On my first plane trip for Transworld Skateboarding Magazine in the summer of 1983, I somehow found my way to Orlando with a group of skaters and went with them to Burdines Fashion Square Shopping Mall. The thing that set Burdines apart from countless shopping malls in the U.S. was that it was lined on two sides by skateable contour-tiled walls with several doorways interspersed here and there.
As most of you know, skateboarding is an unlawful activity in most
municipalities, and much of it is practiced under the cover of darkness. It is very much like a commando raid, flying low under the radar of security and law enforcement types and getting in, getting the photos, and getting out. Time is of the essence and getting caught can ruin a good time and even get expensive, with trespassing tickets or even jail time.
Our Orlandian host and skate guide Tim Scroggs knew the lay of the land and lead our California crew to Burdines for some midnight fun. He warned us that we would have only a few minutes to skate and shoot between rounds by the "No-Fun" security truck. Neil Blender, Billy Ruff, and a few others took turns pushing like mad across the parking lot and getting as high as they could carve noisily across the rippled tiles and over the doorways. As soon as we saw the headlights of the security truck coming around the corner, we knew our short fling was over and that it was time to get the hell out and count ourselves fortunate to be among the skaters to have skated that legendary spot.
I was hoping that we would be able to return in the future, but as so many skate spots end up, Burdines was rendered unskateable by the powers that be. The shot of Billy riding over Neil was published in the mag, but the others never ran.
A few printed images of Neil Blender and Billy Ruff from that day are featured in my online store jgrantbrittainphotos.com
v Billy Ruff rides over the protruding door hinges as the Midnight bell tolls.