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Gavin's Underground

Summer Of Death 2010

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2010-07-09 -

July is upon is and that means one big thing to most skaters. The Summer Of Death has begun. As about a hundred different boarders and tricksters converge on a frying pan-like parking lot behind the downtown Sears for an afternoon competition, featuring some of the finest Utah talent the sport has to offer. Did we mention there's tons of beer and music at Burt's Tiki Lounge too?
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SLUG Magazine's summer event kicks off on Saturday at 5PM as the best of the best compete for prizes, followed up at 9PM with a 21 and over show in Burt's with Mad Human Disease, The Clear Coats, Hot Rod Carl and Kevin Seconds. Before heading out tomorrow, I got to chat with local two local skaters, competitor and judge for this year's competition Kendall Johnson, as well as SLUG's Jason Gianchetta about their time boarding and the upcoming event.

Kendall Johnson
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Gavin: Hey Kendall. First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Kendall: I grew up in northern Michigan but moved out to Salt Lake around '98, and except for some brief hiatus' I've been here ever since. I have been pleasantly surprised by Salt Lake and Utah in general for that matter. Except for a sometimes long winter it has everything I'd like to see and not much I'd prefer not to.

Gavin: How did you first take an interest in skateboarding?

Kendall: I got into skateboarding just before moving to Utah. I remember skating across the street from my house when some older guy rode by and yelled at me, "Do a kickflip!" But I didn't know what that was so I just ollied. I've always been sort of drawn to skating in a way that I never really understood. It's all I ever want to do. Just the simplicity of skateboarding is something that I have always enjoyed about it. You don't need to spend two grand just to ride for a season like snowboarding or live by an ocean like surfing. You just get on and ride the damn thing, it's cheap and ready when you are. Everyone should do it.

Gavin: What was it like for you first learning to board and hitting up skate parks?

Kendall: When I first started to learn how to ollie I was so psyched on it that I just had to learn how to do down a curb and then up after. It's that sense of progression that I have always liked and even now after twelve years I still feel the same way, it's exciting. When I first started there weren't any skate parks around, besides Farmington but that was to far for me, so I did what I do now, just cruise.
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Gavin: What draws you to do local competitions or demos, and what's it like for you while participating?

Kendall: I don't really care much for competitions generally, I think they are kind of bogus. Maybe just cause I never win but who knows. But I do like the Summer Of Death contests because they materialize out of the minds of skateboarders, they aren't just a tent and some free hot dogs at some skate park in the hottest part of the day. As far as most contests are concerned they are pretty raw, last year kids were skating in the rain and the cops were showing up to fifty kids on skateboards who almost seemed happy to see them just because that is skateboarding.

Gavin: Did you ever try to become professional on a national level or did you decide to avoid that mess?

Kendall: Nah, trying to become pro is to involved I want skateboarding to be my escape not my day job. I suppose being pro would be a blast but I don't see myself ever being there.

Gavin: How did you get on board with the Salty Peaks skate team, and how was it for you being a part of that?

Kendall: I had a friend working at Salty's and he gave me a call one random day and asked me if I wanted to be on the B-Team. I couldn't pass up the chance at a 25% discount on product so I excitedly accepted. As a team we took a trip out to Sacramento and San Francisco. That was the first time that I really hung out with most of the other people on the team and I don't think I will ever forget that trip, it was rad.

Gavin: How is it for you learning new tricks and experimenting with what you can do on a board?

Kendall: I like trying to progress and learn new things but I'm not disappointed if I don't do anything new for awhile. I just like skating.
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Gavin: For people who might be interested in boarding, how do you suggest they get started?

Kendall: It doesn't take much to get into skating just the desire and a skateboard which if you try you could probably piece one together for free.

Gavin: What do you think of Summer Of Death series, both as a skater and spectator?

Kendall: I prefer the Summer Of Death series compared to most other contest just because every year it's a bit different than the year before and it's never just held at a skate park.

Gavin: Do you have any specific thoughts going into a competition like this or do you tend not to think it over before hand?

Kendall: Well this year I'm judging the contest rather than skate in it so I'm just gonna try not to get to drunk. Hahaha!

Gavin: A little state-wide, what's your opinion on the way skateboarding is handled by the city and state? And is there anything you wish you could change?


Kendall:
I think that ultimately here in Utah we as skateboarders don't have it to bad at all. I mean we get kicked out all the time but there are places that it is looked upon more harshly. Utah does have a huge number of really nice outdoor skate parks which is nice.
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Gavin:
Do you see anything on the horizon changing for snowboarding or skateboarding, or do you think things will remain the same for a few more years?


Kendall:
The industry is always changing it is always on the verge of "the new shit", but that's part of why I like it. I also like that the changes in the industry are often brought on by skateboarders themselves and not from some outside source that just wants a buck. Though that does happen as well, I mean the X-Games and the Dew Tour are good I guess but I don't really pay much attention to them.

Gavin:
What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?


Kendall:
As far as what I'll be up to in the next year I hope just to be out on the streets doin' my thing and hopefully I'll get to see you all out there.

Gavin:
Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Kendall:
I do want to say thank you to Salty Peaks for holding it down and to Odeus skateboards for supporting my habit. Peace and love.


Jason Gianchetta
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http://www.slugmag.com/

Gavin: Hey Jason! First thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jason: Well I guess first thing is many know me as Jason but most all of the people that are homies, friends, co workers, an acquaintances defiantly know you can easily catch my attention with a quick shout of the name Cheeze!!! The story behind it is pretty simple so we don’t need to go there, everyone knows I love my skateboard and right under that is the love I have for my golf clubs, and bowling ball all summer long I’m in the streets, and on the greens. Mmmm greens. And the winter fallows suit except I’m on the lanes with the best bowling league ever
when its to gnarly outside for some skating, we call ourselves “The Back Door Bandits”. Other then that I'm kind of crazy in the head, but who isn’t. I'm quite terrified of meat that comes from the ocean or water, I’m also kind of a loud talker trust you can usually hear me coming, I also work, eat, sleep, poop, drink, smoke, and like to have an all around good time.

Gavin: How did you first take an interest in skateboarding?

Jason: This is a great story I was eleven years old and this kid name Chad lived in my neighborhood I thought he was the bees knees and he always roller-bladed around and so I learned how and had a pear of squash Rosses, and shredded every where even made it to the old SLC Real Ride, and so one day he skated over but on a skateboard instead of his blades. I was like "Wow, you skateboard!" And he replied “What, hell ya an you should get a board cause blades are gay!” So the next week I had a board and never looked back.
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Gavin: What was it like for you first learning to board and hitting up skate parks?

Jason: Skate parks didn’t really happen for a while there weren’t all the parks there are now days, there were only three. You had downtown's Real Ride, out south there was Proving Grounds, and I had to save the best for last Connections in mid SLC. Parks back then were a lot different, it wasn’t kiddie-training grounds, I went once to Connections and didn’t go back for months cause I was practicing on any and everywhere around my house and trying to get good enough to shed the set up there were no little jumps boxes, or rails the smallest stuff there was about one-foot, tall and that was the little box. Needless to say it was a awesome era for the skateboarding seen here in the fishbowl.

Gavin: What draws you to do local competitions or demos, and what's it like for you while participating?

Jason: So when I was younger it was very exciting to here about a comp, cause like I’ve said before skateboarding has come a long way sense the good ole days and back then it felt like everyone who skated in the valley was at these contests. So for me it was epic to see all the older kids that I was watching in local videos an made me skate as hard as I could, and before to long there were making me skate in there division witch was very hard but pushed my skating further and further.

Gavin: Did you ever try to become professional on a national level or did you decide to avoid that mess?

Jason: I definitely didn’t make it to the pro level, not that I wouldn’t mind, there were just lots of crazy things that kept me sidetracked from skating all day everyday while I was growing up. I had a few good sponsors for a while back when I was younger an was super stoked and grateful for all there support.
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Gavin: What kind of gear do you personally prefer to use when skating?

Jason: As far as my gear goes, as long as my board is 8.5 inches, trucks as big as they make em an four STF wheels, I'm am a happy camper

Gavin: How is it for you learning new tricks and experimenting with what you can do on a board?

Jason: Learning new tricks has got to be one of skateboarding best features all you need to do is have a nice peace of flat ground, ledges, flat bars, any thing you warm up on all your tricks then anything that you can think of is worth trying. And the felling of thinking of a new trick, trying it, and landing it for you first time has got to be on of the biggest rushes. I remember the first time I kick-flipped down the four stair at the Old White Church, oh man, riding away from that first one was to amazing to describe.

Gavin: For people who might be interested in boarding, how do you suggest they get started?

Jason: If any one out there is thinking of or has thought about trying to learn how to skateboard, you just need to head down to your local shop stay away from the pre-built Wal-Mart/Target gear. All the guys an gals down at any real shop will set you up with the proper stuff then go and find the closest skate park an start shredding or at lest getting comfortable on your board.
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Gavin: How did you eventually take an interest in SLUG Magazine and what drove you to work for them?

Jason: I have known about SLUG for years starting from the Summer Of Death skate series when I was younger, I always was really good friends with whom ever was working the event and lots of people that were involved with SLUG, so when given the opportunity to join the team I couldn’t resist.

Gavin: You've become part of their marketing team and write the occasional article. How is it for you being a part of the publication and having an influence on that part of the scene?

Jason: From a little skater to growing up and being invited to start doing some writing for the magazine, checking out product and writing reviews. I even got the opportunity to write a full article about a local skateboard company Odeus, and that was hard but really exciting to see get printed, an as of just recently I was invited to join the marketing team and I have been having a blast we’ve already done some crazy and amazing events this summer. And there are so many more to come so everyone out there get ready for the rest of the summer and winter events for 2010.

Gavin: You've competed in the Summer Of Death series for a number of years now. What do you think of the series, both as a skater and spectator?

Jason: The SOD contest series has been so sick and it just keeps getting better from getting together with all the boys and building all the ramps, to the way we do the end contest at random spots weather I’ve been skating or judging the contest it is such a super fun time. And from an outside point of view, I think that all the kids that come down and get involved have a blast every year, just keeps getting crazier and crazier.
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Gavin: A little state-wide, what's your opinion on the way skateboarding is handled by the city and state? And is there anything you wish you could change?

Jason: Utah is killing it at the skateboard scene with all the parks that keep popping all over in big an little cities surrounding Utah. They still don’t like us to shred the streets and tend to take it a further then they need to when they catch us, so just make sure to be polite when speaking to the officers I know there not the nicest most of the time but if you are your more likely to get off with a warning than a ticket, if I were to change anything it would have to be that, skateboarding shouldn’t be a punishable offense. We know the risks of going out to the street spots and if we do get hurt then its on us, no skater is going to sue someone for taking a digger on their property.

Gavin: Do you see anything on the horizon changing for snowboarding or skateboarding, or do you think things will remain the same for a few more years?

Jason: Well our crazy skateboarding community isn’t so little anymore. Will it change? Yes, I think its changing every day there are more and more kids doing bigger and better tricks and getting done by younger and younger kids so get ready for every new video and magazine that comes out from now til', mmmm... ever.

Gavin: What's your take, both good and bad, on the way "extreme sports" are presented nowadays with the X-Games and time on ESPN?

Jason: I think all the involvement with ESPN and the X-Games is really good for all the people out there in the world that just think were wasting our lives on a little piece of wood. It gives them a chance to see on a nation and world-wide status how hard the kids and adults in this industry are trying to push the sport to the limits.
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Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?

Jason: Over the rest of the year I will be out in the city on my board shredding and judging local contest, working on all the tricks I can't seem to remember, making epic memories with all my friends out there in the SLC, and numerous surrounding states.


Gavin:
Aside the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?


Jason:
Well I would like to throw it out there I’m in the process of getting my skateboard company started called Sk801. We started as a group of friends many years ago and now I’m working on getting boards and shirts to start with. And won't be opening a shop but going to work on getting it in local supporting skate shop’s and selling product online. Check us out at TheRealsk801.com, which is in the process of being finished. Anyone out there interested in supporting a new local company can contact me at jason@therealsk801.com.

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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // July 13,2010 at 16:35

Perhaps, and I know I'm going out on a limb here, they just wanted to call it something like that to incite people and get them all riled up so as to draw attention to the event. Or hell, maybe they thought it sounded cool and took it because it wasn't copyright protected. Either way... it got your attention. Thanks for the added hits.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // July 13,2010 at 10:54

Why is a skateboarding event called "The Summer of Death?" Or is everything just skulls and maltese crosses and just anything that conjures suffering and death and pestilence cool now? You guys would have really enjoyed being a part of WWII or working with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, where they stacked up skulls of millions of innocent murder victims like you did on this poster. Or how about Rhwanda, where neighbors hacked each other to death with machetes? You guys really missed out on Real Fucking Celebrations of death and suffering.

It's skateboarding, dudes. Get over yourselves.

 

Posted // July 13,2010 at 12:31 - Like I said, it's skateboarding. The only mayhem I can predict is all self-inflicted from not wearing any form of protection. Maybe they should call it the Summer of Suicide or The Summer of Stupid Unemployed Human Tricks. It's called branding. And this makes no sense.

 

Posted // July 13,2010 at 11:43 - You forgot, "Get off my lawn!"

 

 
 
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