2018 Valentine’s Day Slide Jam
This last weekend in Washougal, WA, USA, longboarders gathered on a road known as S Street for the 5th Annual 2018 Valentine’s Day Slide Jam. The Derow Media Taskforce aka DMT lead the casual “event” on a sunnydelic Saturday in February. For Northwesterners, it’s nice to have a few dry days to stretch your legs outside. Talking to some riders who recently moved to the area, I learned they were appreciating the sun more than ever having experienced their first Portland winter. Corners were spotted, slides were pretty much required to make it down safely, and neighbors were generally chill with us. More power to group hill sessions where everyone looks out for each other and plays a small part in the session!
Kurtis Derow of DMT got this event together through Facebook because it’s tradition and nobody else was doing it. I talked to him about the event. He said, “So it’s been going for five years. The third was my first time experiencing it back when Blake McClam ran it. Last year, after a year without a host and event I picked up the reigns.” I remember riding this hill years ago before it had any houses on the road. It was easier to see around corners and it didn’t seem as steep. When I arrived this time, I saw all the houses and that instantly makes it much more challenging. Luckily, we had spotters for the blind corners. Kurt also cut out a section of road where people that don’t like us live. Compromise!
The event started as a simple freeride. Riders made their way down any way they please, and spotters alert riders of any cars driving through. Once there was a good amount of people and it was after noon, a giant slalom course was set-up since Robin McGuirk brought his cones. Having not set-up much giant slalom courses, Kurt asked for help from riders until it seemed right. It was funny to see cars slalom around the cones.
We met up top for slalom registration which took minutes. We voted on whether or not riders should be knocked out after hitting one cone or just be penalized. It was decided that if you hit one cone, you’re out. That required less verification that they made it clean down the course. Robin sent riders up top while Kurt was at the bottom and they recorded times by stopwatch and relayed them by cell phone. It was not your average giant slalom course as this seemed to require a slight amount of sliding to make it down the course safely.
The Giant Slalom course finished sometime around 2 or 3pm. The cones were taken away and the sesh turned back into a freeride.
Those vibes, hoots, and hollers that an event brings were very potent and prevalent.
Sometime after 4pm, we gathered on the top for podium/awards. Aaron Hopkins won giant slalom with the fastest time. Arman Jaberi got worst crash with two toe-side high-sides to oblivion. They were both straight to the tail bone and within an hour from each other. Hope he’s not feeling too sore still. For the slide jam, Kurt was the judge and had picked his winners.
Right after we finished the podium, the Washougal Police showed up. We informed them we just finished up. They were actually kinda bummed cause they wanted to see the longboarding. I showed one officer some of my photos on the camera LCD screen and he said, “cool!” They said someone called ’cause we didn’t have spotters in the lower section, which Kurt disagrees with. The police had no reason to kick us out, as we were all leaving anyway, so they scooted out.
When asked why he really wanted to keep this event going, he said, “I wanted to bring it back because of how much stoke and excitement the third brought to me and everyone else on the hill. I knew it was capable of being that, because it’s on a rad hill and I’ve seen what the event was capable of, this year’s Jam brought back that feeling and the shredding was heavy! It’s the reason I picked up the reigns in the first place; those vibes, hoots, and hollers that an event brings were very potent and prevalent. I’m glad it was a success!”