WORDS Jake Grove PHOTOS David Ruano & Jake Grove
Catalina Island is a true paradise; as it is approached from the open ocean, the shimmering water, filled with vibrant orange sea creatures, all accents the majestic cove of Avalon. The colorful town of houses and shacks lines the beach, and sits between the broad and rising mountains of eucalyptus. It’s no wonder that Santa Catalina Island has gained its reputation as an ideal tourist destination, sitting only 30 miles off the coast of Long Beach.
But there’s one thing that makes the Island stand out to us skaters—the hills! Through the mountainous terrain that stands above the valley of Avalon, lives a long and winding road–with a historical inn, an unbeatable ocean view, and a series of perfectly sloped and smoothed hairpins that bounce riders back and forth between its curves. The first weekend of each May holds a special event for this coveted hill: the Catalina Island Classic. We’ve been enjoying these views and racing its photogenic curves each and every year, and we are always stoked to make it out the island. This year markes the 5th annual Catalina classic, and the event held strong and fast!
“On Board” Interview with Micah Green:
This year held its share of ups and downs for the skate industry, and both companies as well as events have felt the impact of an interesting turn in the market. The Catalina Classic was unannounced until mid March, and it was rumored that the event was cancelled this year, but Dubes and his crew pulled through and got things up and going! This year’s event was much smaller and mellower than the last four, but it most definitely kept the stoke flowing and proved to be another successful downhill vacation. Where there were 170 riders last year, this year held only 70 racers. Even so, there was still a solid group of racers, freeriders, spectators, and photographers. The island was again invaded by skaters—with a board pushed along every city block, every hour through the night and spanning the entire weekend.
At this point we’ve said all we can say on this event—it’s rad, legendary, and although mellow this year, it was still an action-packed, fun-filled weekend of shredventure. We we’re stoked to get out to the island once again and get some solid coverage to share with all of you.
This year also brought an extra day of skating as well—a Sunday Freeride day. After two solid days of practice, qualifying, and serious racing, riders flocked to the hill without their leathers on in order to take some laid back pack-runs and kick-out some gnarly slides through the hill’s dreamy curves. This year’s freeride day brought stoke to a wide range of riders and opened up the race course to a less controlled form of skating with fewer limits.
1st: Micah Green
2nd Kevin Reimer
3rd Aidyn Lynds
1st: Emily Pross
2nd: Rachel “Bagels” Bruskoff
3rd: Victoria Waddington
We also included this awesome recap video from our good friends at Muir Skate. They were also a major sponsor of the race this year. Hats off to Muir Skate for being a major supporter of the local scene.
A very special thanks to all the event sponsors: Divine Wheels, Muir Skate, CSC, NJK, Predator and Catalina Express. Huge thanks to the Avalon Fire Dept., Public Works, City Council, and Chamber of Commerce. Gracias to all volunteers that made the event possible and running smoothly. Wheelbase fam came through and delivered some quality work, thanks to all involved (you know who you are)! Good times were had!
Justin, Dubes and company held it down and made this event happen, and we cannot thank them enough for the hard work, sweat, and blood they all poured into it. I know everyone there was extremely stoked the event happened once again. Lastly, but not least, huge thank you to all the local Catalina Island residents for their hospitality. All of those little local kids rock and kept us entertained and stoked! We love Catalina Island and can’t wait to come back! See you all next year at the 6th annual Catalina Island Classic!