Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek
“It’s a great place to be at night if you’re a bullet.”
That’s what Big Jeff, the DC security guard, told me about Hollenbeck Park. Apparently Hollenbeck has a pretty bad reputation of gang violence, shootings, murders, and so on. It seemed pretty mellow to us, but then again, we were on site during daylight hours.
The skate park is one of Rob Dyrdek’s “safe spots.” The location is an old slab of concrete that used to house some fenced in, pre-fabs ramps with a pad nanny that checked to make sure you were all geared up. I don’t know how they made it happen, but those ramps were removed and a modern skate park consisting of ledges, rails, stairs, and gaps was created. The best part: No pads, no helmets, no fees, and basically no rules at all. I don’t know how many times I have to say it, but that’s exactly how all public skate parks should be operated.
Here are some random happenings and facts from throughout the day:
- The Linda Vista Community Hospital is right across the street from Hollenbeck. It has been closed for many years, but is now supposedly haunted. Google it. I can tell you that it sure looks creepy.
- The people that live in the area must get issued a pit bull with every home purchase. Those dogs are all over the place.
- Despite hearing that we were in a gang-ridden area, I am disappointed to report that I didn’t see any official gang-bangers. So I just Googled “Hollenbeck Park gang” for some stories.
First time events are always tough. You never know what type of participation you’re going to get. I saw a lot of super-stars hanging out (Lance Mountain, Koston, Mariano, Welsh, Biebel, P-Rod, Rick Howard, Mike Carroll, Appleyard, Darrell, Berra, and many others), but none of those guys actually skated. However, their presence was greatly appreciated and what good is your event if the right people don’t show up, right? By the way, Sheckler was there, too, and even skated a bit.
The course was broken into two different sections with 30-minute jams on each. It was simple, fun, and laid-back…just how your Saturday afternoon should be.
- 1st - Anthony Pshebelski - $750 - big heelflip off the bump, switch big heel off the bump, kickflip back smith the ledge, kickflip front blunt on the ledge.
- 2nd - Paul Flores - $500 - kickflip crooked grind pop put on the ledge, backside nosegrind the long ledge shuv it out, frontside half cab flip off the bump, switch frontside flip off the bump.
- 3rd - Billy Davenport - $250 - nollie half cab flip off the bump, nosegrind 180 out up the bump, back smith up the bump, backside flip off the bump, frontside flip off the bump.
- 1st - Andrew Pott - $750 - big flip front board the rail, 360 flip lip the rail, hardflip over the rail.
- 2nd - Mikey Sanchez - $500 - hard flip the stairs, 360 flip the stairs, switch big heel the stairs, half cab flip down the stairs.
- 3rd – Kurtis Colamonico - $250 - switch flip the stairs, noseblunt slide the rail, back tail fakie the rail, switch 360 flip.
We had an extra hand-made trophy from MAW, so it was given to Billy Davenport for being the overall ripper...dude killed it. And all money raised was donated back to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant the wish of a kid that might not be as fortunate as you and I. Thanks to Skateboarder, DC, World, Warco, Welcome, Broadcast Wheels, Native American Action Sports, DLX, Analog, Gravis, Stereo, and Volcom.
I can see why the rumors and reports of hauntings, religion, and other superstitious sketchy beliefs like that came from Linda Vista. It's extra creepy with its decaying paint and smashed out windows combined with being an abandoned hospital. This was across the street from Hollenbeck.
Anthony Pshebelski was one of the first ones there in the morning and one of the last ones skating. This is a nollie flip off the wedge and into the hillside greens of Hollenbeck Park.
Everyone's got the nollie bigspin. Mikey Sanchez has a good one off the wedge. Someone needs to start doing damn good frontside ones. That would be a stand out for sure. I can't even think of one I've seen lately.
I'm always amazed at our society's acceptance of clubs, causes, and organizations that are focused on benefiting people just because they're a certain race. I guess I never got the racist pride my fellow minorities have ingrained in them. I think when you take the positive racism seriously, the negative racism is always going to be there with it. That's why the solution is to make a mockery and jokes of anything having to do with race. Drop your pride in your race and make it a silly issue that doesn't matter and you'll see that you start focusing on what really matters.
Billy Davenport was turning heads all day long. He skated Damn Am in 2007, but in a sea of over 200 rippers, it's pretty tough to stand out.
Danny Supa was here with the Stereo Crew, but this time around, he was the only one skating. Dune, Benny Fairfax, and the rest of the Stereo guys all endured a little heckling on the mic from Vern, Pang, and Clements for that. This is a fakie heel.
Paul Flores, Best Mexican Award recipient of 2009, was shirtless right out of the gate. Thanks for bringing the whole Warco crew. This is an ollie into the wedge.
Jordan Trahan is here from the swamps of Louisiana staying with Justin Williams. Get out there, make it happen - Jordan is. This is a backside tailslide up the wedge.
Meanwhile, next to the skate plaza, multiple weddings were going down while DJ Wade blasted gangter rap, death metal, and angry ass punk rock to spice up their nuptials.
This is Tablecloth, appropriately nicknamed by Pang after his choice of pink checker shirt. After approaching us and asking to skate in the jam, we told him to go out there and show us what he's got. He started with a good looking nollie down the steps, which prompted the peanut gallery on the mics to have a discussion about what pros over the years have been known for good looking, but mediocre, tricks. Nate Jones of course came up. Tablecloth then stepped it up with this frontside flip. Come skate Damn Am, Tablecloth. See you there.
Mikey Sanchez - hardflipping his way to second on the stair set.
Looks like Alex Yang needs to step up his gear if he wants to hang with the legit filmers.
Johnny Layton is making all the oldies look good like ollie impossible tail grabs and this no comply big flip.
Greg Meyers' nollie flip 360 was insane even though it was a bit of a Hail Mary-ish landing.
How about that stance? Laid back, legs spread, package pointing at the stairs, ready for shark bite to the nuts. Wow. Looks like Mike Sinclair was shooting photos instead of judging this time.
Paul Flores - frontside half cab flip off the wedge.
Catch Rene Rene and P-Rod on Fuel TV talking about the crazy dude who was trying manual to boneless down the stairs.
Rene Rene was not the only wacky character on site.
Billy Davenport - bigspin boardslide.
Paul Flores - switch frontside flip.
Mark Appleyard showed up after the Contest was over and was floating his always amazing looking 360 flips off the wedge.
Sean Conover and Brian Schaefer both wear some wacky ass socks.
Congrats Andrew Pott for winning section two.
After it was all over, we had a giant product toss. I don't spy any white dudes.