Meet at the park after security locks the gates. The road closes to cars and it becomes ours for the night. With the bright moon shining down from above and the surrounding tree’s, half the road was lit up and quite visible while the other half stayed hidden in the night. Unexpected curves, cracks and bumps waited for riders too make the ride more fun….and scary.
If you are familiar with the road leading up to the top of Griffith Observatory then you know the road I am talking about. Impossible to skate during the day. Police at the bottom and park rangers at the top. Good luck!
The event was pretty loosely organized and no one at the bottom had skated the road before but there were already skaters lurking at the top including the event organizers.
A group of around 20 skaters began marching up the hill. Helmets, gloves and skateboards. Soldiers of downhill ready to bomb the windy mountain road, most of us unaware at how fun and gnarly the road was going to be.
The road wound up the mountain farther then most people thought and my stokeage level and anticipation level was growing. The road seemed pretty gnarly and there were several hairpins. I didn’t know what was going to happen besides the fact that I was going to go down that hill on my skateboard really fast and have a lot of fun doing it.
We could see the Observatory lit up on top of the hill marking our destination and the beginning of where we would begin our downhill descent back down the mountainous road. Looking out across the valley you could see all the lights shimmering from the city below. Somewhere up the road orange lights began flashing. 20 skaters dissipated into the bushes, ducked and waited to see what was going on. A car drove past. Once the coast was clear we continued our journey up the hill. Soldiers marching into the darkness ready to tackle the hill. Ready to bomb it.
We did end up running into some park rangers at the top.
“Park is closed guys, you need to leave,” said the ranger. We started going down the way we came.”You need to go that way,” said the Park Ranger pointing towards the non closed road.
“Um, I don’t know where that goes, my car is at the bottom of this road.” I replied.
“There are no cars at the bottom of this road,” said the Park Ranger.
“Well I parked at the bottom in the parking lot and walked around the closed gate and just walked 3 miles up this road. My car is at the bottom of this road. We’re just skating man, it’s not a big deal. We didn’t want to do it when there were cars on it,” I said.
“Alright but I don’t want to see you guys when I come back around later.” said the ranger.
We started gearing up and we all started bombing the hill. I think almost everyone crashed into the sandy right hand corner with the guard rail on it. That turn sucked. With darkness surrounding us everything felt faster then it was. Turn after turn, we picked up speed quickly and nighttime flew by. Everyone made it to the bottom smiles on their faces, some missing skin and wanting to do it again. It was an epic bomb and I hope that we get do do it again sometime soon!
Apparently there were multiple groups skating throughout the night even after we left the hill. I hope everyone else had as much fun as we did! This was an epic night I will never forget. Oh, the stories skateboarding makes for us.- Leecifer
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Filmed by: Tye Donelly, Leecifer Eisler, joel Smith, Vin Bone
Music By: The Expendables
Song: Party at the Moontower
This SDDRL (San Diego Downhill Racing League) was fun, as they always are, but each SDDRL creates a new and exciting story and this was no different. The hill was on the other side of the mountain from the other hills we race and it was unraceable and hardly even rideable a few months ago. Thanks to Tye and the city the rough dirty left was patched, repaired and was actually the smoothest section of the race track.
The race began on a smooth little downslope where riders would take a sharp right and start speed tucking as they slowly and gradually picked up speed as they flowed through some floaty wide lefts and rights. Riders then hit a little left that dropped down giving riders a little extra boost of speed, they swooped back to the right passing the shaded spectating area and then swooped through another left to a downhill drop where riders hit the finish line at speeds that I would guess to be around 40 mph after the very last drop.
The road was awesome, it was a hot but beautiful day and the scenery of the road was amazing. The humidity had everyone dripping sweat and the racing was close and tight. I watched photo finish after photo finish fly through the finish line. The end of the race never means the end of the awesome day at an SDDRL, but it does mean podiums are about to happen.
1st- Drew Edwards
2nd- Max Capps
3rd- Nathan Marton
1st- Judson Vandertoll
2nd- Shamar Jackson
3rd- Danny Ronsen
After podiums were done the crew continued on to friends of SDDRL that lived in the area. A slide session and battle was held on their sweet driveway which we raced at SDDRL #32 Bombing Party after getting kicked off the church run. A pool party awaited at the house which was much needed after a hot, sweaty exhausting day of racing. Everyone had a blast and we can’t wait for full moon fever happening August 31! See you all there! – Leecifer
The freebord pro team talks to this police officer who explains the laws of the city for skateboarding and tells about his fame from other skate videos. Photo by: Leecifer
You’re skating your favorite hill when “Johnny Law” rolls up on you. It turns out someone called reporting skateboarders on “their” hill. After a lecture explaining the laws (which vary from city to city) you are issued a ticket for being a pedestrian in the roadway.
“Here’s your lift ticket,” says the police officer. Your day which was going good so far just got expensive. All the fun you were having is drowned and a damper is thrown on your day.
This ticket was issued on a road with no sidewalks, no bike lane and cyclists riding up and down the road. No one is worried about the cyclists. They are free to roam and do their thing while you are treated like a criminal. Skateboarders are unfairly singled out although a skateboard can be used for transportation as well as recreation while bicycles are used for mostly recreation.
Skateboarding has been around since the 1950′s. As the sport began to increase in popularity, its sub culture grew and law enforcement looked at these kids as punks and criminals.
Police officers, security guards and concerned citizens are constantly harassing skaters. A fun run down a hill shouldn’t turn into a lecture about the danger of the sport and how many people are killed participating in it nor should it become an issue about who owns the street. The amount of cyclists killed every year is far greater than the number of skateboarders.
A stereotype about skaters is that they run around spray-painting everything and destroying stuff, breaking into places and stealing. Sure there are criminals and punks who skateboard, but this doesn’t mean that all skateboarders fall under this category.
“Stop skating immediately” bellowed the police helicopter flying above Michael Melone (left) and Jordan Hessler (right). Photo By: Leecifer
It is a sport that requires a great deal of balance and athleticism. Most people will have a hard time standing on the board let alone riding it down hills and flipping it in controlled spins through the air.
Southern California has a thriving multimillion dollar action sports industry, yet people still want skateboarding banned in their cities. They want the streets to themselves for the few times they drive up and down each day.
We view the world differently than most people. Each city is its own playground.
“Go home” said the cop to a group of skaters ready to bomb the 50 mph rollercoaster ride. Photo by: Leecifer
Every skateboarder shares one thing in common. We have all felt the pure thrill and joy of riding around town with nothing but a piece of wood and wheels between you and the road. It is one of the best feelings in the world. The adrenaline is flowing, you can feel the wind whipping against you as your shirt flaps behind you and at that moment nothing else matters.
Skateboarding in certain areas is like being in a war zone. It is you versus everyone else. No skateboarding signs litter city streets. “You are not allowed to have fun here,” is how I read the signs. You must be ready for any situation, even the occasional pissed off parent.
The sport is rapidly growing and acceptance for it is slowly increasing. Skate parks are being built so people have designated places to go. Skateboarders are still looked at as punk kids, when in reality it is just your normal everyday person trying to enjoy their lives and the sport they choose to participate in.
What is better than a sport with no rules, where you are free to do what you want all while having fun doing it? – Leecifer
Photos by: Leecifer
“Stop skating immediately” bellowed the police helicopter flying above Michael Melone (left) and Jordan Hessler (right). Photo By: Leecifer
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself. Graphic by Stephen Johnson
Cracked skulls, brain damage, and death are some of the things that can happen from not wearing a helmet, and many new or inexperienced riders still choose ride without one. Most do so following the example of several professional riders.
Professionals have an uncanny way of balancing. They know where they are in the air and it seems as if they can easily catch their falls with their hands and feet.
A large majority of those professionals have also taken major crashes resulting in various types injuries, even they aren’t invincible.
Within the past five years, we have had many of our fellow riders killed or permanently injured due to accidents involving riders not wearing helmets. Just go talk to an emergency room trauma nurse about the severity and number of injuries that could have been prevented if the victim had been wearing a helmet, it is appalling.
Watch some videos on the Internet of kids hitting their heads and you will see some pretty graphic images, you might just get scared into wearing one.
Wearing a helmet shows a sign of intelligence. It shows that you are smart enough to want to protect your brain. If younger kids see you wearing a helmet they will be more likely to wear theirs, especially if they look up to you. This means you could potentially be helping protect the lives of young riders.
I went to the skate park recently and there were a total of three of us wearing helmets, and about 15 kids not wearing helmets. About six of those kids had brought helmets, but left them on the side with their stuff while they skated. Some of them were doing some pretty fast, big tricks. It was unclear to me whether they would decide to actually put it on.
If you have ever attempted to ride a skateboard down ramps, or even your driveway for the first time, then you will know that if your balance is a little of you are in danger of flying back and hitting your head. Keeping your balance is not as easy as it looks unless you have many hours logged on board.
Most professional extreme sports athletes do not don helmets, and set extremely terrible examples for riders of all abilities, mainly young newcomers. After all, you don’t want to stand out as the new kid when you’re young. You want to be like your favorite skater and be exactly like them.
There are multitudes of skate, snowboard, BMX, and rollerblade videos with sponsored professionals not wearing helmets. In the videos they pull off tricks that are extremely difficult, making them look easy. So easy, that after watching it, an attempt might be made, leaving you to find out how difficult it actually is.
Protective gear is especially important for inexperienced riders, or people who are pushing their limits; trying something they haven’t done before.
Frankie doing the right thing
Losing your balance can easily happen with any extreme sport, and unexpected elements can come into play at any time.
It is always good to be prepared for the worst, and wearing a helmet while participating in these activities is a great way to accomplish this. After all a crash isn’t usually something you’d expect or want to happen… it just does. – Leecifer
I sat and I watched the thrasher video on the Laguna Seca race on Youtube. Then I read the comments to find many people hating on the whole thing. “Noooooooooooooooo I don’t want gay longboarding on thrasher’s channel “- MrRMiste. “No offense but longboarding is gay”- kungfudrew123. These are only a couple of comments but there was a lot more where those came from. To be fair there were a few dudes who held respect and fought with the “street skaters”. Some of them stood up for DH skaters in a way.
As I read the comments I thought to myself, why the hate on DH (downhill) skaters. What’s their deal. Then it came to me. For the most part DH skaters can not do most of the moves that they can do. DH skaters do not tend to drive around looking for ledges and stairs to session but rather hills. Ollie’s and kickflips over 8 stairs is common for street skaters and if you turn on the TV to watch skateboarding that is what you most likely will find. That’s how they look at it. They probably have no clue about skating DH. They don’t know what slide gloves are, reverse kingpin trucks or being aerodynamic down the hill. They probably don’t even own a helmet.
Kids who skate street work hard, break their bodies watching kid after kid after kid go down eight stairs. Do 13 stair handrails. Every little boy gets a shitty little trickskate board (the first skateboard). They begin by learning Ollie’s kick flips and other street tricks, not by bombing hills. This makes it so a majority of the kids skate street and there are lots of good riders to push others to become better. Most of these kids have never seen someone “truly” bomb a fast steep windy gnarly road.
I never thought someone could be considered a good skateboarder without even being able to ollie. The more I got into DH skating the more kids I met that shredded without even being able to Ollie. Lots of these kids even held sponsorships. I believe the reasoning for this is the sport is pretty underground still and not many people know much about it although it is growing and more and more people are taking notice.
With this being said street skaters also do not understand just exactly how intense and gnarly DH skating is. Just two years ago bombing hills to me was still grabbing my trick skate and trying to make it down some small hills without getting speed wobbles and crashing. “Stopping” was us finding a soft patch of grass or a bush to jump into. Grass being the preferable option. I remember my first time following Max Capps down a hill. I was blown away. I had never in my life seen skating like that before. He was going as fast as he could down roads I never imagined anyone could bomb. Hands down around turns and a predrift into a left turn. He didn’t get speed wobbles, exceeded the speed limit and even hauled ass around corners. My life changed after seeing that.
DH skateboard races are held on steep windy roads now as opposed to when they were in the X Games and Gravity Games on fast straight roads. Riders now need to be able to use maneuvers like footbraking, airbraking and predrifting to control their speeds in order to handle corners. Pavement is not always smooth (in fact in some cases its absolutely horrible) and boards colliding and hitting shoulder to shoulder into the finish line happens.
“I’ve seen MAD skills on both sides but gots to have RESPECT! Why do we bash what we don’t understand?” said Yudy Vinograd. Why does the type of skateboarding you enjoy cause such a feud. Both sides involve having a ton of skill and being able to do things on a skateboard that others can not do. “With out longboarding there would be no skateboarding. It came from dudes skating down the street. Not dudes skating a ledge.”- Max Capps
Also the comments calling longboarding wrongboarding are really stupid. Either way its skateboarding and we should all embrace the similarities and push each other to try the different disciplines. Who knows, you might find out you like another type of skating. – Leecifer Eisler
When we got there they were still building the roll in rmps and setting up all the timing equipment. Photo By: Leecifer
We got a real official feel from the race as we watched them build the roll in ramps, gps each cone’s location and circle it in chalk. A sophisticated timing machine was set up which include a trip wire riders rolled over which ensured they did not jump the starting buzzer and riders rolled over another trip wire at the finish line to stop the time.Riders were told to enter the cones on a certain side and if they lost rhythm and ended up going through the cones the wrong way the were disqualified. Each cone knocked over added additional time as well.If a rider hits too many cones he is disqualified.
Lynn Kramer seetting up the timing table with all the equipment. Photo By: Leecifer
The racers were held in two divisions. A 17 & under division and an open division. Saturday was reserved for the Special/Hybrid Slalom racing and sunday was reserved for Giant Slalom. Special/Hybrid Slalom racing is has cones placed at 10-15 ft apart and 5-7 feet apart. It is most often run in a head to head format. Giant Slalom races are held with cone distances of around 20-40 ft and faster speeds than Hybrid Slalom racing.
David Hackett (left) vs. Richy Carrasco (right) in a hybrid slalom race. Photo By: Leecifer
The race took forever, although the beginning was slightly boring once the open class got rolling it got exciting as riders grunted trying their hardest to pump their way to a win.
The group of 17 & under slalom racers. Photo By: Leecifer
The SDDRL (San Diego Downhill Race League) crew met back up September 11 at Talega for a fun day of racing.
Mason McGhee leads Roger Jones through the hairpin left, 1 turn above the finish line
Races held at Talega always end up extremely exciting and this day was no different. The course is very technical and you are bound to see many riders wipe out into the dirt on a few turns. You also have to be able to do heelside and toeside predrifts to be able to compete here. The race was being started at the very top of the road. The first portion of the course was a chute which offered a good drag race until they got into the hairpin portion of the race course. There were four turns that riders had to navigate through. First riders went through a 90 degree right hand turn which then dropped into the big hairpin left where most riders slid off the course. After the left it dropped down into a hairpin right with the finish line just around the corner.
Nathan Marton washing out into the dirt on the big hairpin left
The race was held in two divisions. A grom division and an open division. Riders in both divisions pushed their limits.
Mason McGhee (right) in 1st place. Wyatt Gibbs (left) in 2nd place
Congratulations to Mason Mcghee winning the Grom division.
Aj Haiby (middle) in 1st, Jeff Budro (left) in 2nd and Brian “Barney” Ward (right) in 3rd
Congratulations to AJ Haiby winning the Open division.
Firetruck taking a hairpin left with steeze and eaze.
Roger Jones did have a bad crash and the paramedics were called as a precaution. He was later released from the hospital with no more than a headache.
Thanks to everyone who came out and made this such a rad event!- Leecifer
The So Cal Represent Ride was an absolute blast. The Dethbox came down from San Francisco full of shredders and freebords. We met at Talega August 20th for a rad day of shredding.
The turnout was pretty good. There were many So Cal Freeborders who were new to the scene and the whole Edge Boardshop team came out as well as a number of other downhill skaters.
Austin “Gooner” Lin’s all business talking on his iPhone while shredding some gnar.
We all had a great time with some pretty epic crashes. Bently Anderson tried to predrift a turn on a downhill skateboard several times and gave up after he was tired of crashing. It was funny to watch the downhill skateboarders trying to freebord for their first times. Andrew Schumaker, Joe Marshall, Danny Connor, Mason McGhee and whoever else tried it. Everyone gave up after many failed attempts.
Everyone’s so happy to be at the So Cal Represent Ride
All in all it was a great day with great people. Everyone was stoked, shredding, lurking and having fun. Thanks to everyone who came out. -Leecifer