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@ gmail.com 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!
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