We’ve all seen it on Instagram. We’ve seen them put up the hoardings and we’ve seen the last few sessions go down in a scurry of snow. It’s all over now – Love Park gets a re–design and skateboarding loses one of its most appreciated spots. Too muchskateboarding history was made at Love to really account for all of it in just a couple of words. We only want to say farewell to the spot and asked two guys that made history at Love to help us out. Brian Wenning was there from the start and Sabotage filmer Ryan Higgins shaped Love’s last years and both share their favorite memory.
I’ll never forget the day Ishod Wair did the switch frontside bigspin down the love gap. He did a handful of tries, then crowds were forming and all of a sudden bike cops came and kicked everyone out. We stalked the premises till the cops left and we went right back in. Ishod kept trying a bunch, even destroying his ring finger and kept throwing down. Then bike cops came back again, and they posted up for awhile so we thought it was over. I remember leaving love in a car on the way to another spot to film because he wanted to film something else that day. Then we got a phone call from one of the homies at love saying the cops said they heard what was happening down the love gap. So, the cops decided to leave for 15mins and come back. They were giving him a short grace period of time to land it. Something like that never really happens too often at love park. Then we all rushed back to love and got into position as he was trying it again, then he broke his board, so he grabbed someones board and got used to the set up pretty quickly. After a handful of tries later he rode away from it, flawlessly. Seeing what he went through that day to land it, it was easily one of the greatest moments of skateboarding I have ever witnessed.
In February 2002 there were rumors about love park being shut down any day, so that was huge motivation to get a NBD as soon as possible. I never planned on actually doing the switch backside 180 down the love gap. I remember that day like it was yesterday even though it was like 14 years ago. Actually pretty damn close to todays date in February. So the night before i went out drinking in Philly, and since i wasn’t old enough to actually legally drink, I borrowed Kerry Getz’s passport. So with Kerry’s passport in hand I hit the town with my friend Ian Reid from NYC. It was a mellow night. We drank Grand Marnier and pineapple juice along with a few Heinekens. Nothing really crazy happened that night, which for us, was extremely shocking.
So the next morning I woke up with no hangover, and felt great for some awkward reason. Also that morning my board setup seemed perfect, clothes fit perfect, shit man even the shower was at perfect temperature. I then felt this insane sense of confidence and decided to toy with the idea of doing the switch back 180 down the gap. I practiced on flat-ground for like two minutes, then to the fountain ledges little 3 step. I did it a few times down the 3 stair. What great fucking warm up that was. From a 3 step to the fucking love gap! Good idea, right? I remember that I was still feeling "It". I hope to one day feel "It" again or even find out what "It" is…
I hope to one day feel "It" again or even find out what "It" is…
Anyways, I went right from that 3 stair and decided to charge the fuck out of the gap. Everyone stopped skating, sat and watched me destroy my body. Within a few minutes I was rolling away from the love gap landing a trick no one has ever done, or even tried in 14 years, which actually blows my mind. On that day good things just kept happening. I got the cover of Transworld Skate Mag, a double page sequence for Habitat in the same issue, $1,500 in photo incentives, and filmed my last trick for my part in the DC Video. (All in one day)
To this day I haven’t done a trick that was remembered by the masses like the switch back 180. It kind of put my name on radar for people that weren’t familiar with the tech ledge skating I had always done before. Recently I did get a chance to go back to love and check it out one last time before they shut it down. It was cool to just sit back like an old man and watch the kids skate the fountain. I was probably the only one in the crowd watching that knew what these kids were going through. Watching them helped me, more than the kids would ever understand. The reason I picked the story about the switch back 180 was because I always had respect for love park. I never brought my other life of insanity from New Jersey to Philly. I went to love park for one reason, and one reason only: "To skate the best skate spot in the world!" And thats all folks.
RIP LOVE PARK