If your knowledge of skateboarding starts and stops with national televised contests chances are you will not recognize the URL theberrics.com or any of the names on the site. And that is a shame because The Berrics is skateboarding. Or rather, it's porn for skateboarders. Or both. I'm just not decided on which grandiose statement I'm leaning towards more. Maybe by the end of this I'll have figured it out.
What is The Berrics?
First rule about The Berrics is you don't talk about The Berrics.
Most people ignore the first rule.
Second rule about The Berrics is:
YOU CAN'T GO THERE.
I CAN'T GO THERE!
NO ONE CAN GO THERE!
It's a magical skatepark with the best fabricated versions of every spot under one roof that only exists in the hearts and minds of children. And pro skateboarders. You can go to the site to get a glimpse of a slice of a hair of what goes on there but, trust me, whatever you see there is only the slightest fraction of insight into just how awesome The Berrics skatepark actually is.
Have you heard about Rob Dyrdek's new TV show, Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory? Where do you think that idea came from? The Berrics. Rob L-O-V-E-S The Berrics so much he wants to live there. But he can't because Willy Wonka already lives there.
The Berrics is the marriage of two names and two pro skaters Eric Koston and Steve Berra, thus The Berrics. They are both fantastic skaters in talent and in personality but as much as they are equal partners on paper and in bank debt it is Steve Berra that greets you at the door with velvet suit and top hat, swinging his cane and scaring the Sugar-Honey-Iced-Tea out of you with talk of Wangdoodles and Snozwangers. He is friends with aliens. He flies around in a spaceship. He lined the ceiling of the building in space-age polymers so that no infrared helicopter camera can locate the warehouse's whereabouts. Oh and the warehouse moves like the island on Lost.
Each morning Berra would text my GPS the new coordinates of the warehouse. The only reason I got to go was because I brought the warehouse a gift: Ron Deily. Ron is killing it right now. He rides for Zoo York, Vans, Red Bull, Matix, Venture and Autobahn and he just had an interview in The Skateboard Mag. So I offered him to The Berrics in exchange for getting to visit. That's the only rule (aside from the other rules I mentioned): you have to film while you're skating The Berrics and The Berrics in exchange offers your footage to the website Gods. It's pretty tight.
Everyone wants to please the website Gods and in my short one week stay in LA I got to witness a daily demo of skateboarding's best dudes throwing down. One day it was an all East Coast demo: Eli Reed, Kerry Getz, Jake Johnson, Luis Tolentino, Felix, Kyle Nicholson and Ron. Then another night it was a Girl demo with Alex Olson, Eric Koston, Mike Carroll, Jeron Wilson, Brandon Biebel and Chico Brenes. One day I walked in on Deathwish's Jim Greco and Baker's Andrew Reynolds casually annihlating the staircase. Without a filmer.
I asked the filmers, Cody and Chase, what was up. And they said, "This is just warm up. These unbelievable sessions happen all day, every day." And they were right. Each day I had my mind blown not only but what tricks were being done but by whom. Was that Arto Saari having a mellow go of it on the quarterpipe with Guy Mariano? Yes. Yes, it was.
When I was younger, my friends and I would all met at a yellow curb in front of Foodtown to skate. Sometimes we'd get warmed up and go somewhere else, sometimes we'd stay there all night. I think everyone has a place like that and generally that place sucks. Yet for that moment in time it's the greatest place on earth despite how crappy it is because you have your friends around you. And sometimes you do more beer drinking and cigarette smoking than skating and some nights you skate better than you ever have before and you wish that night would never end. I think it's a universal spot and feeling in all of us. And Steve Berra and Eric Koston have recreated that feeling for the entire skate community, on a bigger level. And it just so happens that their friends are the best in the world. And every night they seem to skate better than they ever have before. I was hoping after spending seven days there that I would have some greater understanding of The Berrics. I don't. I'm still in awe of the awesome I saw go down there. And I'm thankful to Berra and Koston for what they've created. It really is the best thing in skateboarding and I appreciate them letting us see how them and their friends do it.
Last Minute Addition: Hey, if you're like me, you are getting a little tired of the stalling on the Berra vs. MJ Battle at The Berrics. Jim Thiebaud told me Berra has been super sick with some crazy rash. I didn't believe Jim so I emailed Berra and said: "If L. Ron let you take medicine then you wouldn't be so sick all the time."
Berra told me I was mistaken and that it was Christian Science that didn't allow medicine. so I responded, "Maybe there's just no cure for fear."
Then he sent me this photo of his chest with the words: "There's no cure for this." Okay, so I guess Berra has a valid excuse. I hope he gets better soon, thoughso we can see MJ kick his ass.