Words: Wheelbase News Photos: Beauty Out of Babylon
The beginning of May means many things to many different people but for some of us this time of year means simply one thing: Ditches. There has been an annual pilgrimage made by these Ditch Disciples for the past ten years to the event that has been dubbed “A Spiritual Holiday” as well as “International Safety Meeting” but officially is known as Ditch SLAP. With this years gathering commencing the tenth year in a row this outlaw event has gone off, there was no way that Wheelbase News was going to miss the celebration of spillway perfection. We filled our bags with all the skate gear we could manage and enough clean socks for a week and headed out West for what promised to be 100% a skateboarders paradise.
There is a distinct aroma in the air of New Mexico that the locals contribute to the wild sage but I believe its an incense offering to the shred gods. Upon arrival to perhaps one of the most skate-able cities in the world, it is not impossible to be hitting your first ditch and inhaling this healing scent within the first hour of being there. Albuquerque proudly hosts 80 some miles worth of irrigation ditches strewn throughout the its city limits. A vast majority of this mileage occurs on downward sloping terrain offering perhaps the most exciting mixture of speed as well as session skateboarding avaliable on planet earth. Littered along every ditch there lays countless obstacles and features, some erected by opportunistic skateboarders while others were created for a completely different purpose that coincidentally coincides beautifully with our art form.
To capitalize on these various elements offered by his local spot, event organizer and host Joe Lehm created a schedule of events that would generate an atmosphere of comradeship along side competitiveness. Consisting of four days, the skating was broken down into two days of races and two days of free riding. Day one was home to a banked slalom course that offered its participants the chance to test their pump on a timed course with bragging rights as well as a little cash on the line. The purse was divided up between Ryan Ricker (1st), Brandon Tissen (2nd), and James West (3rd) but thanks to all the event sponsors, every racer went home happily swagged out. Day two was a completely different beast with the legendary Chinese Ditch Race planned to go down. This years was an especially special running of this race with its dedication being given to the memory of Biker Sherlock who actually was the one who initially thought of the “free for all, winner take all” concept. Robin McGuirk took home the title with Kaspar Heinrici and Dave Anglus rounding out the podium.
The final two days of skating consisted of shuttled runs via repurposed school buses all around the city touring all of the best spots she has to offer. In between epic sesh spots and the endless street surfing that connected them, meetings condoning safe skating were sure to be progress as often as deemed necessary. Carnage occurred often and lots of progressively radical skateboarding went down during this time dedicated to celebrating our roots in all around skateboarding. The ability to dip into every aspect of skating skill you possess really separates this event as one of the funnest opportunities of the year. You better believe that we already have the calendar marked and are counting down the days until its time to make the journey and SLAP some more ditches!
To showcase the two days of freeriding, James Tracey both filmed and edited and awesome video that truly highlights the essence of Ditch SLAP! Peep all the spills and thrills in his video recap of the event…