Tommy W., New Mexico: My homies and I are always getting kicked out of spots by the cops, how do you find spots that you can skate for a long time?
Justin: Ah, the infamous relationship between skaters and police. It’s a tricky situation that can vary from state to state, or country to country. As much as it may seem like it, cops don’t go driving around town on the lookout for skaterats. Police only show up because somebody called them and complained about you skating. Being polite to the average civilians you encounter at a spot often prevents the situation from escalating into police involvement!
When I’m skating a hill in a neighborhood area, I try to make sure that the crew keeps the noise down to a minimum and picks up their trash. It’s also a good idea to be mindful of the other cars on the road. Try not to cut them off, or do anything that would make drivers get cranky or feel unsafe.
When it comes to skating stairs or other street spots, you’ll have to battle with property owners and occasionally random citizen vigilantes (Defenders of Private Property, UNITE!) The best way to skate in peace is to organize sessions on the weekend, when most private businesses are closed. Otherwise, the “one and done” attack is an exciting experience.
Sometimes, you just can’t avoid the grouchy soccer mom who calls the police every time they hear skateboard wheels rolling on pavement. But if you stay polite, skate responsibly, and don’t overstay your welcome, you’ll be able to skate all kinds of cool spots with little hassle. Good luck!
Bastien L., France: How do I win a slide jam?
Donny: Great question, Bastien. There is no one correct answer that guarantees you taking home the gold at your next slide jam. 2nd place is my personal best, but I will do what I can to help you increase your chances of getting a spot on the podium!
The judges want to be impressed. Seasoned professionals or otherwise, these days not many judges will bat an eye at even the smoothest of 360 slides. Simply put, sliding in all four stances, especially regular frontside and backside slides, are no longer impressive unless you’re holding those slides out for miles. Even if your stand-ups are of great length, most judges are looking for riders who stand out on the hill in other ways.
The term “slide jam” is a bit of a misnomer in the modern era, for many contests provide ramps, rails and other skateable features for riders to prove themself on during the jam. Slide jams like Central Mass and the Ithaca Skate Jam score their riders on the best use of the entire course, not just how they bust skids down the hill.
So, get creative! Pop your best flatground trick as you charge into your run, and bust out some big early grabs off the kicker ramps! Grab your board with your front hand behind your front foot just before you leave the ramp, and you’ll be airborne for a safe landing. While early grabs may look intimidating, they are one of longboarding’s simplest tricks that will ensure a few “Ooh’s” & “Ahh’s” at the jam.
One more Pro Tip: Slide Jams are supposed to be fun! Don’t show up expecting to win, or take the event too seriously. Wear a cape, rock some funny glasses, then high-five and thank your judges and event organizers! Chat with the crowd, drink tons of water and support your local scene! You are much more likely to win a small event then land a spot on the podium at Central Mass. Every time I hit a slide jam, I learn something new and get a little better at downhill skating, and that’s what it’s all about! Put stoke first, and winning second! Have fun, and good luck! You got this.