Blueprint- read it & check out the details
Hi-Roller Hester II
I love skateboarding. Passion. Writing the Blue Tile Obsession has been a really cool experience. Every once in awhile, someone reaches out to me & I always find it fascinating, when I realize that there are many people out there that view & experience the world in the same way. We agree. I received an email from a guy in Boulder, Colorado last year. Jack Lovell. He loved the old photographs & stories. He said that he also had some images from Hi-Roller skatepark taken during the summer of 1979. I called him & soon realized that we had a story that must be told. The Hester I & Hester II series were held in California. The only Hester contest held outside of California was Hi-Roller in Boulder. Henry Hester was a downhill racer. Jack Lovell had seen him in Boulder the summer before at a downhill race. When Henry was planning his Hester Series for 1979, Boulder fit perfectly. Hi-Roller. It was a contest where some incredible tricks were unleashed for the first time, a place where anarchy collided with conservative sensibilities & a place where nicknames & legends were born.
Henry Hester- La Costa -1977
All roads lead to Henry.
After speaking with the numerous people involved, I soon realized that all roads led to Henry Hester. "You need to talk to Henry." "Ask Hester!" I phoned around & tracked him down. He lives in Texas. I quickly told him my deal & he readily agreed to help, "If I can." Henry told me that he went to Texas for love & money. He ended up with love & it's still 'all good!' . "It's just the way it goes, I guess." I asked him about the Hester series. He actually told me some of the contest order but wasn't quite sure of all his facts. "Check with Steve Alba. I'm sure that he remembers." I laughed. Yeah, I would do just that. I'd hear his side of things... Henry said that he drove to Boulder in a pickup truck. In the back were the PA system speakers & all the stuff. "Duane was on fire that weekend!" he said hurriedly. I asked him about other riders practicing. Henry hesitated a minute, lost in thought. "You know, Eddie Elguera was looking for the overall win, but he missed a contest in the series & was out of the points. Micke Alba was determined... he really was! Micke wanted the overall win. He was skating so consistent. I remember that Peter Kiwi Gifford was really funny.They were all pretty nutty."
Peter Kiwi Gifford
Henry seemed to think that all of those contests sort-of blended together over the years. Memories. The passage of time distorts & deceives. Henry told me that the skateboarders were crazy. Boulder was pretty mellow & probably wasn't ready for these behaviors. " Bert Lamar & Dave MacIntyre started a food fight. Bert threw something & then it just went off.... a 100% food fight! Bert just wouldn't stop. He was a devious little 12 year old kid. We knew this one skater who could vomit on cue. I grabbed him. Scott Holleman. He threw up in a glass in front of everyone. Bert was like.. "Dude -you rule!" and quit throwing food at everyone. It was so gnarly."
Henry Hester letter to participants
Eddie Elguera- frontside invert
image courtesy: King James Cassimus
"Eddie would've won!"- Micke Alba
Eddie Elguera's name came up often. He was really ripping in the series. He looked like he was going to take the top spot. I obtained his number & called him. Eddie was gracious & forthcoming. "Hi- Roller was my first pro contest. Hobie sent us there with one-way tickets. It was Duane, Darrell Miller & myself. Gil Losi bought our tickets home, I think. I recall staying on the roof because we had no money. Somehow, we finally got into a hotel room. I remember it being really hot! Someone filled up the skate reservoir of the park with water & we all swam in it to cool off. The skaters were all acting crazy. Duane was pretty wild at that time. I do know that the Hi-Roller contest was the first time I did an 'Elguerial' in a contest. I had learned it about two weeks before. I came into that contest in pretty good shape in the Hester Series standings. In the end, I think it was 1st- Micke Alba, 2nd-Eric Grisham & I got 3rd. That year, I received 2nd place overall in the Hester Series."
Hester Series standings
Eddie Elguera- backside air
Eddie Elguera- frontside invert
"Duane was always a hippy!"- Steve Olson
Steve Olson makes me laugh. He's a funny guy. I caught up with him & asked him what he recalled from the Hi-Roller contest. He responded quickly & to the point. "I don't know man! I fucked up my ankle, so I wasn't in good form. I went anyway. The reservoir had water in it. It was the most fun all weekend. We'd ride around the edge & just jump or ride into it..." He started laughing at a memory. "A-ha... " Olson then related the following story. "We were staying in these hotel rooms. They had this closet that went half-way up to the ceiling. You could climb up & see over them into the next bed. George Orton came in with some chick. I was hanging out. He wanted me to leave but I stayed. He took her in the next bed & started hooking up with her. I climbed up & looked over. She was on top & couldn't see me. George looked up & I started making faces at him & stuff... He got mad & chased me around naked. It was so funny."
Steve Olson & I were cracking up. I had heard similar stories from the others. Skatepark groupies, lost virginity, crabs... sounds like it was a blast! He also told me that skaters were wrecking themselves. Olson is a great history source. He rules! Steve Olson then ended with the following terse 'Olson-ism'. "All those new dudes were learning tricks. I didn't think that any of those tricks had anything to do with surfing... " Perfect. As I was thanking him, he asked me who else I was speaking with regarding Hi-Roller. I told him "Duane & others." Before he hung up the phone, Olson added with a laugh- "Duane was always a hippy. Don't let the uniform fool you!"
'The Master of Disaster.'- D. David Morin
I saw Duane recently & we skated Ridiculous together. I asked him about Hi-Roller. He had similar memories much like the others. "It was my first Hester contest on Hobie. It was Darrell Miller, Eddie Elguera & me. We got one-way tickets. We slept on a roof for awhile & I think we had to 'place' well in the contest to get money to go home. It was pretty gnarly! The Hobie guys. All three of us pulled new moves in that contest & we were all on Hobie. I did the invert-revert, Darrell Miller did the Miller-flip & Eddie Elguera did the Elguerial! Ozzie! These were the first 360 airs in skateboarding!" I was thinking about what Duane was telling me. I found it hard to believe that these three amazing riders were throwing down historical maneuvers & were sleeping on a skate shop roof with no way to get home! My how things have changed... I asked Duane if he had other memories of the event or the skaters. He laughed. "Well, Darrell Miller & I were drinking beer in the days leading up to the contest. During those days, Frank Blood & George Orton were kind-of looked upon as jocks. They were staying in the same hotel room. The night before the event, we drank & then climbed up on the roof of the hotel. We started throwing rocks down at their patio window. They came out yelling. "Mother fuckers!" We hid & laughed... We threw more rocks & when they came out again, I pissed down onto them! They were so mad! We had to hide from them. Then, D. David Morin heard about it. He was announcing at the contest. So, when my contest run started, he announced me as 'The Master of Disaster'. That's how that whole thing started."
Salba, D. David Morin, Vicki Vickers & Malba
As far as the contest went, everyone ripped & placed. I think I ended up in 6th. Micke Alba won Hi-Roller. We all made it & got paid. We made it home. Duane shook his head & smirked at me. "It's hard to believe how gnarly the Hobie team was at that time. They just didn't see it." I filled him in on some of the other riders memories. We were laughing. When I mentioned the reservoir filled with water, Duane lit up. "Oh-yeah! Olson went into the water & came up naked! His shorts were ripped off of him. He was like... "Oh-fuck!"...."
Dave Andrecht & Darrell Miller
Duane Peters- "..always a hippy"
Steve Alba- tailtap
"My brother, Duane & Olson would vibe ... just to do it!"- Micke Alba
I skate with Salba often. I talked with him numerous times about the Hester Series & his brother Micke. Sallie filled me in on the Hi-Roller contest & the days leading up to it. "The Hi-Roller pool was good. We went up there often, because Kryptonics was there in Boulder. Micke was really rad. He was super consistent. Back then, a rider had to stay on. If you fell, you left the door open. A skater could do three or four gnarly things, but if he fell, it wasn't considered as good as someone else who completed an entire run with some rad tricks thrown in." Salba remarked how fast skateboarding was changing at the time. This is a major point that other riders expressed. Skateboarding was evolving very rapidly. Salba pointed out a few facts regarding the Hester I & the Hester II. " In the Hester I of 1978, it was a contest consisting of street, banks & bowls. The differences between Hester I & Hester II were insane. Skateboarding was totally changing. There were guys riding in the Hester II that hadn't even rode in the series the year before. Guys from the Hester I were brought up skating streets, ditches, pools & pipes. The riders in the Hester II --- Grisham, Hirsch, etc.--were brought up in skateparks." I remembered living through the evolution of skateboarding at the time. It was changing rapidly. Salba told me that Brad Bowman had such a rad style. His frontside ollies were particularly awesome at Hi-Roller.
Brad Bowman- frontside ollie
Salba remembered some shenanigans. "Steve Olson had a rental car. We were all drinking beer & stuff. We started doing donuts with the rental car in the parking lot beside the park." I told him about Duane & Olson's memories & stories. Salba nodded & smiled. "It was a pretty rad time."
Salba watching Ray Bones Rodriguez
"Micke Alba wanted the overall title so badly..."- Henry Hester
I caught up with Micke & finally sat down with him. He had some fantastic memories of the Hester Series. He told me about how it was, growing up in the Badlands with Steve as an older brother. " Duane, my brother & Olson were so gnarly. I was really young. They would vibe & heckle everyone. Intimidate. They did it just to do it. It was the way they were. I looked up to them so much. Back then, you had to stay on your board. I wanted to be the most consistent. My brother & the older guys would give me a hard time. It just made me focus --even more--to get better. Kryptonics was our sponsor at the time. They were located in Boulder & we went up there a week or so before. We got to ride it early. For its time, the pool was good. It was wide open with a good shallow end. I had learned backside airs & did them higher than most riders. I also learned inverts. I worked on consistency." Micke also emphasized what others had told me. Back then--in contests-- staying on your board was paramount. Micke continued. "I remember seeing Ray Bones Rodriquez & Steve Olson ride from the deep and into the shallow end. They did rock-n-roll boardslides in the shallow. I wanted to copy that. Before the contest, I worked on my deep to shallow skills. I also saw Kevin Reed do something really rad. Kevin Reed always wore shorts over his sweatpants when he skated. We always laughed at him. At the contest, he did the first 50-50 grind that I've ever seen. It was unreal. I really recall the contest being super rad! Many of the guys were ripping. Ray Bones, my brother, Olson, Chris Strople, Duane, Doug de Montmorency, Rick Blackhart. They all rode well. Bert Lamar was riding great too. I always had a rivalry with him. We were both really young."
Ray Bones Rodriguez- frontside air
Chris Strople- invert
Micke sat & rubbed his chin. He was sitting there lost in thought. I -- personally-- remembered some great Jim Goodrich images from that time. I wasn't at Hi-Roller... but I wish that I had been. Micke looked up at me. I moved my pen to my other hand & asked- "How were the finals at Hi-Roller?" Micke shifted in his seat. He answered- " It really came down to Eddie Elguera & me in the finals. Eddie had the frontside invert & the Elguerial. Eddie would've won. He fell in the finals." Micke shook his shaggy head & shrugged. "I wasn't the best, but I was the most consistent. That is how I won the Hester Series that year."
Jack Lovell in the Hi-Roller pool
"What are you doing in this contest?"- Micke Alba
Jack Lovell was the starting point on this entire continuum. He was an amateur rider in the Hester Series. If you look at the point standings that are included here, you will see his name. Jack Lovell is legit & I thank him for his contributions. He told me that he was riding at Hi-Roller the week before the contest. Steve, Micke, Ray Bones, Duane, Eddie & others were practicing. He took a few runs. Micke came up to him & asked with a hint of disdain, "What are you doing in this contest?!" It defied a polite response. Jack told me that he didn't feel like he should be there. "Those guys were so gnarly. They rode so well... It felt weird being in there with them." I asked Micke if he had said that to Jack. "Probably." was his only response. Intimidation. Micke had learned well.
Craig Miller was a ripper! R.I.P. brother...
Jack Lovell admitted an interesting point. "At Hi-Roller, Craig Miller & I were some of the locals. We had the park wired. We were 'the guys'. Then, the Hester Series came to Boulder. Once the whole circus came to town, we realized-- all too quickly-- that we were not 'the shit'. These guys were our heroes... It was pretty crazy!"
I interviewed a bunch of rad people & spent quite a bit of time on this one. I did the best I could with the old snapshots. Thank you to Jim Goodrich, King James Cassimus & Jack Lovell for the images. Thank you to Jack Lovell, Salba, Malba, Henry Hester, Jim Goodrich, Steve Olson, Duane Peters & Eddie Elguera for their memories. Thank you to all those that rode & inspired me & others all around the planet. This is dedicated to Craig Miller. R.I.P. Skate- Ozzie