Blue Skies at the Broadway Bomb
My leg is broken from the Maryhill Fall Freeride, but I booked a flight to New York City for Broadway Bomb weekend anyway. You know you’re a longboarder when you travel 3,000 miles to skate events and you can’t even skate. What can I say? I love the tribe. At the time of purchase about two weeks ago, I was driving through Texas with Sara Paulshock, on another skateless skate trip, but that’s another story. I HAD to go to the Bomb. EVERYONE goes to the Bomb, and I’m always dying to connect with my skater chicks.
It rained the night and morning leading up to the first annual Blue Sky Mile Challenge, which took place the day before the Broadway Bomb. It stopped just before my arrival to the track and although the skies stayed generally gray for the event, the rain mostly behaved itself and went elsewhere. The race was organized well and ran smoothly despite the skies. It even started and ended on time. What?!
Blue Sky Longboards has been my sponsor since the summer, though this is the first time I was able to meet any of them. About 80% of the Blue Sky team, plus a hefty crew of my Los Angeles locals and the Orangatang team flew in for the weekend of events: The Blue Sky Mile Challenge on Friday, the Broadway Bomb and the Sector 9 Barbeque on Saturday, the Style Sessions and Slide Jam on Sunday, and the parties in between.
My hotel room, which by the way, had hardwood floors, no bible, lamps hanging from the ceiling, and a window that actually opened, was available to my homies that needed some space. My favorite Shark, Ari Chamasmany, and Ethan Cochard rolled up trashed and soaking wet at 5:30 in the morning. “Sorry we’re so late. It’s raining, we were across town, we have all of our bags, our phones are dead, and I fell twice.” Story time commenced, and the sun came up before we went to bed.
I awoke at 10 am for breakfast to tell my Blue Sky team I hadn’t met yet that I was going to go back to sleep, and emerged again at noon for our shuttle to the race. The Blue Sky Mile Challenge took place at Liberty Park in New Jersey, a 10-minute ferry ride from Manhattan. The statue of Liberty and Manhattan were backdrops to the event. For possibly the first time ever, the men and women were racing for the same size purse. Cami “the Beast” Best dropped her board off the podium when she was told she had just won $1,100 dollars for doing the damn thing. Her winning time was 4:42 and 3:35 was Richard Sanchez’s time, winner of the male Blue Sky Mile Challenge. There was music, dancing, and pizza for the celebration.
Headed out to Central Park Friday evening for a skate session with Blue Sky, a feat I should have left alone in lieu of the Loft Party in Brooklyn. Instead I hopped both up and down 4 sets of stairs to and from the subway. Have I mentioned yet that I’m on crutches? Spent the evening with my Blue Sky Longboard Team instead. Stoked on that.
My friend Allison Phillips from high school met me in New York City for the weekend festivities. She’s been skating street since forever, mostly alone, without a community. She knows nothing of the longboarding, except that she finally put some big soft wheels on her short board, and I was stoked to show her all that I know. I put her on Blue Sky’s double kick Coruja for 10 minutes and she’s already landing flat tops and backside pop shuv its. “Yeah, I gotta get me one of these.” I lightly twisted an arm and got her “one of these” that night. Welcome to Longboarding, Allison.
Saturday is Broadway Bomb day, and tensions were high in the city this year. We saw a paddy wagon and 8 cops pass by our breakfast café in succession a few hours before the event, and there were estimated to be 18 paddy wagons and 100 cops at the start line. Paddy Wagons are those giant police vans you can throw tons of people in. Allison and I took a taxi and posted up in a spot about 20 blocks away from the finish and cheered everyone on.
In my Go Pro footage, you can hear me screaming “CINDY ZHOU’S IN NEW YORK CITY” and “LAURA NOCKA I LOVE YOU” from the sidelines. From where I stood, it looked more like a parade of sorts, than of an outlawed race. At one point there was a large gang of adolescent girls in pink shirts screaming at passerbys with me. They were in the city for a Breast Cancer walk, and they were stoked on seeing large amount of skaters in the streets. NYC seemed really stoked on it, from where I was. Many people stopped to ask me what it was, or why we did it, which I mostly answered by saying we did it because it was awesome.
At least part of the reason the police were out in such full effect was because one week previous there was an actual bomb on Broadway. Some terrorist jerk tried to detonate a bomb and blow up some really important building in NYC, and luckily the powers that be in America caught wind of the situation early enough to make the fool a fake bomb. After he placed the package where he wanted it, and pushed the detonate button on the remote, we arrested him. Luckily, it’s just a silly name for longboarding, to “bomb” a hill, or a street. I promise you, NYC, the last thing longboarders want to do is tear up concrete unnecessarily. Perhaps a different name would have caused less attention. After all, there were no cops at the Cystic Fibrosis Charity Slide Jam.
The police were at the Sector 9 BBQ after-bomb party, but it was sanctioned, so they neither could nor really wanted to kick us out of our spot. I met up with Amanda Powell, Cindy Zhou, and Ysabel Mireles at the BBQ for some lady stoke, and I finally met Laura Nocka while she was at the slide jam kicking all the girls asses in the hard wheel competition. No offence, ladies, but that chick has undeniable style.
I hung out with Jenica Davenport of Push Culture as often as I could this weekend, before she went in for surgery the day after the bomb to remove some screws from her ankle, and I’m hoping we are both well enough to skate together this year at King of Clermont in Florida in January. That’s the first event I’m planning to skate in, and word on the streets is there is going to be a good amount of chicks there. Unbeknownst to me, Jenica and her better half Travis have been forging a pretty tight friendship with my cousin for the past few years in NYC. We met for the first time a year ago, said “oh yeah, I longboard, too” and found ourselves standing next to each other, gazing over the Blue Sky mile track looking at Manhattan lit up in its brilliance sometime on Friday night. Just one of the many signs that tell me I’m supposed to be where I am, in Longboarding Land, despite all the people that tell me I should be second guessing it due to injuries.
I must admit, it has been a wild ride trying to keep my being positive while not being able to skate or walk, but it’s been doable. I only think about doing one of them about like, 25 times per day. It’s amazing how many skaters have made it through the same thing, or worse. Blue Sky Longboards held a moment of silence on Friday Night for Alix Rice, an 18-year-old girl from Buffalo, NY who was killed by a drunk doctor in a hit and run in July 2011. The host of the Mile Challenge also gave Alix’s mother a commemorative board with Alix’s face hand painted on. Despite the reality of the Broadway Bomb’s slogan, “You could die”, I’m still glad to be where I am: in Longboarding Land, with the homies and the home girls. After all, you could die walking across the street, too.
I have a skate date with New York City in 2013.
Come the Broadway Bomb. Prepare for a catastrophe. Hope for a Blue Sky. Enjoy the ride.