Central Mass 5 is just around the corner and to get you hyped we got in touch with the man behind it all, Mike Girard. Blake Smith sat down with Mike this morning to chat Central Mass 5, skateboarding, and what you can expect to see at the event!
1. What is Central Mass 5?
Central Mass 5 is the 5th annual Central Mass Longboard Festival, a big 3-day skate & longboard event in beautiful Harvard, MA. It features a downhill race, slide jam, mini ramp jam and an after-party with 2 DJs and 2 live bands. The event is independently run and extraordinarily fun.
2. What can we expect to see this year?
This year we’re expecting roughly 400 competitors and hundreds more spectators.
Friday’s mini ramp jam is an exciting new addition, a big, beautiful 5’x16’x32′ ramp with Skatelite and great coping. We’ll do open jam and best trick contests, and the ramp can also be skated all day Saturday during the race.
Saturday’s DH race already has over 200 riders registered and counting. It will feature 6-person heats, with the top 3 advancing in a single-elimination format. The hill isn’t super technical, but tops out just over 40mph and is a blast to skate. Full faces and leathers are NOT required.
Sunday’s slide jam will see 250 shredders mixing it up on an awesome, steep and twisty hill. This year we’re really stepping up the features and building a ton of cool (and big!) ramps and rails. The upper half will essentially be a downhill skatepark, while the steeper, less cluttered bottom half will facilitate big, fast slides.
Each day we’ll have live announcing, DJ’ing, BBQ’ing, air conditioned shuttle buses (no U-Hauls!) and a big crew of well trained staff. Get a taste for what’s in store with our official Central Mass 5 promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJmjKSUBE6o
3. What made you want to organize such an event? I started making videos on my local hills back in the day and would put them up on my youtube channel. They started getting some traction and people would comment things like “hey brah, we should totally skate!” or “can me and my boys come shred those hills pls!?” I wanted to help share the stoke, but couldn’t meet up with every individual person and didn’t want to blow out my spots by giving away their locations to strangers from the monsterweb. Instead, I decided to try my hand at organizing a group session so everyone could get in on the fun. I had some capital from the landscaping business I ran during college, so I started seeking road closure permits and hit the ground running.
That first year proved a success, with about 50 skaters coming out and having a rad time (video). More importantly, it introduced me to some influential people who helped launch (and still shape) my skate career, and it showed me that events are not only fun, friendly competition, but also help enliven the local scene, foster new connections and spur on greater industry growth. Central Mass gives lots of young skaters the opportunity to compete in their first race, mix it up with their idols and realize that skateboarding is bigger than their local crew. That leaves a lasting impression on them, and feels important to me. Since then, Central Mass has grown massively in scale – roughly 800% – and I couldn’t be more stoked to do what I can to help grow the East Coast scene. It’s a lot of hard work, but I really love it… and I hope to organize more events in the coming years!
4. Why should I cancel all my plans that weekend and come to CM5?
It is hands-down the biggest sanctioned longboard event on the east coast, and one of the biggest in the world. It’s cheap to register and our sponsors kick ass. There’s a $5,000 cash prize purse and tons of gear prizes – lots of loot on the line. It’s one of the few events to combine a large-scale race and slide jam, with the mini ramp and party further sweetening the pot. The party is at a great venue, with DJs Peter Croce and Shark spinning tracks, followed by rock band Body Electric and punk band The Scandals bringing the heat… shit, there’s even a shuttle to and from the event hotel so no one has to worry about driving. Top skaters are flocking from throughout North America, including personalities like Amanda Powell, Liam Morgan, Graeme Hystad, Adam Stokowski and the Eastern Boarder team.. top caliber talent across many different disciplines. A lot of these riders have already canceled THEIR weekend plans just to come out… why not you? With any luck, it’ll be the most fun you have this summer! (Catch a slice of the confirmed rider list on the event homepage.)
5. Can anyone sign up?
Absolutely! We have different divisions based on age, skill level and gender. Riders can sign up wherever they feel is the best fit at http://skatecentralMA.com/registration. We have a waitlist for our sold-out 96-man Amateur DH bracket, and there are spaces remaining in the other events.. but they’re selling out fast!
Stay up to date, learn all the specifics and catch up on prior years’ media via the following: