The Carlsbad High School was officially demolished 8 years ago and we thought it was time the conversation started back up again about the infamous gap. To do so, we got in touch with the legendary Jeremy Wray to help us imagine what the spot was truly like in its prime!
"Even though I ended up doing much larger and gnarlier tricks in Plan B’s next video, the revolution, my part in Second Hand Smoke is the one that’s forever burned into everyone’s brain."
My part in Second Hand Smoke is the one that gets brought up more than any of my other parts. It must have just dropped at the right time, with the kind of skateboarding set to a very memorable song. We edited every trick to land on the beat of the music (which was rare at the time). We actually laid the music track (White Room by Cream) down first and built the part by adding one trick at a time making sure everything synced up with the music. Even though I ended up doing much larger and gnarlier tricks in Plan B’s next video, the revolution, my part in Second Hand Smoke is the one that’s forever burned into everyone’s brain
"Yeah, Collin is exactly right. "
People were mainly just doing Ollies and maybe 180s down the big gap at Carlsbad back then. Kris Markovich came through with the first flip trick down the gap and his kickflip landed him the cover of Transworld. It was a stand out cover also because of his colorful artwork he added to the print. Rob Dyrdek gets the honors for the first switch trick with his switch ollie down it too. The first trick I filmed for my Second Hand Smoke part was the frontside halfcab down it. We kept that one under wraps and no one even knew about it until the part dropped. We ended up going back and getting more tricks and my opening line with the frontside flip down it later. I had been staying in Carlsbad at Hensley’s house for most of the filming of my part and he just happened to live skating distance from Carlsbad High School, so I would sometimes skate down there in the morning and ollie the gap. Sometimes it hit like a ton of bricks and other days it felt nice and easy.
"Rob Dyrdek gets the honors for the first switch trick with his switch ollie down it too."
I had been doing frontside 360s down other gaps, double-sets and triple sets of similar size back then so I knew I had it in me to get one down Carlsbad, but that came with a certain set of new challenges. The uphill landing and slick ground made landing it perfectly really tough.
From what I remember, I got the one you see in the video on about the 4th try on the big gap
I got the Frontside 360 relatively quick but I wasn’t happy with the slide around at the end and knew I could put in the extra work to get a cleaner one, but everyone who was there that day said they actually preferred that one because it was so different. I saved the effort for another gap and went and got a perfect one at the Santa Monica triple set instead. As far as the line goes, it took a few tries just getting to the gap. I had originally been adding lots of flat ground tricks along the way, but decided to simplify the line and just get to the gap so we could have one done and film another one after with more technical flat ground in between. From what I remember, I got the one you see in the video on about the 4th try on the big gap. When I rode away the grass was super wet and muddy so when I walked off my board my shoes got mud all the way up past the soles. I tried the line a few more times that day but the mud made my grip too slippery to get another good one, so I stuck with the one we got.
The uphill landing made it the hardest by far. You could land on something perfectly and at any other gap you would be rolling away, but Carlsbad and it’s uphill landing would actually throw your weight off and make you stick. You hand to be strong enough and balanced enough to ride through it. It’s almost as if it made you feel heavier, whereas a downhill landing would have done the opposite and let you ride away easier.
“If you’re one of the lucky humans to make it within the first couple tries, and you walk away unscathed, and you’re riding away, there’s no greater feeling than that.” - Kris Markovich
“I swear to this day, if there was no uphill, a lot more tricks would have went down” - Atiba Jefferson
It was rarely crowded. I would usually skate it alone. When we did go film there, it was usually me and a filmer with maybe one or two other skaters. On rare occasions someone would at least try to ollie it with me or on even rarer occasions someone would actually try a trick down it with me, but mostly people would just sit and watch.
"I believe the gnarliest trick I ever saw in person was when someone was trying to switch big flip it."
I saw a lot of people get robbed of their tricks by the uphill landing. I believe the gnarliest trick I ever saw in person was when someone was trying to switch big flip it. They landed on so many good ones and got robbed every time. He eventually went back and got it on a different day.
I haven’t been there in years. I do think I skated through it once after it got remodeled but it’s honestly completely different now. I’d say unrecognizable even.
"When you are a kid you just bounce back quicker. Now it could take me a week, but I’m still down 💪!"
I would still skate it today. It would probably just take me longer to recover after each session. When you are a kid you just bounce back quicker. Now it could take me a week, but I’m still down 💪!
"When I picked up my board to get back for another try, I looked down and saw that I had cracked my truck straight through the middle of the hanger. Clean break to the axle."
One of the mornings I had skated down there from Matt’s house and got to the gap, I rolled straight through the school and went for the ollie first try. It was one of the days the gap felt bigger and hit harder. I stuck and fell forward. When I picked up my board to get back for another try, I looked down and saw that I had cracked my truck straight through the middle of the hanger. Clean break to the axle. I’d only done that one other time in my life and that was on the switch ollie down the 17 stair at Lincoln High School in SF. It was in the Color video. Stuck the same way right upon impact. Hit so hard the truck dig into the ground and stopped me from rolling away.
"The Frontside halfcab was second try. The switch backside 180 was first try. Frontside flip was about 4th try give or take."
A couple fun facts about some of the tricks I did down the Carlsbad gap. The Frontside halfcab was second try. The switch backside 180 was first try. Frontside flip was about 4th try give or take. The backside heelflip was fairly quick too I believe. Maybe Atiba knows how many tries but it worked out nicely and was the first trick we shot for my second pro spotlight in Transworld. The only trick I tried and never got was the Nollie backside 180. It stuck every time 🤷🏻♂️
Just going to throw in this reminder of the Ollie over the Water Tower Gap - To this day no one else has tried anything over the gap on a skateboarder. Jeremy remains the only dude to have the balls to conquer this beast. 16 feet from one tower to the next with a 3 story fall to your demise if you fuck up! So gnarly.
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