n Metro Vancouver you need to be on your grind to stay above that poverty line. This usually means a work routine comes into play, along with the life routine that surrounds it. This can, at times, leave you feeling like you’re stuck in the maddening time loop Bill Murray found himself trapped in while visiting Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania, in Groundhog Day. Thankfully, you can break free from the Mainland to an isolated refuge—a place where things are chill and skateboarding has a solid presence.
An hour-and-a-half ferry ride from Tsawwassen whisks you over the Strait of Georgia and into Swartz Bay near Victoria on Vancouver Island. This is where LRG Canada teamsters Chad Dickson, Mike Campbell, Arte Lew and Sean Lowe went to temporarily shed their city skin and change the pace. Perhaps this is why newly appointed Timebomb Trading TM Tyler Holm chose it as a destination for his first trip assignment? When you’re on Island time, you very much realize it and stress seemingly evaporates a little more efficiently (it also helps that Cariboo Brewing co-sponsored this endeavour). The Island’s mystical powers managed to smooth out blood pressure heightened matters such as Chad losing his wallet before the ship even dropped anchor at its destination, and Tyler obtaining a third-degree tank top sunburn by failing to adhere to a proper sun exposure strategy. Sure, a few days may seem inadequate for a productive skate trip. But since a large body of saltwater separated the crew from their Vancouver distractions and routines, it was #skatelife at all times. Actually, it was #LRGislandlife…
“I work in a warehouse—I make boxes, pack boxes, send things out and count things. That’s pretty much it,” Arte Lew mentions in a monotone fashion. “I work from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, commuting from Burnaby to Coquitlam.” There is a silver lining to his daily grind: “They let me skate in the warehouse at work, so it’s good to pop some flat tricks when I’m a little stressed out [laughs]. When I’m not at work, I’ll head over to the PoCo park if it’s nice out, or I’ll go home and play video games if it’s not. Nothing too ridiculous.”
That being said, Arte was itching for an opportunity to escape his predictable schedule, so TM Tyler Holm’s call to hit Vancouver Island couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Chad, Mike, Sean—we all get along really well. Even though we only really had three days of street skating, it was a nice break from commuting and working. We were having so much fun so the stress of having to get an article together in such a short time didn’t even sink in. The pace is way slower on the Island, so the trip actually felt longer than it was. The people are so mellow there and could just tell I was from the city [laughs].” 41
“I work at A&B Party Rentals,” Mike Campbell begins explaining his city grind. “We load our truck up in the morning, doing deliveries and pick-ups all over Vancouver, Surrey and Coquitlam.”
Since he’s on the road each weekday, Mike finds himself daydreaming about spots he sees during his travels. Sure, he jots down the details in a notebook he keeps in the cab—and he’ll eventually get to skate these discovered gems—but it’s a lot easier to skate what you see in front of you when the work truck is replaced with a shenanigan-laced passenger vehicle.
“I’ve been waiting to go on a little trip—just packin’ homies in the van. Going over to the Island was amazing, and it’s cool how close it is to Vancouver. Everyone just seems a little more laid back and the locals are so good there. It was cool to skate that roof gap Chad switch flipped in Sooke. It’s in the middle of nowhere, and we had to hike through this little forest to get there. I’ll have to let Chad explain his ordeal though [laughs].” 42
Backside 180 Nosegrind “I don’t go to work. I just work on my good looks,” Sean Lowe says with a laugh. Lacking traditional employment doesn’t mean his life in Mainland Vancouver is void of routine.
“I usually wake up early and get some sort of caffeine vice going,” he explains. “Then I make breakfast and check every sport highlight I possibly can on TV or the Internet. Around 1 o’clock I just go skate. I hit the Plaza, then try to link up with a photographer, filmer or whoever I can for the day.” Sure, that may sound like a utopian lifestyle to some, but when you’re living it on the daily it’s nice to switch things up. The Island provided that opportunity for Sean, and it was a homecoming of sorts.
“My very first published photo was in Concrete, and it was shot on the Island. This is the first time I’ve gone back since then,” he mentions before adding: “It’s nice just to go to new parks and spots; the more you explore different things and get out of your comfort zone, the more you’re going to get different outcomes and evolve as a skateboarder.”
“At 9 a.m. each day, I start work at a distribution warehouse, and it’s the same thing as that movie Groundhog Day—you wake up to Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” every day and you’re just like, ‘Fuck!’” Chad Dickson explains. “All day long it’s receiving product, picking orders, boxing them, preparing shipping labels, then sending them out the door. After work I’ll hit the Mount Pleasant park or the Plaza; that’s about it other than making dinner and watching Desperate Housewives.” Enough weeks of that in a row might very well lead to the disgruntled behaviour Housewives character Carlos Solis exuded in Season 4. Unfortunately, not everyone on this LRG Canada trip completely sloughed off the city slicker skin before crossing the Georgia Strait.
“The beginning of the trip sucked for me because I lost my wallet, so I was dealing with that the whole time, but other than that the crew we had was so sick,” Chad immediately takes to the bright side. “I’ve never been in a van where I’ve laughed so much the entire time.”
Chad was able to harness Vancouver Island’s mellow vibes once he was inflicted with skateboard-related stress in Sooke.
“Oh, man, the roof gap,” he recalls what Mike alluded to previously. “It was really hot that day, and I ate shit trying to kickflip it, so I was over it. Then Campbell started killing the gap and the vibes were good, so I went for a switch flip. Second try my back foot just exploded off the nose, putting me into the splits. The ground gripped my ass and pretty much ripped my brand-new jeans straight in half. I instantly felt sick to my stomach and went into the woods to regroup for a while, then warmed up again and got the switch flip. I’ll just say you’re never too old to shit your pants and you’re never too old to land a trick [laughs].” lrg.com/skate