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Skateboarder Jeff King gets back to basics

DEL MAR — Many remember Jeff King destroying his home in Encinitas two years ago. 

For King, it was a last hurrah. His Encinitas home, known as the Shred Ranch, was scheduled to be plowed over. King wasn’t a bad neighbor; he simply had to make room for nine luxury homes.

Before the wrecking ball hit, he converted his entire home into a makeshift skatepark and invited friends and pros to do what they do best — skate. The demolition party was filmed for “Built to Shred,” King’s television show that featured him transforming everyday terrain and trash into skateable ramps and rails. But as a double-whammy for King, the show was canceled about a year after Shred Ranch’s demise.

“The show was a ton of work, but I was sad to see it go,” King said of “Built to Shred.” “There was kind of a question mark after it ended.”

King currently lives with his wife, 3-year-old son and dog at his new Vista home, where a mini half pipe, rails, a chicken coupe, various crops and tools for woodworking can be spotted.

From the ashes of the Shred Ranch and his show, King is building his life up again. He’s even eyeing a return to his roots.

King will serve as the commentator and also bring some of his rails to a skateboard contest at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Oct. 6 during The Boardroom Surf Board Expo. It’s King’s way of testing the waters, as he’s thinking about resurrecting the rails that made him a local legend.

Prior to hosting “Built to Shred,” about a decade ago he started King Rails, a business that sold rails for skateboarders. Initially, he held “Flat Bar Fridays” at Moonlight Beach in part to promote his rails. But it soon became “about more than that,” King said. Every week for six years, hundreds gathered at the free events and skated rails that King provided.

“I never made any money on the flat bar event and invested a ton of time into it,” said King, who estimated there were more than 300 Flat Bar Fridays. “I took pride in what it was for our community. Alcohol, drugs and fighting weren’t allowed. It was about a bunch of kids getting together, staying out of trouble and just skating.”

Encinitas banned skateboarding at Moonlight Beach reportedly because of complaints from neighbors, though King is doubtful because “the feedback from everyone in the community was so positive,” he said.

Sheriff’s deputies were handing out tickets for skating at Moonlight. At that point, King decided it was time to focus his efforts on working with the city to build a big community skatepark.

That was in 2004, but the city only recently approved funding for the community skatepark.

“The whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth,” King said. “I went to council meeting after council meeting. And planning meetings, too. There was a lot of lip service, but no action.”

He said the goal is to have a safe place where kids can skate without causing problems. “It’s hard to believe it could take that long to put in a community park in a town with a reputation for being the best skate town out there.”

While waiting for a community skatepark, Flat Bar Fridays was held at other locations, but they were either banned or didn’t stick. The events stopped about five years ago.

“It bummed me out towards the end of it,” King said. “It meant and means a lot to me, and then to get yelled at and get in trouble for it was just really hard,” King said.

Feelings of bitterness linger, but King said he’s largely put the skatepark delay and the Moonlight Beach incidents behind him.

Now he’s considering taking “the magic” of public skateboarding events and starting a contest circuit centered around rails. Specifically, skateboarders would compete in games of S-K-A-T-E, skateboarding’s version of basketball’s H-O-R-S-E.

“One of the cool things that developed from Flat Bar Fridays is we were able to come up with a ratings system for a S-K-A-T-E game,” King said. “Skating on the flat ground is one thing, skating on flat bars is another thing entirely.”

He’s also looking at launching and supplying ramps and rails for skateboarding programs at local high schools and YMCAs.

“I’d like the YMCA of Oceanside, as one possible example, to have a set of easily moveable skate obstacles that can be stored in a small space,” King said.

“Kids who play football have a field, why not have a small space for skateboarders?” King added.

And King isn’t ruling out another season of “Built to Shred.” Fuel TV cancelled the show following four successful seasons because the network switched from extreme sports to primarily UFC programming. Producing the show with another network is a possibility, King said.

For now, King’s dormant flat bar session will come to life Saturday in a contest that’s part of the Boardroom International Surfboard Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“To see him announcing again is really exciting,” said Jim Bell, a friend and owner of Vista-based Aura Skateboarding, the company organizing the event. “I approached him because he knows how to get people excited.”

“I can’t say what he’ll do in the future, but I’d love to see him get back out there and do more flat bar events,” Bell added.

King, for his part, seems excited to once again set up rails and solidify his reputation as the MacGyver of skateboarding.

“A lot of people have been hitting me up about it (Flat Bar Fridays) over the years,” King said. “This opportunity just got me motivated. I can’t say for sure where it will go. In the meantime, I’m happy to be helping a friend put on a event.”

Admission to the surfboard show is $10. The skateboard contest, which begins at noon, includes two events, a mini ramp competition and a flat bar game of S-K-A-T-E. It’s $7 for one event or $10 for both. There is a $500 cash purse.


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1 comment

Josh S. October 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Your subscription policy, and lame popups still suck. Thankfully it’s easy to avoid. If you’re going to feed your content to google news, then let people read it…

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