Santa Gnarbara Labor Day Slide Jam

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We had all been skating so hard the day before, as per usual. There’s a long running joke amongst our circle of friends that when someone claims they’re going to “take it easy”, it usually means that they’re gearing up to really put the hammer down on that next run. So in the traditional fashion, I myself had decided to take it really easy that day. My fault came when misjudged a corner chasing Chris D’Alessandro into a left at forty-something, and had stand-up slid my way into a jersey barrier. Nic Escamilla and Trevor Baird had been following close behind and oddly enough, had all followed my ruin, slamming into the barrier moments after me. So if, at this point, you figured we all had pretty much cashed in our chips for the rest week with that little debacle, you’d be wrong. Very wrong.

My next morning began at 8:30am with a vibrating cell phone on the night stand. Almost instantly the soreness from my bruised heel came pulsing in. No matter, I thought to myself, I’ll handle photos for the afternoon… Yet no matter how hard I tried to ignore the fact that I was injured, the inner skate tyrant in me had other plans in mind. So with my board and camera bag in hand, I hobbled my way to the car, stoked to be out on yet another weekend adventure of incline crushing. Our destination was about an hour or so North to a slide jam being held in the beautiful mountains of Santa Barbara. Our arrival at the hill was met with a slew of bright eyed and bushy tailed groms, rippin’ and shredding their way to skateboarding ecstasy. It was just another one of those afternoons, complete with a cloudless sky, a breath-taking location, and a couple dozen or so people just as excited as you to be out and about and soaking up some quality vitamin D.

Dustin Hampton pilots on our trek to Santa Barbara.

Weathering traffic on our journey north.

Coop and Nic, looking civilized.

There is a road that leads to heaven, and we drove it on Labor Day weekend.

360 degrees of Santa Barbara picturesque glory.

The jam hill.

Skaters congregate at the base of the hill to start the jam.

Sam demonstrates that “friends” come in many different shapes and sizes.

Sam and Nic hike to the top of the hill as Dusty scouts for camera angles.

Santa Barbara, just like Malibu, is one of those sacred places you go to unplug from the day to day. It’s where you spend about 70% of the time skating, and the other 30% gazing dumbfounded at the incredible view. With zero cell phone reception it naturally places you in a perfect scenario to shut down and bring yourself back to the present. So while I limped up and down the hill with my camera, growing ever more anxious to ignore my body’s signals and skate, I managed to capture a great deal of the radness taking place over the course of the afternoon. Thrills, chills, and spills.

A grom gets loose for his warmup run before the event begins.

A talented ripper rockets off this ramp for some serious hang time.

A lone shredder gets slippery.

Joe Gutkowski slashin’ this heelside slide for the camera.

This little guy was monster truckin’ for the majority of the day.

Nic Escamilla was steezin’ hard.

Little Sam Hay is small on size but big on slides.

Joe Gutkowski tries his hand at the launch ramp and makes big air look easy.

Litte Sam Hay may be small, but his skating abilities are anything but.

This ripper gets low on his way down the hill.

Joe again, showing everyone how it’s done properly.

A shot of jam winner, Tyler Howell toeside sliding his way to victory.

Joe Gutkowski floating the huge toeside slide on his way to the bottom.

Take note ladies and gents, this is how you win a longest standup slide comp.

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Kyle gets carvey.

Everyone gathers at the platform for prizes.

Spectators gazing out over the California coast from the top of the platform.

Everyone gathers as prizes are issued.

Sticker tossin’.

More sticker tossin’.

Tyler Howell receives props for winning the jam.

Sam Hay receives wheels for his badass skating efforts.

Leaping from the platform to solid ground.

The breath-taking California coast.

In the end, I managed to get in a few solid runs. Despite being in a great deal of pain, the scales of skateboarding were still tipped in favor of fun over agony, so I made do. So while torn jeans, road rash, and scrapes were a common sight, it didn’t seem to slow anyone else down in their pursuit of yet another fantastic afternoon of skateboarding in Southern(ish) California.

A very special thanks to all the organizers and sponsors for making this event a reality for everyone who ventured out.

A secondary article will be live in the coming days on the Loaded Boards Blog with additional words and photos from the event.

Thanks for reading, now go skate.