Arts & Life, Events

Rise to the Challenge: Skateboarding and rock climbing event for charity

Long Beach provides a wide variety of heart-racing activities for audiences of all ages to enjoy. Two businesses combined their passions of rock climbing and skateboarding to create an event that gave back to the skate community.

On Aug. 26, climbing gym Long Beach Rising and local skateboard shop Pharmacy Boardshop collaborated and hosted a competition. Professional and amateur skaters joined each other in a best trick competition for a cash prize.

In January, Christian “Slinks” Barnes, manager of Pharmacy Boardshop, walked into Long Beach Rising holding a skateboard. Amidst his interactions with gym owner Grayston Leonard, he gained the inspiration for “Best Trick for Cash.”

Slinks, when visiting Rising, had noticed that the gym has a perfect four block of stairs leading to the outdoor patio, which was eventually covered with a custom ‘hubba’ or ledge that skaters glided down. He claimed that he and Leonard put their minds together and gathered the resources necessary to create a summer event with a great turnout.

Professional skater and owner of Pharmacy Boardshop Boo Johnson had been climbing at Long Beach Rising over the last couple of months. During this time, he contacted friendly local businesses with connections to the skate community to sponsor the event.

Contestants had the chance to earn $20 for any trick that was deemed worthy by sponsor Nicky Diamonds, Boo Johnson the emcee and the audience.

Nicholas Tershay, whose stage surname is Diamonds, is the founder of skateboarding hardware line Diamond Supply Co. Tershay initially met Johnson when he sponsored him to skate for the streetwear company’s elite team and also contributed as a major sponsor for the fundraiser.

“Usually you don’t get a perfect skate spot inside of a gym like this,” said Johnson. “We were able to give away $3,500 to all the skaters who curated the vibe, had fun and put on a show for the people.”

Sounds of boards grinding against rails, ramps and a ledge made by Keen Ramps filled the room. Noises of climbers falling onto mats and live music performed by local indie-rock band Beachdust accompanied the competition.

Local restaurants and vendors such as The Quesadilla Calling, The Good Bar, Drink Weird, Fog City Farms and Vans had booths set up alongside the indoor halfpipe and upstairs leading out to the street.

Admission to the event cost $5 with free skating available to all and additional fees for those who wanted to free climb.

Each individual received a raffle ticket with paid admission. Extra tickets were given to those who bought a climbing pass for the day. Prizes included New Balance shoes, duffel bags and Vans popsockets, as well as stickers, pins, shirts and hats from other participating vendors.

The decision to connect skateboarding and rock climbing can be attributed to Slinks and Leonard skating in their early childhoods and developing an interest in climbing later on in life.

“They both have the same sensation of self-accomplishment – from reaching the top of a wall, to landing a trick,” said Slinks.

Groups of all ages skated, climbed and enjoyed the event both before and after the competition. Dogs and their owners could be seen smiling while enjoying the band, or talking and soaking up sun by the outside patio area.

The event was deemed a success by Leonard, Johnson, Slinks, participating vendors and enthusiastic attendees. The collaborative event is set to be hosted again next summer and could potentially become an event held twice a year, according to Johnson.

“Rock climbing and skateboarding need to collaborate more in this lifetime,” Johnson said.

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