Volume 6, #4
16 years old, rides for Z-Products
His name has only surfaced in the pro skating scene within the last 9 months, but Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew has been a highly respected skate talent in the Venice/Dogtown area for quite a few years.
Dennis actually started riding 7 years ago at the tail-end of the clay wheel era. Yet, like many of his comrades, his interest surged shortly thereafter. “I really got into it heavily when the new wheels came out and when we were able to start skating at places like Paul Revere, Kenter and Bellagio.” And, like most of the other skaters from that area, he kept it up “because when the waves were flat, there was nothing else to do.”
Polar Bear’s skating progressed remarkably with the opening of the Marina Del Rey Skatepark, only a few miles from his home. The good terrain and constant input from other pro’s definitely proved critical factors in the development of his style and technique.
Dennis believes that the Dogbowl at Marina is “the best pool” he’s ridden so far, though he’s looking forward to skating Whittier and Cherry Hill (“I’ve heard they have some really nice bowls”). He also wants to see more new parks with “good size full pipes for variety, and even better pools with better transitions. . .not so bumpy, something perfect!”
Polar Bear’s low-key personality transforms immediately when he steps on his board. His aggressiveness in skating, as witnessed at the Gyro-Dogbowl Pro, is matched by few of his contemporaries. According to Jimmy Plumer, a longtime acquaintance, “Polar Bear is going to be the most intense rider to emerge in skating since T.A.. . . he has everything!” A typically terse Jay Adams reiterated, “Dennis rips insanely!” And Ray Allen, designer of M.D.R. Skatepark, adds, “In the Dogbowl you have to see his leading edge to believe it! Super-high extended hand plants, thirteen coping block board slides, and more.”
And so, what makes Dennis skate so hard? As he freely explains, “I like the money and traveling around to contests and meeting new people. It opens up a lot of doors and teaches you a little about life.
Even though Dennis admits that he hasn’t met or seen every top skater, his favorite at this point is Jay Adams because “He’s got really good style; he’s super aggressive; he shreds; he blazes; he’s just gnarly!” However, the most insane trick he’s ever seen is Alan Gelfand’s Ollie airs. “They’re pretty hot,” he simply remarks.
As for equipment, Dennis uses his own model Z-Board which measures 31” x 10”, BSC Trucks, and Jimmy Plumer Z-Smooth Wheels. Also essential, he figures, is “good, hard rock ‘n roll, like Hendrix, Nugent, and Zeppelin,” adding, “I think punk is bunk!” In other words, it’s heavy rock all the way, which, considering the weightiness of Polar Bear’s skating, seems perfectly natural.
- Glen Friedman