Hubba’s First Grind : Wade Speyer

Wade Speyer breaks down the backside nosegrind he did in 1991 that kick-started one of the most iconic skate spots of all time. From our April 2011 issue.
Words by Kevin Duffel


Wade Speyer crooked grinds a virgin Hubba Hideout in 1991.* Photo: Kanights

How’d you find out about Hubba initially? Was it just because you were in the area skating EMB?
Well yeah, obviously we used to skate at Embarcadero and we’d jump down the seven stair. But then we’d always go over and jump down the Hubba Hideout stairs. Then one day I thought, “Shit I wonder if I could do this nosegrind down it,” you know? So I called Bryce [Kanights] and set it all up, and that was the first time I ever tried it.

Had you heard of anyone else stepping to the ledge before that?
It wasn’t even Hubba Hideout at that time—it might have been, I don’t know—but no, nothing.

So nobody had waxed it before or anything like that?
No, nothing.

Did you do make the nosegrind pretty quick?
I think it was two or three tries, I’m pretty sure. I didn’t try that many times because I remember I had to make it because I really didn’t want to fall [laughs].

Had you skated ledges similar to that before?
Not really. I mean, we skated handrails and stuff like that, but we never even thought of that. And then when we saw it, it was like, “We’ve gotta try it.”

Do you feel like skating sort of changed after you skated it? Like your nosegrind pushed skating into a new level?
This is funny. I used to hang out at Embaracadero all the time, and so I’d hang out with all the local guys there. I think when they heard that I did that, they almost couldn’t believe it because those guys were all a hell of a lot better than I was. It seemed like, at the time, that wasn’t really a hard trick, but it was a hard trick because on that, it was so big and tall. Right after that, like every week, someone was doing some newer, crazy trick down it. I couldn’t even believe it. I’m sure people did that same trick [backside nosegrind] down it no big deal. Then people started trying harder stuff on it. I remember that being hard, and I couldn’t imagine doing, like three or four years later, what people were doing on it when I could barely even ollie into a nosegrind on it. That thing’s way gnarly.

What was your favorite trick ever done on Hubba?
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some video of Karl Watson doing a frontside noseslide to the hard way 270 out. That’s pretty sick.

How do you feel now that it’s completely demolished?
I don’t know. I actually don’t even think about it. I always heard of people who tore the little things [knobs] off. I really can’t believe, seriously, that didn’t what’s his name do a switch backside lipslide?

Yeah, tons of crazy stuff like that. People did switch heelflip backside 50-50, nollie heelflip crooked grind…
Oh yeah. It’s beyond. I remember when I did what I did on it, which is actually nothing, that was like so hard for back then.

Anything else you want to say about Hubba?
A funny story is, remember the spot Mini Hubba across the street? Remember all that steel that was above you? This guy Dave that I lived with does demolition and stuff like that all the time. About a year ago, he got the job to demo all that steel. He called me and said, “I need your help.” I didn’t even know what it was. He said, “Yeah it’s right around the corner from Hubba.” And so I went down there and I torched all that steel out of there. It took us three days. And then you know the pillars that hold it up? We jack hammered all that out too.

So it’s like you started Hubba and then destroyed Mini Hubba. Too bad you weren’t the one to demolish Hubba Hideout too.
Oh, I wish I would’ve known. That would’ve been awesome.
Wade’s nosegrind is at 1:28

*Way back in 1991, Wade’s crooked grind was actually called a nosegrind. Shortly thereafter, Dan Peterka coined tweaked (crooked) nosegrinds as the crooked grind. People also called ‘em K grinds because Koston made them largely popular, too. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call Wade’s a trick for the record books.

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