West Coast, and Vancouver in particular have a long-standing reputation
as being the skateboarding mecca of Canada. Slam City Jam has played
a large part in developing this reputation. In 1994 Slam City Jam
started out as a few ramps at the Plaza of Nations. Now the media
attention and economic benefit Vancouver receives from contest goers
and from the numerous skate shops and parks in the city and its
suburbs has finally prompted the municipal government of Vancouver
to recognize an official skateboarding week, which will coincide
annually with Slam.
Mayor Larry Campbell made this declaration official
a week before Slam City Jam X. Skateboarding is now recognized as
a legitimate form of transportation and police can no longer confiscate
skateboards. The city also approved a proposal from the Vancouver
Skatepark Coalition to construct a small outdoor park in the East
side of downtown, (take a buddy with you if you decide to check
it out, it's not the most "touristy" part of town).
best way to do Slam is on a road trip with a few select buddies.
Having a vehicle at your disposal allows for efficient use of time
for visiting the excellent parks throughout the city's suburbs.
My crew returned twice to Tsawwaasen's new addition to the legend.
The qualifying runs took place on a Friday, as usual.
This year's street course offered a ton of variety, efficiently
using the available space. The local ams were ripping it, notably
Geoff Dermer who came in second place just after the seemingly unbeatable
Ryan Sheckler to qualify for the semi-finals.
|Ryan Sheckler, Slam City Jam 10 winner
Corey Duffel was sporting a Charlie Chaplin style hat,
but it didn't seem to get in the way of his crooked grinds and backside
lips on the rails. The speed of progression from year to year is
always amazing. I think out of towners like to use Slam as a gauge
for their own progression too because of the amount and variety
of skating there is to be had on in Vancouver. Tony Hawk's Boom
Boom Huck Jam tour provided the vert ramp, which featured a massive
gap in the middle of one side, which was braved by Tony Hawk himself
during the best trick contest on Sunday. His 900 was beat by Bucky
Lasek in the end. One could go on forever naming the best tricks
of each day, or one could just check out the Slam Website http://slamcityjam.com/slam10/
for updates which were posted after each heat for a more thorough
account of how it all went down.
Maybe partly due to the fact that it's Canadian, and
we never take things too seriously here. Slam has become more of
a festival of sorts than a serious competition. It's a chance for
the skate community to bond and enjoy being part of the world of
skateboarding. The bowl jam is probably the best example of this.
Prizes abound, girls skate alongside guys, and people pull the gnarliest
tricks, beer in hand. The Hastings bowl is also the location of
the annual Slam kick-off Bar-B-Q, the existence of which seems to
be threatened by rain every year.
night the soundstage featured The Coup and Talib Kweli, leaving
the crowd pumped for Saturday's semi-finals while my crew decided
to check out the Anti Social shop screening of the new and much-talked-about
Yeah Right Girl team video. Directed by Spike Jones, and
featuring a special appearance from Owen Wilson of Zoolander and
The Royal Tenenbaums fame. Also, showcased in the gallery were photos
taken during filming and others by folks involved with Girl. Strangely
enough, most of the Girl team didn't show up this year. Rumor had
it that they were "tired from filming the video," but an inside
source said they were afraid of contracting SARS. Perhaps they'd
been watching too much CNN
After the Anti Social party a few socializers made
their way down the block to the new vegan/vegetarian restaurant,
Foundation. It's located two blocks North of Broadway on the West
side of the street, and the Thai/Western fusion is well worth a
special trip. They are open for dinner and drinks, but not lunch.
was an intense day for everyone, but with the much loved Rene Rene
doing a swell job as MC, the atmosphere was kept light-hearted.
Sheckler was standing out against all the pros. He came in first
in the semi finals, with Geoff Dermer only a point behind him, and
Ryan Johnson taking a close third. It must be hard for the pros
at the peak of their careers in their mid to late 20s having to
deal with this phenomenon of a 13 year old being better than you
ever were. The kid is amazing to watch. His smooth, consistent style
had everyone staring in amazement during each of his runs. This
year he managed to mix it up a bit more with a couple different
runs. He had obviously been working on his street skating over the
past year. Geoff Dermer stood out once again, along with other local
The girls practicing on the vert ramp were going bigger
than previous years, and in the end Cara-Beth Burnside took first
There seems to be an inextricable connection between
art and skateboarding, and regular visitors to the skate lounge
on the bottom floor of the coliseum know this best. This year Mike
Vallely did a spoken word and autograph signing for his loyal fans,
and showed the premiere of his latest video Greatest Hits. The day
concluded with a packed Bad Religion performance, and the likes
of Side 67 and The Casualties gracing the side stage.
Saturday night, my crew enjoyed some drinks at the
Cambie pub, and then headed down to one of the ghettoest venues
in town, the Astoria, for the tunes of the local grunge band Streets.
One phenomenon of Slam City Jam which I will never
come fully to terms with is the Hooters booth where little boys
(or girls, as the case may be) can have their pictures taken with
silicone-injected peroxide beauties. It seems to me the ultimate
reflection of skateboarding's growing presence in the mainstream.
Fifteen amazing females showed up for the women's street
contest. Vanessa Torres took the cake, with Lauren Perkins at a
close second. Monica Shaw, Jessie Van Roechoudt and last years winner
Amy Caron came in third, fourth and fifth. Alexandra White stood
out with her consistent frontside boardslides down just about anything.
The girls stuck mainly to one corner of the course which featured
a steep rail, a six-or-so set, and some ledges and banks, making
the skating tight and fast. Lyn-Z-Adams expanded her repertoire
of skill past the impressive grabs and launches of last year's contest.
She's one skater to keep your eye on because her talent is going
McCrank, Chris Haslem, Trevor Dunnet, and Greg Lutzka all ripped
the course on Sunday. Having three runs allowed the skaters to shred
a little harder and take some chances with their runs. Sheckler
had two equally amazing and consistent runs that didn't leave much
of the day's results to the imagination. Carlos DeAndrade switch
frontside lipped the large curved rail, and skated like he didn't
come up all the way from Brazil to go home empty handed.
Sheckler came in first, as was expected by many. McCrank
made a comeback from last year's bad luck and took second place,
making his hometown proud, and Carlos took third.
Tension was released when the local Jaks crew showed
up to challenge the infamous Slam hockey team. Asses were kicked
and much fun was had by all.
separate best trick contests took place this year on the Sessions
ledge, the Vans vert wall, and the Shorty's rail, which made the
whole ordeal a bit less redundant. These were conquered by Joey
Brezinski, Mike Vallely, and Chris Haslam, respectively. Amy Caron
won the women's best trick with a feeble grind. The best trick is
the perfect end to Slam. The pros let loose with the craziest stuff
they've been dying to try all weekend and the crowd is always left
'Til next yearkeep shreddin.