The Panhandle Pow Wow - Jacksonville, FL
Its hard to believe that rollerblading is alive and well when brushing the snow off your car becomes an integral part of your daily routine. For those looking for some sort of early relief next winter I highly suggesting attending the Pandhandle Pow Wow for a weekend of around the clock skating, camping, live music and most importantly friends.
This year I had the opportunity to attend on behalf of Shop Task and couldn't be more excited about my experience. The Pow Wow takes place at Kona Skatepark, America's oldest and most visually appealing skate park. Within the park you will find a snake run, vert ramp, concrete bowl and outdoor street course. This park is almost too much to take in at once. For someone who hasn't skated consistently in over two months the decision to set up camp before strapping on the inlines was almost impossible.
Luckily I was able to contain my childish glee long enough to set up my combination hammock/tent on the backside of the vert ramp alongside a variety of other VIP guests. Thanks to some crafty maneuvering, a ladder and two metal signs I was able to hide my food supplies for the weekend from Montre Livingstone's dog Forest long enough to make sure I got first dibbs.
From there on out the weekend was the perefect mix of skating, spectating, good conversations and gut wrenching laughter. It's not often that you can go to an event of this size completely alone and within seconds feel like you are among family. The Pow Wow really has a special vibe that makes you proud to be a skater. The smiles, sun burn and big tricks that went down are all strong reminders of how far rollerbalding has come as a culture and community.
In my opinion the most exciting event to take place this weekend was the Inline X, a downhill snake run race that had its fair share of impressive spills and tight finishes. I really enjoyed how the aggressive community embraced this event with such a high level of intensity and fearlessness. A ton of awesome looking powerblading setups came into play, but unfortunately none were a match for my Seba FR1's with brand new Intuition liners. Unfortunately that was only the case until I faced off against Ariel Surran and Robert Guerrero in one of the most intense race scenario's of my life. All the years of power-skating wouldn't had been for nothing if I hadn't slipped up and lost my lead in the last corner. Mark my word I'll be back next year to claim the title of Inline X from champion skater and great camping buddy Ariel Surran!
As I sit here typing with a smile on my face and intense sunburn on my shoulder and nose I'd like to personally thank everyone at the event for including me in the fun and games as well as organizers Blake Taylor and Jesse James for running one heck of a good time.