For the fourth time in as many years, the skateboard industry has come together to support a great cause¿the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This nonprofit organization raises money to help grant the wishes of terminally ill children, no matter how far-fetched the wish might be. From simply getting a new bicycle to flying a jet fighter over the desert, the foundation does everything it can to make the kids’ wishes happen.
Over 50 of the world’s top pro and am skateboarders came out for the two-day event at Houston’s SouthSide Skatepark, which started with special one-on-one meetings for two Wish kids and climaxed with heated best-trick contests on both street and vert.
Eleven-year-old Joshua Johnson from Albuquerque, New Mexico and seven-year-old Connor White from Golden, Colorado were both granted special wishes over the weekend. Each had wished to meet their skateboard heroes, and in true Make-A-Wish form, their wishes were granted. On Saturday morning before the street contest, Joshua and Connor got to meet Chad Muska, followed by a special private skate session on Sunday morning with Tony Hawk. The kids were hooked up with every bit of gear you could imagine and really seemed to be in awe of the whole experience. The looks on their parents’ faces reflected how happy their children were. It really was something special and made everyone’s hard work and planning worthwhile.
Several different companies organized tours to bring their teams to the event. Almost all the riders from Adio, Osiris, Enjoi, Planet Earth, Think, Rhythm, Real, World Industries, Circa, Arcade, and more were there to skate and support the event.
This year had a little different format than years past, in that it included street and vert best-trick contests. Because this was a charity fundraising event, the prize money from both contests was donated in the winner’s name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Kanten Russell, Karl Watson, Carlos De Andrade, Danny Montoya, and new-face Nate Broussard all ripped hard throughout the demo and had great showings in the contest. After all the shredding, Canada’s Mark Appleyard walked away the winner with a nollie heelflip noseslide down the handrail and donated 2,500 dollars to the foundation.
Max Dufour, Paul Zitzer, Brian Howard, Jon Comer, and several others were joined by Tony Hawk (who made a special post-retirement contest appearance) for Sunday’s vert demo and best-trick competition. Everyone skated great, and in the end Mr. Tony Hawk won the contest and donation with a 360 varial gay twist.
Everyone who came out to skate and enjoy the event deserves a huge thank you, especially Tony Hawk, Chad Muska, and all of the skaters; Damian Hebert from SouthShore Distribution; and the event’s sponsors: Adio, Hawk Shoes, TransWorld SKATEboarding, ON Video, SouthShore Distribution, SouthSide Skatepark, TechDeck, and Swatch. The weekend helped to raise almost 20,000 dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and helped to show Joshua, Connor, and their families that skateboarding really cares.
The Skate Jam benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation (www.wish.org).