Words & Photos: Thomas Richmond
The 5th annual Ithaca Skate Jam returned to East Buffalo Street for another stacked day of riding skateboards, sharing stories, and flourishing smiles. At the root of the event in 2012, Ben Dub pitched a ramp into a PVC pole jam that pushed the envelope for building dimensional features in the years to come. Combining the features alongside the hill jam was a way of bringing San Francisco style skateboarding to the East Coast. Alongside the hill, skaters can dive off into a side street to hit quarter pipes, launch ramps, and pyramids that were built and transported by Comet riders and volunteers.
Crews and families traveled from all around the United States and Canada to lay down some lines of passion in upstate New York. This year, there was a block of time dedicated to younger skaters who were tightening up some sliding and transitional technique. This part of the event was sponsored by TBJ, a foundation formed in honor of a local skateboarder. It’s always rad to observe the stoke expressed by the riders, spectators, and event staff through a bonding respect and interest.
Since Comet was founded in 1997, owner Jason Salfi has been channeling efforts towards a more sustainable practice, incorporating more sustainable materials and inputs to skateboarding. The energy incorporated into this event is emblematic of the recent Comet “Upcycle” program that creates a new board from the waste of every 11 boards in the skateboard industry. Partnering companies of the event such as Guayaki Herba Mate and Clif Bar share the same values a Comet Skateboards, a founding B Corporation.
This year, a special addition was made in the form of a booth selling collectable, rare and unique Comet boards that were available at a discount. This was an awesome opportunity to grab a piece of Comet history.
As the day was coming to a close, owner of Comet Skateboards and our gracious event organizer Jason Salfi grabbed the mic to say a few inspiring words and give thanks to those who helped make this amazing event happen;
“Skateboarders need to look at Ithaca Skate Jam as a prototype to build DIY skate events from. The Ithaca Skate Jam brings it back to the essentials. People, Skateboards, and a spot. We pick a rad spot and incorporate a lot of partners, people, and effort. I want to put a call out to all skaters out there – Organize Events. They don’t have to be competitive. Just put together rad expression sessions and let it flow. It’s what skateboarding in general needs more of right now. This is an artistic movement and brings together people from all styles of skateboarding. Email me personally (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will help be a resource for how to make it happen in your hometown too.”
“I would like to thank my wife Kadie for organizing the event and being a part of Comet for 19 years. The Comet Team absolutely kills it. We all get together and huck hay, build ramps, transport and install the features, break it down, clean it up, its a lot of real work that we do for the community. This is a group of people with a lot of heart. I would like to thank the city of Ithaca and Tompkins County tourism board the community of Ithaca, all of the companies that make this happen locally, and most of all the skateboarders for coming to skate. We all have a ton of fun skating with you all and it takes everyone involved to make it happen.”
Jason couldn’t of said it better. Here’s to another successful Ithaca Skate Jam and many more to come. We cant wait till next year!