Go Skate Day

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I had spent the night before watching too many episodes of Son Of Anarchy on Netflix. It’s a fictional show about a motorcycle gang who runs guns and gets into fights and such. Yeah… It’s pretty cool. Anyway, flash forward to the present, and I’m sitting on an Metro Bus bound for Venice out of downtown, inching through Los Angeles morning rush hour traffic. The date was June 21st: Go Skateboarding Day. Recognized world wide as not only the longest day of the year, but also the international celebration of, lo and behold, the skateboard. So naturally, being it that I skateboard just a little bit and all, I figured it prudent of me to wake my ass up early to bus cross-town to cruise the boardwalk of Venice Beach with Kyle Chin and his small armada of skate warriors.

After falling asleep on the bus and being jolted out of my nap by the vigilant bus driver woman, I hurriedly gathered my things and shuffled off into the streets Santa Monica. With a quick phone call to Kyle and a rendezvous destination set, I pushed my way down to the boardwalk, excited to be out and about and away from my desk. Cruising along, I managed to conscript a few stragglers to the cause, making it to the meeting location just as the main force arrived. Rolling close to thirty or forty deep, we had a sizable crew. Traffic had no choice but to make way as we poured onto the city streets. A bristling herd of skateboarders, all pushing and carving along, it’s a beautiful sight to behold. After a good solid morning of skating we arrived at ZJ’s Boarding House on the cusp of Venice Beach to catch our breath and to enjoy some serious grillage.

Despite the relaxing environment and healthy supply of free food, a few restless souls, myself included, decided to break off from the main force and go at the maelstrom freak-show that is Venice Beach all on our own. Whatever preconceived Bay Watch’esque idea you have in your head of what Venice Beach is actually like, allow me to bring down the hammer on this one folks. Venice is… out there. Half of the appeal of the place is born out of the fact that all walks of life from all odds and ends of the hierarchic spectrum seem to gather here. From homeless to heroine junkies, marauders to millionaires, Venice Beach is like one big swirling soup of people from every corner of LA and beyond. Despite this, Venice is also a place to go if you want to experience just a little bit about what’s going on in the greater skateboarding community on the grassroots level. And the fact that the date happened to also be June 21st, was like adding Miracle Grow to those grassroots. Everyone and their grandmother’s dog was on a skateboard.

The morning commute on the MTA. Downtown to Santa Monica.

Just after stepping off my bus and onto the streets of Santa Monica.

Awaiting at our rendezvous point for the main troop to arrive.

Everyone gathers at our meeting location. A parking lot by the sand.

Little Daisy Johannes floatin’ the one footer.

That guy, landing 360 flips in the parking lot on a Tan Tien.

Rachel’s choice in sock color only accented her sweet flatland moves.

Sam demonstrates what to look out for when trying electric skateboards.

Richard takes some pointers on nose manuals from the master.

The force departs our rendezvous location.

A steady stream of skaters pours forth onto the streets of Santa Monica.

A passing skater trades a momentary glance with the camera.

Navigating the traffic of Santa Monica on our way to Venice.

The tide of skaters congregates at ZJ’s for free food.

ZJ’s Board Shop, hooking it up with weenies and burgers for all!

Adam, busy throwin’ some new ideas around.

Despite the appeal of free food, a small pack of us break off to tackle Venice.

Lil Richard firing out the scissor steps for the ladies.

The crowds gather at the Venice Beach skate plaza.

This is what we call progression.

Lil Daisy using her hips to get this Dervish to behave.

Little Sam Hay throwin’ out a mighty Tiger Claw Big Spin.

Rachel Bagels, makin’ moves.

All in all, it was a fantastic day spent skating around in the sun. What more can I really say? Venice on a day like this is just something to experience. One of those “You had to be there” moments. Sure, there may have been a few more kooks out there then usual, but when is Venice not a total circus? Never – And that’s the way it’s always been.