By: Donny Williams
We had a great weekend of filming and skating in Savannah, Georgia. But like most great things, our trip began with a few minor setbacks.
After an uneventful 8 hour drive, Nick Jones was ready to eat and ready to rip. He hit me up with a confident, “I’m here!” text.
I sent a quick reply from across town. “Oh, shoot. I’m not. You’re an hour early! Be back at my house ASAP.”
And I thought I had screwed up, but MEANWHILE: Justin Bright messaged our group text.
“We forgot to pick up Lambert,” Justin said. The message was short and definitive. Not an LOL in sight.
“What?” I asked.
Jack Darby chimed in with a more concrete explanation. “Lambert’s house was on my way to Justin’s place, but I mixed up Justin and Lambert’s addresses. Before I knew it, I was at Justin’s house-Three hours away from Lambert.”
Around this time, Nick and I had rendezvoused at my apartment. Lambert Russell alerted the group chat of plan B. “Bout to fly.”
“Drive Slow, homie,” I texted, but Lambert did no such thing and he arrived in Savannah in record time.
Fast forward to 12:30 AM. The team settled in on my living room couches. Brinker Long, my good friend & Savannah’s fastest downhiller, offered to drive the gang to grab some fast food. Thanks to Georgia’s road ‘safety’ laws, the OS boys piled into the back of Brinker’s pick-up truck and hit the highway. My apartment is no less than 3 minutes from Cook-Out, the fast food jewel of the southeast. The team ate there no less than 5 times in 2 days. I might just go vegetarian one day, but I admit that I threw animal rights to the wind in exchange for some Big Double Burgers that weekend.
Our next stop was my soon-to-be Alma Mater, Armstrong State University campus. We shredded the student union’s beautiful ivory plaza for no more than 15 minutes before a campus rent-a-cop politely asked us to GTFO. I ollied a big gap and didn’t stop pushing until we reached my apartment.
We awoke at a timely hour the next morning and loaded everything into my car’s trunk. Or, at least made a good effort to do so.
“All these boards are not gonna fit,” Nick said as we played deck Tetris with more Apexes and Arbiters than anyone had ever seen outside of Original HQ.
“Lets just take my car,” Nick insisted, right as my trunk finally latched shut. Nick compromised. “Okay, Fine. Shot gun.”
We arrived in downtown Savannah early that afternoon. I took the boys to a freshly paved hill with a sick sidewalk run boasting a sharp left-hand turn and hella features. We met up with Jonathan Hatala, possibly the most unique skater and road-skier in Georgia. Once the team had a chance to warm up, everyone’s style began to shine. Nick Jones is the smoothest criminal in our outfit, and his elaborate boneless tricks are enough to make a grown skater cry. Lambert Bowe is a force to be reckoned with on an Arbiter DK. Catch him in the next Thrasher Mag. Justin Bright is a no-comply mastermind, and Original OG Jack Darby makes slide bigspins look easy. Me? I twisted the hell out of my ankle right after we showed up, so I was just hauling ass, busting early grabs & avoiding flip tricks.
We played in traffic for several hours until the Nick, Jack & Justin stacked a handful of good clips. After evading police and wrestling Lambert’s board back from a stoked Savannah vagrant, the gang hit the road to meet up with Mark Howie, a longtime King of Kona participant & roots PVS skatecrew member from Jacksonville, Florida. Mark roadtripped to Savannah to shred with us and we couldn’t be more stoked! We hit the next hill to film and chill with a handful of locals like Nico Tedrick & Carson Dover. Finally, we ended our Saturday Skate session under Savannah’s world famous Tallmadge Bridge at a rather shreddable Jersey Barrier.
We returned to my apartment to shower and hibernate for a few hours in preparation for an absolutely absurd birthday bash. Dating back to my grandpa’s naked wine stomps, throwing a good party runs deep in the Williams family bloodline. My 23rd birthday was no less than a fantastic catastrophe full of debauchery and heinous shenanigans too damning to print. A potent mixture of bottom shelf (Below sea-level?) spirits, pineapple cranberry juice and a hefty dash of redbull made up the vile concoction that Justin or Jack nicknamed Donny Dasani. Those who watched the live-streamed mixing on SnapChat were pleasantly surprised with the mediocrity of this drink’s taste. Partygoers channeled their own new wave and rebranded the concoction Donny Tsunami as the night went on.
Around 5 am, the tidal wave had all but crashed. The whole team plus a few partygoing stragglers felt quite exhausted. A long winter’s nap was in order, but Nick and Lambert rustled the gang from their air mattresses at an untimely hour the next morning for our final day of filming. After chugging some of Nick’s Pedialyte, several glasses of water and possibly another beer, the boys tip-toed over snoring merrymakers and stumbled out the door to skate Savannah one last time.
We started our day at the same spot that Lambert would later land our video’s ender clip. The smooth pavilion at Forsyth Park is a hot skate spot known for its architecture and a long list of ticketed skaters. Our stoke must have kept the cops at bay long enough for my pal Mitchell McDuffie to bust a huge Nollie 180, and for Lambert to battle his infamous boneless 360 off a hefty ledge that was taller than Justin. Like a Hobbit in his hidey-hole, Jack hid beneath the stage as Lambert leaped off & got the perfect picture.
Jack and I filmed a doubles line, and then the team drove across the Tallmadge Bridge to South Carolina in search of an abandoned factory. We parked near the barbwire gate, but a stern security guard let us know that we could not come any closer. The team was bummed, but considering that getting to the top of the factory entailed a 30-story climb in the pitch black up a vertical fire escape (Don’t step on your friend’s fingers!), it may have been just as well that we filmed great flat ground lines outside the gate instead.
While across the water in South Carolina, we trespassed with no consequences at the Westin Hotel along the Savannah River. This scenic location offered beautiful shots and big, comfy lawn chairs for those of us who felt pretty broke-off by Sunday afternoon. Nick & Justin did some sick lines, I spent way too long filming a whacky finger flip down a 3-stair, and the whole team hurled some rocks in the direction of a startled tourist ferry for tradition’s sake.
When we finally ran out of breath and film, the team limped back to my car. We returned to my house to relax and watch old surfing VHS’s on my couch while recounting our favorite parts of the weekend. One by one, the team parted ways until we reunited again in Gainesville, Florida a few months later to film the next chapter.