Article and photography by Zach Gideon
Introduction by Travis Stewart
On a very early and chilly Saturday in the Pacific Northwest, my car was packed by 7am, and copilot was scooped by 7:45. We pointed our GPS northbound and headed for the annual gathering of Donate & Skate. Over the next 3 1/2 hour journey, Zach and myself would converse over countless topics, discuss the finer parts of blading, and get hyped up for what was going to unfold over the course of the day.
Zach Gideon is a blader I met several years ago. Never one to be knocked down, always rocking a smile and a positive attitude, he’s a person locals gravitate towards and no session feels quite complete without. He has hosted a very successful Thursday Night blade in his former town of Eugene, Oregon, as well as cohosting Donate & Skate Eugene a few years back. I saw he brought his DSLR with us for the day’s trip and asked him if he’d mind shooting some photos and getting some stories throughout the day. The day was hectic and freckled with moments that moved almost too quickly, and new folks trying to get skates under their feet for the first time.
Blading is alive and well. Through grassroots efforts like the Donate & Skate series, and other DIY contests that happen throughout the year, we had countless people stop, watch, applaud, try on skates, take home Roller Warehouse catalogs, and see the side of our sport that makes it the best. Zach did an awesome job catching the vibe of the event, and I want to thank him, and thank Alan Clark for helping push the positivity in our sport every time we get to meet.
As the sun rose at Virgil Flaim Skatepark in Seattle hopes were high on presenting inline skating at its finest. The park is accompanied by a playground and a basketball court, which allowed for so much exposure to kids who may never have seen such a thing.
As the crew began to set up, lead by Allen Clark. This is the 4th year that Allen has coordinated Donate & Skate. Previously, Allen organized DNS in Oregon. Fast forward to now a Seattle resident and a certified skate instructor though Skate AI. Allen and his crew have taken these efforts to a new level and this years event was definite evidence of that.
They couldn't have picked a better day, the smell of the barbecue, the park only had a few people skating as we arrived, allowing for what felt like a rented out space. It was exciting to see so many children under 16 years old trying on skates and to see adults who've been on skates for years, sharing wisdom and high fives with these impressionable young-ins. That is what a DNS event is about; promoting inline skating and to lend a hand for trick tips, skate parts, film clips for people and truly feel the freedom and joy of skating!
The event was full of things to make the event fun, raffles, high jump, speed race, and of course, a best trick.
Best trick is always fun because it allows for the more experienced skaters to put on a little "demo" for the kiddos.
Best trick got heated as contestants made their way through this park full of infinite lines. Local rippers and visitors alike used the park in much different ways. With some focusing on transition and coping, while others were aiming to get the crowd fired up by going upside down. In the end, local ripper Charlie Neou took the cash prize and swag bag with his coping-to-down bar Top Soul transfer, True Soul, the list goes on with this kid. Second place went to Patrick Alderson with his AO Unitys, course utilization, most savage cess slides possible and so much more. Nice work boys! We could go on and on about the skating that went down, shouts to everyone that put their skating on display, you all are winners in my book!
High jump kicked off at 2 1/2 feet, but quickly rose to a challenge. Early on, we saw 360s, fakie airs, fakie 360s but as the bar was raised to close to 4 ft, contestants focused on simply clearing the bar.
Ryan McCann to took the win at 3 feet & 11 3/4 inches, to be specific. The speed race was fun, its always entertaining to see a group of anti rocker skaters fight for speed. In the end, Zach Gideon took the win (riding flat).
In the end, at least a dozen kids left with an amazing memory of our sport. Many of which left with a pair of skates/swag to accompany. Thanks to everyone involved! - Zach Gideon