Posts Tagged ‘skateboarding’

Todos Santos has something new brewing – a blossoming skateboard scene! In reality, it has been ramping up behind the scenes over the last decade thanks to a handful of people whose love for skating and surfing has brought together a community. They both have that special way of mobilizing people from all ages and backgrounds for shared fun, high fives & big smiles.

At the heart of this local movement is La Katrina Surf + Supply, opened by Aaron Balducci in 2012 as the first combined Surf & Skate shop in town. Originally from Connecticut, Aaron has called Todos Santos home since 2006 and saw an unmet need in the area. Local rippers Carlos Maidel, Alejandro Gonzalez and brothers, Jose & Sami Arce were among the first young guns to frequent the shop, stoked to have access to the international skate culture via the latest gear & magazines. Their skate skills have since evolved while they make up the de facto team representing La Katrina locally and beyond.  

In 2014 Aaron made his next move – pioneering and funding a secret skate bowl on a desert hill overlooking the sea for ultimate sunset skate sessions…dreamy! “Bowl Secreto” (aka Scorpion Bowl – you can guess the reasons why) was built by San Jose del Cabo based Rampa Skate (@rampa.skateparks), with inspiration stemming from classic 1970’s backyard pool designs. The beauty of it being a random bowl in the desert open to anyone who might chance upon it. Much akin to a legendary pool hidden in the CA desert, built in the 70’s for a nudist colony, but now an iconic spot for pool skaters.

Three years later, the time had come to make real moves when Aaron and friend, Jason Jacobs, were able to secure land from the town leaders to construct a community skatepark. Through their own funding and the design & labor help of Ricardo Arteaga and Erik Durazo, they were able to get a concrete mini halfpipe (and separately a small street section) built in the town center, currently located at Parque Los Pinos. The collaborative effort was a hit and extended to local kids excited to help by shoveling dirt in wheelbarrows for their new playground.

More recently, a necessary relocation of La Katrina from Centro Todos Santos due to a leasing change turned into a blessing after Aaron found a large warehouse space he could customize. And a surprise icing on the cake…a backyard area that was able to be transformed into the shop’s own personal DIY skate spot.

Enter Sam Duncan, a local skater, surfer and media enthusiast who Aaron credits as being the impetus for collaboration on the latest fun zone. What went from casual sparking of ideas with James Broderick (assisted Washington St. park build in San Diego), to teaming up with Aaron, to reaching out to one more person who reached out to another. “Sam called Bert, Bert called Cole, Cole called Richie”, all of them respectively seasoned concrete & skatepark builders with ties to the esteemed Evergreen Skateparks who have built over 20 parks in three countries. From there everything flowed organically in record speed and within a month the crew had cranked out the project: cutting forms, laying rebar and troweling out smooth crete lines and a pump bump. They were masters at constructing on demand DIY concrete tools in minutes (innovation!) and worked so fluidly together they often did not need words, one picking up a piece of wood and the other appearing out of nowhere with a screw and drill. It was quite magical to watch them work.

Aside from igniting the mini park idea, Sam works on various media & filming projects with local Baja Sur skaters. He recently created Los Libres De La Fuente (@loslibresdelafuente) as a platform to help represent Baja Sur skaters and shops, hoping to give exposure and aspiration to local kids. Sam’s secondary intention with the instagram page is to create an educational digital space to promote a balanced approach to healthy living. When asked how Sam feels about the completion of an idea he helped generate, “The more parks, the more kids can skate! That’s the goal.”

“This is a skatepark where everyone can feel included at all levels. If there are no waves, bring a picnic and drinks and get to know others. I see big potential! Props to La Katrina with all my heart.” – Elisa Leschek, local female skater.

Opening day festivities for the La Katrina DIY kicked off Saturday, January 29, 2023 with a large crowd ; young to old, beginners to pros, spectators & neighborhood locals. Beginners learned to balance & roll on flat ground with the help of others, intermediates learned turns and advanced riders whipped around the bowl demonstrating wall rides, airs and inverts. Add in bacon wrapped dogs, jamaica and music and everyone stayed to enjoy the show & setting sun.

The key themes emerging from all these developments are community, innovation and thinking outside the box, essentially the epitome of skateboarding. With the three builds Aaron has created, combined with a few private constructs and the Pescadero park nearby, Todos Santos is embracing this thriving new faction.

“Building the park is a part of how I see the shop helping the community and I want to be a part of that movement.” – Danny Lopez Amador, La Katrina employee.

La Katrina Surf + Supply is open 10-6 everyday and offers the loaning of shop boards, helmets and pads on-site. +52-612-135-5846 // @lakatrinabcs

Special thanks to the crew and assistants: Bert Spurr, Richie Conklin, Cole Karow, Mike Colacino, Danny Amador, Simon Isaksson, Charlie,Ted, Papa Brewer and all others who lent a hand in the build and opening.  CHINGON!

** Article published in English & Spanish in the Spring 2023 edition of Baja’s Journal del Pacifico magazine with words & photos by Autumn Rose

Crew by Sam Duncan

Bali: island paradise, beach bliss, point breaks, crazy motorbike traffic, indosole , surf, bumping Kuta disco clubs, but epic bowl shredding?

Global shred seekers will be happy to know the answer is YES! After hours of driving up and down the dark, lush streets of a small Balinese town looking for a ‘fork’ in the trees, a guy on a motorbike appeared out of nowhere and like the workings of black magic pointed the way to our destination. And then around that last curve there it was, lit up in all its’ glory, Bali’s own jungle bowl. Complete with a shred sesh in full effect and hesh sounds blaring from the boom box.

sanur bowl, bali skateboarding, julien bergougnoux

overview of the sanur bowl…a.ka. jungle bowl.

Smiles instantly spread across our faces as we jumped out of the van and joined the action. A group of Balinese shred dogs were rooting each other on in the mini, while the local star slasher, Llong, was going through his barrage of lip tricks and melon 360 mute grabs on one side of the bowl. Bestest shred friend & indosole co-founder, Faye Middleton, dropped in with a fury, only stopping to catch her breath and play with the giant turd making it’s way around the pool. Peter Jones took a hiatus from his usual surf adventures & running Bali Alternative Media to get in on the fun and carved some wicked lines through the deep end.

“Can you play skateboard?” one of the kids asked me with wide eyes. Another told me there was a street spot in Sanur that they had used their own money to set up a box and rail. They also let me know about the local skate shop in Legian called In Motion, which sold decks for 350,000 rupiah ($35) and had a free Indo skate mag called Happen. Sick. There really was a spawning Bali skate scene hidden behind the bush.

keep it clean. sanur skate crew.

keep it clean. sanur skate crew.

True destroyer and owner of the pool, Julien Bergougnoux, was a gracious host and made silly runs throughout the night with a gleam in his eye. Wouldn’t you if you had your own shredtastic backyard bowl and a Balinese princess as a wife? Originally from France, Julien moved to Bali in 2000 and met his future wife at a dinner party. After courting her for almost two years, the village king allowed his daughter’s hand in marriage. Not so common in this traditional land. But after all was said and done, Julien was able to buy a nice plot of land and build up his family compound.

julien bergougnoux, bali skateboarding, sanur bowl, balinese princess

julien, his balinese princess & daughter.

Built in two phases, the bowl was first opened in 2005 with an extension added in 2008, making it the size of a small town skatepark for now. Built over a couple of months with really primitive tools; 2 foot shovels instead of excavators and wooden versus steel trowels, the newly finished concrete turned out super smooth to roll on. Shred sessions are open to anyone on Wednesday and Saturday nights and any impromptu scheduling Julien feels up to…of course don’t hold me to that schedule. Jungle rules apply.

Although Julien’s bowl may remain the true ‘secret shred’, a Globe bowl was constructed in Jimbaran by Jaya Brandall, long-time park and bowl builder who might be best known for the original Santa Rosa skatepark. Globe felt Bali was ready and in need of some more legitimate skate spots and opened July 2009. Jaya calls it the “Indo bedpan with a turd in the middle”. You can even see it from the plane if you watch for it to the right of the airstrip heading East.

**Article originally written for Fuel TV 2009 by Autumn Rose. Now resurrected from the dead.

so i arrive the first night and randomly look into a restaurant window, only to stare into the eyes of none other than infamous skate photographer bryce kanights. small world indeed. i know bryce from SF and turns out the entire west coast skate population has invaded my first official weekend in NY for the maloof money cup. icing on the cake was the book release shindig for “full bleed”…NYC skateboard photography and the KCDC art show. hence, fun parties and shenanigans and people and radness oh my. within a matter of days i’ve been immersed in and schooled on the NY skate scene…and honored with familiar justin strubing smiles; bigger than big. GOOD TIMES!!!

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