A group of skateboarders loitered in the parking lot by a Chevron on the corner of Mendocino Avenue and Steele Lane on a recent Friday night stealing sips from beers hidden in backpacks and grinding on freshly-waxed curbs.
A Santa Rosa police cruiser rolled by in the dark about 50 yards away but didn’t pay the skaters — most of whom have already sprouted a few gray hairs — much attention.
The men are a part of the 1030 Club who get together to skate at parking lots under streetlights throughout Santa Rosa. This is, of course, after they put the kids to bed and promise their wives they’ll be home before midnight.
“We skate after 10 p.m. and we’re over 30 (years old),” said Jacques Law, 37, of Santa Rosa. “That’s how we came up with the name: the 1030 Club.”
The club formed around May 2016 with a group of dads who had continued skating by teaching their kids, after many of the friends they grew up with in the 1990s had long since quit. The men knew each other from skateparks and being around town for years before they formed an official skate crew of five.
There’s Law, aka Jakes, probably the most talented in the group at kick flips and other flip tricks. In his day job, Law teaches visually impaired people computer skills at the Earle Baum Center.
Other members include Klaus Rappensperger, aka Von Schnitzel, 41, a Santa Rosa-based metal fabricator and artist; Eric Gardea, aka Elbows, 45, of Windsor, who owns and operates the Santa Rosa Barbershop on 4th Street; Uriah Green, aka UG, 39, of Santa Rosa, who’s a union carpenter; Mike Minard, aka Nards, 29, of Santa Rosa, who is the only exception in the group being under 30 years old, not married and without kids of his own.
Then there’s William Tobler, aka One-Eyed Willy, 39, of Santa Rosa. Why One-Eyed Willy? Well, when he was a child a friend’s older brother replaced the suction cup at the end of a foam dart with a needle and shot him with a toy gun in the right eye, taking his vision.
Members of the 1030 Club are still unsure of what Tobler does for a living, but they hoot and holler when he barrels his skateboard into a curb and smoothly lands a 50-50 slappy grind with his 200-plus pound frame.
“This is part exercise and part therapy,” Rappensperger said. “We get the blood flowing but it’s also a great place to talk about life, parenting and saying things you can’t around the family.”
During a break from skating Tobler brought up the struggles he has faced trying to potty train his three-year-old son.
“I try to bribe him with ice cream,” he said. “‘Poop in the toilet and you’ll get ice cream,’ I tell him.”
Rappensperger, who has 15-year-old and four-year-old daughters, shook his head and said M&M’s are better for potty training, more economical. The two then cheered when Gardea landed a noseslide on the curb and hopped on their boards to take turns.
“In a skatepark you’ll get a shoulder shrug for doing something you think is cool,” Gardea said. “But these guys cheer you on after grinding a 6-inch curb like you just nailed a huge trick.”