Every year commences with the same process, by convincing myself I will be more stable. Steady in a way meaning I will physically stay in one place for more than a month...but who am I kidding. The relentless urge to go places, in all senses of the word, won't let me rest and this past May I found myself on the road again. I booked a flight to California and met up with the Paris Truck Co. crew. The journey ahead: a road trip through the Southwest. The destination: The Albuquerque Ditch Slap. A couple days before Ditch Slap the Paris and Arbor crews merged to travel from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The gang consisted of Axel Serrat, Sho Ouellette, Ryan Ricker, Tyler Howell, Nate Shute, Matt Smith and myself. We met up early in the morning at Slick Rick's house in Venice. Packing the van with heaps of gear and skateboards, we hit the road.
“The relentless urge to go places, in all senses of the word, won’t let me rest...”
Our plans to camp at The Grand Canyon that night on the way to Albuquerque were delayed along the legendary Route 66. Stopping multiple times to stretch our legs, push around, check out abandoned buildings and get into general skate trip shenanigans, we arrived to the National Park much later than expected. Incredibly exhausted, we pitched our tents in the dark before heading straight for our sleeping bags. The night was chilly, and granted me my deepest sleep in months. Hearing nothing but the rustling leaves and the mild rain falling on our tent. It was bliss.
When morning came, we woke to a light rain and fog. Huddled under a tarp, we drank coffee and went to check out the canyon, and hopefully even skate something. I was personally very excited to see the Grand Canyon. Having driven past it many times on past road trips, I was finally going to see it! Once we arrived, we walked to the canyon edge, snapped some photos and were quickly greeted by a surprise snowstorm...in May! Being snowed-out, we continued to drive west. No skateboarding was going to happen until we reached Albuquerque. Let's just say the foggy, spontaneous snowy morning set the tone for the rest of the day making the road and sights almost otherworldly.
"With its endless ditches, skateboarding, green chile and breathtaking sunsets in store, we finally reached The Land of Enchantment."
With its endless ditches, skateboarding, green chile and breathtaking sunsets in store, we finally reached The Land of Enchantment. We were stoked and ready to take on the 11th annual Albuquerque Ditch Slap! Hosted by Joe Lehm, this event has always received praise and continuously attracts an array of skateboarders from around the globe. If forced to choose one event to attend every year, it would be the Ditch Slap. The diversity of skateable terrain, the crowd and the gorgeous location put it at the top of my list. Fellow Paris team rider, Sho Ouellette seemed to agree. He died and went to heaven after finding DIY spots and random snippets of ditch hidden all over place. Native New Mexicans, James West, James Tracey and Zion Miller all made appearances at the event as well, showing off their local skills and knowledge while skating their home turf relentlessly.
“If forced to choose one event to attend every year, it would be the Ditch Slap.”
I managed to escape the event unscathed, a miracle given I was skating at what seemed to be at times a way-too-small setup choice for the ditches! Others weren't as fortunate getting totally "Ditch Slapped" as they say, comes with the territory. At the end of it all, everyone in the crew finished the trip with linguini legs, vivid images of endless concrete waves, and memories of sights seen. Thank you skateboarding for everywhere you take us. Inside and outside ourselves.
Big thanks to Joe Lehm of Skate School Santa Fe for hosting another amazing event and Paris Truck Co. for feeding the whole Ditch Slap crew every morning with Green Chile breakfast burritos!