Profile Nhc 11 Tandem
11 Mar 2019

Profile Neighborhood Crawl - Seminole Heights Photo Journal

"I spent most of my formative years trying to get out of this state."

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Words and photos by Matt Coplon | PROFILE

“Florida Man asks cops to test his illegal drugs.”

“Guards let Florida Man vape in prison because he helped them with their taxes.”

“Florida Man says Jesus told him to drive Ferrari off pier.”

I spent most of my formative years trying to get out of this state.

Away from the callous heat and humidity.

Away from the thousands of miles of flat, lackluster and uninspiring sand scrub.

Away from whatever driving force perpetuating the many white supremacist strongholds, fin de siecle armageddon cults, and the inception of Death Metal.

Away, as far away as possible, from that legend of Florida Man…

Profile Nhc 2 Two Headed Gator

The actual evidence behind the myth. The taxidermied, Seminole Heights, Two-Headed Alligator.

Thankfully, over the years, both BMX and punk have given me the opportunity to escape. But just for a short while. To get a dose of the other, non-Floridians, in non-Floridian territory. And the more I travel, the more I’ve come to, unexpectedly, love and appreciate home in its unpredictable chaos. Here in Florida. In Tampa. And in what I’ve deemed my microcosm over the last 20 years; A little enclave known as Seminole Heights.

Profile Nhc 1 Mulville Tabe

Coffee and a 2-½ hour drive. Mulville right out of the gate. Stop #1, Justin Walker’s Micro Mini. Thanks for the hospitality, Justin.

Profile Nhc 4 Hillsborough River

Almost 150 years ago, a side-wheeling steam ship named the Scottish Chief was the cause of the only Civil War battle. The ship, used to run through the Union Blockades for the Confederate army, was confiscated, plundered, and dragged up river where it was burned and sunk in this part of the river within the heart of Seminole Heights. But no one knew quite exactly where its final resting place was. That was until 2009: what a passersby thought was an old dilapidated dock, was finally realized as the carcass of the long lost ship.

Profile Nhc 8 Signage

Punk meets folk. Seminole Heights style.

I’m coming to realize that this neighborhood is made up of those same people who at one point yearned to get out. And for the most part, they did. They got a taste of that opportunity, whether it be a career, the idea of a better punk scene, a better locale to ride BMX/skate. Yet, for the most part, most of them, too, find their way back to this, often times, inhospitable isthmus.

Profile Nhc 15 Childs Turndown

The Dream Driveway. DIY royalty. Chris Childs turnsdown while Ryan Clements looks on.

Profile Nhc 6 Velo Champ

Jordan Miller. Veteran in the Tampa Bmx scene. Dialed photographer (once a contributor to Ride UK), now Seminole Heights cycling guru offering up dialed service through his bike shop: Velo Champ.

Over the past couple decades, Seminole Heights has become the epicenter for artists, kooks, and punks who have returned home to cultivate their roots. And without grand intention, a cultural re-evolution sprang forth right under our noses.

Folks from all over the Bay area now migrate in to enjoy our diverse, independent restaurant scene, our Indy record stores, bike shops, show venues/bars, and, within the bmx/skate scene, the back (and front) yard, DIY cement/wood-scapes.

Profile Nhc 10 Cryptid

If Florida Fish and Game says it exists...

Profile Nhc 3 Childs Tire Slide

This boat mold has been relocated three times. Here’s it’s third, and final resting spot. Chris Childs mid tire slide. Thanks to Ryan Clements and the Boardr for the invite.

Profile Nhc 14 Proctor T Bog

For a Micro-Mini, this thing has pop. Bobby Proctor: T-Bog in between spot hopping.

Profile Nhc 9 Foust Boost

“I’m coming to realize that this neighborhood is made up of those same people who at one point yearned to get out. And for the most part, they did.”

- Matt Coplon

ABOVE:  Well over 15 years ago, two inebriated skaters built this quarter made of mortar and 2 X 4’s in the middle of the night. So the urban myth goes. Cory Foust demonstrates that it still works properly.

Profile Nhc 5 Cory Foust Nose

Use every inch of your backyard. Scott Bentley made this winding addition to the Bagel Bowl a couple months ago. Cory Foust. Steep nose, tight quarter. Thanks to Scott for the hospitality.

Profile Nhc 7 Degroot

Chad Degroot: Fakie Hang-Five under that blistering Florida, winter sun.

Profile Nhc 12 Gator Signage

Throughout Seminole Heights, these DIY neighborhood seals seem to be Omnipresent. Keep your eyes peeled, always.

And as a backdrop to it all, a kooky, folk ethos sets the tone...one made up of cryptids, botched Civil War blockade running ships, and a two headed alligator. It involves so much bizarre detail that I’ll have to spare it...I’m here simply to spark your curiosity.

* * *

In the irony of it all, after having spent so many years, personally, trying to leave, it’s now spent trying my hardest to stay.

In January of 2019, we flew part of the Profile crew to Tampa and made Seminole Heights our home base for a week. This is what we enjoyed together...we hope at some point you will come for a visit to experience it yourself.

Profile Nhc 13 Pinzon Tooth

SHMF: Seminole Heights Mother-Fuc*er. Luis Pinzon, pitted tooth.

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