It’s hard to nail down exactly what skateboarding means to all those who have practiced what for much of its early evolution was not even recognized as a sport, but for the legions of skateboarders who grew up idolizing the likes of Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta and Tony Hawk, skateboarding has always translated to a lifestyle and an attitude.
In Miami Inverted, a memoir by Florida skater, former Bones Brigader and Walker team rider Robbie Weir, Weir (now 40) takes us back to when life revolved around Tracker Trucks, Rector shorts and sweaty days at the local skatepark. In straightforward and unadorned prose, Miami Inverted recalls Weir’s lifelong involvement with the skateboard culture.
From his spot in a Burger King commercial at the age of 13 to his amazing return to competitive vertical skating in his mid 30s, Weir’s book, part anecdotal recall and part scrapbook, views the sport of skateboarding through the eye of a veteran insider who took his lumps along the way.
Weir’s skateboarding career began in South Florida, where he honed his vertical skills in the bowls, half pipes and snake runs at the Runway Skate Park in Perrine (just south of Miami). His experience at the Runway set the foundation for Miami Inverted.
The Runway was the biggest skatepark in the Miami area during the ’70s skatepark boom. Sometimes known as the “kinkway” due to its bumpy transitions, the park, which was open from 1977-1980, spawned a host of hot local skaters, including Monty Nolder, later sponsored by Santa Cruz Skateboards, the smooth riding Shawn Webster, freestyler extraordinaire Robert Rodrigues (who invented the rolling finger flip impossible and the 540 cross leg impossible), the inimitable Tracy Ramos (see page 140 for the mug shot of all mug shots) and a host of others, Weir included.
These Florida skaters formed a skateboard collective that on many levels rivaled the dedication, skill and style of the famous Z-boys from Dogtown and the much touted California scene. The fact that the West Coast skateboard companies eventually sponsored some of these Florida skaters (including Weir and Nolder) acknowledges the buzz that they created.
Weir’s lifelong ride, as chronicled in the book, afforded him the opportunity to meet and skate with a young Tony Hawk, Florida’s legendary Alan “Ollie” Gelfand (inventor of the ollie air, which has long been a stock skate maneuver), Mike McGill, Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain, Stacy Peralta and numerous others in the skateboard pantheon. Later in his life, Weir’s work in the modeling industry found him working with Heidi Klum and Ty Pennington, among others. Prior to finding fame as the star of Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, Pennington, a sometime model, worked for Weir or more than one occasion as a motorcoach driver.
The story includes Weir’s heartfelt relationship with his brother, Scott (who was born with cerebral palsy and to whom the book is dedicated), his enduring fame following his appearance in a Burger King commericial (for which he received the nickname “the Burger King kid”) his ups and downs in his personal life, his various entrepreneurial experiences and, most engagingly, his lifelong dedication to skateboarding, which still brings him peace of mind and soul.
For those who have lost skin and bones to concrete dreams, Miami Inverted is a fun and easy read that might even prompt you to dust off the old deck for a day and hit the local bowl.
Check out old school Florida skateboard legends (many of whom are featured and/or mentioned in Miami Inverted) at: www.floridaskater.com