Andrew Reynolds of Emerica skateboarding team shows his stuff for fans Monday at the White City Skate Park. The team stopped in the Rogue Valley during its Wild Ride Tour.

Pro skaters entertain in White City

WHITE CITY — For his 13th birthday, Curtis Wolf is going on a professional skateboarders' tour.

Curtis and his mother, Hiedi Wolf, 32, of Vancouver, Wash., attended the first stop of the Emerica skateboarding team's Wild Ride Tour in Battle Ground, Wash., and plan to travel with the professionals for as long as they can until the tour's over July 4.

Wolf and her son were among a group of more than 200 fans that joined the professionals for a Monday afternoon autograph signing at Hot Skates board shop in the Medford Center and later skateboarding at White City Skate Park.

The entire 12-man roster of Emerica skaters is making appearances and meeting with fans as the skaters make their way to San Francisco for Independence Day. The tour started on June 21.

"We decided to travel with the team until I have to go back to work," Hiedi Wolf said.

Curtis said his favorite part of the trip has been spending time with the skaters at campsites along the way.

"I've played kickball, thrown frisbees and roasted marshmallows with some of the best skaters," Curtis said.

The members of Emerica were scheduled to arrive at the skateboard shop at noon, but it was closer to 1 p.m. before they showed up.

Most of the fans were undeterred by the delay and waited for a chance to meet their favorite professional skaters. Erin Hovivian, who has owned Hot Skates for 10 years, said he's never seen his store so packed.

Kids stood shoulder to shoulder as they formed a line that weaved between tables and clothing racks.

"I don't even know the last time this many pro skaters were in Medford," Hovivian said. "It's a really cool thing for them to stop and see the kids and get them excited about skating again."

Ten-year-old A.J. McClure of Central Point talked his grandfather into taking him to meet the team. A.J. said he was excited to meet all of the professionals, but there was one in particular he hoped to chat with.

"Andrew Reynolds is my No. 1 skater," A.J. said. "I got his autograph and got to have a personal conversation with him."

At the conclusion of the autograph session, A.J. was one of many fans who followed Emerica to the White City Skate Park across from the Cascade Community Pool.

The number of fans following the skate team grew to upwards of 300 by the time the skaters reached White City just after 3 p.m. Normally skate teams perform trick demonstrations for their audience; on this day, however, the facilities were open to anyone with a board.

Fans skated right beside their favorite professionals.

"It's fun for everyone," said Braydon Szafranski, one of the Emerica skateboarders. "The kids get to have fun, we get to have fun."

Jeremy Moore, another member of Emerica, said he hopes the tour helps him share his passion for skateboarding with the fans.

"It's an art to me," Moore said. "The tricks are unlimited and it's an open-minded sport."

Reach intern Bob Albrecht at 776-8791 or e-mail

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