The 14th annual Summer of Death has come and gone, and what a banger it was. Roughside of the TRAX IV Presented by Scion was one for the record books. Johnny Roughneck, creator of Roughneck Hardware out of San Francisco, was out in the streets to throw the Salt Lake version of the Roughneck BART Tour. The premise for the contest is to not be bound to the closed-in area of a skatepark, but to be mobile and to consist of various street spots around Salt Lake, all while being in convenient enough locations to use public transportation. I know what you’re thinking to yourselves right now: “Wow, that is fucking genius!” And yes, I couldn’t agree more. With some pretty heavy spots, this was no walk in the park for anyone involved—it was bound to be epic. Johnny Roughneck and crew got the crowd together early, and a variety of chaos and skateboarding ensued shortly after. Between mobbing the streets, public transportation and skating the spots, Summer of Death was sure to be on the #roughside.
A noteworthy session went down at 9th and 9th skate park during registration time, while the 50-plus skaters gathered and got ready for the day. A heavy warm-up on the down rail would foreshadow events for the rest of the day, with some bangers from Jordan Brown and Nate Brown, as well as Caleb Orton throwing down a plethora of tricks to get the blood flowing. The troops gathered just before 3 p.m. and it was off to the train station. While some bobbed and weaved on the uneven sidewalks, others took to the streets and accepted the risk of the daytime traffic. The TRAX station was packed and ready to go, with all fares paid courtesy of SLUG Magazine. With a mostly unknown scene now out in the public eye, raised eyebrows and snickers were sure to follow from the other passengers, given the motley crew that was suddenly among them. The costumed fans of Comic Con threw a humorous twist on things, leaving even myself thinking, “What the fuck is going on here?”
Our first spot brought us all to really “Discover Gateway,” as well as the unique and skateable architecture within it. You could slide down the C-ledge, send a wallie off the rock over, lip slide up the ledge, or wallie the spherical decorations of the sidewalk. The contestants were anxious to take their skills to the streets, so the session went off from the get go. While one skater was sliding the ledge, another was popping over it, and another was sliding the other way. Cameron Parkinson had a wallie, late frontside shove-it off the rock gap while Orton stuck it out at the spot, just long enough to pull off a stylish, backside boardslide to pop over the ledge that would land him Best Trick for the day. Once we got wind of po-lice trying to get down on us, the mob headed out around the corner to a sizable parking lot to parking lot gap with a tight landing. Nate Brown took no time to launch himself down the gap as well as pulling off a ninja-like frontside 180. Orton was not far behind, grabbing his nose down the gap. The spot was shortlived, but a banger for sure. From there, the Roughneck soldiers caught a train out west to our next stop for the day, which was out there, in more ways than one.