22. Scott Loyst – Spotttheloonie

September 10, 2021
September 10, 2021 Will Mackie

Welcome back to another week of Comacan Questions, we originally started this with the intention of doing interviews from time to time but with a community so rich in culture, expression and freedom on different levels whether it be business or personal we’re having too much fun NOT to do this weekly. With that being said this week’s interview taps into exploring that world of creativity in skateboarding. Our guest this week has been to a few more parks than your average person which thankfully he has a helpful resource for checking out any parks from his travels, check it out at http://scottdreamsofskateparks.blogspot.com. This website highlight’s all the parks from his travels but it also has some helpful sections for specifics such as “Ontario’s Best Bowls” and some informative reads such as “The Perils of Pre-Fab”. Beyond our guest’s impressive run of skateparks he also has created some skatable obstacles along the way, but you’ll read that shortly. Without any further ado we are so stoked to share with you this week’s guest Scott Loyst AKA Spotttheloonie.

1. When did you start skateboarding?
I first started skating shortly after I moved to Toronto. I was 6 or 7 and the guys a few doors down the street skated and had a couple of ramps. I asked for a board and my parents got me one, probably from Toys R Us, & the boys let me ride around with them. I could only push around on my knee then, but I was hitting their ramps. I remember skating on stage for a fourth grade Christmas skit, so I’d figured out how to stand up by then. The board was always around and around 13 or 14 my friend got a board (popsicle) and I was like ‘skateboarding, I like that too’. I got a cheap complete from Hogtown and we skated on the street in front of my house. I learned to ollie over a hockey stick. This was around when X-games started (yes, I’m old) so we were also interested in the inline and since we lived right on the Don Valley, we mountain biked a lot. Skating was mostly a point A to point B thing for my teenage years, but I had some friends who were really good. Around 2000, my band played a skate competition at the old, wood Port Union skatepark. My friend, the band’s guitarist, Garrett skated in the comp. Another friend from the pet store I worked at skated. I recruited him as the band’s new singer, and we would play and skate. Eventually we heard about this new concrete skatepark near his house, so we checked it out. It was Cummer. That’s probably the first skatepark I went to. The Hoof was built near the pet store I worked at and probably around 2004-05 I figured out dropping in at Iroquois. I keep pretty detailed notes and pictures of all the parks I’ve been to.

2. Where did the idea of skating and documenting all these parks come from?
I was starting to skate more in the early 2000’s when I graduated and became a Paramedic. There were a few bad parks in Brampton (Ray Lawson mini-ramp – RIP) near where I worked, and I’d hit them before work. I was 23 and just learning Rock and Rolls. Anyways, another friend from the pet store, Sue, would always take a summer road trip to Vancouver to see her brother. In 2006 she invited me along and I asked if we could hit skateparks along the way and she was down. Garrett came as well, and we hit 22 skateparks in 21 days. That was the beginning of ‘collecting’ skateparks. I would go online to find parks and had 2 of the Great Canadian Skatepark Guides SBC had put out. I hit the 100th park (Port Dover) in 2011. Now I’ll pinpoint a good park and hit some other parks on the way to and from it, making it a 5-9 park day trip.

3. How many parks total have you travelled to?
As I’m writing this – 443 with Brighton 2.0 being the latest. 39 new parks this year. I’ve been to both coasts & the only Province I haven’t skated is Newfoundland. I’ve been to a few in the states as well, but the vast majority is Ontario.

4. Is it true you held a Guinness world record?
Technically No. Guinness won’t recognize a record where you drive between points. I’ll back up a bit here. In 2012, COLOR Magazine went out with some pros and by the end of the day Chris Haslam had skated 31 parks. I wanted to hit 38 for my birthday a few years ago so I made a plan, a map and reached out to COLOR. I got the info on Guinness, creating content, park choice etc. I went out and hit 50 in one day with my friends, Chris and Adrian. I had discovered two guys from Colorado had hit 46 so I had to bump up my numbers. The 50 park run was recognized by RecordSetter.com nearly a year after we submitted an edit. Something like 3 weeks later I got a notification that my record had been beaten. I watched the video and it was some of my buddies and a guy I know from Instagram. Their video was approved almost instantly.
This year I turned 40 and I went big, hitting two parks for every year of my life. I started at 3am, cutting through Toronto before dawn, getting as far away as Hamilton and ending my day at Cummer just before 11pm, totalling 80 skateparks in 24h. There’s an edit on my YouTube.

5. What does skateboarding mean to you?
Skateboarding is my gym and my therapy. Shift work makes organized sports difficult to commit to but it’s also what allows me to travel mid-week and hit all these parks. I never liked the gym. Now that there’s one at work, I hit it all winter to stay ready for the next skate season.
My job can be rough and there are times that hitting a skatepark after work has refreshed me enough to be ready for the next shift. It’s so important to put my mental health first and admit when a call is bothering me.
Another great thing about skateboarding is the friendships and connections I’ve made. I have a buddy in Ottawa I met because of the skatepark directory. It’s easy to connect via social media and I’ve made buddies with the Skatosis Podcast guys, Drew and Aaron, and Rick Bata of the No Mongo Podcast. At skateparks, random encounters develop into friendships, right?

6. Any advice for other skateboarders and park users?
Skateparks are not concrete babysitters. Ramps are not slides. Want to use the park? Great, get a board. Observe the flow of the park and what other people are trying. Keep your head up so you don’t run into someone. Helmets and handlebars go together. That’s the paramedic in me talking. When you’re holding bars and you start to go down, instinct makes you hold on tighter, and you ride your face into the ground. Watch any scooter fail video to test my theory.
I always watch for whoever’s already moving and give them the right of way, unless they’re just cruising aimlessly. I try to educate new park users to Skatepark Etiquette.

7. Are you involved in any skatepark projects?
Currently, I’m working on getting a small skate spot in Pickering where I live. I’ve been advocating for new parks here for over 6 years and so far we got a Skateboard Park Strategy and budgets for multiple parks. It’s slow but steadily moving forward. I’ve been lucky to be involved in a few projects, Malvern, Fundy Bay, Elmira and Stanley Greene and a few more but I’m trying to focus on Pickering right now. I can’t be everywhere.

8. Your Instagram has a lot of fun diy skateable objects, are these for personal use or for sale?
Thanks, I built my basement ramps myself. It’s an 18-inch mini with a wall ride. It’s the best investment and it’s tricked out. I’d always planned and doodled little obstacles. At the beginning of Covid, I was off work after my second shoulder surgery and had time and wood (my father-in-law had taken down the old treehouse) and started banging out pole jams. Old bed rails are the poor man’s angle iron. I gave some away to friends and made some more elaborate ones for myself. One of the best was an Ice Cream Cone Pole Jam which I donated to Christie Pits. I have sold a few but I always keep it cheap. Some of the builds end up in the woods by a parking lot for other people to use. The best stuff I keep. I made a full-size Tech Deck obstacle this year and skated it with some friends. Aside from a grind box and the basement ramps, I mostly work with recovered materials. One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Thrash!

8b. What Surgery?
I shattered my collarbone doing a trick I always do. I’d done it three times that night. I went for it again, Fakie tailstall fingerflip disaster, and landed primo. I got tossed to flat landing with all my weight on the back of my shoulder. I had a plate put in but because of the type of plate, it restricted my motion, so it had to come out. Still, it’s the first and only bone I’ve ever broken.

9. What skateboard initiatives are you involved in?
I got involved with Skatelife in 2014. It’s a youth outreach and through that I met Yash from Impact. From there I met and joined the Later Skaters Gang. My giant skatepark directory was even picked up by Canada Skateboard and I’m one of their media partners. I started an advocacy page for Pickering (@pickeringskateparksalliance) and I organize shovel out and park clean ups. I ended up on the radar of Skatepark Respect with all the advocacy and Trash hauls so now I’m one of their ambassadors. New Line Skateparks uses my photos on their website. I’ve found my photos in a couple Skatepark Strategies like Hamilton and Pickering and I’ve been advising Pickering with their indoor/mobile skatepark.
The next thing I’m working on is a Skateboarding Program for Paramedics and their families. I know what skateboarding does for me and research has found it can reduce stress, increase confidence and provide escapism. I want to introduce other medics to skateboarding and get together with the medics who already skate. With the support of Impact and Later Skaters, Code sk8 is launching soon with the opportunity to provide lessons or just have a free skate with other First Responders (Code 8 is radio language for a standby).

10. What are some of your favorite parks out of all the parks you’ve travelled to?
Oh man, that’s a loaded question. I’ve had a blast at some really bad parks. Millennium in Calgary and The Forks in Winnipeg are notable. Audley Rec Centre (ARC) is my closest quality park. Everyone seems to love Picton. I love parks with unique features like the Sleeping Giant feature at Marina Park Plaza in Thunder Bay. A couple hidden gems in Ontario are Ohsweken, Huntsville, Tecumseh & Mount Albert. My favourite single park is Campbellford. Really nice bowl, different heights of rails, hubbas and stairs and I’ve always had a good time when I’m there. I’m always adding to my fave’s list.

11. Where can people view your travels?
My blog is called Spott Dreams of Skateparks (http://scottdreamsofskateparks.blogspot.com/). It has the skatepark directory with the big map. It also has advocacy stuff and articles I’ve written. I’m on Instagram with @spotttheloonie & @PickeringSkateparksAlliance. I’ve been using YouTube a bit more (Scott Loyst). On the 80-park run some kids were asking me if I was a youtuber. I don’t think I’ll put enough effort into my video skills to be a youtuber, but I do throw skatepark tours and little edits up there.

12. Anyone you’d like to thank?
Um, Everyone? All the crews and organizations I mentioned earlier. Family for always being supportive. They understand it’s much more than just standing on a board for me. All the Skate Podcasts. The Skatepark Builders I’ve gotten to know. Alec Beck at The Skatepark Project reached out to me when I was really burnt out on advocacy. Alex for putting me in the friend’s section of ‘At War with Skatan’. I’m probably forgetting at least a dozen people here. My co-workers are my heroes. Thanks. Thank you Comacan for building up the community. Southern Ontario has got a pretty awesome scene. I’m rambling…. Later!