6 Man

Central Mass 5

I’d never been to Massachusetts before and about the only thing I really knew about the state before actually going there was that I couldn’t correctly spell the name of it for the life of me. It was to be a special journey for me, a brief reprieve from the constant go go go of the Los Angeles lifestyle. A change of scenery after a long drawn out winter spent in Los Angeles recovering from a broken leg. Yes, this was to be something new alright, a cultural change of gears from the predominately beach bum habitat of Southern California. A six hour coast to coast airborne transition from a drought ridden desert to a domain of apple orchards and lush ivy entangled backwoods. Harvard Massachusetts is a beautiful place laden with woods, ponds, streams, rolling green fields, and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shops. It may not be the hilliest region in the world, but as a spectacle, she is sure a sight to see.

Video coverage by Adam Crigler

Hello Boston.

Hello Boston.

Massachusetts also looks like a microsoft desktop background.

Massachusetts also looks like a microsoft desktop background.

This frog was stoked on Central Mass 5, I know because he told me.

This frog was stoked on Central Mass 5, I know because he told me.

Now, while this vivid picturesque change of setting was almost reason enough for me to fly across the country, my real reasons for journeying far and wide to the great state of Massachusetts was to attend the fabled Central Mass 5 skateboarding event. The brainchild of one Mike Girard, the event itself has over its five year history developed a bit of a reputation in regards to not only drawing a growing number of attendees, but also being a “must attend” event for incline oriented skateboarders situated all over North America. Every year, skate rats near and far flock to the small town of Harvard to culminate, skate, and cause generalized skateboarding related ruckus for three solid days while participating in three major skateboarding related events over the course of the weekend. The jamboree gets rolling on a Friday with a five solid hour mini ramp jam. Saturday is a downhill race through the center of town, and as no event would be complete without a few cored wheels, a roaring slide jam on Sunday concludes the weekend and brings the festivities to a close. It is truly a one of a kind event. A weekend long festival of non-stop shred action that encapsulates various skateboarding styles and possesses all the necessary elements of a rockin’ good time set amongst the quiet scenic backroads of central Massachusetts.

The General Store, and the epicenter of action for Central Mass 5

The General Store, and the epicenter of action for Central Mass 5

Some assembly required.

Some assembly required.

DJ and skater Peter Croce entertaining the registration crowds.

DJ and skater Peter Croce entertaining the registration crowds.

Bandyman airing it out.

Bandyman airing it out.

Mini rampin' all day long.

Mini rampin’ all day long.

The ramp jam gets underway.

The ramp jam gets underway.

Ramp jam winners are announced!

Ramp jam winners are announced!

Central Mass has become something of a high water mark for the skaters of the East Coast. A weekend that exists not only as a reason to skate hard and party harder, but also as a litmus test of sorts to the health of the skate community as a whole. This year had the largest attendance out of all five years, and next year is already shaping up to be even larger. It’s a good sign for our community. It shows that even still, our sport is growing, carving out a place for itself amidst the legacy that is skateboarding as we all know and perceive it. If incline oriented skateboarding has done anything to the industry that is skateboarding overall, it has managed to blur the lines between what we already knew, and what we never really thought was even possible. No longer is the standard issue popsicle stick really that standard anymore. Events such as Central Mass, amongst others, stand to demonstrate that skateboards are simply just skateboards, and your choice on how to ride them, depends solely on you.

Burning the midnight oil penciling in all the race brackets for tomorrows race.

Burning the midnight oil penciling in all the race brackets for tomorrows race.

[sam id=”11″ codes=”true”]
Practice runs conclude, it's time for racing.

Practice runs conclude, it’s time for racing.

Competitors gather as Mike Girard goes over rules and regulations.

Competitors gather as Mike Girard goes over rules and regulations.

Race heats are announced.

Race heats are announced.

Six man heats with only the top 3 advancing made for some exciting racing.

Six man heats with only the top 3 advancing made for some exciting racing.

Racers rallying the final turn towards the finish line.

Racers rallying the final turn towards the finish line.

Emily podium'ed in Women's and Open, and is a serious about her DH game.

Emily podium’ed in Women’s and Open, and is serious about her DH game.

Because clothes will only slow you down.

Because clothes will only slow you down.

Mids Daddy Mike Girard, layin' down the law at the race.

Mids Daddy Mike Girard, layin’ down the law at the race.

At the line and sportin' the SKS like a champ.

At the line and sportin’ the SKS like a champ.

Push Culture interview.

Push Culture interview.

Chuckin'.

Chuckin’.

Mike "Dad" Girard, running the show while on a board.

Mike “Dad” Girard, running the show while on a board.

The winners of the race are pen'ed in.

The winners of the race are pen’ed in.

Alas, whichever way you prefer to push wood, be it on ramps, or down hills, Central Mass has something for you. Multi-dimensionality is the name of the game these days in skateboarding, and if you can’t find what gets your skateboarding rocks off here, you’d be hard pressed to find it elsewhere. Central Mass is therefore one of those events that isn’t just about skateboarding, it’s about community and experimentation. It opens up the doors for cross platform skateboarding, creating an environment that not only fosters the development and showcasing of new styles across a range of disciplines, but also encourages the participation and co-mingling between these different styles, leading to a more unified industry. It is for this reason why we must continue to champion events such as Central Mass. They stand not to isolate and divide up the different genres of skateboarding, but in-fact to unite them under one tumultuous, raucous roof.

Only (iphone) shot I got of the slide jam hill... because I was busy skating it!

Only (iphone) shot I got of the slide jam hill… because I was busy skating it!

Going big for the crowds, the big air contest got real.

Going big for the crowds, the big air contest got real.

Measuring out the distance at the tail end of the big air comp.

Measuring out the distance at the tail end of the big air comp.

Late Sunday afternoon, the awards ceremony back at the general store.

Late Sunday afternoon, the awards ceremony back at the general store.

A very near and dear thank you goes out to the entire Girard family for generously allowing me to occupy their residence, feeding me, and for putting up with my lackadaisical comings and goings over the course of my stay there. You are all truly wonderful people, and it was an honor and a distinct pleasure to have been able to get to know you all – Thank you.

Momma Girard and Sister Girard, practicing their tuck - straight aero.

Momma Girard and Sister Girard, practicing their tuck – straight aero.

Now make plans to attend Central Mass 6, and go skate. 

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