June 21, 2009 marked the very first time Emerica’s Wild in the Streets Main Event went international. Somewhere between 1,500 to 2,000 Young Emericans joined the whole team for a seven-stop skate through the jewel of the Northwest—Vancouver, Canada. The meeting place was Downtown Plaza—a sweet spot full of buttery ledges, wedges and rails (Oh, my!) underneath a phalanx of freeway overpasses. Leo Romero manhandled a tall, horizontal rail with front blunts, back lips and more, while he and Brandon Westgate effortlessly sailed ollies off the brick bank and over a long platform, leaving The Boss to shut it down with his patented frontside flip.
Then the seething skate masses plopped their boards down to get Wild in the Streets! There’s nothing like pushing, cruising and weaving through hundreds upon hundreds of other skaters as their combined thousands of wheels roar down the pavement, and pedestrians line each side of the streets in rapt attention with smiles on their faces and cameras held high in the air. At the Hot Spot, we encountered a buttery-ass ledge that formed a half circle. Vancouver local Daniel "Alien" Nelson declared a front blunt war with a guy all decked out in a black t-shirt and bright green pants, as they took turns guiding the trusty trick halfway around the thing. Alien’s blunts were smooth as butter, but it was Green Pants who finally came out on top as he landed it and rolled away.
Next up came Emerica’s Walk in the Park as we leisurely made our way over to another section of the Hot Spot, a five-stair with about six feet of landing space right in front of a fence. After a few minutes of flailing, everyone hightailed it on down to another no-landing-space spot called Victory Square, where a guy named Mickey Papa landed a 360 flip down the eight stair, then cruised across a short slab of concrete and on into the grass.
The urethane-wheeled masses once again took the streets of Vancouver by storm as we headed on down to a gnarly-ass double set called Black Ice. Several randoms tried and failed to land maybe an ollie down it, while another dude or two landed a trick; but it took skateboarding god Andrew Reynolds to shut this spot down with an ollie then a frontside flip. After another short rollerplank commute, we arrived at the New Spot, where Matt Berger switch heeled over a rail. Mother Nature started sending hints of rain, so the massive swarm of skateboarding humanity took to the streets once again.
At the corner of Burrard and Georgia streets, the announcer of this year’s Wild in the Streets instructed everyone to stop and hold their decks high in the air for a show of skateboarding solidarity. As thousands of Young Emericans emitted a giant roar, they once again developed a hive mentality, threw down their rides, and coasted at speed down a huge hill on Georgia street like a gigantic six block-long python. Red lights, annoyed cross traffic and police officers alike were forced to give way as the gigantic urban organism barged straight ahead, across a huge, curved viaduct and on to the final destination.
Strathcona Park was such a sweet spot to end the day, with a huge grassy area and a fun little skatepark full of banks and street obstacles. Underneath the Emerica tents, hot dogs and veggie dogs got grilled and tunes became blasted while Ed Templeton pulled an impossible noseslide and impossible crooked grind across the bank-to-ledge, Beagle 5-0’d it, Leo crooked grinded up a rail, and Herman ollied over five decks in high ollie contest. (A couple of locals cleared seven!) What a way to end a spectacular day. Big-ups to everyone in Vancouver—especially G-Man and our Canadian distributor, Timebomb--for showing us such a good time, and special thanks to everyone who got Wild in the Streets with the Emerica team! Here’s looking forward to 2010!
All photos enlarge.
View more photos over on the Wild in the Streets page.
About this year's event: Emerica’s Wild in the Streets 2009 Main Event was organized to benefit LeeSide, the underground DIY skatepark that Vancouver skateboarder and artist Lee Matasi envisioned and began creating before his untimely death in 2005. Emerica raised funds with our distributor, Timebomb, and local skate community organizers through donations, t-shirt sales, and a barbecue at the last stop. All proceeds raised will go to the construction of new obstacles and financial support of the LeeSide skatepark. Get more information on Lee Matasi and LeeSide.