The Menlo Park Skate Jam: “Practice”

It was a truly unfortunate situation I had gotten myself into. A sprained knee a week before the biggest freeride jam in Northern California, and I was not a happy camper. I kept trying to rethink the line I took into the corner, but where is there to go with a car in the middle of a one lane road? Alas, I attempted to remain optimistic that my injuries would mend themselves before the jam, and I’d get to have my cake and eat it too. Well, they didn’t, and I didn’t get any cake either. However, despite my hindered state I took the whole experience as a test of self restraint, and while I’ve grown so accustomed to seeing the world atop a board, I took this as an opportunity to explore the world around the board.

A late Friday afternoon bowl session before registration in the evening.

Crushing the island in the bowl with a steezy 5-0.

The Friday evening before the practice session saw some serious bowl skating.

Everyone kicks back at the local skatepark before heading to the Dutch Goose.

It was a Saturday morning and Justus Zimmerly and myself had just commandeered his girlfriend’s Volvo station wagon, bound for the South Bay out of Oakland with the music at volume 11, and what Justus would call 4-60 air-conditioning: 4 windows down, 60mph. The night before had seen its fair share of drinking, as last minute registration for the event took place at The Dutch Goose, a local bar / restaurant. So while everyone was excited to skate, the morning was off to a really mellow start. The hill had been opened for practice runs, so Justus and I decided to head over there to scout out the lighting situation for shots, and pass out magazines. Day one saw its fair share of skating, with its rider base primarily made up of groms, hell bent on killing wheels and predispositions. Calling it a practice session didn’t do it justice for the amount of shredding that transpired. It went exactly the way you would imagine. A wonderful hill, with wonderful pavement, and a wonderfully gnarly group of skaters, all gathered together from far and wide to do one thing. In other words, it was a brilliant day of, finger gestures in full effect here, “practice”.

Hiking skaters gaze on as a fellow contender feels out a slide.

Giving the hikers a show.

Lookin’ clean and mean.

The full-face look is always G.

Ladies and gentlemen, Sid Beck.

A rather determined looking grom fires out a toeside check before the corner.

Stephen Beckman blasting out a huge slide while leaving a cloud of thane in his wake.

Aaron Enns puttin’ it on.

Gromulette Noah Fischer is a SoCal local who’s definitely coming up.

Sometimes, things don’t go exactly as planned. Remember, this is “practice.”

Toeside slides in the sunlight with the follow cam close behind.

Even the course volunteers couldn’t help themselves from sneakin’ in a few runs.

Saturday may have just been “practice”, but you wouldn’t have known it.

The pine tree made for some awesome shadows as skaters blasted down the hill.

Louis Pilloni has his 180’s off kickers down. The sequence tells no lies.

So with the sun dawning on day one, we all retreated back to the campsite for food and festivities. A serious soaking to later ensue, and the 3rd annual Menlo Park Skate Jam on our minds, and in the morning.

 Tomorrow, the story continues with Day 2 of the Menlo Park Skate Jam.

 For additional photos not shown in the article please check out The Gel Lab’s Flickr link below: 


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