Wednesday, June 10, 2015

SLAPCHAT With Donny Humes of Smelly Curb Zine

All photos: Jason Bash

When Ohio Skater Donny Humes started Smelly Curb Zine in 1987, skating curbs wasn’t a nostalgic trend or a time-filling gimmick, it was the status quo for anyone who didn't have access to a pool or half pipe. (i.e., almost everyone not near a coastline). As decades passed and skating changed, Humes became more than just another guy making a zine about skating. Producing Smelly Curb by hand with X-acto knives and Xerox machines even after the advent of digital publishing, Humes became a sort  Keeper Of The Curb, using his zine to help keeping skating rooted to the crete thorough all its ups and downs. Humes efforts as an artist, publisher and skater have earned him the respect of skaters around the world and secured him a place in the prestigious Grand Order Of Curb Crushers. When it comes to slappy authorities, you can’t do much better than Humes. We ran Humes through the Slapchat gauntlet, and here’s what we got. Read and learn.

First Off, what counts as a slappy? Do you have to get your trucks involved? Some folks consider a noseslide on a curb where you don’t lift your tail a “slappy noseslide” or a slapped in blunt slide a “Slappy blunt”?

The first slappy involved grinding your trucks, literally carving or slashing the curb. there are variations now because that’s what skateboarding does, it evolves and expands. Slappies are all about the grind, and feeling the concrete
and trucks rippling under your feet.

Is there a height limit on the slappy? When you’ve got guys slapping up knee high hubbas and grinding down them, is that still a slappy? (remember Sarge slapping the big block at EMB back in the day)?

I’ve seen baby curbs 2-3” tall up to 2 foot high. Slap em big or small. I guess the taller curb, it almost counts as a wall ride to 50-50.

Frontside or backside?

Whew, that’s tough... There’s nothing better than running into a curb frontside full speed and just laying it all out.

Not quite maximized

When are your trucks best for slappies? Brand new? Ground with a nice groove but still a lot of metal on the hanger, or down to the axle and beaten all too hell?

Funny you ask. I just went through that scenario. I was riding theses old 149 Indys and they were almost to the axle. The kingpin nut kept catching on my
grinds and slowing me down. I stepped up to new 159s and, wow, I could grind a
lot smoother and faster. I ride the same trucks forever, I hate breaking in new trucks.

What gets you more stoked: A nice, immaculately smooth and styled out slappy on a nice buttery curb, or powering through a crusty, dry, cranky curb?

They are both a treat. The crust curbs remind me of weathered pool coping. It makes dust and it’s smelly... Painted yellow square curbs are fun because you can go farther and a bit easier to do combo tricks.

Favorite slappy variation?

Frontside slappy-feeble-lipslide

Toughest variation you can do?

(The above) or I did a frontside slappy to front boardslide to fakie

Craziest slappy you’ve ever seen?

Tom Ramey from Dayton was a madman of slappies. Mike Hill, Barefoot switch
slappies back in 1988.

What are some slappy style mistakes?

“Edging” the curb instead of getting up on it. Not getting low and shifting your
weight, pushing and pulling back at the right time.

Did you have a slappy sensei? Someone who inspired or even taught you?

Bill Minadeo. He skated for Alva and G&S in the late 80s and early 90s. He taught
me the slappy. It was one of the first tricks I learned.

Did you “teach” your son, Ivan, how to do slappies? If so, how did you do it? A lot of guys say you can’t “teach” the slappy.

I guided him. I showed him how you use you body and shift your weight. You are correct that you can't be taught slappies. You either get em or you don't. He's a natural, he had slappy blood from birth. At first, when he was learning, he kinda "edged" them, and I told him you have do that plus run into them and use your momentum get you on top of the curb. He learned on yellow curbs. It was like that feeling when you first learned to ride a bike as a kid. It's cool to see him progress and push me as well. We definitely influence each other to get rad.
Ivan Humes shows that the slappy gene is not recessive

Wax: when is it appropriate?

Only on raw concrete curbs, just to get her going.

What’s the worst you’ve ever got wrecked on a slappy?

I get wrecked more from trying to ride pools or big tranny. Curbs have been
pretty kind to me.

What kind of set-up do you prefer for curb skating? Shaped board? If so What kid of shape? Dimensions? Truck width, wheel size and shape, etc.?

The older I get the more picky I am. I’m a shaped board guy. I usually modify my
noses or wheelbase to accommodate my liking. Been going back n forth with 8.5” and 8.75” decks. Square tail and egg-pointy nose, 14.5 wb, 159 Independents, usually 56mm spitfires, no rails, loose trucks, creative grip tape job.

What makes a good curb? Your fave curb of all time?

Curbs that are 6-8” are the best. Painted, of course. Probably my favorite curb
spot was the All-Rite parking garage, downtown Columbus. Yellow curbs and
islands everywhere. Indoors and dry for the winters. It’s getting demolished. RIP. Curbs are everywhere. The most common skate obstacle of all time.

Since you are from the midwest, I have got to ask you about parking blocks. what kind are your favorite? The standard sized angle-top blocks? The low blocks with just a tiny vertical face below the angled tops? The fully triangular ones? The square ones?

My favorite parking block is the standard, fatter block. In Ohio they are usually 8 feet long. Some are 4 and 6 foot. The longer 8 footers are the funnest, more grind obviously. Put 2 together and get a 16 footer slappy to slider. Those super chubby fat parking blocks are fun too, like a mini wall ride to slappy.

Do you still like to look at the grind marks on your hangar after a session?

OCD curb behavior. Yes. I smell my hangers regularly. Hence the name of my zine
“Smelly Curb”.

I bet he took a big sniff after this one.

Do you ever rip a good one and have to look at your hanger right there at the session?

Oh yeah. I got those new trucks this spring and my groove was on. Curb skating and its religion.

Do you catch yourself scoping out curbs when you are just running errands...hanging out with your family, etc...?

Since I was 15. It’s funny, I go on vacation and I’m all gooning the town, scanning the scene for spots. My son and I were in Chicago and the hotel had a ripping yellow curb. The maintenance man was bumming.

Have you ever gone to a skate park and then found yourself having a slappy session on some curb in the parking lot?

Yeah, for sure. I’m old and sometimes a curb just feels safe. My big deal isrunning into or wrecking with dudes on bikes or kids on scooters who are not paying attention. My worst nightmare at a concrete parking is slamming full speed.

Why are slappies so rad? 

I get the same feeling now I got when I was just learning slappies. Now it’s even radder because it’s30 years later and my son Ivan is 12 and he’s bustin’ slappies too. It’s seriously the best trick, it’s fun and gnarly. I cant even kick flip but I can slappy. I love it when kids at the park are like “How did you do that, get up on that curb”? I just tell them you gotta run into it!

Man, I am having the most fun I’ve had on my skateboard since I was, like, 17. I've been re-learning old tricks I lost, trying to stay healthy, eating right, trying yoga.... I hope I can slappy when I'm 50! I wanna have Slappy  50th Birthday. Skating is good for my brain, my body is another thing. So I have days  when skating rules, but I won't be able to wallk the next day.
For Smelly Curb zines, decks, coozies and other radness, including the new Smelly Curb "Lost In The Feed" video visit . Or follow Smelly Curb on Instagram @smellycurb.

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