On a chilly December evening, the Vancouver skate scene came together to celebrate and raise funds for the Leeside DIY skatepark.
While Leeside is known for its unforgiving transitions and crusty pool coping, the fundraiser brought together folks from all the different subgenres of skating in Vancouver, showing that our commonalities as skaters are much stronger than our differences. Ledge dancers, rail chompers, bowl trolls and everyone in between gathered to skate, socialize and feed off the effervescent stoke that only core events like this one can generate.
The evening started early, with an all-ages skate jam for the youth before transitioning into more adult-oriented entertainment. As the venue began to fill up, the crowd was treated to a pair of video premiers, including a local VX offering from Roach (lensman behind the Wizard’s Key videos) full of high-speed ATV destruction, and the latest release from the Toy Machine Bloodsucking Skateboard Company, which can be found online as of this writing. Following this visual stimulus, the first of three bands took the stage, cranking out riff after punishing riff as a cash-for-tricks jam commenced next to the stage. A narrow corridor was cordoned off for run-up, with the edge of the bar serving as a lip for a quarterpipe steep enough to resemble the tight transition of a barrier. This would be the running theme of the night – heavy live music blasting from the stage as some of Vancouver’s rippingest threw down on a variety of obstacles including a “slam wall” quarterpipe extension, a bump-to-hubba and a flatbar perched precariously over a tabletop chasm. When all the cash was scooped up and the bands finished, a raffle of epic proportions was held, with Home Depot buckets of prizes handed out to the lucky winners.
Coordinating an event like this is no easy task, and the fact that the evening’s festivities flowed seamlessly is a testament to skateboarders’ often-downplayed organizational capacities. Kudos to the many organizers and volunteers who worked behind the scenes, the venue for providing us with a space to gather, and the many generous donors who donated the prizes for the raffle. With the global pandemic creating a lengthy absence of raucous gatherings like this one, it felt extra special to once again be immersed in the controlled chaos of a hardcore skate jam.
Video by Jordan Staples
Additional filming by Will Vibert and Kyle Petruniak
Photos by Kaelen Morrison and Kirby Maracle
Words by Stepan Soroka