Wes Humpston inspired artwork by Lowcab!

New Film in Progress: Joe Popp Skates Again!

Film Synopsis:
After a 15-year hiatus from skateboarding, filmmaker and musician Joe Popp decides to return to the once counterculture activity that many older skaters still refuse to call a sport. Along his journey, Popp is surprised to find many people his own age doing exactly the same thing. In interviews with these fellow post-30 skaters, Popp analyzes how their views on skating and life have changed since the first time they skated. The film provides a comical, voyeuristic glimpse into Popp's struggle as he tries to lose weight, avoid injury, and accomplish a personal goal of completing the trick that eluded him in his youth: the frontside air - invented by his childhood hero, Tony Alva - in which a skater propels himself into the rarified air above the coping of an empty swimming pool.

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Middle Age Shred

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Skate Blog

Man, it has been a strange trip! I have not been here in almost a year. So much has happened since I started skating again. I rediscovered my passion for music and that is basically what I have been doing this past year. I am not sure that I will ever get around to making this movie but it has been a lot of fun along the way. Don't worry, I still have the tapes, and if I ever pop that air I will cut the film! I still have dreams of flying above the coping. I have met a lot of cool people and really learned a lot about myself. I started Popp Skates and that was a really fun thing to do as well.

Unfortunately, I had to give up my precious Autumn Bowl key back in December which was my main place to skate and very therapeutic. I will miss it but I could not justify the $100 a month and only go 2 or 3 times. I have a family now...

I have a new band called The Hornrims and we played out September 8th. It was great to be onstage again. The Bubble Boy musical In The Bubble went pretty well but no one is looking to produce it in the near future but it was cool working with so many great people. I don't really fit into the theater world but it was a good time.

In sadder news, my old drummer Jeff Wood passed away. It was a crushing thing to lose an old band mate and I will miss him. Please visit his tribute site here.

I have not quit skateboarding, I am just taking a break like I did with music. I will be back shredding before you know it. In the mean time take a look at the old postings and my journey back to the skateboard. I guess this is so long for now - this is one of the few projects that I have left unfinished (at least for now) yet somehow still very satisfied because the journey is what made it fun.

Buy some Popp Skates stuff - I need the bread!!!!

My last exit from the Autumn Bowl - picture by Nelson...


I have not skated since last Saturday, but in an effort to improve my overall health I have been doing Yoga 45 minutes everyday since Tuesday! This is crazy for me because I have never been into the whole Yoga aesthetic, but my wife had a tape laying around so I popped it in and here I am. I am pathetically not limber! Skating has not really helped get into shape because I am only going once a week. The tape is really funny. This dude Baron Baptiste provides all of this inspirational lingo to help you push your body further. Actually, it really makes me feel good. I used to moan and groan when just picking up my socks off the floor, and now I only moan...

I am getting the "I live too far form the bowl blues" lately because the Autumn Bowl is an hour each way on the train. I need to get my stoke fired back up and try to hit it twice a week.

This man is teaching me Yoga!!


I was feeling a little dragged down. I have yet to sell any Popp Skates decks. I sold a few shirts and some people took pity on me and bought some stickers, but it is a hard thing to start a skate company especially when you don't have the credibility of being a pro skater, or a scenester from back in the Dogtown era. I guess I have to try and think positive. If nothing else, I have enough decks to last the rest of my life!

I schlumped to the subway and hopped the 6 train, to the E train, to the G train, and walked the few blocks to the Autumn Bowl. It was a cool session. Justin was there again and played music over the sound system on his iPod. I only skated for about 45 minutes, but it was a great stress reliever.

Some girl with a french accent came up to the gate at the bowl and said, "Hey we are with a film crew do you mind if we check out the location?" Justin and I looked at each other. I said, "I don't think so." Her face seemed to say "What? Who wouldn't want us to film?". I was worried someone would fall into the bowl and then sue and close down the bowl, but I think I really didn't let her in because the Autumn Bowl is a pure place for skaters not film makers looking for a cool scene. It is not luxurious, clean, or even convenient, but it is here to skate for people who are willing to make the sacrifice of paying the rent and making the trek over whatever crazy route they need to take to get to it.

I guess I get a little tired of people exploiting things. I myself have been accused of exploiting skateboarding to make this film, but here I am, still skateboarding almost 3 years later. I really have not been shooting much video - I just want to skate and not be bothered by dragging around the video camera. I am just fighting to skate and have a good time...

Not for exploitation on my watch...


A very strange thing about my sporadic skateboarding is that I have this small community of people that I keep running into. It's not very frequent but every so often I see people that I met when I first started. One girl, Tamara, who I think I saw my second time after returning to skateboarding 2 1/2 years ago, showed up at the Autumn Bowl.

Tamara has her own key and it was good to talk to her. I told her about my new company and offered to give her a board. I continued on to talk about my loss of stoke for the skateboarding. After our chat I felt relieved - like I just needed to vent to somebody. After my rant about getting old, being poor, and complaining about how far away the bowl was we proceeded to have a great mellow session.

She plugged in her phone and plyed some cool music and we skated and did not really say much to each other. It was a really great time just getting all of that stuff out to someone who understands when and how I started. I got some nice crave grinds but I must admit I miss the mini ramp. It closed a few months ago and it was really helping me progress. Now I am forced o dare tricks in the trickier transition of the bowl. Hell, maybe it's good for me...

Back when the Mini was first refurbished - I miss it badly...


I gave Nelson a Popp Skates PIG yesterday at the session and he sent me pictures of it set up. It looks really cool! I guess I will have to put him on the Popp Skates Team...

Nelson's Popp Skates PIG


Nelson is on the heal and decided to come skate with me at the Autumn Bowl. His face looks markedly better to say the least. His tear duct is damaged and it is bothering him a little bit, but he skated harder than ever. Nelson is a true adventurer and is always doing something extreme like mountain biking, skating, or riding his Aprilia RS250 (a motorcycle I made him promise to will to me in case of his untimely death). I have been following MotoGP motorcycle racing as of late and I dream of getting a bike again, but my past is checkered with motorcycle wrecks starting from the age of 17. I will wisely remain off of a bike until I move to someplace in the desert.

This guy Justin whom I have seen before showed up and took interest in the Popp Skates PIG. He rode it around and was killing it. He skated like a rocket and hit so many lines. He did a ton of really cool long double truck grinds and really psyched the PIG to it's limit. I wish I had shot some footage! After the session, Nelson and I headed over to this little polish restaurant that has cheap but delicious food. It always cool hanging with Nelson. We have many of the same interests and he is knowledgeable about many topics making for great conversation.

Nelson is lucky to have a street legal Aprilia RS250 like this one...

10.14.06 My good skate bro Nelson said he could not skate and sent me this picture. He was riding his mountain bike and crashed his face into a rock. He wears glasses and the wire frame of the glasses just sliced into his face. He warned me about the picture before he sent it but I was not prepared for the horror! Nelson got it stitched up and says he will skate soon. Until then - stay off of the mountain bike Nelson!!!

This is the Gnarliest picture I have ever seen! Nelson meets a rock...


I am kind of bummed. I did not get a chance to skate this weekend. I had family events to tend to and I just felt too lazy to go. I have been letting myself go a little bit. For a while I was skating twice a week and starting to get pretty good but, I am lucky to get to skate once a week. Now that I have all of the product for Popp Skates, I can focus on getting back to skating more, having fun, and shooting the movie.

I rebuilt the whole Popp Skates website and updated the webstore. I feel like a troll hunched over my computer and my posture is starting to suffer. At work, I am on a computer most of the time too so I need to focus on sitting up straight and taking breaks.

Geez, another whiny post - OK, the next one I will return to the fun loving Joe Popp you all know and love...

I will leave on an up note with a picture of the new boards on the streets...

The PIG and the POPPsicle pictured from where I came...THE STREETS!!!


I stayed home from work today because I had a touch of the flu. It was a good thing I did because the Popp Skates PIG decks were accidentally shipped to my apartment and not to my usual shipping address at work. It has been a battle to get these boards finished. I started the idea of the board company back in May and it has taken this long with production problems and delays to finally get all of the merchandise together.

I now have PIG boards, POPPsicles (new school shaped 8.5" decks), T-shirts in black and white, stickers, and even really nice business cards. I have spent a ton of money which is kind of stupid for a man struggling to support a wife and a family, but I am always throwing new ideas at the ceiling hoping something will stick. My wife Rachelle is so awesome. She always tells me to go for it no matter what crazy idea I have. The only thing she has said no to is me buying a motorcycle. I think this is because I have had 4 motorcycle wrecks before and she loves me so much she just does not want me to die. Sure I can get hurt skateboarding but it's pretty hard to get hit by a truck inside of the Autumn Bowl.

I have a great deal of passion for many things and this leads to a "master of nothing" kind of persona that I have. Most people that are really great at something do that one thing and that one thing only. Sure everybody has hobbies. Bernie Williams of the Yankees plays guitar, and Ewan McGregor rides motorcycles but these hobbies seem a sideline to the passion that they have for their main gig. Success seems directly tied to perseverance. Sure you need talent but it is the people that just hang with it for years that are the ones that achieve greatness in their field.

Unfortunately, there are many people that persevere to no fruition and this is the curse of passion without recognition. That is sort of what I went through with my musical career. I felt like I had some recognition but I couldn't make a living at doing it. How good was I really? If I stuck it out longer would I have become a famous songwriter?

I am going to try and persevere with the movie, skating, and Popp Skates as long as I can but I am not sure it is in the cards. Maybe I'm just the way I am...

Finally the Popp Skates PIG!!!


Nelson came over today and we headed over the the Autumn Bowl for a session. Nelson is a great guy and has a lot of fun skating. He is also an engineer so we have a lot of great conversations about many things. He always thinks very carefully how he sets up his boards and has definite opinions on geometry of trucks, wheels contact patches, and things most other skaters never talk about. I love this stuff because I have always been a gear head with anything I have ever owned.

My current skateboard is a Factory13 board 5 ply with formica on top and bottom. The reissue Powell Peralta Bones Mini-Cubics are not very tech but are packed with Rockin' Ron's Ceramic bearings. The Independent 149 trucks I skate have been modified by myself to house Grind King Titanium king pins. All of this stuff was very expensive, but it's some kind of strange mindset that I have that commands that my gear be the best. It was the same when I played in a band. I needed a Mesa-Boogie with a 412 cabinet and my Fender Telecasters all had custom routed bridges so Seymour Duncan '59 Humbuckers could be installed.

All of these things have very little to do with me becoming a good skater (or a good guitar player) but it's part of the fun for me. Getting to work on my board and talk about the new parts and things I have tried with a guy like Nelson.

The session was a little rough because I went to my friend Bob's bachelor party the night before. I didn't stay out too late but I drank a pretty good bellyful of beer and I was slightly hung over. This is the worst way to skate. I actually hate it. I have just been drinking most of my life that it is a hard habit to break. Not the actual drinking but the social aspect that comes with drinking. What else do you do with your friends? You don't get together and write a movie script you go to have a few beers and BS for a few hours. It kind of removes you from the toil and strife of the day. It's anti-work and I guess it's good in moderation but I have a hard time moderating.

I did end up getting some good backside grinds but without the use of the Mini Ramp I am afraid I will lose my 50-50 skills.

The battle to become a decent skater marches on...

I always want the best...like the Mesa Boogie MKIII...