Feature Article

It Came from Downtown: Celebrating AVE 2.0

A long strip of sidewalk was overtaken March 28th in Downtown L.A., with crowds from throughout the city crowded a single block that reeked of grilling street-meat, and graced with punk and metal laments.

Skate Area Check AVE 2.0
Skate Area Check AVE 2.0

“Los Angeles! Are you picking up what we’re putting down?!” The sound system boomed over the music, bouncing about the thin strip of the illuminated parking lot. Roars of applause responded, paving the way for boards and bodies to slap against a brick wall as the crowd begged for more.

This was the Vans Commitment to Progression Exhibition and Skate Jam, celebrating the release of Anthony Van Engelen’s newest shoe, the AVE 2.0. The event presented the impact of both Vans and Van Engelen with an in-depth showcase inside the Vans shop, which featured photos and videos of Engelen.

And a few feet away, the jam was in full swing.

Crowd and Course - AVE 2.0
Crowd and Course – AVE 2.0

Outside its barrier, local skaters leaned on parked cars and motorcycle tanks, signing up for thirty-minute shifts to thrash and grab cash. “So I can skate the whole time if I keep signing forms?” One eager teen questioned, ready to volunteer as a blood sacrifice for the good of the jam. The group then lined up at the back of the event, anxiously waiting to be let loose like gated bulls.

Rail Ride - AVE 2.0
Rail Ride – AVE 2.0

There were also some recognizable folk that showed up that evening. Christian Hosoi rode and filmed, passing Steve Van Doren handing out cash to the committed and ballsy. Burnett camped in the corners with his camera to document everything from 50-50’s on the rainbow rail, to wall rides. Gary Rogers and Chris Roberts made an appearance, and there were even rumblings of people spotting the elusive Heath Kirchart. And that’s only a few who came out to show their support.

FS 50-50 on the curved ledge - AVE 2.0
FS 50-50 on the curved ledge – AVE 2.0

Skaters zipped around the course, leaving nothing untouched. One masked skater even attempted a hippie-jump over the barricade to bring the organized chaos into the streets, much to the security’s dismay.

At the last twenty minute-mark, the energy turned to that of hornets swarming the nest. Any crash, slam, or misstep sent participants sprinting back to reset and push back into the fray. Collides occurred more frequently, which began to take a toll on the nerves of those wishing for another attempt on vert ramp.

Ramp to Wall Ride - AVE 2.0
Ramp to Wall Ride – AVE 2.0

And finally with first a flick of the lights, the Vans store doors closed and locked. The music hushed as skaters and spectators were ushered out into the chilled depths of late-night Los Angeles. The sounds of wheels clacking across the sidewalk traveled into the distance until they were lost within the mesh of traveling motorists.

But what didn’t fade that evening was Van Engelen’s influence, echoing loudly into both history and legend as he began another chapter both for Vans, and his illustrious career.

Vans Off The Wall DTLA - AVE 2.0
Vans Off The Wall DTLA – AVE 2.0

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