Jimmy

The Gel Lab Shred Sessions: Progression In Numbers

If you look at long-skating in regards to what it is now versus what it was just a few years back, you begin to get a very interesting perspective on just how much the community has evolved. In hindsight, it really hasn’t been that long. What I’m talking about is a weekly skate session our creative collective The Gel Lab has been holding every Wednesday night since the summer of 2009. What began as just a simple nightly cruise around in empty corporate complex parking lots eventually evolved into one of the longest running weekly grassroots street / freeride skate sessions to be held in Los Angeles. Now if it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn a bit with that claim, it’s because I am. I’m genuinely proud of what we’ve managed to cultivate within the incline oriented skate community here in LA over the years. A troop of no more than five weekly board-bound buddies matured into an armada of forty some odd shredders of varying skill and disciplines. All taking it to the streets week-to-week, we have an overwhelming presence on the slopes and roadways across Los Angeles’s sprawling metropolitan expanse. It has become a weekly highlight for many of us, something to look forward to in order to get us through to Friday. There is a need for these sessions. It’s a release, a midweek chance to forget about all of your worldly bullshit and get out into the evening air and explore. The sessions over the years have seen the emergence of some serious skateboarding talent. Riders from around the world and across the spectrum have skated with us, traversed the streets in our large roaming packs in search of raw and unscripted shred. It’s been nothing short of awesome, a social experiment supporting the ever changing, ever evolving lineage of the wonderful world of skateboarding.

The very first Gel Lab session, circa 2009. Foto: Ryan Galgas

The very first Gel Lab shred session, circa 2009. Foto: Ryan Galgas

From gloves and puck down slides to the now standard style of stand up, the Shred Sessions have played host to an ever transforming genre of skateboarding that continues to mature and progress. Within that five year expanse, the shred sessions have grown to provide a place in which everyone can get together, connect, and focus on reaping the benefits of being on a board. There isn’t a pretense, any hidden agenda, and the goal has always been skateboarding for skateboardings sake. With this sport and the potential risks involved, there needs to be a level of social interaction in order to learn and grow. At times it’s hard for someone just getting into the sport to find an environment that supports that kind of co-mingling between the different levels of skill and progression. Hence, a need for The Gel Lab Shred Sessions was born.

4 raging weeks of group photos.

4 raging weeks of group photos.

The Wednesday night shred armada rolling through Downtown LA.

The Wednesday night shred armada rolling through Downtown LA.

Nic Escamilla with the wall ride attempt during a Downtown LA session.

Nic Escamilla with the wall ride attempt during a Downtown LA session.

Steven Vera, graced us with his style and skill while visiting the West.

Steven Vera, graced us with his style and skill while visiting the West.

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Sticking the fountain banks during one of our weekly sessions.

Sticking the fountain banks during one of our weekly sessions.

Ojoom Pucks brainchild John Baelly rockets down a slope in Downtown.

Ojoom Pucks brainchild John Baelly rockets down a slope in Downtown.

Admittedly, this topic has been a tricky one for me to write about. I’ve long held off from writing anything really in-depth about the sessions, specifically because I’ve often wondered what hyping them through these skateboarding related media channels would do to the dynamic of the meetings. Alas, I’m interested to see what happens next. So, with that said, If you’re in Los Angeles on a Wednesday night and enjoy a bit of boarding, The Gel Lab Facebook page is where the flyer is posted. The flyer tells you where to meet, then people show up, and as a group we descend on spots and shred until everyone gets tired or realizes they have work in the morning. It’s a simple concept that I urge skaters far and wide to employ within their own communities. A general week to week meeting-of-the-forces session that not only fosters an environment for experimentation and learning, but also acts to usher new people into the sport. The Gel Lab sessions provide a knowledge based setting for anyone looking to step up their game and shed that kook status.

Eric & Mike on the streets of Los Angeles, actin' up.

Eric & Mike on the streets of Los Angeles, actin’ up.

Kim and Alexa hailing from Germany, graced us with their presence one week.

Kim and Alexa hailing from Germany, graced us with their presence one week.

Let the garage races, begin.

Let the garage races, begin.

Rachel "Bagels" feeling the need for speed.

Rachel “Bagels” feeling the need for speed.

Ghost train.

Ghost train.

Brent Moore on full lurk mode.

Brent Moore on full lurk mode.

For anyone interested in potentially linking up with us on Wednesday nights, please check out our Facebook page for session locations, updates, and more: https://www.facebook.com/TheGelLab

Thank you kindly for reading, now go forth, skate safe, skate informed, and start your own weekly shred session!

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