By Paul Zitzer
Video footage is great and everything, BUT. There’s a list of reasons it’s also not. You
can’t ever tell how gnarly the spots are, you don’t know how many tries it took anyone to
make anything, and the energy can be lost due to something as common as a bad song
choice. That’s why seeing (and doing) real live skateboarding beats even the best video
part any day of the week. Case in point: the Texas Skate Jam at Southside Skatepark in
Houston. It’s been going down for 18 years now, and during that time has raised over
$100,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which arranges experiences for kids with life
threatening medical conditions. And a huge thanks to Deluxe, Circa, Baker/Deathwish,
Nike, Skate Trash, Vans, and Curb Slayer for supporting something that’s really really
worth supporting by lining up promo gear and sending out dudes on their teams.
Which brings us back to the live skateboarding. The bowl jam was nuts and video could
never capture the vibe, no offence to our SPoT Life episode on RIDE. Here are things we
talked about afterword. Ben Raybourn. He didn’t spend much time in the bowl but he
didn’t need to. Everything he does is pure gold. Backside disaster handouts to frontside
revert are one of a kind and he’s got tricks like that, back-to-back, for days. Tristan
Funkhouser looks like a 12 year old and skates like a 23 year old but is somewhere in
between I think. 17? He did Texas proud with THE gnarliest Texas plant that has ever
been done. If I’m wrong send me a link to one that’s gnarlier. Please. He took it six feet
out of the deep end of the bowl, on the Southside sign that’s set back a good two feet
from the lip, wall jam style, beyond and then some. Nolan Johnson showed up looking
like some type of Technicolor hobo and proceeded to do the best invert of the entire
weekend on the first wall of his first run in the super heated session. He also did a
Phillips 66 in the shallow which I would have told you without a doubt is not possible at
all before I’d seen it. If you don’t know what a Phillips 66 is you haven’t been watching
enough episodes of Grosso’s Love Letters. Maybe you’ve been out skating. Moving on,
Daniel Vargas doesn’t need tricks, his style could get him wherever he’s going, but that
didn’t stop him from taking a lipslide around the corner, down the street to the grocery
store, and back. Twice. BTW, if you didn’t know, the Welcome team rules it. Big ups
also to Chris Gregson. He’s a Blood Wizard who filmed half of Extremely Sorry and is
also one of the best bowl skaters in the world: frontside flip to disaster to BACKSIDE
Revert. He also took three heavy slams, including a couple collisions in less than five
minutes. Oh, and Auby Taylor padded up and learned inverts, but not after over rotating
two of them to full back splat.
Back to the street course, a few things to note: Shep Dawg Taylor Kirby looks like he’s
probably pretty good based on video parts that are out there. See him live and you’ll
freak. SO good. Tre flip 5050 on the rail? Yes. Moving on, Brazilians can all nollie and
pop switch tricks higher than skaters in any other country, including the country of Texas,
studies have shown. Tiago Lemos and Carlos Iqui proved this again. Auby Taylor again,
he’s even better than that amazing Krooked part he just had on Thrasher. Fakie flip a
bump to bar? Fakie flip back tail a rail? Fakie flip back lip? Boom boom boom. Lastly,
Jack Olson won Tampa Am last year for a reason, and it’s apparent whenever he skates.
He’s coming back for it this year and we just might see the only other repeat since Luan
did it. He also threw down a kickflip front blunt shove it on the handrail. First or second
After the live bit was over it was back to video with the premier of the Southside 20 Year
Anniversary video. The video is amazing without even having to say “for a local video.”
Yeah Houstonians! Oh, and Raybourn has a full part, entirely filmed at Southside.
They’re killing the game out there in Texas, and I’m sure the spots are gnarlier than they
Honorable mention of the weekend goes to Internet celebrity Chris #Mango Millic who
somehow maintained a very low profile despite wearing turquoise pants.
Video by Jean-Luc Vida
Words and photos by Marino Nicastro
The SPoT team loaded up the van for another trip to Southside Skatepark for the 18th annual Make A Wish Texas Skate Jam. We had a lot of new heads in the van who had never been to Texas before, so we were in for treat.
Things were heating up nicely and the crowd was piling in as people started warming up.
The first event was the bowl jam, lots of hungry eyes.
Ben Raybourn is a Texas local and always a fan favorite. Holding this Eggplant.
Chris Gregson shreds the bowl. Look at that kickflip in the deep end!
Lannie Rhoads hanging out with Nick Boserio. Zero’s Cold War was so sick thanks to these guys.
Hollywood Martinez grabbing these kickflips every try.
Daniel Vargas from the Welcome team was using these nosegrabs to work his was around the bowl and get speed.
Who Dat? Backside Boneless on the wall.
Brian Schaefer was offering bucks for tricks but the real prize was $100 for a Texas Plant on the wall.
Tristan Funkhouser of T-Funk took home the cash! Texas Plant on the wall to end the bowl jam... Holy shit, that was crazy to watch.
After the bowl jam, people took a break to walk around outside. I caught Real team riders James Hardy and Robbie Brockell hanging out. Thanks for bring out so many people from the team.
The Welcome team also came out, those dudes are pretty unique.
Nike was having a signing outside to finish things up. I spy Theotis Beasley.
James Cobb, our very own team rider was inside starting off the bump to bar best trick. Full Cab over the bump.
Taylor Kirby with a BS bigflip.
Tiago Lemos from Brazil was doing the craziest tricks! Switch front feeble pop over.
T-Funk made his way onto the podium with the fast plant fingerflip.
Auby Taylor won 1st place with the fakie flip.
Outside Schaefer and the Baker Boys Tent were raffling off signed boards for charity.
Ellington and Theotis holding it down for Deathwish and Baker.
Jim Thiebaud at the Spitfire tent. Don’t mess with him!
The final event was happening inside: best trick down the stair set and handrail. Another Texas local, Cody McEntire - switch flip back lip.
Ryan Thompson - fakie front 50-50 across and down. He’s another Texas local and has been to Tampa Am contest. He continues to do the most insane tricks.
Jack Olson kickflipped into every single trick down this handrail for best trick. That's a kickflip front blunt.
Tre Flip 50-50 done perfectly by Taylor Kirby.
Switch flip blunt to switch. Jack won best trick with out a doubt. We hope to see you here in Tampa next month to win Tampa Am again.
Bump-to-bar best trick lineup: Tiago Lemos Soares - 4th, Cody McEntire - 5th, Auby Taylor - 1st, Jack Olson - 3rd, Taylor Kirby - 2nd.
Stairset and handrail best trick lineup: Taylor Kirby - 4th, Jack Olson - 1st, Ryan Thompson - 5th, Cody McEntire - 3rd, and Auby Taylor - 2nd.
The 18th annual Texas Skate Jam is a wrap and it went down perfectly. It wouldn’t be possible without the help from our judges; Scuba Steve, Jake Donnelly, James Hardy and Eric Mckenney. Also a big thank you to Paul Zitzer and Brian Schaefer for announcing all day and keeping the crowd entertained. See you all at Tampa Am!