all day at Procko’s with he and Todd Webb, Todd Johnson, Jay Turner, Chris Baucom, and some guy named Cleo a few months ago. That was a blast and the most fun I’ve had on a board in a long time. Our local skate spot is back in operation, so I’m going to try to skate at least once a week, we’ll see how that goes.

Anything you want to share or say to the young skaters of today?

Get out of my way.

For more great Skateboarding stories please visit

Bill Procko Interview from the pages of Coping Block Skateboarding Magazine!

I’m trying to remember the first time I saw you skate Bill, I think it was at Clearwater Skate Park? Is that the first time I sessioned with you?

Yeah Cleo, I think it was around '80, either there or Rainbow Wave.

What stands out the most in your memory about Clearwater Skate Park?

Hearing "Thump thump." from across the park, and 17 kids yelling,"Fish is gonna rock the glass!" (Yes, I was one of them) The CSP monthly calendar's trick of the month..rock n roll, Mole Crickets popping under wheels, First sight of Sims Conicals in the pro shop display counter, Bustin and Robitusson parked in front of space invaders. Hiding in the forever bowl when my parents pulled into the lot to pick me up. The sick feeling when” Egg bowl” called and told me they were closing for good...a skater's personal "Where were you when you heard the news" moment.

                                                Bill Procko Flying Frontside at the historic Sensation Basin.

You were always pushing the limits of your skating, and working hard on new tricks, what PRO skaters influenced you the most in those days?

Fisher, Gelfand, (fs ollies off the top of the plexiglas, those slow, stand on top, single axles on the extensions stay frozen in my mind), McGill, Rodney Mullin (he must be an alien life form, that is my only explanation) then later, Baucom, Monty, Billy Beauregard, Hosoi, watching those guys ...they just made everything look so do able. Then we'd go home and slam ourselves back to reality!!!

                                               Bill Layback Air over the St. Pete Ramp.  Photo by Chuck Hults

 When did you first skate Rainbow Wave Skate Park?

I think it was right around the time when Clearwater closed and I first started skating St. Pete with you guys. It was after Kit and Linda sold it. Kept changing hands after that. Between the 10 or so skaters left, it just couldn't keep going. I think it closed shortly after I graduated HS. But we had fun! You, me, Bruce, Tom Neidhardt, Bustin, Robby, I think, Mannie Aries, Grigley, Schmitt, Mcgill..we were the last crew before it was auctioned.

                                            Bill Procko keeping the Bear Repllent in hand in Canadian Woods.
Is that where you first met Paul Schmitt?

Yeah!! He was sculpting cement extensions on the poolbowl and the half-pipe. Always hard at work, while we rolled by asking how long till he'd be done.

Eventually the parks all closed down and you became a local at the St. Pete Ramp in John Grigley’s backyard, what sticks out in your memory the most about those days?

Good friends, good music, rad night sessions, finding other stuff to do during the heat of the day, Paul doing repairs while we mostly watched. Haaa! We were a family. I remember Grigley's dog Charlie, always went ballistic when Paul would drop in. It could sleep through a nuclear blast, but when Paul rolled, Charlie went nuts. Also remember the excitement of hearing that (so and so) was coming to skate, (Monty, Billy, Baucom, Chuck, McGuigan, Daly, Buck, whoever...always great people coming to visit.

Who were the biggest Pro's that came to the St. Pete Ramp that you can remember?

Tony Hawk of course, Blender, Kasai, Cab, Gator, and Monty, you know, most of the greats. My shoulder was in a sling from a dislocation, so I had the honor of judging them at Kona and St. Pete.

                                                 Bill and his lovely wife Kim with their meal in hand.

Rumor has it that you were the original finger- board and finger- board bowl  creator back in the late seventies and early eighties, is that true?

My claim to fame, I started with grip taped aluminum decks on cut down matchbox car chassis, the ones with shocks so they turned with weight. I had a scale model of the St. Pete Ramp complete with roll in and banners. We took it on one of Schmitt's road trips to Gainesville/Rodney Mullen's house. He had it up in his room with Sam and Donny the whole time. I heard Lance had a similar thing going out in Cali around the same time. Don't know which came first, but I sure wish I had put a patent on it!!!!!

What is “Refrigid” Backside Air?

The artistic product of a very bored high school student, it was a "Just for Fun" magazine cartoon.

Who where your sponsors back in the day?

Schmitt Stix, Gullwing and Vision.

                                                                     Bill frontside re-entry.    Photo: by Chuck Hults

I remember seeing you in a full page AD, what magazine was that in and for what company?

That was a Vision Industries ad in Thrasher and Transworld Magazine in I think "83 or '84.

Please select one of the following completes.

A). G&S Fibreflex, Bennett Trucks, and Road Rider 4’s

B). Powell Beamer, Tracker Full Tracks, and Cubics

C). Sims Andrecht, Gullwing Trucks, and Sims Snakes

D). Logan Earth Ski wedge kick, Original OJ’s, and ACS Trucks

A). G&S, Thanks Cleo! You gonna send that FEDEX or UPS?

D-H-L Bill, D-H-L. What Florida skaters did you compete against frequently back in the day?

You of course!!!! Grigley, Buck Smith, Chuck Hults, Mark Buncy, Steve Marinak, Ronnie Lowe, Bruce Whiteside, I think Todd Webb later, and a few others who would travel from back yard scenes of their own.

                                                            Bill caught up in the full-pipe moment.

What would you do differently if you were in charge of the X-games?

Add a "Reconstructed Classic Parks of the Past" series. Winchester, Big O, Marina, Del Mar, etc, and in Florida of course, Clearwater, Rainbow and The BASIN!!! (Not so sure about Tampa Skate Wave).

When will you reunite with the original St. Pete crew for the “Just For Fun Tour Two”?

As soon as Paul reconstructs Clearwater, Rainbow Wave and the Basin. Ah, no, seriously, we should plan another one, but it needs to be in a VW bus!

What is your fondest memory of Paul Schmitt’s red Volkswagen Bus?

Smelled like a stew of fiberglass resin, 3m grip tape, sweaty pads and cloves. Once, it tipped over on its side in a ditch as Paul was playing around, swerving on a dirt road during a late night departure from Rodney's house. We all crawled out, pushed it back upright, and kept going without even turning off Paul's continuously looping "Madness" tape. Oh and remember when we found Thom Nicholson buried under all of our pads and boards in the back? We had been on the road for like 2 hours, stopped to eat, and realized he wasn't there, and someone said, Hey, where's Thom?" We pulled everything off of him and couldn't get him to wake up, seriously thought he was dead. Paul's Volkswagen Bus was literally it's own ecosystem....But it was also home.

                                           Bill Procko channel plant realities in motion.  Photo by Chuck Hults.

Any thank you's or shout out’s you’d like to broadcast at this time?

Thanks Paul, for taking such good care of us back in the dayz!!! Thanks Cleo and Coping Block, for the interview, and the St. Pete crew, for being there through thick and thin.

Push, Carve, Grind!

For more great Skateboarding stories please visit

Old School Kyle Sokol chats with Coping Block Skateboarding Magazine!

Kicking it “Old School”, with Kyle Sokol, creator of the all-new Florida Skate Museum!

By: Cleo Coney Jr.

Kyle, how long have you lived in the bay area?

I was actually born in St. Petersburg, FL and grew up in the Clearwater/Largo area. I have lived here most of my life, but for about eight years or most of the nineties, I was gone for Army stuff and getting my undergraduate degree.

You’ve been skating for how long now, and when did you earn the moniker “Old School Kyle”?

I would have to say I have been skating for most of the last 28 or 29 years. The term “Old School Kyle” or “OSK” was first given to me in about 1997 when I was skating at a contest in Olympia, WA. The contest was held in a cement park that had street stuff and a nice bowl area that connected to it. The whole contest consisted of kick-flips and other tech rail tricks until they called my name. By the end of my run, the guy on the loudspeaker had officially named me “Old School Kyle.” This was of course because I was doing foot plants, hand plants, airs in the bowl, board slides etc… It just stuck… Good times!

At some time in the past you started collecting skate decks, when and why?

I had a few boards from the old days to include my brother’s Powell & Peralta Vato Rat and a couple of other used decks. I always used to day dream on how cool it would be to find all of the decks I used to ride backing the day. Then in the mid-nineties I discovered the internet and Ebay. It was a learning process, but I found out who the main collectors were, and who had stockpiles of decks here and overseas. After a while I found myself not only searching for decks that I had once owned, but decks my friends had owned, and
decks of my favorite pros, etc. Soon I was buying decks every week; notice I said decks, i. e. plural. It was a little out of hand for a while, if there is such a thing ha!

                                                  Just a few selections from Kyle's collection!

I’m trying to remember the first time I skated with you, was it at the Nacho Ramp, or Grigley’s?

It was probably at Grigley’s from what I can recall. I remember going there as a kid with some older teenagers that knew about the ramp and asked if I wanted to come. I remember watching Grigley and you there. The name Cleo stuck in my head ever since. I can’t remember who else was there but I was a skinny little kid with a Nash just in awe of these bigger dudes doing things I only saw in Thrasher.

You’ve always had a clean skate style, who were your skate hero’s back in the early days?

I have so many bro. I loved to watch Grigley’s hand plants, Nolder’s burley launch tricks at Astro Skate demos, Baucom’s smiths, Chris Miller’s ability to just float around the bowls, the old Bones Brigade I loved, Ruff, Losi, and hell, the Godfather Bruce Walker! 

Kyle you have tapped into the mystery and the art of historic skateboarding and skate artifacts, how did you decide that you wanted to create a Florida Skate Museum?

It was simple really, the bulk of my collection was always Florida related. I always wanted to gather things from the Florida scene because I enjoyed being a part of it. I have skated up in the northeast, west coast, and many other places, and Florida was always the place I felt at home. The Florida riders were always under rated for the most part. The west coast riders started to recognize what Florida had in the late seventies and eighties. Baucom shredding competitions, Gelfand making Stacey Peralta scratch his head on that one magical trick, Mike McGill showing everyone what a McTwist was, and Mullen, McCall, and Barnes ruling the freestyle world. I could go on and on!

                                          Kyle Sokol takes a few of his favorite decks out to the park.

You have some prize decks in your collection, which ones stick out in your mind as your favorites and why?
This is hard, but I would have to say my top five (out of about 250 decks) are:

1. First Old Ghosts Prototype I got from Grigley. Screened on a Sims Hosoi Blank.

2. My Vision Old Ghosts Guardians. I have several mint, and I could buy a hundred more!

It’s even tattooed on my leg!

                                                          Old Ghosts Tattoo on Kyle's leg

3. My Walker Mark Lake Nightmares. I recently just scored a second one this week, white, and not a scratch on it!

4. Sims Mike Folmer UFO snub nose, just sick!

5. My Fox Complete with ACS trucks and Power Paw Wheels!

What is your vision for the “Florida Skate Museum”?

My vision is to gather artifacts from the Florida skate scene, past and present, and be able to display them in a manner where the old guys can check them out and reminisce on the early days, and newcomers can see what brought them here today. I don’t think it would be as extravagant as Skate Labs’, but the sky is the limit!

Did you add “no matter how many skate decks I may own” into your wedding vows?

Ha, close to it! There was a mention about the skate ramp in our vows!

                                                           Kyles favorite, the Guardian Deck!

Kyle you have a beautiful wife who takes great pics of you shredding your ramp, and whom was out supporting your participation in the Monica Adams Skate Benefit put on by Murder Ride Skateboards. How did you two meet, and do you have a deal with the devil you lucky rascal?!

No deal with the devil! Ha-ha! Cathy is the most wonderful, loving and supporting person I know! I would say what brought us together was an aligning of the planets. She understands me and appreciates my little quirks, and actually thinks skateboarding is a good thing! Just not when I slam (grin)…

What decks are you actively pursuing?

Like I said earlier, most of it was ebay in the early days, now I have made a name for myself in the collecting world and other collectors know what decks I am looking for. I get emails regularly about Florida related items people have and whether or not I am interested in them. If I was made out of money, it would be easy! As far as decks that I am currently pursuing, I would say some early Schmitt Stix, Folmers, more Old Ghosts, Beauregard’s, and any Walker and Lakes…

Your website is up and it looks great! Do you have any special request from the skaters that visit your site?

Yeah, send me your pics! I will post them and give credit for photos if you request it etc… These can be photos of yourself (will make an album of you if not already built), others, old skate parks, new pics, whatever! Feedback is always good too. Please email me at floridaskatemuseum@ with pics, stories, suggestions, etc…

When will you set up the cook out session in your backyard?

Soon man, I would say July? What better way to have a Florida backyard session when it is hot as hell out!

Any shout outs or thanks at this time?

I would first and foremost like to thank my wife Cathy! I would also like to give a shout out to Bruce Walker for always answering all my questions about his decks and other historical questions, Crank and Murder Ride Skateboards, Nick Halkias, Cliver, Grigley, Marinak, GBMII, Baucom, KL, Dinkins, , M.R., Mike McWhorter, Will and the rest of the St. Pete Crew!

Push, Carve, Grind!

For more great Skateboarding stories please visit