|Well, this is kinda a trick question for me. No bull, my first skateboard in 1962 had steel wheels and no trucks at all. We used to go down the entry ramps of I-94 while it was still under construction and the freeway still stopped at the Detroit city limits. We didn't even know pads were an option so road rash was relatively common.
When I started vert sk8ing it was because then 6 year old Jay had a board and wanted to go to a park. We did, but....try as I might I couldn't stay on it. I was on a traveling roller hockey team at the time so I figured ".. you can skate what's the big deal whether it's inside or outside?" So my first bowl was on skates with wooden wheels. That performance proved less than stellar so I cannabalized a pair of Bauer hockey skates and mounted wheels and trucks from a skateboard. TAH DAH. I was a vert skater. Nobody called it that in 1975 though, mostly I just got wierd looks and a wide berth from the shredders. The only other skater I knew was my little brother Ernie and he was an excellent right winger but quickly decided this cement hardness testing hobby of mine wasn't for him.
Then Fred Blood came to our corner of the world. Jay was absolutely geeked and made me promise to take him when Fred came to our home park, Endless Summer in Roseville Michigan. I would have taken him too except two days before during an exhibition I had a slight medical setback. So.......although the reconstructive surgery was complete I was still in BiCounty hospital when Freddy came and Robin took Jay to watch. Fred was great, signed autographs, even took time to pay respects to me in the hospital. For a very busy teenager he showed a lot of character. So I guess Fred was an influence even though I never saw him skate before we skated together at RollerCon.
Mostly though it's got to be my son Jay. If it weren't for him I might still be trading punches with defensemen and spending my time in the penalty box instead of the skatepark. Jay had all the equiptment for me when I got to RollerCon and he knew what would happen once the sk8s were laced up again. Mostly he's a great skater, ten times the vert skater I was at my best, and a genuine good guy.