The invention of the polyurethane wheel in 1972 literally reinvented the wheel for the modern skateboard. While Team Zephyr etcetera were tearing up the empty pools of the west coast, it wasn’t for another decade that underground skateboarding began to seep into the cul-de-sacs of suburban America. More than just a surfer fad, skateboarding echoed the defiant self-expression of the nation’s youth subcultures. So it was no surprise then, that the sport often gravitated toward the thriving punk movements of the era. Ever the locale for political discomfort, Washington DC under Reagan was a mecca of punk and hardcore, with bands like Minor Threat and Bad Brains setting the nation’s pulse. Obviously, the skate culture came along with it.
The only problem was, in DC there was nowhere to skate. The short-lived scene saw a demise in the mid 80s, with the closing of the city’s only parks and backyard ramps. That was, until the Cedar Crest Country Club. Located in the middle of a forest in Centreville, Virginia, the half-pipe was built in March 1986 on the property of a golf club. The property owner’s son was given free-reign on expenses, resulting in the construction of a ramp like none other. Besides its behemoth-like qualities, the most notable feature of the ramp was its steel bottom, which ensured maximum speed and higher air time. There was nothing else in the country like it at the time, and it was free to ride if you could make the hour trek outside of the District.
Tony Hawk skates Cedar Crest
Before long, people from all over the world were dropping in at CCCC. Some of the world’s greatest skaters, like Tony Hawk and Bucky Lasek, all came out to skate. Camping was allowed, and people started showing up for the punk shows they had on the ramp. Bad Brains played, along with Government Issue, GWAR, and Scream (with a young Dave Grohl on drums). Fugazi was scheduled to play CCCC for one of their earliest shows, but the cops broke it up during the opener’s set (evening skating resumed, however).
Blood and Steel: Cedar Crest Country Club is a new documentary that explores the history of Cedar Crest Country Club, up until its foreclosure in 1992. The film is slated for a tentative 2017 release. Watch the teaser trailer below.
Two-day skate jam with Bad Brains and Scream at CCCC
Scream plays the ramp (with Dave Grohl on drums)
An early show with GWAR at CCCC
‘Blood and Steel’ film teaser
Newscast on CCCC from 1986
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Black and white pictures of famous people on skateboards
Radical skateboarding video shot in NYC in 1985
Bad Brains live at CBGB 1982: 58 minutes of hardcore bliss
A mockumentary from 1966 on the evils of skateboarding