Kennedy’s Boardshop Slide Jam
I remember last Saturday morning very clearly, oddly enough. The Friday night before had been somewhat of a late night, and waking up early on a Saturday morning wasn’t something I was readily accustomed too. However, despite my slumberous tendencies, I needed to make sure my chosen rental house had all the additional camera gear I needed for the event, so I had set my alarm for stun, and jolted myself out of bed early that Saturday morning in hopes that the “early bird” saying would play itself out the way it was suppose to.
After rising from the dead and putting a kettle on the stove with one eye open, I wandered over to my window to survey the new day. To my horror, I glanced outside to bare witness to a somewhat rare occurrence taking place… It was rain, and lots of it. Now, for all of you around the country use to dealing with infrequent weather patterns, you have my everlasting respect, because here in Southern California, we’re just a tad bit spoiled. Rain is somewhat of a distant cousin to us here in the high desert, so I’m sure you can imagine the sort of in-denial state I quickly deteriorated into after the sight of all this unwanted precipitation. “It’s still early… it’ll burn off by tonight” I continuously recited to myself in hopes that the spirit gods would hear me, and answer my calls for a drier evening.
Well, needless to say, they didn’t. So after a day of unanswered prayers, and a few near cancelations of the jam, the word was finally given, and a small army of groms and veterans alike amassed at the top of the specified hill, ready to do battle with the elements. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to my fair share of slide jams; small, large, mellow, gnarly, but never have I been to a jam that was both at night, AND in the rain. So after conscripting a hapless photo assistant on site, (cough, cough, John Baelly), we readied our strobes and prepared for the carnage that usually ensues with the perfect storm like combination of round lipped, high duro wheels, and a steep incline of very slick pavement… However, what we had actually ended up with after everyone settled into the ultra greasy release point, was a proper rain jam packed full of huge slides, dirty bearings, and style for miles.
SoCal grom and Kennedys team rider Ian Mcsherry surveys the scene before the jam gets underway.
Shredders gather at the top of the hill.
Super slick pavement and brave souls.
Ian Mcsherry follows close behind as shredder Michael Ferran milks his heelside slide for all it’s worth.
Local animal Rafael Bondoc rips it up, and shows the camera how to get low in the process.
Another Southern California local, Matt Peckson lays down a nice n’ slippery toe-side slide.
Longboard Larry’s Tadaichi Nakayama is as calculated and graceful as ever with this viciously stylish clasped handed squat down slide.
Another Kennedys mad man, Trevor Baird likes to play chicken with camera-men, and look like a boss while doing it. photographers be forewarned.
A grom lays it on thick with a very deliciously held out pendy.
Another pavement pounding local, Slippery Pete Eubank shows people just how laid back he actually is.
As if bombing hills wasn’t enough. Pete thought he’d get Emeril Legasse on my next shot and “kick it up a notch”.
After roughly three hours in the (acid) rain and no recorded fatalities Lee Kennedy decided it was time to award the brave with healthy amounts of swag from bearings to boards.
All and all it turned out to be a proper slide jam. Not exactly what we had all planned for, but at the end of the night, no one left without a smile on their face. Everyone’s bearings may have been grimy, our socks may have been wet, but the stoke was high, and that was all that mattered. We here in Southern California may be inept when it comes to dealing with erratic weather conditions, but we sure know how to make the best of the cards we’re dealt.