So with the month of May finally upon us and this past weekend’s temperatures reaching into the nineties, I think it’s safe to say that Northern California has officially hit sunburn season. The past few weekends had been a bit breezy and chilly, but you could tell that the Wakeskate Gods had saved the date for the sixth installment of the
Nor-Cal Convergence because the temperatures jumped thirty degrees in the week leading up to an event that is simply about having fun.
Because that’s why we wakeskate, right? To have fun with friends! And if you can throw in a camp fire, some packed coolers, a prototype wakeskate or two and then maybe a tent that’s sitting ON TOP of an air mattress because the mattress is way too big to actually fit inside of the tent then you’re pretty much guaranteed a kick ass weekend.
That’s pretty much what we had going on this past weekend at Camp Far West as 30 of us West Coasters decided that it was time to pick a weekend to camp out and ride. So the very first people began arriving Friday afternoon and settled in on a spot near lake level that works especially well for winching, and then people could just cruise on in whenever and join in on the fun. Unfortunately, “cruising on in” wasn’t the easiest thing to do since the nice weather brought out all the locals to camp alongside us. But everyone made it out to the campsite alright. And then it was on…
There were two winches, three skis, a Malibu and a Nautique and one hell of a lot of wakeskates. There was an incline rail set up for use with one of the winches for whoever wanted to session it. But you were free to ride whatever you wanted, or you were free to just pull up a chair and watch other people ride. Obviously, most people chose to ride whenever possible. And why wouldn’t you when you can be checking out some of the dopest new gear on the market like the Liquid Force
42″ SST and 40″ Hampson decks or prototypes of the upcoming Nick Taylor and Ryan Lemons Integrity decks with the snappy new bamboo core? That’s right, Erich cleared his schedule and drove all the way down from Oregon with a Nautique in tow and a handful of different Integrity decks for everyone to try out.
And Erich wasn’t the only person who went out of their way to come out and spread the stoke. Chris Patterson of Liquid Force made sure to stop by to hang out and grab a skate set and keep the vibe going. He’s heard about some of the previous Convergence events from his local
riders so he was stoked to be able to come out and ride with everyone
and let people demo some of the new LF skates. With him came a half dozen or so of his local riders including Ryan Schuppert of Pulldozer winches who’s always more than willing to lend a hand with anything winch-related. As it turns out, one of the winches was having some issues and had been chalked off as broken, but when Ryan gave it a look over he discovered that it was just really dirty in a few places. Stuff like that’ll make your day because everyone had just figured some parts were in need of replacement.
But enough with how cool all the gear is, because riding still takes a bit of skill. And that’s where guys like Keaton Bowlby, Grant Roberts, Chris Barcellos and Mitch Lemos came in. They were out doing their thing and having a ton of fun riding and hanging out, and on one occasion when I was shooting Keaton kickflipping off the incline rail I could totally hear some guys getting stoked on what Keaton was doing back behind me somewhere. Soon after we finished shooting one of the guys came over and asked us if he could borrow a skate to try it out behind his PWC. We were happy to oblige. Another equally cool moment was when one of the skis came back and Mitch told me that that someone had just figured out shove-its and shove to lip. Stuff like this is totally awesome. And then on Monday morning after everyone had left, the water was absolutely epic. I couldn’t ask for a better ending to the weekend.
I think the best part about these Convergences is that you get to hang out with people who you don’t always get a chance to hang out with on a normal basis. They’re bigger events than just going out and riding on a Sunday, so schedules are cleared and people do their damndest to make it out for the weekend. And if that means driving in from out of state, or sitting in getaway traffic on Friday afternoon, or hopping on a train in San Luis Obispo to get picked up by someone you’ve never met before so that you can go ride with other people you’ve never met before, then so be it. No matter how shitty the drive, it’s always justified the second you hit the water and high five your bros.