My first taste of a slide show weekend was early: 4:00 AM; and Corey had arranged for it to be that way all weekend long. With our flight departing San Diego at 6:40 AM for Portland, I knew I had just a few more hours of sleep before the weekend craziness began. As we landed our flight attendant informed us that Portland was in the middle of a record heat wave, which was confirmed when we were picked up by a shirtless and sweaty Aaron Grace. Driving through downtown Portland is beautiful; the contrast between the city, surrounding forest and glassy river running through the whole thing is something I’m sure very few cities have. If you have never been to Portland, Oregon I strongly recommend going, in the summer it’s some of the best wakeboarding and wakeskating the Northwest has to offer.
Oregon City just outside of Portland is home to Active Water Sports (AWS), one of Oregon’s most legit shops and our hosts for this weekend’s Slide Show. The Usual Suspects for this weekend of Liquid Force fun consisted of Patrick the tour Captain, Gregg “The Contractor” Necrason, Kyle “Hippie” Walton, Silas “Mentor” Thurman, Kevin “Young Beard” Henshaw, Mike “The Hair” Ennen, Aaron “Wrinkled” Grace, Ben “Shred” Greenwood and Melissa “I Spray Kids” Marquardt. Most of Friday at AWS was spent filming the construction of the sliders, pools and local surroundings. Almost everyone lent a helping hand with exception of Ennen and Henshaw. Henshaw almost died of heat exhaustion because Mike’s AC in his Explorer broke. No joke, Henshaw was already suffering from a full blown fever before the 30 minuet car ride from the airport. Outside temp: 104 with 86% humidity.

For the latter part of the day Silas had arranged a tour of the Nike compound in Beaverton. I’ve never seen something as grand as the Nike compound everything was top notch. Corey found Nike’s training pitch (soccer field) and proceeded to do something right out of the movie Gladiator by rubbing blades of grass in his hands and smelling the turf, so weird.

That night Gregg and Grace took me under their wing for what must have been a rookie’s night out, which consisted of sushi and sake to the brain with an all night rump shaking at the local club. Corey, Silas, Melissa, Kyle and Mike went to the Nike SB skate park. Few have ever skated the Nike skate park because if you don’t have the electronic pass key, you don’t get in. Morning came fast for all of us; my sleep total might have made it to three hours by day’s early light.

Saturday morning of the Slide Show the local paper stated that Portland hit a record high of 104; the previous record was in 1994 of 101. The local zoo had two semis full of ice delivered for its bears to cool them off, that’s $600 in frozen water.

Until you visit a Slide Show you’ll never quite get the full effect of being there. Even with the heat the locals came out to support their hometown heroes competing for Texas glory. To put it simply, the LF team killed it. At the end of the day it was Mike Cordoza holding his own and earning Portland’s representing spot to compete in the big showdown that will be the Texas Slide Show.

That night we all went back to the sushi restaurant in downtown. For Grace and Gregg this was their third night in a row. Just seeing the place brought back my case of the shakes from the night before. We continued into the night by having a huge dance-off at a local hit called Bettie Ford. Shutting that place down was great and moved on to our sketchy hotel and barely missed a nice local gang fight that erupted in the hallway. Corey and I got a little more rest before heading back to San Diego. I think our total hours of sleep for the weekend was still in the single digits.

Thank you to everyone at Active Water Sports for being solid hosts, especially Matt Radich.

Check back to the Alliance website soon for a video of the Portland Slide Show.