So we arrive at Hollenbeck Park in beautiful Boyle Heights, Los Angeles just a few minutes after noon. First impression: lots of cops and lots of skaters. Session was in full effect as everyone waited for instructions and the announcement of the route. For those of you unfamiliar with Hollenbeck Park, it is a Dyrdek skate plaza. Ledges, manuals, stairs, rails and that’s that. Super fun.
The energy was high already and got higher as the Emerica team rolled in with some of the Baker/Deathwish dudes in tow. They rolled in thick. Andrew Reynolds, Erik Ellington, Jerry Hsu, Braydon Szafranski, Brandon Westgate, Heath Kirchart, Marquise Preston, Justin Figueroa and Leo Romero. The kids were hyped to watch these dudes roll around and the pros were happy and quick to say what’s up to the kids. Good to see no “cool guy” treatment. Was all love. Or as my buddy says, “the brotherhood was real.” I’m generally less given to hyperbole, but in this case there was a really good, friendly and pretty unified vibe.
Could go through the whole ride but that would take long and I’m sure you can imagine the behavior of thousands of skaters as they mash through L.A. streets. And if you can’t this little tidbit should give you a bit of an idea.
Hollenbeck Park is at the top of hill. In one direction the street runs East going deeper into East L.A., in the other direction the street runs toward Downtown L.A. No maps had been given out to show the route the skate was supposed to take. So, people are skating the park, watching and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And getting more and more ready to roll. All of a sudden the crowd starts moving. A rush starts moving out and onto St Louis St. Bodies squeezed past eachother, dudes bumped into eachother and got boards under their feet and began moving down the road.
As I paused to grab my camera and my board before I rushed into the fray I thought to myself, “aren’t we supposed to be going towards downtown?” The whole crowd of thousand was going in the wrong direction, with mad energy. Screams, cheers, bails, powerslides. Hyped. Hyped and going the wrong way. Freaking skaters.
Too hilarious. When eventually the crowd ran into a wall of LAPD’s finest blocking the road, we turned around and headed back to the park to wait for directions. Things got put back on the right track and the day went on. Too funny though. All barge, no patience.