Built To Shred, Sequoia Lake
By Dave Bergthold
I've been going up to Sequoia Lake every summer since I was a wee kid in the 70's. One of my favorite memories is playing a game called "sink-a-boat" where you have two rowboats full of screaming kids with buckets and the first team to send the other boat to the bottom wins. Good times. Now what keeps me coming back to this amazing place in the woods every year is my wooden plank with wheels. I haven't missed but one or two summers since the introduction of Skate Camp in 1989. (story con’t below slideshow)
Photos by Patrick Beaudouin except where noted
If you've never been there before you might not know that this is no jock-training facility; it's just an old school summer camp in the mountains that happens to have a bunch of rad things to skate. I built the camp street course once in the early 90's and brought Mike Greenwald up to help—he's built all the ramps there ever since. Whenever I visit, Mike and I try and build something crazy to skate like a ledge from dock to dock or a ramp up to the top of a cabin.
So with my new dreamy job of directing Jeff King's FUEL TV show Built to Shred, I knew we had to continue the tradition of getting weird in the woods. Jeff and I loaded up the veggie-oil-powered Shred truck with camping gear and headed up the hill along with Ted Newsome and Laban Pheidias. Mike was there to help with the build and serve as our tour guide of the lake and the camp junkyards that we scavenged for useable materials. B2Shred is eco-conscious so we always try to reuse materials we find laying around. We love the challenge of turning trash into treasure. Recycle or die!
Before they were sponsored, Jeremy and Jonas Wray started out as Sequoia campers back in the early 90's. They also try and return yearly, so they jumped at the opportunity to join the fun. They wasted no time rigging up a spontaneous junk jam with some rolling irrigation pipes and an old trailer at one of the camp's hidden junk piles. First thing on Jeff's list was to hack and weld an old bunkbed into a grindable Shred Bed. With the camp now being sponsored by Element, Chad Tim Tim and Nick Garcia came up and brought Danny Montoya and José Rojo with them. It didn't take long for them to all put their notch in the bedpost.
With abundant wildlife in the mountains it's common to see deer and occasionally a bear. Just as we were getting comfortably numb in nature, Built to Shred all of a sudden turned into When Animals Attack. And the name of that animal was Cody Hager who recklessly pounced on everything Jeff threw at him. At the camp's boat graveyard, old canoes, sailboats and rowboats were stacked up into a sketchy keel grind off a concrete water tower. Cody grinded across a boat bridge, onto the water tower, then 50-50'd down a boat "hubba" to sketchy downhill landing and trailed through the woods to a bear box ledge. Lead counselor Aaron Morgan did a blunt slide down the rig and then Cody just decided to sail a massive ollie over it all.
The junkyard gems were some old floating dock sections that we threw a jump ramp on and a pile of wood and set sail with our armada of shred. We had scouted some rocks at the edge of the water the day before and sized up a gap from rock to dock. King came through with a kickflip and then a few other tricks went down even though everyone's board took a swim several times. Cody capped the session with a tail drop down a 20-foot tall angled rock into the water.
The campfire is traditionally a crazy treat with skits, music and silly antics so we decided to surprise the kids with an illegal nighttime session. Jeff, Cody and the Wray brothers rowed in darkness with a floating dock section that connected to a roll-in we built earlier in the day. The kids went nuts as a heated fire pit gap session went down. Camp director Mike Manidis threw down a perfect 360 flip and Cody ended the night by pulling a nollie 360 flip out of thin air.
To see more of our epic mountain adventure watch FUEL TV Sunday November 2 at 8 p.m. It will rerun all week too. Download the entire season of Built To Shred from iTunes or watch a low-res version for free on hulu.com. Go to skatecamp.org for more info on the Element YMCA skate camp.