I met Derek Rinaldi in the Summer of ’85. My Friends Kevin, Don, and I were Skating in Seaside Park, NJ when we saw another group of Skaters on the opposite side of the street. Like typical shore kids, they looked the part, but we immediately wondered if there was any Substance beneath the fashion show. Don said, “Mike, do a Sad Plant.” The thinking was that a Sad Plant would speak of our Credibility as Skaters, to which they would have to answer to. So, I quickly got Inverted and stretched out a Beauty of a Sad Plant. Kevin and Don looked back across the street, beaming with pride, as if to say, “Top That!” Then one of the kids across the street, popped his Board up into his hands and quickly got Inverted with a stretched out Street Plant of his own. The expression on our faces changed from Joy, to an even Greater Joy. We just got schooled, and we Loved it. That kid was @derekrinaldi. We had been down The Shore for almost a week and hadn’t met any other Skaters, and now here was a group of Skaters clearly as Impassioned and Invested as us. And they must have felt the same way as we did, as we immediately all started heading towards each other, meeting in the middle of the street, shaking hands, while cars whizzed by on either side. We spent the rest of our time that week, Skating with Derek and his Friends. Derek was the best Street Skater we had ever met or seen up to that point, and we were all Inspired by Him!
Derek and I have been Friends now for 33 years. Throughout that entire time, Derek’s Activism in, Dedication to, and Engagement with Skateboarding has continued to Inspire me. Back then He was setting up Skate Jams and Contests, Publishing Skate Zines, and Helping Positively Grow the New Jersey Skate Scene. Today, Derek is involved in getting Skateparks built up and down the Jersey Shore, and He runs the @boardsforbros and @askaters New Jersey Chapters.
We (@streetplantbrand) are Honored to be Working with Derek, and to Present The Derek Rinaldi x Street Plant State Of Adventure Board. Available Now at: streetplantbrand.com/shop
Photo: w/ Derek outside of @proskateboardshop in Belmar, NJ, November 2017, By @robxwallace.