Time had come and there was a convergence of events that took place on Saturday Oct. 27th, 2012. It was a celebration of the ‘Day Of The Dead’, alongside the 10-year anniversary of a D.I.Y. project named, ‘CHANNEL STREET SKATEPARK’. All were included, as in the tradition of Halloween. Locals and supporters alike came out to celebrate on this fine sunny day, in the south bay.
10 years, ALREADY !? … I know, I said the same thing. Seemed like yesterday when the original sections went up. Down. Back up. To stay with addition. Fondly, I remember skating with then, ‘Lil’ Robbie Russo. All 10 years of him ripping around each nook and cranny, like it meant something. Eventually it did.
Through much trials and tribulations, these sacred grounds have held shop for some of the South Bay’s finest. It’s a skateboarding haven for those who come from around the world or for those visiting from out of town, or down the street. A few true guys made this dream come true and we can thank them for that. The skater made park that meets the tracks keeps things real. It’s a place where you can go and attack the ‘RAW ‘CRETE’, kill the norm, and get served. All in a days work.
On hand this day, were the usual suspects involved in the creation and construction. Andy Harris, Robbie O’Connell, Bill Sargeant, Robert Yamasaki, Scott Smith, Gabe Solis, to name a few. A new tranny wall, with a slim hip, was erected just in time for these festivities to begin. A spirited mini-sesh ensued with the young-bloods. Some highlights were Oscar Navarro front side wall grinding into the shallow section. Riley Stevens frontside aired out of a pick on the cinder block edge. Josh Mattson was ripping the wall, as well. Then ‘Skreech’ stood at the top of the pillar lined up with the tranny. He slammed about 7 times rolling out from the bottom, before he stuck the double overhead + drop-in on the south-wing pillar. The crowd erupted and the session continued.
Along with the local bands that rocked solid sets all day, DJ Cesar moved the crowd with his eclectic taste in music. Food and beverage were on hand. There were products for sale to help the constant costs attained from this ongoing project. A raffle took place to assist this too. Product from the companies that sponsored this event were given out during the raffle. It’s good to know the people down for the grass roots of skateboarding.
There were soup’d up, classic cars posted, looking good and tough. A 40/60 ratio existed when it came down those wearing costumes, and those not wearing a costume. People were pretty much having a good time lurking and smirkin’. Eventually, there was a locally run contest conducted in the most recently poured section of curves and turns.
The contest was pretty basic in format and had 2 divisions. MC’d by none other than, Billy D. Who kept things moving into the dusk. 1st up was the grommet division. Individual runs were preceded by the jam format. The grom’s battled it out with each other and when the dust settled there were 3 kids performances that stood out from the rest. Awards were given to the top 3 competitors. Rounding out the 3rd place position was Julian Torres. He earned his placing with a multitude of flowing lines and tricks, leaving it all out in the bowl. Coming in 2nd place was Lil’ Larry, skating solid in the critical areas of the bowls walls, and holding his own in the intense jam. Taking 1st place honors was Jarren Duke, who was just a little more passionate and intense than the rest on this day. He landed a backside 360 ollie and a backside 360 boneless in their final. But that was not it. Every junior that showed up and competed got props from the crowd on hand.
Then the young men took front stage for a 2nd and final division. A couple heats narrowed down the final group. Warm-ups had the air of ‘chaotic beauty’. Everyone was killing something in the park. Then there were, Robbie, Oscar, Riley, and Ronnie heading the local onslaught . Greyson Fletcher made a memorable appearance out of nowhere, by fitting right into the intense stoke that filled the buzzing arena. Everyone interested were lined up along the bowl decks, rails, and edges. The sun began its descent into the west coast skyline. An atmosphere was set to light up, for the final to go off!
All the finalists were punting airs and traveling grinds. ‘Mighty’ was doing his usual tech-combinations. Greyson was lipsliding, nose-diving and hucking himself off every wall, corner and hip. Oscar solidified his presence as a local player by skating most properly. Robbie Russo showed up in his ‘Superman’ skate attire. His cape and the S’s on his socks flew like a ride with lines for the cause. Instigating the wild of Riley, who rode with speed and confidence. Hopping, and sliding through sections with a reckless control. And then there was what has become the next level of Ronnie Sandoval’s skills on board. Again, everyone involved skated really well. But when it was all said and done, Ronnie would be your competitive ‘top dog’ of the day. Solid, fluid and powerful skating. That’s what he showed us. Axis spun, nose-grabbing 540’s. He landed one right into a strange, lurking young female cross-skater, or something ? .. .” I dunno “. I just saw him land that shit right into her lost placement, in the center of the jam. He ollied from low to high, and nailed one to Smith. Ronnie also stuck a backside kickflip to indy grab in the final minutes, before sticking one front side nose blunt on the infamous extension wall, by the bird pond. Forget about it, son!
The local style was noticeably evolved, since the last time I visited, a month or so ago. Next time it will be on another tier. Regardless, this 10 years is significant to skateboarding and its surrounding community. When the right people care, they often do something positive about it. Everyone around them benefits, truth be told. Thanks so much to the original and current caretakers of this ZONE! HAPPY 10TH ANNIVERSARY BOYZ!! Here’s to another 10!
* note: If anyone would like to donate, or contribute to the ‘Channel St.’ Project, please contact? (We’ll update this when their website comes back up, it is offline today)