Tag Archives: Skateboarding
I’ve known Alison “Nugget” Matasi for probably 7 or 8 years, which means I met her when she was 13 or 14. When we first met she and our friend Monica Shaw used to be little twinsies- these skinny, cute, hilarious little blonde girls who both shredded out of control and I couldn’t really tell apart.
A few years ago I got the horrible news that Nugget’s brother, Lee Matasi was shot and killed. Apparently it was a super fun night- some kind of industry party at a club in Downtown Vancouver. Usually Lee wasn’t so down with little Nugzy’s partying with all the older folks, but she said they had a really great time together that night until she left early to go crash out. Some dude with a gun shot him fatally as he left the club later that night.
I never had the chance to meet Lee, but his reputation proceeds him. A talented, well-known Vancouver local skater, he obviously shared in the vitality of life that I know so well in Nugget and was coming up fast in the art scene at the time of his death. Nugz and Lee’s father Leo, who is an adventurist and tug boat captain, told me that one time the little bugger made him seriously sweat when one time when, while crossing the boarder into California from Tijuana, in a perfect Mexican accent, Lee volunteered to the boarder agent “My name is Jose and I want to live in your country.” Golden!
Nugz and Lee’s father Leo told me on a recent visit about how he used to take Lee and Nugz to Burnside Skate Park all the time. Inspired by his visits, Lee discovered this unusual tunnel, which is some kind of evacuation route, and started building stuff to skate in it. Now officially deemed “Leeside” it was the site of a memorial that hundreds of people attended after Lee’s death.
I’ve been to a lot of skate spots and very little compares to this place. There’s lights on all night and and it is enormous. When we got there this summer there were some punkers chillin’ out in the corner drinking 40s. Even though they annoyed me by getting in my shot of Nugget, (below, which I was trying to shoot with low batts in my flash) they were rad and very enthused by the skateboarding taking place. The place has a unique atmosphere that is very hard to match.
One of the major spearheads of this effort is Michelle, owner of Vancouver’s Anti Social skate shop. She is a master organizer, and has done countless selfless acts for not only the Matasi family, also for the skaters of Vancouver.
It would be so rad to see this place grow and flourish, as Burnside has and how Lee didn’t get the chance to. It’s already pretty damn cool, but miles (and truckloads) of potential.
I’ll admit that I was borderline bummed when I woke up after a night of drinking with Nugget and remembered that, I had told her that I would drive her home to Vancouver B.C. But I try not to make promises I can’t keep so I was all “whatever, let’s go,” totally not realizing what was in store for me in the land of Hockey and Poutine. Ah well, “put it on my tab” I suppose…
Nugget putting it on her tab at Produce Row this summer…
True to form, we planned to leave on Monday and didn’t leave until Thursday night super late. Nugget kept telling everyone that she was leaving the next day all week long, so she had like 10 goodbye parties and nobody believed that she was really going when we finally rolled out. Nugget put all these gatherings on her quickly growing tab.
There was a lot of tra”Freak” which is what I like to call freaky traffic. Getting through the boarder, however, was super easy despite the spray painted gold rims on my truck, “The Trashbucket.”
When we got to Vancouver we met up with Nugget’s dad Leo at a cool restaurant/bar called The Foundation. The spinach salad was off the chain. That night we all stayed on Leo’s 40-foot sailboat, which is docked at the Vancouver Rowing Club, right in the middle of the city in Stanley Park, which is a huge badass park.
The next morning we went to coffee and Nugget remarked on how huge the purse is at the X Games these days.
“Do you know what I could do with 30 Grand???”
“Well start practicing and change your bad attitude.” Ha!
We hung out with Michelle at Antisocial, her skate shop which is fantastic. Michelle is certainly an inspiration. Super creative and motivated, she really gets things crackin’ for the skateboarders of Vancouver. From raising money to working with the city on various projects, she really does it. She rode her classic motorcycle all the way to Montana to skate right after we saw her. She casually puts this kind of thing on her tab.
We got some great burritos from Budgies and went down to Hastings skate park.
Naturally, Nugget saw homies everywhere we went. They all added to her growing tab.
Click here to see some skate photos of Nugget from this summer in my web gallery.
To be continued…