Crown Chronicles: The SUPRA Team Photo
JANUARY 05, 2012
Last year, the SUPRA team embarked on a European tour. The tour marked the first time in the company’s recent history that the entire team would be traveling together. So it was decided, long before the tour had even been booked, that a team photo would be shot in London.
“It’s a pretty big and amazing team right now,” Erik Ellington said, “and to go from where it was with just me and Tom [Penny] at day-one six years ago and see that everybody is proud to ride for it—it’s cool to see that it’s grown to be what it is.”
The photo was a year in the making and marks not only a remarkable moment for SUPRA, but also for the history of skateboarding, and we’re proud to be able to kick off 2012 with this image. Although, a freak accident nearly prevented the photo from being taken.
“I was working with James Suckling on the location,” Shad Lambert, SUPRA photographer, said. “We wanted a grimy street shot with the whole team. And he was like, ‘What about this spot? What about that spot?’ And then he mentioned the place where they filmed A Clockwork Orange. I was like, ‘The place where they beat up the bums?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, that’s right over here.’”
Shad described the location as a dark tunnel in a peculiar area of London where a lot of freeways converge, and it’s no more inviting now than it was then. In the movie, an old drunk lies against the bank with an empty pint of rotgut at his side singing “Molly Malone” when Alex and his droogs arrive.
“One thing I could never stand,” Alex says in the voice over, “was to see a filthy, dirty, old drunky howling away at the filthy songs of his fathers and going blurp blurp in between, as it might be a filthy old orchestra in his stinking, rotten guts. I could never stand to see anyone like that, whatever his age might be, but especially when he was real old like this one was.”
It’s the first instance in the film of the “ole ultra violence.” And, strangely enough, the SUPRA team was to experience a little ultra violence of their own in that dim, dark tunnel in the middle of London.
Jim Greco, backside ollie.
It was a cold, rainy, London morning as the team piled into the van and drove to the location. Once they’d arrived, everyone milled about, chatting, shaking off the night before, as Shad set up for the photo. There were no dirty old drunkies in the tunnel, but it wasn’t hard for anyone to imagine one lying there singing an Irish tune. It was a perfect location with a lot of character and filled with the romance of decay. Before they began shooting, however, a horrifying scream filled the chilly morning air.
“We all hear someone start damn near crying,” Terry Kennedy said. “It was Muska. We’re like, ‘Muska, what happened? What happened?’ He’s like, ‘I broke my finger off!’ Sure enough, it damn near got ripped off like he put it inside a garbage disposal.”
It turned out, while everyone was standing around waiting to take the photo, Muska decided to use the opportunity to skate the banks for a minute.
“I was like, oh lemme try a tre flip on the bank real quick,” Muska said. “I throw my board down, hit the bank, go to do a tre flip, but right as I’m about to catch my board in the air, my finger goes in this crack, this perfect hole in the ceiling. In a million years you could never try to ollie and stick your finger in this stupid hole. It just went perfectly right in there, and as I was catching my board in the air, it just rips it backwards and physically yanked me back and kept me from rolling down the bank. I just hit the ground and I looked at my finger, I was like, FUUUUUCK! I RIPPED OFF MY FUCKING FINGER! I just started screaming like crazy. It looked like it was going to fall off, you know what I mean? I was so bummed.”
“I thought his finger was still stuck up there,” Ellington said. “I was like, yeah, that’s the sound you’d probably make if that happened. It was pretty gnarly.”
Muska’s finger was indeed pretty gnarly and in need of medical attention. Understandably, he was more interested in a hospital than a team photo. “It was almost cancelled because of him ripping his finger off,” Terry said. Fortunately, the team was able to calm Muska down and convinced him to tough it out for a minute so they could get the shot. Chad’s a trooper, so he manned up and obliged.
Ali Boulala admiring The Muska's makeshift bandage.
“I guess it’s pretty expensive to get the whole SUPRA team together in London in one place at one time,” Muska laughed. “So we wrapped my finger up with, like, a club flyer, a plastic bag, and a dirty t-shirt—ghetto rigged it. I’m like, I’m getting gangrene or something.”
The photo was taken, Chad made it to the hospital where they stitched up his dislocated fingertip, and everyone had a jolly good time.
“Dude, we had a good time that day,” Terry said. “There was so much behind that photo, but I’m glad we all got together with the whole team and got it done. It’s so monumental, you know? Mumford, Penny, everybody, cats like that, for me, it was so monumental.”