Hippie Mike Hippie Mike's Messed Up Mind Life and Death - And all the Emotions that come in between Skateboarding SkatePark Styles

Mad Carver Lives On

MC

          I was skating Kensington Park the other day and was busting out some flip tricks on the old Record Flat bank and it brought back the memories of all the awesome times I had with the Mad Carver back in the day. The record was built as a tribute to Carver to remind us all of how much he loved his music, especially that sweet Reggae Vibe.

         Don Hartley was a DJ, a caring individual, and a hero to many people – and most of all a true skateboarder for life. “Live by the Board, Die by the Board…” any hardcore skater says it, but do they mean it. This man was in his 50’s, skateboarding every day if possible. He would just carve man. In all the years I knew Don I don’t think I ever saw him leave the ground, except for that front flip off his board out of the deep end at Seylynn Bowl. The coolest thing about Don was that he was such a nice guy, always encouraging to everyone around him and always giving out free advice. And he always pushed the younger generation to wear their helmets.

Don Hartley was a man I loved and a man I will always love…

Mad Carver Lives On

          It was July 1st, 2009 – an incredibly beautiful day outside. It was a day I had waited for all year, just like every year – Seylynn Bowl Series Contest. The year prior there had been a potential jumper on the Second Narrows Bridge and it was closed most of the day so this year everyone came early so they didn’t miss the contest again. Must have been about 300 people around just having a great old time. It was Advanced heats and they set it up for a full Seylynn Locs Heat: Don, Hippo, Dave Boyce, Dave 57, and everyone was rippin’. All day there had been sooooooooooo many close calls like usual and the crowd really feeds off of them. Seylynn is one of the coolest parks in the world, built in 1978 in the shape of a snake and there really is no limit as to how fast you can go there. Unfortunately though it does have its blind spots, and sometimes you’re going so fast that you don’t see someone else in certain spots in the bowl. BOOM!! Tragedy struck… 57 went flying into the deep end for the speed line not knowing that Don was inside carving and slashing up a storm. It was a face to face collision at high speed and Don never knew what hit him. I was lucky enough not to see it, but I was standing about 20 feet away, and that sound will be etched into my brain forever. The crowd went silent, the music stopped, I jumped into the bowl – worried. A couple others jumped in as well, one of them was an E.M.T. ambulance attendant so I felt safe enough that they could handle the first aid and got out of the bowl. The ambulance was on its way, but how long would they take. The Mad Carver was down, and still unconscious…

         It must have been the longest 10 minutes of everyone’s life waiting for help to arrive. I kept chanting “C’Mon Don! Let’s Go Don!” and telling everyone it was gonna be alright. I believed that. I honestly thought Don was going to be okay. The ambulance took him away and the contest ended right there. The mood was definitely destroyed. What went from being one of the best Seylynn Comps of all time turned into what will hopefully remain the worst.

         Don went to hospital and was put on life support. 3 days later I received a text that he was gone. No more Mad Carver…

         I was standing by my truck at Kwantlen Park setting up for the kickoff contest of Hippie Mikes Tour de Surrey for that year and just broke down into tears. There was at least 50 people around, but suddenly I was standing alone – a moment I’ll never forget. I just wanted to go home, but I couldn’t. I’m Hippie Mike – and it’s my Tour de Surrey. I said my last words to Don out loud not caring who heard me, wiped away the tears and walked back over to my chair. I knew that Don was a legend. I knew that his death broke the hearts of thousands of people. But mostly I knew that he was always so stoked on skateboarding and watching people learn, and that was what these competitions are all about. I asked DJ Cuzo to play me some sweet Reggae music and the show began. It was a tough day, but it was all for Don. I got through the contest, packed up and went home, and found the first cd that Don had ever made me – 72 minutes of sweet Reggae Vibes. I love you buddy.

         For a while, those moments kept reoccurring in my brain. That horrid sound of the initial collision. The immediate silence of 300 people. The tears that ran down my face when I got that text message. And every year when I get ready to go to Seylynn on Canada Day for the Bowl Series I still watch The Seylynn Story DVD, and no matter what I’m in the middle of when Don Hartley’s part starts, I stop and sit and watch the whole damn thing. Nothing gets me more stoked when I’m about to go to Seylynn Park. I wish I could skate that place like Don did. Any local at that park has their own style and their own lines. You watch the footage of Don there and you will understand where the name “The Mad Carver” came from. He ripped that place – since day One.

          Bowl Series will never be the same. The music’s not the same. The vibes aren’t the same. Life isn’t the same. But we are a family and we will overcome. We will never forget Don Hartley and what he did for the sport of Skateboarding. We will never forget the kind words he spread amongst the groups of people that surrounded him. We will never forget the way he loved to groove. But mostly, we will never forget that day.

For those of you who knew him, then you know what this means:

Mad carver Lives On…