So B, the Oakland Blade Jam is this weekend and it looks like you’ve been going all out. What’s the latest?
Yeah man, it’s been a long month and a half of being at the park 6-8 hours a day, working with the homies after our day jobs, heading straight to the skatepark to put in some work. Right now we are fixing this one deck that is completely overdue for a touch up, and the quarter pipe needs some new love. We got some new boxes and new rails to donate to the skatepark after the event is over. It’s a great feeling to be able to help out the community of skaters in the area.
Can you give us some quick history about the event; how it came together, and who besides you is really making it happen? It spun out of the street demos you guys have been doing, yeah?
This started as a extension to what Will Kenndy was doing in Texas with the Texas Skate Series (TSS) competitions. The original plan was to make Oakland one of the stops on that tour of contests. But with money and everything else, and trying to fly people out, I came up with the idea of just making an Oakland contest that we can make annual. Since we lost a big US contest (Bitter Cold), figure we might as well replace one where we lost one.
As far as what is making this happen, this wouldn’t be possible without Bernal Heights. They have been helping out the blade scene for a long time now, and I couldn’t be more grateful than to have a job that wants to see blading be where it should be. I’ve put a lot of money out of my own paychecks too, because there wasn’t much invested this year so we’re just making due with what we have to work with. My father’s job helped out a lot with extra wood and extra material if I couldn’t buy what we needed. Ace Hardware store has also be a major pull. Thanks to Mr. Art, the manager there, I got a chance to talk them into being a sponsor for the skatepark. They helped out with screws, paint, bolts, brushes, drill bits.. ect. Big shout out to those guys!
For help building things, that has been done by the help of the bladers and even some skateboarders that have lent a helping hand. It’s been important to me seeing people come after work or whenever they can just to help, even if it’s to get their two cents in, ya know. Thank you to Omar and his wife that’ve been down since day one, Raymar and his blue truck, Micheal for his building skills, Krans for always coming through, and to all the homies who have been up there making this all happen because this is All OF US! Special thank you to the companies who sent product to give out — that wouldn’t be possible without them. We’re just helping our culture grown and it’s beautiful!
Judging from the pics, you guys have been doing a major overhaul on the park. Looks pretty amazing! What’s the arrangement there; I’d assume the park is getting to keep the ramps and enjoy the upgrades?
When I started mapping out the idea I wasn’t sure how it was gonna work out because Town Park skatepark is a heavily skateboard influenced park, but thankfully with the help of the park owner, “K Dub,” we came up with a plan to make it work out. The bladers in the community weren’t really hanging out there much because of the layout of the park; there wasn’t really much there but old ramps from back in the day. I saw it as an opportunity to help out the skatepark and to show that blading is still here and still alive ‘n kickin’. All the new decks built and new wood donated is theirs to keep. And thanks to Agressivemall (with the help of Brian Krans) they donated some flat rails that he was using for the Sunday Streets event in SF (which I’m hyped about our new idea for that since the rails are gone now). There are a few things that we will have to change back but nothing crazy, everything is there to stay to help improve next year’s event which I’m already juiced about.
Is there an official schedule of events, and if so where can people find all the information?
I’ve been having the homie Omar update the Facebook event page with all the updates, and if you have a Twitter follow me on there — @ValoHead. I try my best to get the info out as fast as possible, but basically the event is June 15th in West Oakland at Town Park skatepark on 18th and Adeline. If you’re an unsponsored skater and would like to get a chance to skate with the AM/Pro event, please sign up before 12pm. The main event will start at 2pm. It’s $20 to register. There will be a cash prize and cash best trick, as well as a free product toss. Tell a friend, bring a friend.
The flyer says Best Trick — can you tell us more about the format beyond that?
This skatepark is going to force you to be creative, so best trick will be honored to the one person who showcases just that!
Got any predictions for who’s gonna take it?
I’ve always liked the underdogs in contests, but some big names are stopping by so things should get pretty dope!
Besides hosting this event, you’ve been a part of numerous projects through the recent past that aren’t, like, the run of the mill things that dudes like you are “supposed” to do (the Kickstart campaign, “Road to BFee” by Daniel Kinney). Where does your motivation to seek out new opportunities come from? Why do you think more people don’t practice that same, I dunno what to call it — approach to life?
I’m just a product of my environment. The things that motivate me are the same things that motivate you I’m sure. I just have a problem sitting still. All I want is to be happy with my life the best I can, because you know what Pimp C used to say, “One day ya here, next day ya gone.” Kinda like that. I wish people wouldn’t worry so much about what the next person has to say, or what they think about what you’re doing. If you do that, your whole life is gunna pass right by you. I’m just following my path of heart wherever it takes me, and ya’ll are more than welcome to join me.
Anything anyone from out of town should keep in mind for cruising around Oakland?
THIS IS OAKLAND… remember that shit.
Which reminds us — who’s trying to blade on Friday afternoon? We should be hitting town around then and are looking to get in to some shit.
Fasho! Maybe y’all can meet up at the park then cruise over to the new ledges by the lake or downtown. I’ll get y’all set up!
Well all right, Brian, we’re looking forward to this weekend and checking out NorCal for the first time in too long. Thanks for bringing everyone together. Good luck, and let us know if we can do anything else to help you out.
Thank you for taking the time to do this! See ya June 15th homie! PeaceLove.
Stay up on the Oakland Blade Jam HERE.
Pics from BFree’s Instagram feed.