By Terrence McCoy
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By Chuck Strouse
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Stack parks the van on a grassy lot near the entrance to Lawnwood Skate Park in Fort Pierce. "Now this park is awesome," he says as he climbs out of his ride. Levy, ready to go after his power nap, opens the side door and leaps out. "Lawnwood is definitely one of my favorite parks in Florida," he says.
Four years ago, during a nighttime downtown Miami skate session he had organized, Stack met Levy for the first time. "We instantly became friends," Stack says. "He is one of the most mature kids I have ever met in my life. You expect college kids who skate as much as he does to flunk out. He is a tremendous workaholic."
Hurtado pulls his Caddy behind the Chevy. "I don't think I am going home tonight," he quips as he surveys the skaters performing tricks on the roller-coaster stone landscape.
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If Stack represents the early days of skateboarding, Hurtado embodies the reckless attitude of the modern-day street boarder. He sports a platinum watch on his left wrist and a gold timepiece on his right. He wears baggy black jeans that hang ridiculously below his waistline and an oversize red T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of his skateboard company, Amaxon. "Skateboarding" in neat cursive lettering is tattooed on his right forearm; the other forearm reads, "For Life." He owns a skate shop in Hollywood and, along with Levy, manages the Coconut Grove skate park.
"Skateboarding is my lifestyle," Hurtado asserts. "It is a fantasy world where I can do whatever I want and still be a successful businessman."
As the three skaters don their protective gear, Stack urges Hurtado to try bungee skating. "Have you ever seen a jet shoot off an aircraft carrier?" the regal skater asks his younger peer.
"Yeah, I am not down with that," Hurtado retorts. "I'll stick to handrails and ramps."
When he gets on the subject of skateboarding, Stack speaks with the tender touch of a Buddhist yogi, passing on more than a quarter-century of knowledge to cats like Levy and Hurtado. "Skateboarding has always been considered antisocial by the mainstream," Stack sermonizes. "But every skater rolls with a crew, which is just another four-letter word for team. Just like baseball and soccer, there is a structure to skateboarding that makes it a real sport."
Ten minutes before 7 p.m. on October 15, Stack parks his Chevy next to another white van in the driveway of a single-story house in Pompano Beach. A thin, middle-aged man with shoulder-length brown hair and bushy eyebrows greets Stack and Levy as they put on their helmets and grab their boards. "Wait till you see what is in the back yard," Kurt Massinello says. "You guys are in for a treat."
The trio strolls through the home's wood gate to find Massinello's 15-year-old son, Titus, riding the walls of an empty kidney-shaped pool. "Oh, man, Paul is going to be so disappointed he stayed up in Fort Pierce," Levy remarks. "This is going to be the highlight of the road trip."
For the next half-hour, Levy, Stack, Massinello, and his kid take turns catching air. The home's owner, Claude, who asked that his last name not be used, watches the skaters have their fun. Massinello informs that Titus competes in national invitationals. "We are forced to find empty pools or travel outside of South Florida because there are no proper skate parks for him to practice at," Massinello says. "I knocked on Claude's door four months ago. He let me pump the dirty water and scrape the sludge out so we could skate it."
Stack and Levy give the pool their seal of approval. Once the session is over, Levy reveals that the skate park controversy had him contemplating leaving his new hometown. "Now this was fun," Levy says. "Finding this pool may convince me to stick around."