Category Archives: John Ballon

472: “The Captain” John Ballon Ocean City Maryland

John Ballon Ocean City Maryland

I am gonna guess that this was taken by either Geoff Graham or Ben Cornish…the fisheye makes me think Ben…anyone know?


415: C is for Kapten… John Ballon/Barn

John Ballon invert

Captain John Ballon Barn NJ 

Photo Dietz Bruthas

Captain n.

1. Abbr. Capt. One who commands, leads, or guides others, especially: 

a. The officer in command of a ship, an aircraft, or a spacecraft.
b. A precinct commander in a police or fire department, usually ranking above a lieutenant and below a chief.
c. The designated leader of  a team (steam) or a crew in sports.

315: The Captain John Ballon and Jim Murphy. Captured by Ben Cornish

The Captain John Ballon and Jim Murphy The Barn

Photo by Benjamin Cornish

A true classic from the Ben Cornish vault. This image does more to transport one to The Barn then almost any other I have archived here. Its the coolest skate picture and yet no one is skating. Check out The Captains shorts and sneaker. Too cool. Great one Ben.

303: The House of Steam: July 20th, 2 Years!! Benjamin Cornish’s Super 8 Youth (The Directors cut)


Jason Oliva The House of Steam

Its 2 years on and here is how things stand:

100,000+ hits!! (right on the anniversary too)

274 entries into the archive scattered across 500 categories.


Lets also not forget YouTubeSkate with 8,000 hits, 46 videos and counting and a year old too!

No money generated.

No Money lost!

Lots of old friends catching up and getting together. Allan Gibson has put out an all call to skaters wishing to ride his Uber-Ramp. Wreckroom skates is putting out boards for three Steam riders, Dan Tag, Darren Menditto, and Bernie O’Dowd. I have a couple pictures going into an HR documentary and I had a cool email conversation with Guy from Fugazi. If you google/image search the word “signature” my name is number 2 on the entire internet(try it, its crazy!!). The 78 ditch is being ridden again by a whole new generation of skaters. Ben Cornish has dusted off his old films (Cant wait to see “Demo” again) I have gotten no better or worse at writing. SteamBoat released an amazing (cant wait to see it) skate film. Chuck is skating and performing.Jay Henry is still…Well, Jay Henry. The Padulos’s have a quarterpipe in their driveway again, for their kids. Mike Pruskowski is a Dad this year. Rinaldi is blogging away. Rodney opened a shop in the lower east side.Bernie is skating and directing creativity. John is sculpting.Tom Groholski chimed in with a killer essay on East Coast pride. Vallely always has great things to say here. Mertz is gonna be back in action as well as making music.  Rocky is spinning, Dennis is fishing. Taylor is blackberrying. 300+ people are trolling through our nostalgic past on a daily basis. Everyone will always miss Weep, JT,Sean, Hula and the rest. Anyway…

So two years ago on July 20th I posted a picture of the Barn on this free blog site. I have not done a thing to change the look and feel of the place since then. I am not sure why I did it at the time, I guess I wanted to throw up a flag and see who would salute. It was dawning on me at the time I had not seen some really important people in my life for over 10 years and I needed to change that. I always took pride in my skate photo album and I felt others took pride in theirs as well. I had hoped everyone would want to dust theirs off and compile it all in one place, The House of Steam  like a wing of the Metropolitan museum of art. So I guess its mission accomplished. The main thing I constantly take away from working on THOS is that we had some great early years, surrounded by cool supportive people and families. We had places to go, places to stay and we made our own decisions. Most importantly everyone seemed to  know at the time how good we had it then and how good we have it now. Life enjoyed/Enjoying life, so far so good.

Thanks to everyone who reads,contributes,comments,emails, sends pictures etc. etc. Also thank you for all the great comments concerning my art over at Http:// they are always appreciated (keep em coming!)

I will keep this post up for a bit while I get ready for year 3 and everyone can get a chance to drop a comment or even a suggestion.

Well without further adieu here is Ben Cornish’s SUPER 8 YOUTH in its entirety…Enjoy!



ben cornish


dave padulo

dan tag

rocky vertone



chris blank

simon curtis

dan tag

rocky vertone

jt murphy

jimmy kane

dennis kane

steve mannion

john ballon

bernie o’dowd

jason oliva

tim cornish

matt padulo

cornish chickens


dj king weep

apple x



bad brains

modest mouse

rambling jack elliot

228: “What about the Captain?” Bernie O’Dowd writing about Team Steam’s Capatain John Ballon and good ‘ole’ En-Jay.

“What about the Captain?”

Why did Team Steam have a Captain? Why not? Ours was none other than my
life-long best friend John Ballon of East Brunswick NJ. He had no official
duties, he wasn’t voted into position and didn’t enforce any rules.
(Although there was one official rule of Team Steam and that was to write
Team Steam on your board.) He just had a certain power of Captain-ness
about him. To Tag, Rick, and Darren he was a bit of a scary authority figure
who ripped. He was older than them, tall, and had the driest sense of humor
ever which was confused by many to be no sense of humor at all. Imagine Star
Trek’s Mr. Spock skating and you’d be pretty close to that of the Captain.
Super alien nerve-pinching strength pulled him through many a Wheel Barrow,
Andrecht, Indy air to back truck and other ramp shaking maneuvers.

John Ballon 1985 Barn NJ The House of Steam

Captain John Ballon The Barn in Ole En-Jay!

Photo Irene Ching

He has Captain-like smarts too, the kind that led to him quitting college after
three years of being on the Dean’s list because they didn’t get his ideas or
his own alphabet that he could fluently write in. He wrote a letter to
Thrasher after seeing Tom G. on the cover saying we’d like to skate his ramp
sometime which led to Tom’s dad looking John up in the phone book and
inviting us over.


click to enlarge

Tom met us at the Brunswick Square mall in a Camaro.
That’s so New Jersey, we probably went for Pizza afterwards. Shortly after
meeting Tom we built our own training facility in the woods behind John’s
house. Made of all stolen wood she was a grand 4 feet tall, with 4 foot
transitions, 8 feet wide and adorned with world-class PVC coping. It was
there that the Captain learned many a trick which would then be applied to the
slippery Lexan behemoth in Tom G’s backyard on fabled Saturday sessions.

Captain John Ballon Bside air the house of steam

The Captain John Ballon NJ 83 BackSide air

photo Bernie O’Dowd

Capatin JohnBallon Invert the house of steam
The Captain John Ballon En-Jay 83 Invert

photo Bernie O’Dowd

captain john ballon ollie the house of steam

Captain John Ballon NJ 1983 Back side Ollie (ZORLAC!)

photo Bernie O’Dowd

captain john ballon layback 83 the house of steam

El Capitan laback NJ 1983

Photo Bernie O’Dowd (taken from what looks like a tree?, jason)

Looking back at these pictures of a young John Ballon tearing it up on that
tight little ramp in 1983 it was clear he was headed for greatness. I
remember J.T. Murphy, John The Rubber Onion and Dan Bay (Groholski ramp
locals) being impressed with our progression after not seeing us for a few
The Captain and I have been away from NJ for 20 years now, it’s hard to


Bernie O’Dowd Invert to Fakie OC Captain John Ballon on deck

We went from Jersey to Ocean City MD. to Daytona and then finally
split up in the early 90’s. John headed up to Philly for a stint and then
out to Seattle where he still resides. He’s got a lovely wife, a house, and
a job that utilizes his creativity and smarts. John never gave up on
skateboarding but his body did. He’s just too worn out he says. It’s a sad
thing to not have you’re best skate-bud ride anymore but he skated harder
than most in the time that he was shredding. Hard enough to earn the rank of

Bernie O’Dowd 2007

Captain John Ballon 2007

El capitán del vapor John Ballon 2007

Jason Oliva The House of Steam

Nice one Bernie!!!

I think “ramp shaking maneuvers” or RSM’s as they will now be referred to sums up The Captain best. I can remember him (The Captain) busting out a random act of air walk and everyone on both decks at The Barn going ape . Those where the days.


Here is one last RSM of The Cap from Power Edge Magazine:


Post every and all Captain John Ballon story or recollection in the comment section…dont be shy, I am gonna leave this one up for a bit.

Dont forget to checkout the Team Steam Media Archive too.





Team Steam’s Media Archive

YouTubeSkate (Videos)


East Coast Pride by Tom Groholski

Remember The House of Steam is looking for Sponsorship, Submissions and Suggestions!!! Send all to

203: “Oh Captain my Captain” John Ballon The Barn NJ 1985

John Ballon 1985 Barn NJ The House of Steam

Captain John Ballon Barn NJ 1985

photo I Ching

Team Steam’s Captain John Ballon….nuff said


YouTubeSkate (Videos)




East Coast Pride by Tom Groholski

Skateboardings Golden Age

Remember The House of Steam is looking for Sponsorship, Submissions and Suggestions!!! Send all to

188: Team Steam 1987 NJ, Dan Tag, Jason Oliva, Dennis Kane, Jimmy Kane, Steve Mannion, Bernie O’Dowd, John Ballon