Photos courtesy of Chris Riesner, words by Jackson Allen
When we showed up at the contest at noon, Brandon Eckles was hoarsely shouting into the microphone, ‘I already lost my voice, I’ve been up for 14 hours but I want you guys to get rad to Slayer!’ The amateur class took his words to heart, because what ensued was five minutes of crashing, colliding and shredding fueled by Angel of Death. Looking around, I couldn’t help but think to myself, ‘today is going to be amazing.’
Apparently Brandon had decided that a premiere of his two year video project, Caliwumpus, wouldn’t be stressful enough and he paired it with a contest at his local indoor skatepark in Atascadero, CA. Indoor skateparks in California make about as much sense as tanning salons on the sun to me, but in this case it turned out to be fortuitous, as we got some unseasonable rain on the day of the contest. After a two hour drive from Santa Cruz through a pretty constant downpour, the prospect of riding an indoor park was sounding better and better.
With a night of heavy drinking after the premiere and a couple of weeks between the contest and this recollection, details from the contest have gotten a little hazy, but a few things stand out.
One member of our caravan is no longer welcome at the skatepark, which apparently (and I guess understandably) frowns on the throwing of one’s shoes.
On the subject of shoes, Jared Swafford didn’t need them to do a footjam on the tallest quarter in the place. Jared managed to keep his shoes on most of the time and won first place in pro by doing so.
John Glassett wasn’t able to compete in the finals due to some bruised heels but had the crowd’s (or at least my) favorite runs. The downside footplant he did on the roll-up door was frightening enough that it kept everyone dead silent until he dropped back into the quarter and the place erupted.
There wasn’t a wall, fence or other vertical surface that was safe from people’s wallride marks (some with disastrous consequences). It almost seemed as though people were determined to tear down the park with the rubber side of their bikes. After one rider launched 20 feet into the top of a chainlink fence (which somehow created a shower of sparks) and then knocked himself out, the owner of the skatepark determined that particular fence was off limits. Five minutes later the same dude, somehow revived and seemingly jacked up on some kind of energy drink was pedaling at the same fence while Brandon screamed ‘This isn’t my fault!’