A different view on the San Diego Blade Scene

Story by Nick Wood
All images by Megan Petersen (except Damien Wilson’s which is taken by Dale Travers)

San diego has an extensive and important history in our sport, from Chris Edwards to Josh Petty to Chris Haffey, but this is a whole other saga in itself. This being a “scene report” I will try to keep things current.

Most of us who skate and live here think of the city in terms of five regions: North, South, East, coast and central. There won’t be a West San Diego until in a couple hundred million years when North America smashes into Asia. Each of the regions have other nicknames that you would probably be more familiar with like “Esco” and “Santee”, but we are all San Dieagans.

North SD is better known as Esco, of course because of the legendary crew that was Eric Schrijn, Loui Zamora, Robert Lievanos, Ham, White, Beau Cottington, and the list goes on. Nowadays it’s more about Sunshine and SDSF, and what they bring to the community up there. Andy Wegener created Razors in the early 90’s and based it in SD. Currently they have the best down ledge in town located right in the Sunshine warehouse. Along with Geoff Acers, Matt Morrison, and frequent changing blader employees such as Erik Perkett, they run the largest Distribution company in the USA.

On any given Monday night at Esco park you’ll find Robert Lievanos who designs and produces Jug from his home office in Esco, which is also distributed by Sunshine. The old Esco legends are still blading, there has even been sightings of the once thought extinct Zamora. Five years ago Geoff Acers opened SDSF to fill the void when Rock-n-Roll went under. He did it literally in the same spot. SDSF is a lot more active than their predecessor since they also hold the annual SDSF open and have frequent Am comps and jams. Located at the famous esco park this is one of the central hubs for blading here and once in a while you can find Matt Morrison or other skaters at the shop and they can link you to what’s going on around SD at any time.

The coast has the kind of scenery that your parents used to save five years to come bask in. Residing here is who I would call SD’s best underground skater: Russle Day, he’s got a funky dew and a hell of a tru top porn. Steve Steinmetz, the “New Spot Steve”, named for obvious reasons, is the guide on the north coast and if you hook up with him he is very generous with his spots unlike us in the south.   

South SD means a lot more to me than it would to most of you. It’s B-Bell’s hood. And things ain’t changed in two decades. The south has the least caps and is still an awesome place to skate and there is still poor underground kids you never heard of shredding down there. South side had the most OG skate scene in Southern California. Now it’s a whole new generation, most of which I don’t know, but I see them everywhere, they might not know it but yea I see ya. It’s a slow time in the South scene which makes it the best place to find spots ancient and new. We in Santee owe everything to B-bell and the South SD. If you were gonna be anywhere in the 90’s that was the place.

East San Diego –  I’m proud to say is called “SANTEE”. It’s our city among many but me (Nick Wood), Lyle, Damien, Rob, and Jimmy Held it down hard enough I guess, that in the blade world East SD is Santee. Out here we try to keep things as fun as possible. Here recklessness is encouraged and no one is frowned on for getting to drunk. We took a hard hit recently when we lost Jimmy Ormsbey to a tragic marijuana over dose… RIP.  But I would go so far as to say that we are the most active skaters in the city. As spontaneous and irresponsible that we may seem there are very strict rules we live by, skating is number one so we build our lives around it. At the very least we skate every weekend. Our spots are ours and we don’t share, thats why I said to hook up with New-spot-Steve. One thing we have in the east is good ole American hospitality for our friends. Kato and his one man operation that is Remz relocated a couple years ago from the coast and now also calls East SD his home. Recently East SD has new part time residents like, Casey Mcfarland, JJ Bolino, Joey Chase and “for the last five years” HORN. Most of our refugees that become family come to us via Rat-Tail and their gang.

I might be the only one who refers to central San Diego as the Rat-Tail region, but either way most would agree. Just like SDSF, Rat-Tail shares the responsibility of being the central hub of SD. Ever since 4×4 was kicked out of Jans extra room they were the Grand Central Station of SD. From Monday to Friday you’ll find Jan Welch, Jon Elliot and Brian Shima at the office where they design and distribute 4×4, Vicious, ONE, and Nimh. The center city is home to a ton notable transplants like Jeff Stockwell, Markus Benavides, Hayden Ball, Tommy-boy, our photographer Megan, her man Toby, and the list goes on and changes by the month. The States premier Pint Mag, ONE Magazine, and its chief editor Justin Eisinger are citizens of Downtown San Diego as well. Oddly enough it’s probably the worst place to skate in the city. Caps are ramped, security is tight and Shima, Ball and Stockwell have mudered everything. I wouldn’t recommend downtown unless you have a guide.

San Diego is the home base for more freestyle rollerblading (or whatever you call it) companies than any other city in the world. I’ve been to a whole lot of places but I’m glad to call San Diego my home, and the skaters here my friends.