Some people believe skateboarding to be an art. Others would say that jumping around on a wooden toy is a monumental waste of time. I say, every minute you are skateboarding is a minute that you aren’t stealing an old lady’s purse. In celebration of not making an octogenarian your prey, the 14th annual Summer of Death Presented by Scion had its first contest of the year on Saturday, July 20, paired with the Urban Arts Festival. The festival was held at the Gateway Mall where the streets were blocked off to make way for art booths and the skate contest. We Are One Skatepark provided the ramps, which were set up all day for skaters to bounce off of and rearranged for the contest at 3 p.m. The obstacles included in the course were: a flat bar, two different sized, tranny-able quarter pipes, a double step box and a cheese wedge. The contest took center stage at the festival, with all kinds of spectators crowding around the intersection to catch a glimpse of skaters hucking themselves in the air while on their way to look at other forms of art.

As the contest was being set up, with 45 people registering, I was able to speak with Mark Judd. Judd is the owner of After Dark Skateboards, which has been in business since 2010. Judd handmade the trophy boards being given away as prizes in the contest. He doesn’t just screen-print his graphics on blank decks––he actually presses and shapes the boards himself to his standard, which is AA grade wood from top to bottom sheet. His boards can be found via local companies such as Sk801, BC Surf and Sport, Blindside and Milo, among others. Needless to say, After Dark was a Summer of Death sponsor, and Judd had a tent with some product for sale at the competition.

The contest began set to the beats of DJ Bo York, whose booth was solar-powered by Goal Zero, pumping out green energy in three-digit temps. The 15 and under division started things off with 20-minute heats, giving some of the younger kids a chance to compete without the fear of being smashed by a full grown man. Eric “Spock” Uquillas, the founder of Spock’s Skate Camp, brought out some of the younger kids to compete—you could tell who they were because they were wearing helmets and elbow pads, and were about three feet tall, as some of them looked no older than 5 years old. Longtime SOD vet Dino Porobic landed an ollie and an early grab back 180, securing him a Third Place position. Jordan Mohr was skating like a man with his clean backside flip off the kicker, which landed him into the Second Place position. Another past contestant, Jorge Martinez, was skating the course well before the contest started.