My morning started by rolling into a very wet, empty parking lot at the bottom of Talega—worried that nobody was going to show, with the weather like it was. After lugging the easy-ups to the hill, I came back down to see cars filled with skaters piling into parking lot. The Laguna Lurkers rolled up deep—each one donning a “skateboarding isn’t a crime” shirt.
The rest arrived as the organizer, DT, strolled up. All of SoCal’s heavy hitters were there: team Gullwing, Skatehouse, Abec, the Whittier kids, and even Pat Schepp from the East Coast made an appearance.
The road wasn’t even dry from the previous night’s rains before people were shredding their wheels. And once it did dry-up, you could really see a visible progression. I’m sure it was someone from the Skatehouse who suggested detouring off-road and into the dirt, but Jimmy Riha was the one that stepped up and KILLED the dirt action—laying down a sick line—slash here, slash there, ollie the sandbags, and boosting the birm. You try that in the dirt with some speed.
Also, his team-mate AJ got some grindage action off the edge of the road. Cheers everywhere. Aside from the talent you already know, there were a lot of kids stepping up their game. Mason McGhee and Mike Montjoy really left impressions with me. I watched Mason start, and after a few tries, finish learning no-handed squatters (no-hand predrift), and Mike taking turns switchstance and also laying down some freeride skills I never knew he had. Yeah Mike! It was nice to see so many new faces pushing themselves and going for new tricks during the competition, it really shows how much the scene is growing.
EG from Sector 9 brought out the grill and cooked up some hotdoggers and cheeseburgers—holding dwon a very steady flow of food for everyone. Thanks EG! As usual, you could now-and-again hear Danny Connor crack some sort of joke, followed by laughter from the old, salty skaters. The family-vibe was strong as well, with moms and dads kickin’ back in folding-chairs. It may have been labeled a competition, but I don’t think that that was on anyone’s mind much. We do this because we love to it. Simple.
The slide jam was sick for sure, but many also came for the safety clinic. There have been terrible losses recently in our skateboarding community, so learning how to save a friend’s life and to skate safer was welcomed by all. After the skating was over, the winners announced, and the prizes scrambled for; DT had some words to spit. It started very heavy: 7 dead friends this year. Damn! It should be something everyone thinks about. With a safety booklet made handy by Abec 11, it was a scene straight out of high school homeroom: sitting next to James Kelly, talking about girls and giggling, looking across the tents to see Matt K terrorizing anyone close enough to swat at, pages turning, learning about how to check pulses. DT had it dialed though. We may have been goofing-off here and there, but everyone listened and interacted with what was going on. The last page turned, fake-concussed people stood up and dusted themselves off. It was time to pick up and leave. All in all, it was a rad day of both shredding and learning.
HUGE props go out to DT for throwing such a sick event—one that will last in everybody’s mind for more reasons than one. Between the wrangling up the many sponsors, FREE ENTRY FEE, and all the supplies for the clinic, DT put in some work to make this event happen. Thanks DT. I hope you continue to have more like this in the future. Daggers rule.
– Max Capps