7.30.2004

Blair Boards: A Project More Scary than the Blair Witch
Not sure how this all happened...
the chronology is not clear in my head, but I will see what memories rise to the surface. ..

it may have been a period in my life where I was still working hard on find an alternate way to work that did not really feel like work. so rather than making good money in an office (at this point I had never had an office job, that did not happen till my early 30s). I joined forces with Jason Farrell and went to the Blair Farm in Poolesville Maryland to work in a barn making snowboards.

Before any of this goes any further there should be a little background...
Bob Blair is an old school skater/snowboarder with some serious talent for catching air. He talks slow and he rides fast. Not sure where the money comes from, but the Blair boys have some serious money.....money to burn....and they all burn baby burn. Bob has a sorted past, but who doesn't. I have heard tales of his old school past, most of which have hit local folk lore status, all of which are true, some may be blown out of proportion, but the core of the message is still true. Bob rode with a colorful cast of characters that called themselves The Toke Team. These guys were the like Hells Angels on Skateboards. It was all about living large and crashing hard. Adrenalin junkies long before the word EXTREME came into vogue. Each individual member was more like a cartoon character than a real person, these guys would have made a great white Fat Albert and the Gang, but none of them were fat. (Wiggy, Tobin, Puker, Hayman, Bob Blair aka The Blur...to name a few...was Micro an official member?.) This is enough background...fill in the blank...use your imagination....on with the story.

Somewhere in the early/middle 90s I heard that Bob was looking for some people to work his new snowboarding manufacturing plant. Okay, it was a crusty old barn with a used snowboard press and a handful of tools. For some reason Jason Farrell and I decided to take on this project. Before you know it we were commuting from our perspective Mount Pleasant group houses in downtown DC to rural Poolesville Maryland in Jason's '67 Cadillac limo to work in Bob Blair's sweat shop. We were the 'jack of all trades, masters of none.' OSHA and EPA had nothing on this place. There were no goggles, no earplugs, no respirators, and no ventilation. It was dream that never left the drool covered pillow case or the unchanged sheets. I recall our favorite part of the snowboard building process was gluing the rails. The glue was a two step process, glue and accelerator; ZIP KICKER. Man, put those two together and you could turn Einstein and Edison into Beavis and Butthead. Man, oh, Man! That stuff could change our moods. Jason would be all grumpy about us working yet another week without getting a paycheck living off his Exxon card and my maxed out Visa card and I would say...."lets go glue some rails" And bam, smiles...giggles...and infantile humor. It was a short lived work scenario. We were not model employees and Bob was far from a model employer.....the product was shoddy and the industry was booming. There seemed to be no place for the Blair Board with its original, yet ghetto graphics adorning an irregular and imperfect product.
We arrived late and left early each day. When we were not making boards we were jumping on the trapoline, taking turns on the brakeless two stroke dirtbike, cutting wood with the chainsaw, or throwing rocks for Jason's housemate Russell's brindle Pit Bull Jake-Dog. It was an episode of denial. Not time well spent. An interesting time, but not the most productive time. Jake-Dog did manage to get laid for his first and only time ever. Jake got a piece and then threw up. We logged a number of hours and never got paid for them (always clocking out before we went on our white trash adventures.) Bob has his blurred vision and an unintelligible rational for never giving us all of our money. We each walked our separate directions angry and bitter. In the end I try to keep my heart rate down by rationalizing things....I should have known better than to think that anything productive would have come from working under someone as sketchy as bob blair. I can only blame myself.

It was a colorful time, not an entirely productive time, yet colorful just the same. The memories are BLURRED as are any memories of Bob Blair. His farm with its 200plus year old house and the parties that were thrown there can be summed up in one word; Decadent. Well, make that two words Drunken and Decadent. Okay, use three or four, sure, use as many as you want. His farm became known as "The Compound." A variety of B-Town skaters lived there. The Compound did infact become Waco East with Bob Blair as the long haired messiah. Those that lived there could draw a more accurate picture than I can. That farm was just a chapter in the history of the local skaters and the local skate scene. A scene that has disbanded, yet still has chapters written all over the country and perhaps all over the world.

Thrasher Magazine
There has to be some history of The Toke Team somewhere...
the Annadale Ramp in the early 80's and then the steal coated ramp at Cedarcrest in Manasas VA are a large part of East Coast Skate History
Ramptech is a completely different company that I also worked for. Mike Mapp, aka Micro, was an amped and angry skater with a vision. Skating was dormant, yet he believed. Mike could have been doing custom home building, yet he wanted to build skateboard ramps. In this case a person's dreams came true. But the format was completely differnent. Mike was driven and dedicated. He knew there were things that he could not do, he occassionally listened to advice and occassionally used it. And BAM! It all paid off.
I think I will try to give Mike a call.




8 comments:

bryan said...

I was searching for the distant past on google for toke team. It all started with Heh-man, Tobin, Ayers, Martinson, and Gordon - later there were some others alot more happened later. I'm glad to have been there and glad to have excaped too! It was a non-stop ledgend, a museam of impossibly rad articals. The alcohol got me. But I survived the TT miraculously and dissapeared to montana after getting sober. I STILL SKATE and if anyone is interested martinson is living in these primitive new age yurt things in Montana - inventing the sickest kaleidoscopes the world has ever seen. Studied windows and electronic music. Laptop musician, mostly fruityloops and acid and ab-synth. Does computer hardware. Also the top secret authority on the Great Pyramid of Giza after he met this elderly Bahai master on mt Shasta in 1987(I kid you not) and in connection with that works out in the mountains planning to survive warld war 4 (which is just starting) somewhere in Canada living like american indians with an advanced tribe of cool herbalist hippy-witch chicks surviving on wild plants hunting with crossbows before moving to central russia for the Earth changes - end of the world. It's kind of interesting to hear about the blair farm as I wonder what happened to those guys, if they survived, but I found out here and also after the fact - interesting.

TokeTeamOriginal said...

Sorry to the above "Bryan"...uh...Martinson is it(?) but you are completely wrongo when you state "It all started with Heh-man, Tobin, Ayers, Martinson, and Gordon - later there were some others alot more happened later." You list your own name as a Toke Team member which is a joke and you didn't even get close on the names either. Dan HEYMAN was a Toke Team member but not an original-he is to this day the "Keeper of the Toke Team Pics"; Mike Tobin was not an official Toke Team member, John AIRES was an original Toke Team member; Bryan Martinson wasn't even a Toke Team member, was never ever there when it "started" (lived way up in Belair, MD above Baltimore, in fact), was best off skating freestyle "tricks" on flat land, had a drinking problem BEFORE he tried to hang with the Toke Team, never made the cut on vert/pools; Mark Gordon was a short timer and much like the hanger on Bob "Blob" Blair who still wishes he was a member!

Here you will find some of the "true" history of the "East Coast Toke Team" from one of the ORIGINAL Toke Team member's archives though I could write several novels on our complete antics since it's inception. Started in 1978, the official Toke Team members consisted of; John Aires, Dan Heyman and Brian Sullivan out of P-Town (Potomac, MD). Those are the THREE East Coast Toke Team members...period. No, there wasn't any "later there were some others". Yeah, just maybe there were some other wannabee "Toke Teamers" and, again, they didn't make the cut but as you see here still to this day throw our team's name around like they own it. I am compelled to write this now to correct this heighnous wrong bestowed upon our prestigious team by, well,...losers and restore our true history.

Cont'd. below

TokeTeamOriginal said...

The History: Aires and Sullivan were neighbors and Heyman, who used to cut through their street to get to school, saw them skateboarding one day, joined in and they became skate rats together. I suppose Sullivan is never mentioned by the wannabees because he (and Aires to some degree) were the ones who wanted the team to be very exclusive and maintaining the high standards that made the original team members and their shredding style so memorable 32 years later!! Sullivan is, in fact, the first Toke Team member to get any mentionable air above the then immense half pipes at "The Glass Wave". The name "East Coast Toke Team" came from a pair of t-shirts Aires and Sullivan picked up at 17th street Surf Shop in Virginia Beach, VA, hence the two original members. If we weren't sneaking into drained public/private pools to shred before school, shredding our own ramp (16' wide w/ 8' of vert on one side), skating the illegal reservior "Berts" off I95 in Bertonsville, MD or skating the drainage ditch behind the big ramp in the "regions" we had our eyeballs plastered on what the Dog Town team/Z-Boys Jay Adams, Tony Alva and Stacey Peralta were doing in Skateboader magazine and emulating their moves with our own hard core twist. Heyman and Sullivan started building the "Toke Ramps" in the summer of '78 when Heyman had a broken kneecap (yes, full cast & still skating) and Aires was on a family vacation to Myrtle Beach. This initial ramp consisted of a sheet of 3/4 plywood layed over wood barriers at the end of our street but even that first day we were hanging one-wheelers off the end. Many interations followed but eventuallly this led to the 16' monster "Toke Ramp" w/ 8' of vert located at the bottom of our hill on our street. We had heard that the Blair boys had set up a ramp in their home driveway and the Toke Teamers went over to check it out (kinda lame & dangerous-slapped together w/ street signs and rotten plywood). Unimpressed but always ready to shred we did just that. Somehow Blob got invited over to our ramp and he was a hanger on ever since. As you state somewhat incorrectly "Each individual member was more like a cartoon character...(Wiggy-NOT a Toke Teamer, Tobin-NOT, Puker-Ha! NOT!, Hayman Yes!!, Bob Blair NOT...was Micro[man] an official member? NOT even!)". In fact none of these listed except Heyman was an official Toke Team member just truly wannabee cartoon characters and problem children. It is fairly accurate to describe the ORIGINAL Toke Team as "like Hells Angels on Skateboards. It was all about living large and crashing hard. Adrenalin junkies long before the word EXTREME came into vogue." "Hard Core" was our mantra for whatever we were doing at the time - plain and simple. It was pretty funny but when we entered skate contests we were referred to as the East Coast Tote Team so as to not piss off the parental units therein.

TokeTeamOriginal said...

Cont'd...
The monster Toke Ramp was consistently shredded daily by the THREE Toke Team members - frontside/backside micro one-wheelers, cess slides, aerials and seeing how high up the 8' of vert we could get. We were doing just what the Z-boys were doing in CA at the time and more. Some of the Z-boys even came to our skatepark in G-burg (Gaithersburg, MD) while on tour and we absorbed their vibe fully. Soon we had many ooglers at the ramp which included some of the hottest upper class babes from our H.S but the monster ramp was an attraction to dirts too. Ya know the type - a-holes who would f'd up Friday night and try to drive their rich Daddy's 4X4s up the ramp and eventually gave it a bad name. The "county" folks warned us to dismantle the ramp before they did so we took a chain saw, cut it in half, dragged it to the top of the street and put the two sides together to form a half-pipe (well, heh...we did dismantle it). This configuration lasted a while until we came home from school one day to find just splinters of wood, nails and some scrape marks on the asphalt - the county took the Toke Ramp away!!! There were other ramps/parks that we shredded too (A-Town, Cherry Hill, the OC Bowl, Crofton, The Glass Wave (Sullivan worked as a skate guard there) pool park Oasis in San Diego but the big "Toke Ramp" was headquarters for the Toke Team. After getting out of H.S. the Toke Team took our act down to Ocean City, MD too (more chapters here as well). The original East Coast Toke Teamers are still skating, surfing and snowboarding to this day. Heyman's home turf is Crofton Skate Park were Blob still clings on. He actually offered some official Toke Teamers a job making boards for him but knowing how Blob was we wisely declined (sorry you got sucked over the falls tho'). Currently, Aires and Sullivan live up in the wilds of PA.

We still hear Blob's slowly slurred whinings from Crofton to "come rejoin the Toke Team" but we three only laugh knowing who the real Toke Teamers are and Blob ain't one of us! Blob being included as one of the original East Coast Toke Team members does indeed tarnish our long-lived and hard earned reputation of being early on old school, HARD CORE and dedicated shredders be it skate, surf or snowboarding. Blob always offhandedly lobbed out the Toke Team name anytime he wanted respect and it ended up being cited here so I just couldn't let it go without stating the FACTS - Blob and the rest ain't no East Coast Toke Teamers not then and not now!!!

Later,

One of the THREE ORIGINAL Toke Teamers

mike lemmon said...

Do Me, Carey and Tim Day count? Billy Orem? Raelly? C'mon Fang, I know it's an exclusive club, but sheesh, can't we all get along?

I think that time line on the big toke ramp is wrong. We skated that senior year in 78.

skatedog said...

I met those Toke Team dudes in Ocean City, MD in like '78 or '79at a fiberglass skatepark when I was there on summer vacation with my folks. I remember Hayman and also a dude they called Eggman that wore a East Coast Toke Team shirt too. Wasn't he one of your guys? Those guys shredded that park in O.C.. and seemed like they were living up to their name out in the parking lot between runs too if you know what I mean.

Dee said...

My husband bought an east coast toke team shirt in va beach around 1977-78 and he still has it to this day!!
Dee

Dee said...

My husband and I used to live in Norfolk and back in 1977-78 he bought an east coast toke team t- shirt. We still have it!!
Dee