THE CHIN RAMP
Peralta: When we were in the initial planning stages, we asked the guys, “What do you guys want to do now?” A lot of them said, “We want to make a ramp that no one’s ever seen.” And it was like “OK, what do you want to do with that?” Lance starting drawing on a napkin what they wanted to see, and we said “OK, let’s do that.”
Mountain: At that time, ramps were 24 feet wide, so we were like, “We're gonna make it twice as wide.” That right there in itself was far above what had been done. We broke rules, and we had no understanding that you could make corners and stuff—that would be incredible. We didn't even go in that direction. We're like, "Just do it twice as wide." Like, “You know what, what about ramp for ramp?” It wasn't even built before. It wasn't even built on a small ramp before. Go with a vertical spine first, like “Will this work?” Who knows? As soon as we did that, it opened the door, like now that ramp just warped. A big, big channel, things like that, ramps weren't wide enough to put a big channel in, and huge extensions. Now in the scheme of things, it's like, “Really? That was a special ramp then?” That ramp was crazy then. It just opened the idea and the box, which can be way more.
McGill: Stacy said, “If you can find a place to put this ramp you can have it Mike.” I was like, “Great!”
I was going up the wall and he was going down it, and we just missed a cue. I hit him and did a flip going up the wall. I hit him with my leg really hard. I thought I fractured it.
Peralta: None of us had the property to build a ramp like this. We knew we were gonna build it: we had the builders to build it, we had the money to build it, we had the wood to build it, we just didn’t know where to build it. So everybody was searching for a piece of property. It was getting down to the minute, like we had to start this film, and if we don’t have this place. We’re never gonna be able to make this ramp, and if we don’t make this ramp, we’re not gonna have a climax for this film. So Mike McGill calls me one day and he says, “Hey, I think I might’ve found some property.” And I go “Where?” He goes, “Well, it's in the eastern ocean side, and it's between two freeways. It's just this gigantic piece of land. I never see anybody on it and there’s a dirt road on it, but I never see any cars on it.” So we went down there and took a look at it, and it was like in the middle of nowhere. You could barely see it from the highways. So we just decided "OK, let’s do it."
We had about $10,000 worth of wood dropped there. We had these guys over a two-week period build the ramp. Totally illegally. Completely illegal. Didn’t ask anybody’s permission, had no idea who owned the land, but we did notice one thing: across the field from where we made the ramp, there were these really strange little white boxes. They looked like bird cages, but they weren’t bird cages, they were enclosed. Didn’t know what they were, but they were fastened to the ground.
So anyways, we get the ramp done and the day we get there to shoot, we see a car coming down the road. I’m like, "Wow that’s weird, there’s been nobody out here for weeks." This brand new Ford Sterling pulls up and this guy gets out, this really official looking guy and he looks at the ramp and he just starts screaming, “Who in the hell...? What is this? Who built this? Who are you people? You need to get out of here.” All of a sudden I see my life pass before my eyes. I’m going “Oh Jesus Christ. I just spent $10,000 on this ramp, and its gonna be torn down before we can shoot it.” We have the cameras there ready to shoot. I’m thinking fast, like, “I have to figure out something to tell this guy to let us shoot here because he’s gonna kick us out.” And so he’s screaming at me ‘cause he knows I’m the point man here. He’s screaming at me and threatening us.
Finally I say, “Do you think kids should take drugs?” and it completely stopped him. He goes, “What?” I go, “Do you think it's ok for teenage kids to take drugs?” He goes, “Of course I don’t. How could you ask me a question like that?!” I said, “We’re here making an anti-drug film,” and I pointed to all the skateboarders and said, “These are the best skateboarders in the world and they’ve donated their time to this film, and we’ve built this ramp to show kids that are on drugs that there is an alternate way to get high in life. We’ve got to be able to do this because if this ramp gets taken down, we can’t make this film. This film is gonna help kids get off drugs.” He was so confounded by what I said that he paused, and he goes, “How much time do you need?” I go, “We were hoping to shoot this in a week.” He goes, “I can’t give you a week. You got three days. This ramp better be outta here in three days.” He got back in his car and he left. We shot that sequence in three days.
McGill: I worked on it, and some surf shop owner and his dad ran this yard that had all these warehouses and he gave me permission so to speak. [Laughs.] We went to work for two weeks from dusk till dawn and dawn till dusk. Lance of course, and Tim Payne built it. I was the number one gofer; I got everybody burritos and drinks, and pounded some nails when they told me to. We skated for about three days, went on tour for a couple weeks, came back, and the thing was gone. I was flipping out. I was, “What? Somebody stole the ramp!” [Laughs.] I guess the guy’s dad’s boss came and saw it and said, “You gotta get that thing out of there.”
Caballero: My favorite part was making the Chin ramp just because it was super narrow, and just taking the time building the ramp, no one’s ever built something like that before. It was really cool how we built the spine. We hadn’t had a spine built this way. We had the top through it as well. We were doing a bunch of doubles, and triples, and quadruples. Everything we were doing was all spontaneous right then, at that time. It was a very exciting time to film all these different moves flying off the extensions, and there was a tiny mini ramp on top of that ramp. It was very neat seeing all the other guys come out with all their tricks and being inspired to do their best as well. It was the first time I’ve ever seen Tony Hawk come into his own right after that video. Just showing how really good you are, just where he was coming from, you know? Trick after trick after trick. And I couldn’t believe that the bag was that full of tricks, like, it was no ending.
Hawk: It was huge and crazy that we could ever make it stretch that big, that everyone could afford it and put it into action. I liked it. I thought it was done pretty well, but when we considered doing a spar that sounded super fun, and that’ll unlock a whole new library of tricks. Once I got there and realized that going from vertical to vertical, that’s one of the suckiest things ever, all I wanted to do was get over it. [Laughs] All of those plans went out the window.
It was the first 720 that I ever made like properly standing up, so I was super stoked to get that on film, and the 360 varial, that was the first one ever on camera. I thought that stuff was super cool. Well the last day, when Mike and I did all that doubles stuff, I ended up running into Cab on one of his runs; I was going up the wall and he was going down it, and we just missed a cue and I hit him and did a flip going up the wall. I hit him with my leg really hard. I thought I fractured it. So I went home, and that was the afternoon where they shot all the stuff with the tunnel, the deer crashing. That’s why I’m not in that scene. You don’t see me at all. Once that channel comes out, I’m not there.
Guerrero: I grew up skating in skate parks, but all the parks closed, so then we would skate in the street. So for me, it was very intimidating, and it was a much bigger ramp that I was accustomed to skating. Back then, ramps were small. It was definitely intimidating, but those guys, they’re professionals. It’s what they do. They rose to the occasion; it was incredible to watch.
McGill: That was the very first vertical spine that I’ve ever seen, or was ever built. Nobody had ever rode something like that. So when you look at it, you’re like, “Maybe, maybe—I guess we can just transfer like a little tiny spine?” But it doesn't work that way because it’s vertical. I had a tough time at first because if you go over and you just go over a few inches too far, you’ll bottom out. You’ll pretty much go thirteen feet down to your knees onto the flat bottom, and that hurts. [Laughs.] It was a learning curve and we picked it up within just a few hours. I think I was one of the last guys because it was just so new and exciting. It just takes a little bit of thinking to try to figure it out, which is a lot of the fun in skateboarding.