My assignment was not to have an assignment.. In my older age I’m coming to the conclusion that ideas are dangerous, and the idea is not to have one. However, attending the 11-year anniversary @ Channel Street on ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ was a good idea. Keep coming, keep supporting. That’s what makes worthwhile things and times keep happening around here.
S.P.side Est. 2002.
Another beautiful November Saturday greeted us. It was a fine day to celebrate the ‘Day Of The Dead’, and the ‘CHANNEL STREET SKATEPARK’. We all thawed out from the night before and rolled through to one of the more famous skate parks under the bridge, to celebrate freedom and unity. Most of the signs and tile work at this spot are colorful and meaningful. Reflecting the sub-culture of characters that build and shred, via the existing community down south.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by Mark ‘Anaheim Skateboards’ Zamudio. He was getting the grill fired up @ one of the park entrances with Rudy Rodriquez, and offered yours truly a beer. Always fun to see familiar friends faces, before noticing the new ones in the line-up. Costumes were a plenty, which always makes the event fun and creative. Someone mentioned that Michael J. Fox was actually suited up in his ‘Teen-Wolf’ gear and was skating around the park. Later I asked Mr. Fox J. Wolf if he was going to break out his hover-board? Dude just glared back at me with glowing red eyes, and growled before attacking the corner pockets of the modified mid-bowl. Still wondering how he did that trick with his eyes..
Days like these bring out the ghouls and lack of skate park rules! The best of them gathered for a band performance in the square-rounded mid pocket. The session heated up within’ minutes after the band set-up and began to ROCK by the pillar. The sides of the arena around the deck filled up for the sermon of skate. And the carnage of bodies and skateboards ensued in the pit of RIP. If you didn’t know what you were doing, it was ‘curtains’ for you kid. You had the usual top local dawgs in the mix: Robert Russo, Riley Stevens, Oscar Navarro and the others pulling disgustingly cool lines, crazy combo’s, and rabid tricks. The confined sections of transition were slayed by the axes and mallets of the possessed. Those possessed to skate by the gods of skateboardings rule. Louder, faster, harder seemed to be the common theme in the speed of the action. Just before things got carried away, or someone was carried away, the management urged to get the contest portion underway in the newest section.
First up was the under 15 division. All the kids who entered showed up and ripped long lines through the chute of chaos. Larry was a local favorite, but this year it was a young boy named CJ who took the first place honors of the day. I had to take a break in-between heats to wander a bit aimlessly..
Keep running into people that make things happen. I gave a Todor Harizanov deck to Andy Harris as I looked for the raffle. The Raffle was full of cool prizes donated by the sponsors. Raul Morales was churning out the screen-prints of stoke through his company ‘CALI MUCHO!’. My ol’ friend DJ Cesar was mixing the most eclectic tunes on his wheels of steel. We spoke a bit of music and legend. John Lucero and his bud popped out of nowhere and joined the conversation before I ducked out around the corner to grab my skate for a break in the action. Taking notice to the stellar oldies and newies in the parking lot on the way out, my son complained to me of a skateboard jones. We got back he rolled around, and I took my position for the skateboarding finals.
MRZ and I posted up in the rounds deck with a sense of anticipation. Dudes were gearing up the get down. Oddly on this particular day, one could see more than their share of police presence in the area. In fact, they were beginning to appear in various vantage points around the skate park. At one point the ghetto bird was hovering over their target of skaters for a tally. Before returning to home base to inform the other officers working the squad cars and motorcycles. Gave me the feeling that they might be ‘Jealous Again’, and that they would soon show up to show off their expensive toys. I dunno, but for some reason you could feel they were getting moist as the skaters handled business in the final.
Last years champ Ronnie Sandoval was out of commission for the day with his arm in a sling. No worries, the rest of the skateboard hit-men unleashed their skills on the concrete course. Jordan ‘Red-Man’ Toledo was shredding everything and eventually ollied from the top deck into the small pocket. Notables that killed the contest area were Rick Fabro, Chris Russell, Willy Lara, and Cameron Greenlaw.
Yet, on this day the lines, combo’s, and sheer glue-footed skating went to Channel Streets favorite son, Robert Russo. Robby was drinking more water than last year’s event, and you could see it helped him from puking in the heat of the battle. Congratulation’s go out to everyone that was a part of the skate contest mayhem!
The session seemed to fire back up with a flick of the PA switch. Another punk rock band assigned to the mid-section. This time a slam pit chaotically circled itself around the basin of the bowl. Every other curve and contour was being skated by the mass. Bad Grandpa’s ex, Bad Grandma ‘Gripple’ brought the attention to the rolling elderly. This is when the fuzz decided to make their entrance. Like spoiled rich kids without an invitation, they began to dismantle the contingent that made the vibe true to its cause. Breaking up the celebration for political reasons seems like a run on theme in society today. Good things may come to an end, and they came earlier this year than expected. But, that does not mean we won’t be back for more in a Cali-minute. As we were escorted out by Officer Bill, I said my good-bye’s to those that we left with. Glancing back at the silhouettes of souls that colored a moment that just became our past. More good times!
Here’s looking at you Channel Street. For sticking together and making dreams happen.. Concrete dreams. See you again soon..
Bart Saric is the owner / operator of Skatemade Skateboards.