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Carmel Valley Skate Park has a frequent visitor, Andy MacDonald

If you are looking to skate with X-Game veteran Andy MacDonald, you might try the Carmel Valley Skate Park. MacDonald, who lives in San Diego, got his professional start in the many skate parks in San Diego County.

When he first thought about a career in skating he began earning his keep by working at Sea World. Yes, MacDonald donned character costumes for the sea-life theme park.

MacDonald is a skating pioneer and he was the first one to pull off a back flip on a skate board-at the time it was eye popping. Since then he has progressed by ollieing and kick flipping the big-air ramp at the X-Games.

He is a true skater and hasn’t missed an X-Games competition in the entire 15-year history. He is one of only a handful of competitors to have that honor.

This old-school skater attributes his longevity to a healthy lifestyle and constant time on a skateboard. Sometimes MacDonald skates 6-8 hours per day. He trains in every skate discipline, Vert, pool, big-air and the traditional street.

MacDonald also admits he is not a big party animal and he represents a true laid-back Southern California lifestyle, one that he dreamed about while growing up in Boston.

Want to see MacDonald?

The Carmel Valley Skate Park is open 7-days-a-week and does have lights making skating under the lights great for those who can’t make the day sessions.

The park opened in November of 2008. It is comprised of 13,500 square-foot facility with a challenging concrete pool. Included in this park are urban elements like stairs, rails, banks, stairs, quarter pipe, hips and angles.

For those who need to use the facilities there is plenty of shade and sitting areas to take a break.

Also for those skater dudes on a budget, Carmel Valley is perfect because it’s gratis or free for the non-gringos. For kids under the age of 14, a responsible adult must supervise the little groms.

Also, the park requires all skate dudes to where a helmet and pads. There are no scooters or bicycles allowed inside the park.

For those thinking they can sneak into the park without being caught, will be happy to know that the 5 0s make frequent stops at the Carmel Valley location.

For more park information; http://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/centers/carmelvalleyskate.shtml

YMCA Skate Park in Encinitas is home to the top professionals

If it is your dream to skate with the best skateboarders in the world, head to North County San Diego, where on any given day you’ll be airing, grinding and skating right next to the X-Game pros.

The Encinitas Ecke YMCA is home to many skate pros and boasts of great weather year round. So if you’re into name dropping to your buddies the best place to start is here.

The 37,000 square-foot skate park is home to the Vert ramp designed by Tony Hawk. Hawk has been a figure head in the industry for years and was the first skater to land a 900 in competition, at the X-Games.

These days you can find him watching his kids practicing their skating skills.

Along with the super-sized Vert ramp and mini-ramps, Encinitas YMCA offers plenty of quarter pipes, slider boxes, bank ramps, hips, handrails, stairs, euro-gaps, two cement pools as well as a beginner street area.

This skate park really does have something for everyone, including the name dropping ability. The banner that greets skaters as they walk in is congratulating Shawn White on his Olympic gold.

He has been known to show up to hang with his bros often pulling up in his Ferrari.

Perhaps, you want to see Pierre-Luc Gagnon, check. How about Danny Way, check. Or maybe Bucky Lasek, check. Or even, Big Air-famers, Adam Taylor and Rob Lorifice, check, check. If you are real lucky you may even run into Blink 182’s front man Tom DeLonge. His new skate company Macbeth often sponsors contests held at this YMCA Park.

The park is open seven-days-a week. It’s best to call for skate sessions. Members skate for $5 bucks and nonmembers pay double. Be sure to bring all your protective gear.

If you want to skate make sure you bring your knee and elbow pads as the YMCA requires all to be fully protected with pads and a helmet. No exceptions.

The YMCA is fully supervised and staff members are on the alert. They do not tolerate foul language, obscene graphics or abusive behavior. This makes it perfect for parents to drop off their skater dudes and not worry about what is going on at the skate park.

For more information the Ecke YMCA skate park visit their website; http://ecke.ymca.org/programs/skate-park.htm or call them at 760-942-9622.

To get there exit Highway 5 at Encinitas Blvd., head East make a left on Saxony Road and it’s on your left.
You can see the park from the freeway and boasts a gnarly ocean view.

Rodriguez regains his footing at X-Games, takes gold

At X-Games 15 familiar names dropped to the bottom, one broke his ankle and Paul Rodriguez snagged the top spot in the street course competition.

With the temperatures soaring in the nineties, the stadium packed like sardines and virtually so shade, X-Game attendees were treated to grinding, flipping and perfect landings which ended with Rodriguez claiming all the marbles.

He never skated from behind and as each round ended, Rodriguez’s scores kept climbing further from the other five competitors.

With Gold never really in question it was up to the rest of the field to fight for the silver and bonze podium spots.

Eventually it was the 14-year-old youngster, Nyjah Huston, who came away with the silver medal. Huston, who is known for his long, long dreadlocks, wowed the crowd through the X-Games contest with his youthful lines and laid back attitude.

Finally third was taken by Adam Dyet.

Crowd favorite, Ryan Sheckler, was never really in the mix. His first run was well off the pace and as a result placed last in the pack, by the third round he went down hard off a rail.

Sheckler was taken away in the third round by the paramedics and ultimately suffered a broken ankle and would not finish the skate street competition and took last place.

The fourth and fifth place slots went to Rodolfo Ramos and Nick Dompierre respectively.

Accepting the gold medal with his typical boyish grin, Rodriguez reclaimed his place at the top of the podium assuring his return to X-Games 16.

The scoreboard and points are below;

1. Paul Rodriguez 390 points

2. Nyjah Huston 364 points

3. Adam Dyet 349 points

4. Rodolfo Ramos 348 points

5. Nick Dompierre 310 points

6. Ryan Sheckler 221 points

Adam Taylor aims for the stars, literally

Adam Taylor aims for the stars, literally

At the X-games last weekend, Adam Taylor of Encinitas pointed his skateboard down a 50- foot ramp and sailed over a huge gap only to touch down on the other side and pull more big air tricks.

This X-Game crowd favorite event only draws a few brave souls out to risk severe injury; Taylor is one of those brave souls.

At 19, he is also one of the youngest skaters in Big Air and the traditional fan favorite Vert Ramp. “I love the Big Air contest,” says an excited Taylor.

However, skating this type of ramp is not easy. “I can’t just practice anytime I want. I have to be invited to Bob Burnquist’s house because that is the only Big Air ramp around.”

Reflecting back on the recent contest Taylor can’t help but be a little bummed. He finished just off the podium in the two Big Air contests.

This year the event organizers added a new twist to the Big Air ramp. Local legend Danny Way came up with a “rainbow rail” that was placed the length of the gap. It is here where Taylor feels a bit miffed.

“I heard a few people tell me I was robbed in this event as I did a kick flip before grinding the rail and landed on the other side,” Taylor said.

He explained that the X-Games are a different beast. “I think the judges are looking to the established skaters first and they make the new guy work a little harder.”

That’s the way the cookie crumbles, however, Taylor quickly moves past this contest and is already focusing on the Dew Tour.

“I’m going to be practicing super hard for the Dew Tour. I need to get my 720s down if I want to get onto the podium,” Taylor admitted.

And in true nose to the grindstone fashion he picks up his skateboard, heads up the stairs and pursues his dreams of being a skateboard champion.

Vans Warped Tour provides skateboarding, music and people watching

Pomona- Sprinkled amongst the musicians, punk music fans and Mohawks were a handful of skateboarding athletes. The kids were a part of the all-day Vans Warped Tour concert event held in Pomona, CA on June 26th.

Headlining bands included old-school punkers Bad Religion, NOFX, Thrice and Less Than Jake.

Littered across the infield of the race track were a number of stages that played many up-and-coming bands, booths selling various concert wares and plenty of junk-food stands.

The crowd was treated to both girls and boys skating on a metal mini-ramp that travels across the country to all the Vans tour events.

The skaters pulled airs, Ollies, kick flips during the 30 minute jam sessions. Up first were the girls. The All Girl Skate Jam skaters included 6-year-old Annika Vrklan who skated with a helmet complete with pink-bunny ears.

When asked about the skate jam she replied, “It’s loud, but really cool.”

All Girl Skate Jam is an organization dedicated to promoting girl skaters. The founder, Patty Segovia, started the company in 1990 and is a soul skater girl. “Our motto is all ages, all abilities and all girls.”

The boys revved up the heat factor and showed the concert fans that skating is all about self-expression, creativity and freedom of the flow. They carved-up the ramp with grinds, front-side airs, board grabs, 5os, front-side 360s, 50/50s, Indies and bonelesses

With punk-rock bands playing as a backdrop, nine-year-old Koby said, “Dropping in front of hundreds of rowdy people was so sick. Skating with my friends and watching the bands was a lot of fun.”

When he came off the ramp he said, “I think the lead singer of that band is drunk and I think he was drunk when he wrote the song. He sure cusses a lot.”

However, garnering attention was not a problem. Koby was definitely comfortable skating in front of the crowd, and the girls were especially loud as they cheered the young skater on.

Many of the skaters will skate at the Vans Warped tour in Chula Vista later in the summer.

Alternative skates equal fun for Freeline

San Diego – If you are looking for a new skateboard without the board – look no further than Freeline Sports Inc. This sideways skate sport was the brain child of Ryan Farrelly.

This new sport has recently taken off as seen at the Van’s Warp Tour. The company now sponsors riders and these riders as well as others get together at competitions around the country and world.

The jest of the Freeline competitions includes trick platforms, downhill, flat land and skate ramps and bowls.

Freeline Company hooked-up with the Vans Warp Tour three years ago. “We wanted inclusion and acceptance from the core community as we like to ride hard,” say company spokesman Mike Kelly.

“Vans has been great to us allowing our top riders to showcase their skills at the California tour dates,” Kelly says. He also said that this exposure shows kids and skate fans that there are other alternatives to traditional skateboarding.

Freeline sees themselves as an innovator. “Like Jack Burton with his snowboards and Sector 9 and long boards, Freeline promotes their sideways skates.”

Freeline would like to provide the “next ride” of the action sports community.

The company has sold more than 40,000 units through internet, retail stores and international distribution. The company has now added to its line and includes two new models with wood-top decks as well as t-shirts/sweatshirts.

“One of the best ways that we market our sideway skates is by utilizing riders. It’s not just a product, but the people that ride them,” Kelly said. “The lifestyle brand comes from the people.”

The average consumer is 12-21 years-old, both male and female. These riders are often accomplished at skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, kite boarding, rollerblading and wave boardering.

Kelly points out that there are three levels of riders for these new sideway skates. “The Bad-ass ripper, a young teen that is first on the block to push the limits and be the first to shine; Campus-cruiser, this kid is not into it for the tricks, but wants to get from A to B with a backpack; Finally the beginner, someone who has never seen anything like this and likes the sideway movement.”

The Freeline Company motto ‘the next ride’ suits this up-and-coming sport perfectly.

If you are interested in Freeline sideway skates and can’t catch the next Warped Tour event, check them out online.

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