Craig Grasso stalls a no-footed abubaca on top of a shopping cart at the Fatburger Banks on PCH in Redondo Beach, as shot by Spike Jonze in 1988. And below is not the actual bank in the Grasso photo but it's the bank that would be under Grasso's foot in the original photo, near the back of the building. (I tried cropping the actual bank into this square and it just looked like a random piece of pavement, but I can assure you that it's the same location.) These days, I feel like modern BMX is all about the trick being pulled on video, with style, execution and the various characters within BMX taking a backseat to the trick getting done. And that approach kinda sucks. I want to see the characters in BMX, I want to see the various styles, and if it comes with a sick new trick, even better. Freestylin' Magazine understood that, and pushed Craig Grasso's riding and personality onto the readers because he wasn't just there to pull the trick — he was a character, with style, that was pushing BMX in a new direction. The homogenized Insta BMX generation of today have no idea.
Admittedly, this location looks completely different between 1988 and now, but look at the bricks lining The Strand — they're exactly the same. This was shot in Hermosa Beach originally in 1988, and after seriously studying photos of Rick Moliterno riding a Hutch Trick Star in an older how-to from 1986, I recognized the yellow awning above Park Carter's back wheel. I then googled the signage, found an address and ultimately stumbled onto the location thinking to myself that this couldn't be right. But, the red bricks on The Strand match up perfectly and I'm going with it. I don't ever know what became of Park Carter, but the trick was insane, so the wardrobe and bike setup was eventually emulated by myself at age 14. I never did figure out how to do backwards Miami hop-hops though. I may be wrong here also, but I think the same dude also did one-footed scuffing puppets, basically sitting on the headtube, scuffing the back wheel with his other foot off, which blew me away.
In 1988 and 1989, Craig Grasso was part of the first generation of BMX riders to be documented pursuing a 'new' discipline within BMX: street riding. Because he was progressive, stylish, rebellious and not afraid to smash up a good sprocket, the editors of Freestylin' Magazine naturally turned their cameras on him at every obstacle Grasso adapted his riding to, including this bank to rock in Hermosa Beach, California, as shot by Spike Jonze sometime in late 1988. By the early '90s, Grasso had faded from the scene but his influence remains to this day. In fact, I even did a sweeper on that bank to rock to pay tribute (made tougher by the railroad ties at the bottom of the bank.) A few years back, Grasso fled on foot from a routine traffic stop in Vermont and was then caught by police in NYC. From what I can gather, he spent almost two years in prison, turned to Jesus and entered into a rehabilitation facility. My whole time in Redondo and Hermosa, I felt like I was chasing Craig Grasso's ghost. I think it's pretty cool that he's confronting his own.