So we all booked flights to San Francisco. Although the primary objective of our trip was to gather footage for the upcoming Dime video and to spend our evenings at Lusty Lady (which unfortunately closed its doors), we had a side mission in mind.
Last year, during our visit, we had a brief encounter with our long time idol and source of inspiration (Joealbert Melanche Valdez, aka Joe Valdez).
You may know him from his parts such as in Thrasher’s Timebomb or the Season’s 3 video, or perhaps from the short documentary we released a month or so ago (The Legend of Joe Valdez). The man is known to skate shit differently. The way he approaches spots is visionary, and he deserves more credit than he’s been given. Maybe he was too ahead of his time, or maybe time just isn’t relevant in his presence. Our goal is to show the world that he was the truth, and to open minds on what skateboarding truly is about.
As we went around the city trying to find new spots to skate, we also hoped that we might encounter our favorite skater again. We would jokingly go around asking people if they had seen Joe Valdez, and sometimes yelling his name out loud to see if he would appear from out of the blue, obviously admitting to ourselves that it would take a miracle for it to happen.
This is us desperately searching for him:
Searching for one particular individual in a heavily populated city by yelling his name can be an intimidating task, and legends like him, you can’t just “find”, you just have to be at the right place at the right time…kind of like a shooting star or a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Well a week later, when hopes were fading away, we randomly found Joe fucking VALDEZ in the produce section at Safeway, as he was browsing through fresh vegetables. At first we weren’t sure if it was actually him or not, but once eye contact was made, we shared some sort of mutual energy that was indescribable; We were meant to meet again.
The next day, we were pleased with our results and felt that our mission had been a great success. Then, while we were skating a spot at the opposite side of the city, a car rolls by, and guess who it is? Yup, Joe Valdez! ‘’What’s up guys?’’
It was him again. We talked a little, but he had work to do so we had to cut it short. He gave us water that we named Valdezwater®, which quenched our thirsts and gave us the power to land our tricks for the video.
Then about 8 days went by, and no news from the man. We tried texting him, but no answer… At this point, it didn’t matter to us, because we had already found what we were looking for, and got to meet one of the most underrated skateboarders of all time. We were filled with happiness and felt accomplished, when on the last day of our trip, we got an unexpected call from him.
“You guys trying to meet up?” he said. Of course we were. We had a specific place in mind too: China Banks. The place where he risked his life to preserve the sanity/insanity of skateboarding by ollieing over the death drop that no one’s ever even thought of gapping. To this day, it is still the gnarliest trick done there.
This is us, chilling with Joe Valdez, at China Banks, San Francisco 2015.
Joe explained to us that he was well aware of our enthusiasm surrounding his skating career, and he was truly thankful to have this kind of an impact 15 years later. He surprised us with a signed pro model board he has on Sentient Skateboards. We shared the same vision about pretty much everything related to skateboarding and the energy was at an all time high.
We couldn’t expect things to go down like they did, but deep down we were hoping that they would. The following hours were magic, everyone had a big smile on their face, and our journey couldn’t have ended in a better way.
We blame everything that happened on this trip on positive thinking. If there’s one thing we learned after it all finally happened, is that dreams DO come true, just keep pursuing them. This is dedicated to Joealbert Melanche Valdez. Mad respect homie.
To be continued in part 3…