purple cake

Las Vegas Story

After 20 years of riding for Pig wheels I butchered the swine and caught a ride with the ghastly spectres known as orbs.  Kindred spirits.   Leaving a brand after 20 years is tough.  Feeling lost and unwanted is tougher. When I was 16 pig put me on and I was so excited to be a part of something that was special to me. As a kid I loved Pig because of the team. I was just an overall tumyeto fan.  Over the years the pig had gotten old and tired.  The life that once was there was now gone to me. I guess it was no longer Babe In The City, and had turned into a sloppy and lazy fat pig stuck in a mud hole.   Maybe it’s a mutual feeling. They may have thought I was also a fat waste of space on their team.   I have never discussed leaving the brand just like I never talked about leaving foundation either.

There’s a lot to write about and one day I’ll share those stories.  This story is about a new adventure in my life.  Hard not to reflect on the past when thinking of the future and all the memories.  When I was given the opportunity to ride for Orbs it was a blessing that sounded amazing.  To be included with the family.  A family that wanted me around.  I didn’t have to feel like a lost boy writing a letter to an ex that had nothing to say in return. I would now be a Lost Boy in Neverland crowing with a new family.  Even when I did leave there was no phone call or talking with the team or management. I gave a call to the TM and mentioned that I had an offer to ride for Orbs and it was sounding good. Was kinda hoping it would be discussed and maybe the owner would call. Maybe even say “Thanks” for twenty years of loyalty. I guess I should know to expect nothing and trust no one. That is not me and I live by the heart always. It really showed that I wasn't a part of the brand I once knew and loved.  Life is a trip and we all will deal with relationships that change.  We all grow and need to do what is best for us when what’s there is not working.  Back to where I was going.  Orbs wanted me to be around. I was told we just want you hanging on trips and to be a part of the fun. To be me.  Skate if my body feels good and to be around the team bringing the good vibes.  Something that I always wanna do.  Gassing up people and being around other creative spirits.  Everything about orbs was sounding epic. 20 years there was not once a Pig trip, within 3 months with Orbs I was asked to join them on a filming mission to hang with the team.  I let them know I am hurt and can’t really skate.  That was not an issue.  We want you here to hang out and tell stories.  And if y’a know me, I love telling stories.  Love sharing wisdom that I’ve experienced from travels and personal growth. A lot of the time I feel like I never had any skaters looking out for me so if I can share any philosophies of skateboarding and traveling in general I’m down.  As much as I dream of skating as hard as I can.  Well I actually am trying harder than ever but it just doesn’t come easy like it you too.  The spirit is willing but the body is soft and spongy.  If you know that quote you also love a brilliant show. On this trip I actually put on Futurama with the crew.  Some knew it. Others did not. We had laughs all the same.

Back to the skating.  It’s so hard being on tour and not being physically able to take part in the action, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t be there to support and encourage the crew. Skateboarding is not always about tricks. It’s about spreading the love and stoking out the youth and those all around.  People often forget this.   They all want world records but skateboarding has never been about records.  It’s a way of life. It’s the life I live and the life I love.  Where was I going with this? Back to the start of this all. Being invited on a trip with a group of people i've never met.   Let me tell you something.  That’s quite scary.   What if they don’t like me.  What if i embarrass myself.  Will they think I’m fat and lazy.  Will they understand that my knee surgery failed and I physically cannot skate right now.   Are they going to think I just don’t wanna be in on the action.  So many what if’s and insecurities.  I was the kid on trips for many years and now I’m oldest one of the tribe.  It’s been this way for quite some time now and this was the first time I was embraced as the veteran. The crew was nothing but good vibes from the second I jumped in the van at Las Vegas airport.  I was greeted with hugs and smiles! First impressions truly do matter.

We are going back again. I guess my stories have no real beginning or ending. They are my reflections I am choosing to share with those who are interested. 

I had no flight purchased and the trip was happening the following day.  I was a bit scared to reach out to Aaron Goure and let him know I didn’t have a flight.  Secretly because I was scared. I was scared about my knee because three days before I was told I would need knee surgery again. The cadaver that was put in my right knee last year had failed and I didn’t want to say this to anyone.  In fact I still don’t want to admit it. Over half a year of no skating and the surgery failed.  I’m 36 years old And injured.  That’s not a good look and it’s scary to admit.   But if we don’t accept injuries and breakdowns we will never overcome anything or be strong enough to move forward. I finally decided to call Aaron and let him know I had no flight booked.  I was on the edge of flaking.   Let me tell you this. I am so glad I did not pull a classic Houdini and vanish.    I’ve wanted to visit Vegas for years.  I’ve had some good memories and trips to this sinful desert.   Last time I was there was 2015 and the first day of the trip my tire fell off while I was bombing down a ditch and I broke my collar bone.  First spot. Out for months and couldn’t skate the entire trip.  And now I’m going again and can’t skate.  It felt so disheartening and I was upset before I ever started knowing that I wouldn’t be able to make a strong first impression of filming and working hard.  Having fun at every spot and doing as many tricks as I can..  I’m just gonna be that old fucker catching a sunburn and taking up space. It’s a bad feeling. Is it all in my head ? 

When Rachel dropped me off at the Oakland airport I started getting lost in my thoughts as I often do.  I started listening to music on my iPod as I looked out at the mountains from the window of the plane. Winter Hours Island Of Jewels was playing and I had it on repeat three times.  My eyes began to well up and the tears like spring rain came down.  The song made me think of Rachel and how lucky I am to have a partner that loves me so much and sacrifices so much for me.  Over 12 years she’s been my rock.  I’m selfish and often forget that my life would not be what it is without her.  The song has a lot of lyrics that make me think of her and as I’m looking out from thousands of feet in the air her face and love is all around me.   “They met in such a common place. How could he ever forget Such an uncommon face” she has a face that makes my heart melt every moment I think of her.   All of this is going somewhere and there’s a story of some sort.   I started thinking of Las Vegas.  The trips I’ve had there over the years. Being arrested in a casino when I was 17 on tour. Being raped in a hotel room but not knowing how to say “no” feeling utterly disgusted and ashamed but not knowing how you say that to a group of men.  They all thought it was awesome that chicks were interested in me.  And I was so naive and weak that I didn’t know how to be a man and go against my peers.  Instead of telling them my true feelings I’d often just follow like a lemming.   What a terrible feeling it is to follow because you don’t want to be crucified for having feelings of love and caring about passion.  I woke up to a girl in my bed that was a few years older than me and I next thing I know she’s on top of me.  I didn’t know what to do.  If I pushed her off she might say I hit her or I’m the one doing it.  It’s a very weird situation and I’m sure I’m not alone with this type of situation. Just laying back disgusted in yourself and unaware of what  to do.  Why I just started thinking about this. I don’t know. Haven’t thought of it in about 20 years.  Of course the guys in the room and next door thought it was cool and when you’re young it’s hard to stand up for yourself to people who you look up to. Back then it truly felt like I was called “gay” if I wasn’t interested in girls after skating.  Fact is I actually wasn’t that interested  but put on an act because I didn’t wanna be the weirdo that wasn’t into girls and no desires for sex.   That first trip to Vegas was a weird one.   Two or so years later  I was back on a foundation trip.  I had bright red hair and was introduced to my friends friend Kirsten.  She also had bright red hair.  It was a demo at a skatepark called anthem and I had no real desire to skateboard.  I was in the far corner by myself and she came over to chat.  We talked about our love of Powerpop music, cartoons and junk food.  I was 20 years old I think.  Sixteen years ago.  Kirsten made my night much more fun.  Being on tour is tiring and being around boys for weeks is hard.  It is nice to talk to a stranger.  To share stories and look into ones eyes and feel something. To know someone cares.   It’s a hell of a feeling and we all need it.  I don’t care what anyone says. We all need that acceptance at times.  Especially when I felt like such an outsider on tour. The only one that would bring books and sit in the corner with headphones.  Most were partying and I’d either be on walks by myself or in the hotel room watching cartoons and reading comics.  I truly didn’t fit in unless I behaved differently. I would be untrue to myself so many of the times just to feel the acceptance and to fit in with the team. This is not to rag on the crew and say I am better or anything. Sometimes I just felt completely lost on tour. But I’ve felt this way my entire life.  Is it wrong to care more about the snowy mountain tops and the lush clouds in the sky than it is to only speak about the girls from last night, the fights and the boozing.  That is stuff that didn't attract me but to talk about music and the flowers in spring is truly special to me.  To be outside skateboarding and not with a large group.  But the solitude of being on my skateboard and not worrying about it being filmed or not.  Just to be skating.  Somehow I became a pro skater which is weird because I’ve never felt like I fit in with the skater mold but one thing is certain I love skateboarding so much.  In my life there is only one other that stands higher than skateboarding.  She is Rachel.  There are many people I love and gravely care about but there is only one Rachel.  She is the keeper of my heart. My Queen and also the only one who sees my dark and angry side. Once again it’s so selfish of me.  After a month on the road I’m exhausted and she’s the one that gets what she doesn’t deserve.  A broken boy that hurts so bad and takes out the frustrations of the road on her. It’s fucked up.  

Back to the night in Vegas with the little red hair girl. I can remember wearing my Hanoi rocks shirt that hot summer night. Maybe because it was one of the few shirts I brought on a 6 week long trip.  She came back to the hotel and we hung out chatting for a long time.  A few hours later I was back on the road on tour Never staying for long and embarking across the country in a van with 12 others.  I had this girl on my mind. She was a special person and made my heart tingle. Could have been that I was in a relationship that was no longer fresh and fun and for someone to show an interest was nice.  Being young and in a relationship on tour is hard. Being in a relationship is always hard. At 37 it’s hard.  It’s the most rewarding thing ever as well.  Nothing feels better than the love of your Partner. 

Kirsten and I exchanged phone numbers and kept in touch throughout the years.  There were many times I thought about her and didn’t hear from her for years.  One day she returned a phone call and it made me happy. She let me know that a lot of stuff had happened in her life and as always I just wanted to chat with her. For some of her time and to talk about inuyasha and donuts.   Some of the stuff she told me about broke my heart.  It’s so hard to hear the horrors  about people you love.  We all have demons and troubled times. Life can be cruel and sometimes we take the wrong fork in the road. Maybe it is not wrong but it is a path with a different consequence, or ending that we had not foreseen..   Sometimes they beat us and other times we get ahead and our lives are changed.  We grow from these experiences.  I let Kirsten know I was coming out and would love to see her. It had been over ten years and the last time I saw her was not the best memory.  She picked me up from the airport and we went off to take me to where I was staying. She was telling me about her life.  I was being judgmental and it makes me sad now knowing that I was not kind. When I was younger I didn't know how to talk to people that might be struggling. I am still learning how to be nicer and not give my opinions, but to listen. I am a hard headed motherfucker that thinks i know best, but I actually havent a fucking clue.  We had spoken since then a few times and it would be the first time since 2008 that I’d see my friend again.   As I was staying here in Vegas I wanted to see her and get my hair dyed at Curl Up And Dye The Salon she is working at now.  She didn’t do my hair as I was busy with tour life but when she sent her  address I was only 2 miles away.  I walked from where I was staying with my headphones in talking to Rachel and listening to the Replacements.  I wasn’t speaking to Rachel because I felt guilty if anyone is wondering. SOmetimes it is tough to get on a phone call while on tour.  I was talking to Rachel because I was by myself and she always makes me feel like I’m not alone.  I arrived at my friends place but of course I got lost first. Even though I was given directions, I didn't fully listen. I thought I could make a short cut and hop over some fences, but the 12 foot tall barbed wire fences weren't looking friendly that night. There’s never a time I’m not lost it seems but it makes the stories more fun and memorable. If I knew where I was going constantly, thered be no mishaps and running across Country Club lawns and dodging sprinklers.  Seeing Kirsten in her apartment made me so happy.  To hear stories of her daughter, talking about the Dark Crystal, her love of horror movies and about her life.  Hearing it all made my heart glow.   To know my friend is doing well and that sixteen years later we could still talk about anime, feel comfortable and just be friends.   It was a wonderful hug! As I am about to land in Oakland after an hour of typing on the notes of my cellular phone. I am now thinking about how I cannot wait to hug my Rachel.  And how excited I am to share the stories of this trip with her just as I’m doing now.

The first night of the trip I was talking with my friend Mike and I was telling him I feel old and don’t know how to relate.  He said some stuff that hit me hard.  Teach these kids. Show them why people love the duffman. Show them you care.  Validate them. Let them know you’re happy to be there.  It’s not about your tricks. It’s about you being there.  This was a short text that truly changed everything.  He nailed it so hard.  This was a trip to be myself and nothing else.   We ordered pizza for the crew to get them stoked! Crazy bread and 3 deep dish little C’s. Pizza is always the way to someone’s heart.  It worked. I instantly felt the love returned and it broke the ice of my not knowing how to hang with the younger dudes. Every skater can relate to Little Caesars and some laughs.  I started thinking about all the stuff I disliked about tour and the older skaters and their behaviors.  How can I teach and share knowledge with these homies.   Talk about stuff that I’ve learned along the way that I wish was passed on without having to always learn the hard way. I broke outta my head and was truly able to be myself with this crew.  They got me dancing, singing, skating and laughing non stop. Aaron and Rena had all of us staying at their newly purchased home! Being the only woman around 10 skater dudes has always seemed a bit tough. It was a total guys night for the week. Boys getting rowdy and making a mess. I've always felt bad for Rach when she has to deal with dudes using all the TP and the bathroom  always occupied. Get the crew together and it will get loud at times. Something I noticed was that it was a much different kind of vibe that tours I have been a part of over the years. There was sharing and caring with the group. It was violent and pure aggression but all about creating and discussing ideas. There was tons of skate talk as always and lots of finger boards making a racket, but of course. It is a skateboard trip. Skaters love skating. We live this shit 24/7 and if ya say differently, maybe that is part of the reason why you didn't keep skating throughout the years. Some of us seriously cannot turn it off and are fully addicted to it. I am a skateboard junkie. No other way to put it. My body hurts and I am fucked up but I am dreaming of my fix while I write this. I am now just learning that I might not be able to skate the way I dream of or truly want. Acceptance is tough. If I can still roll and push myself in other ways on my skateboard I am happy. Just as I said earlier, there are other ways to motivate and inspire and It is not only about myself or others doing heavy tricks. Skateboarding is a way of life. Sometimes it is not just the tricks that make us love the skater. Maybe it is the smile or the laugh after a fall on a slappy. We can all relate to that. We all know the stoke of that first kickflip or the noseslide on the ledge. I want more at times because I have been so high that it is hard to not feel that feeling, but now I am still getting that feeling with what I can do, and how to spark others. Seeing them get the tricks also captures an emotion hard to explain. I know exactly the feeling that overtakes the body after working so hard to land a trick. If i can witness the trick and be there to keep the fire burning, that brings me joy. Obviously I wanna be trying it with them. I still hope that I get this knee situation figured out because as you all know, I am a stubborn son of a bitch that doesnt give up. 

Aaron and Rena with the filipino purple cake

This has turned into a piece of my thoughts, and I don't know where it is taking us. Should I end it? Or do I talk about the hot pot birthday dinner. The Surprise cake and the song they sung for me on my 37th birthday. I turned 21 in Australia, which was a weird trip and I was hurt really badly. I am now turning 37 in Vegas but it is an epic trip minus the injury. Been all over the world and have celebrated my birthday on the road for years. Well maybe not celebrated because a lot of times I didn't like mentioning that it is my Bday. Always really nice when it is a demo or something and strangers arrive with a cake or lollies. I love the kindness of strangers.- I swear some of my best friends have all been strangers, but I guess that is for all of us. As we don't truly know our friends before we become friends.- This has happened many times and it makes me glow inside. To know that people care. I guess I've just now realized the plot or the reason for this story. Caring! Caring and love is the way. Show your love. Talk with strangers. Get weird. Be yourself! Life is awesome and it sometimes feels like shit, and sometimes if you are able to accept the pains and figure a way out to not let it eat you alive, life remains awesome. And it gets more awesome. We all know this but don't always want to live by it. Life’s what you make it. Yin and yang, baby. You get what you put in. There is a positive for the negative. I am not some hippie dippy deadhead, but sometimes I wish I was because those fools are always so positive. I'm learning that being full of stoke is a good way to be. Life aint all drab and miserable. Get out of the mind, and try something new today. Maybe write down your feelings. “The fools only laugh because they envy you.”

-Corey Duffel 

Written on a flight from Las Vegas to Oakland on April 12, and finished on the sofa April 21, 2021

Roberto's California Burritos is always the way to my heart


Shane Auckland. Hearing stories and eating donuts with Sk8Rat rules!

This is Kevin. He really made me smile and brought the hot moves and cool fashion. Watching skate and hearing him sing was awesome.


Thank you for the amazing Bday dinner. Hot pot really brings the team/family together.


Pizza Party for the boys. Thanks Senior Buzzard!!

Little C' s doordash? Why the fuck not. It's Vegas after all


my friend Kirsten

Cruising with the crew



birthday selfie. 

34 years later I still love cake and smiling. 

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