This year’s 2014 Catalina Island Classic was good times as usual. This event is one of our favorite races of the year. Shit, it’s held on an island off the coast of Southern California: warm sun, refreshing ocean beaches, deliciously strong beverages, and a backdrop of awe-inspiring scenery. Hell yeah! And that’s not even mentioning the epic road the race is held on with it’s panoramic views of the expansive Pacific Ocean and surrounding hills—winding steeply downward and covered with smooth pavement—all along the way spotted with the cooling shade of loftily grown eucalyptus trees. Daswassup! No matter how ya spin it, Catalina Island is one of the best locations for a downhill race, period.
Riders traveling from all over the world were in attendance at this year’s Catalina Island Classic and they were eager to display their skills and unique brand of gnarly skateboarding. Corner #4 was definitely the crash-zone of the event—many slappies, slams, flip-flops, and Ca-plows! were had in, and around, this area of the course—and to the crowd’s wide-eyed applause no doubt! As you can imagine, there was much spectating in this particular area of the road. The surrounding hillside was covered with lurking lookie loos and bloodthirsty bystanders. Any eyeballs lookin’ for carnage or destruction left with a wink and a smile. That being said, no serious or lasting injuries were sustained as far as we know. The rider’s full-face helmets, pucked-gloves, and leather body suits worked their magic, and well.
One of the highlights of the event this year, for us (besides beers and brodowns of course), was how many more women participated in the race than in previous years. We’re told there were around 20 females in this year’s third annual Catalina Island Classic. We cannot confirm that number but we can confirm that they all ripped it hard and skated fast. Thumbs up, ladies—you killed it! It was also rad to see lil man, Jasper Olsen, shralping down the hill amongst the big boys. Another thumb way up!
The miniramp made it back into the event this year and was setup right near the water in the middle of downtown Avalon. Much fun ensued on its surface Saturday afternoon and the good times lasted well into the night. Legendary street skater and musician, Ray Barbee, kept things lively the rest of the evening at the Chi Chi Bar, where he soothed the island’s inhabitants with his bebop-style electric guitar riffs and radical sonic-vibrations.
Side note: We met the City Manager of Avalon while on the hill (a very cool dude indeed, with a very awesome wife too. Quality peoples.) and we chatted it up regarding his interest in expanding downhill skateboarding’s presence on the island and of ideas for hosting multiple events per year. Obviously that sounded awesome to us and we suggested the idea of both an amateur iteration of the Catalina Island Classic race, as well as the possibility of a Catalina Island freeride event. How radical would that be?!? We’ll definitely let ya know as soon as we hear more on the subject.
Anyway, if you are familiar with our past coverage of races and events then you already know this is the point where we get a bit distracted from a linear detailing of things—the point at which we ask you to join us in casting away the play-by-play commentary and turn attention to all the pretty pictures. This particular article is in fact our most collaborative pictorial effort to date. Four amazingly talented and passionate photographers came together in order to show you what we are made of here at Wheelbase. We hope you enjoy.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with our whimsical inclinations we apologize, yet we do so only partially. See, we are a visual and visceral band of creatives who believe in, and are inspired by, the confluence and partnership between riding skateboards, beauty, and imagery. This connection is holy to us, and our exploration into the culture of skateboarding is reflected in such connectivity.
That being said, we are always happy to see skaters rise to the challenge of the day, we are forever excited to watch our friends explore and challenge their limits; but ultimately, we really just love telling the tales of our skateboarding tribe. Thanks for taking the time to check us out. It’s appreciated!
^^^ Click on the above image to see AJ’s seemingly one-footed magic!!!!! ^^^
1st- AJ Haiby
2nd- Zak Maytum
3rd –Kevin Reimer
4th –Dillon Stephens
1st- Elena Corrigall
2nd- Alicia Fillback
3rd- Marisa Nuñez
4th- Victoria Waddington
A very special thanks to all the 2014 event sponsors: Riviera Skateboards, Paris Trucks, Five Mile, Divine Wheels, Timeship Racing, Muir Skate, Eastern Skate Supply, CSC, Concrete Wave, Predator Helmets, NJK, Catalina Express, Abec 11, Restless Longboards, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. A special thanks to the Avalon Fire Dept., Public Works, City Council, and the Chamber of Commerce. Thumbs-way-up to Ray Barbee for blessing us with his lovely music. A hardy high-five to all the volunteers that put in their time and effort to make the event a reality and run smoothly, a hearty-huge thank you to David Marano, Brian Babish, Khaleeq Alfred, and David Ruano for doing work on these amazing photos above. A big thank you also goes out to all of our Wheelbase Magazine sponsors for supporting our humble operation, and thus, helping us get to such rad events to do our stories. Good times! Majorly appreciated! And lastly, but not at all least, a huge thank you goes out to all the local residents of Catalina Island for their hospitality and for putting up with us. We love you Catalina Island! See you all next year at the 4th annual Catalina Island Classic!