A week with Winston Wardwell

January 19, 2009

A Week with Winston Wardwell
Text and photos by John O’Donnell

(Hogan showed use how to track a commercial flight pattern – Winston on route to Boston)


We picked Winston up from the airport around 3:30 and right away he wanted to start filming. We headed to east Boston to meet up with Smokes and skate some spots around the area but off and on rain killed the session quickly.

(Smokes – Rain)

Mo, Gabe Winston and myself started heading towards “perfect rails” in JP. While we were waiting for the light a very enthusiastic drug addict came and danced for us and let us know what was up with the local skag, “Mr. Muhammad over there wannna sell me that heroin for fifty but Mr. China man say he can sell it to me for cheaper, can ya help me now, come on”.


Once we got to Perfect Rails Winston showed no sign of jet lag and started lacing some amazing lines.

(alley opp topsoul in a line – Jamica Plains, MA)

The day was nearing to an end and we were running out of sunlight so we hit up the Aggassiz School down the street to skate the handicaps. I put my skates on and started skating but had to almost immediately take them off once Winston started trying the Handicap to handicap transfer. I started setting up my lights as quickly as I could but by that time Winston had already laced it but had no problem doing it again for my camera, thanks buddy.
(royale hop royale – ao topsoul)

After I got my shot we headed to Kyle’s so Winston could watch the Celtics destroy the Lakers for the Championship.

On day two I was only able to come out for a couple of hours but that was more than enough time for Winston to kill it. I met up with the shit show at China town yellow rails and once again Winston was ready to handle business. Although this was only the third spot I had ever seen Winston skate I already had a high level of respect for him. So far he had just been so damn passionate about lacing what ever he started and consistently doing so at every spot.
(360 soul Chinatown droprail – Boston)

(360 mistrial – Chinatown, Boston)

On Winston’s third day here Gabe, Mo , Winston and I decided to go on a little road trip through Connecticut and Rhode Island. We drove down in Gabe’s car; I was sitting in the back left seat.

The car was packed with all of our belongings including Gabe’s dolly and tracks, which I sat next to and thought were going to impale me at any moment.


On our way down we stopped at a subway with a perfect drop rail out front.


The whole staff and everyone eating inside came out to watch Mo back royale the drop rail. Unfortunately Mo aggravated a previous heel injury when he landed and didn’t get to skate much for the rest of the trip.

(bs royale to another bruised heel – UCONN, CT)

While in Ct we met up with some locals as well as Andy Leitermann, Scott Cambell, Jim Lamarche and Andrew Smolak. We made our way to Weaver High and as usual Winston didn’t hold back the least bit.

(zero spin alley opp soul – Hartford, CT)


This was my first time in Hartford and I was surprised at how ghetto it was. When I was shooting some photos out in front of some Spanish bodega some guys thought I was taking pictures of them and started threatening me. I kept shooting and as we were leaving some guy started chasing after the car asking us for weed.


Later that night we lost our place to stay and were about to head back to Boston but luckily Eric Torres came to our rescue and let us crash in his pool house. On our way to his place we stopped at the only restaurant in the area that was open past 11:00pm. To make us feel even more comfortable 15 on duty cops came in to eat and they all sat around us. Eric took us around to the local spots the next day and showed us all a really great time.

(capturing footage in Eric T’s poolhouse)

Late that night we arrived in Rhode Island and went to meet up with Zack Boozer at some party. When we got to the party there was a mom and a bunch of dudes with blow outs and popped collars. Needless to say we left immediately and headed to the apartment of local skater Dennis Hollis’. Denis owns the best bull dog / chameleon I have ever seen.

(one badass pup)

That night Zach hooked it up with a place to sleep and a fridge to raid at 2:00am. The next morning we went to Jeff Dalnas’ to meet up everyone and head to some spots around the area. With a massive caravan of skaters we hit up a pretty sweet low yellow rail, tollgate high, and the blue ledges in providence.


The session reminded me of the old times, before cell phones, when huge groups of kids would all go meet up at one set spot.

(jWU – bs nugen Pawtucket, RI)

(someone caught checking out Andy)

Shortly after this trip I broke my ankle and was out of commission for the rest of the summer and fall. When I couldn’t skate all I could do was watch edits and go through these photos over and over again. Looking at them almost gave me the same state of mind as when I am skating and thinking only about the present and nothing else. It’s been five years since Gabe’s last video and I’m proud I got to work with him on It’s About Time.



One Response to “A week with Winston Wardwell”

  1. Johnny O said

    who took these photos?

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