Ramp Locals on a Sunny Day in the Northwest

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Jackhammer does a Wallride at the Kingston skatepark in Kingston, Washington. Photo: Giuseppe Ventrella

I used to think Go Skateboarding Day was a stupid holiday. For me, every day has been Go Skateboarding Day for the last 15 years. You should be able to meet up with your friends and go skate every day, not just on June 21. I also don’t like the idea of having an organized event at a skate park. You can go to a skate park any day. It’s a bust-free, safe spot to session any time. If you’re going to make a special day for skateboarding, why not do something that you wouldn’t usually do on this day?

Now that I’ve talked shit on every skateboarder’s favorite holiday, let me just say that I really enjoy Go Skateboarding Day. I had a near death experience four years ago on Go Skateboarding Day (major surgery) and now I celebrate that day as if it were my last day to live. I still don’t believe you should spend Go Skateboarding Day doing all the things you could do any day. I think it’s a day to explore and have some adventures. It’s a day to breathe new life into skateboarding, not stagnate at your local skate park.

This year for Go Skateboarding Day, I decided to explore something new and head to the Northwestern United States. I had never been to Seattle, Wash. before and felt it was time to experience some new terrain. I flew in early the morning of June 21 ready to skate and have a good time.
I am lucky enough to quickly jump into a skate gang in any town I visit, and Seattle was no exception. I was inducted into the Ramp Locals (obscure 1980s skate reference) upon arrival. I was lucky to never experience any run-ins with our rival gang, The Daggers, on this trip.

One thing I learned very quickly was that everyone in Seattle has nicknames. My friend Jackhammer picked me up in downtown Seattle and we quickly caught a ferry to a town called Kingston.  It was in Kingston that I met the locals such as Buggs, Gringich, Gnardo, Mr. Mayor, George and Janderson. All of these guys shredded this park pretty hard and it was an amazing park.9oi It looked like it had been made by a tribe of locals who had been living in the nearby woods. It’s crazy to look at the parks in the Northwest and realize that these places were actually built by a city. They seem a little too gnarly and rough around the edges to be an actual city park. Gringich gets the MVP award at this park for killing it harder than anyone on his thirty-sixth birthday.

From Kingston, we drove for about ten minutes to end up on Bainbridge Island. We made a stop at a local grocery store for barbecue supplies and headed to the local skate park. It was another amazing park surrounded by woods.  The entire park was rugged transitions with pool coping. It was definitely not an easy park to skate, but most of the guys made the best of it, including George, who did a tailslide in the medium bowl. We ended the day riding the ferry back to Seattle at night.

The amazing thing about this trip was that Go Skateboarding Day quickly became Go Skateboarding Week. Jackhammer showed me around all the local spots as well as the plethora of skate parks in the Seattle area. We ended up seeing a powerslide contest as well as a skateboard photography art show. A ramp jam and several sessions at Innerspace, an indoor park, also took place. I have not skated this hard since my 20s, and it was perfect weather the entire time.

By the end of the week, I found myself wondering why I always thought Go Skateboarding Day was a stupid holiday. I had finally realized that it’s not a dumb holiday, it just needs to be longer than one day. I am hereby requesting that Go Skateboarding Day still begin on June 21, but shall henceforth be Go Skateboarding Week. This is a call for all skateboarders:  Next year, plan a trip that begins on June 21 and get out and skate stuff. Go somewhere you’ve never been and meet new people. Skateboarding has the advantage of not being exclusive to one location. It’s actually better when you explore new places. See you on the road!

Jackhammer does a Wallride at the Kingston skatepark in Kingston, Washington. Photo: Giuseppe Ventrella Leif Anderson. Ollie over the barrier at Bellevue Skatepark in Bellevue, Washington. Photo: Giuseppe Ventrella