Off the Deep End with the N-Men

 Brian Houston throwing frontside handplant in the deep end of Beeb’s bowl. It’s not like the early days when we would hop fences with buckets and brooms to skate pools.

Brian Houston throwing frontside handplant in the deep end of Beeb’s bowl. It’s not like the early days when we would hop fences with buckets and brooms to skate pools.

Text + Photos: Mike Blanchard

Spotlight | Every year in December, the N-Men, Sacramento’s notorious skate crew, throw a party. This year, cultural icon and all around badass Steve Caballero’s band, The Faction headlined with Santa Cruz supremo Bob Denike’s band, the Bone Shavers, opening. Oh, and there was some pool skating, too. Here is a little taste of the session at Beeb’s bowl the day after the party. 

The gathering was a great mixture of old-school guys like Cab, Randy Katen and Ernie Sanchez on one hand and a bunch of young local rippers on the other. And the girls represented strongly. Among others Mina Stess, recently returned from Olympic tryouts, was killing it. The music was pounding and the kids were flying all over the place, giving the coping a workout. And then Cab would drop in and throw a huge board slide halfway around the bowl, and there was Bryce Kanights snapping the shutter just like the old days. Good stuff.

It is hard to underestimate the influence of Steve Caballero on skateboarding and the action sports industry en toto, you might say. One of the greatest skaters of all time and as nice a guy as you will meet, he patiently posed for pictures and had a good time hanging out. These are old friends having a good time.

Cab is one of those polymaths: an artist, hot rodder, avid motorcycle guy, cyclist and businessman; he does it all.

Couple things about skateboarding before we go: It is good to see young people taking up pool skating. There is too much of an appetite for “safety” in our culture. We need to be tested as humans, animals, organisms. Mankind has engaged in risky behavior for its entire existence. We need it. Overcoming danger makes us better. So it’s encouraging to see the kids ripping it up. 

It is cool how so many hot rodders and motorcycle freaks started out as (and many still are) skaters. Go figure: Anti-authoritarian thrill seekers end up as gearheads. 

Did you catch that about the Olympics? Yep; skateboarding is going to the big-big time, so look out for that, Jack. Who knows? Maybe one of the kids in these photos will end up on the tube talking with Bob Costas come Olympics time.