The Fifth Annual Tim Brauch Memorial was held at the Vans Skate Park in Milpitas, California. Justin Gold from Sessions Clothing organized the whole event and over 500 hundred people came out to attend. Eric Sentianin and myself made the drive up to skate and pay tribute to a fallen hero.
The day started with the street contest and it was a madhouse. The practice sessions were just insane! There seemed to be some kind of method to the madness. I mean, at one point I witnessed four skaters all in the air at once skating over the same pyramid and all doing something different. Everyone seemed to be dialed into some sort of skateboarding matrix.
The main focus of the event is the pool jam. The clam pool at the Vans park has a 5 1/2 deep square shallow end with a 9 1/2 round deep end. Throughout the day more and more skaters showed and took some warm up runs to get ready for the actual jam. Justin Strubing skated and pulled some stylish Smith grinds, which he was popping out of? Last years winner Benji Galloway came to defend his crown and his warm up runs alone showed that he would be the one to beat. Wade Speyer was skating faster than everyone and seemed to be the crowd favorite. If you don’t know already, anything can happen when Wade skates.
Some of the riders in this years pool jam were Chris Senn, Chad Shetler, Aaron Astorga, Steve Caballero, Toad, Chris Cook, Roger Mihalko, Wade Speyer, and Benji Galloway. The 30 minute jam started just after 6:00 p.m. and within the first five minutes you had multiple drop ins taking place. Wade was flying around and lost control almost looping out of the pool. His board shot straight up and destroyed a florescent light fixture, which bombarded the deep end of the pool with glass fragments. It hyped the crowd up even more and seemed to set the tone for the rest of the jam. Some of the smoothest skating of the jam was by Steve Caballero and Chad Shetler. Steve showed up after a five-hour motor cross session and then proceeded to skate harder than most. Shetler seemed to have a doubles thing going on. Almost all of his runs were like a counter attack. Trying to avoid everyone else yet adapt and make up new lines in the process. It was like watching an art form of sorts. Every time Benji dropped in you had to look and see if he was skating switch or not. His lines were endless and his switch runs were better than most of everyone’s regular runs. At on point, Chris Senn dropped in on Benji while he was doing a kick flip Indy to fakie. Benji was skating switch and still proceeded to keep up with Chris eventually chasing him out of the pool skating. That alone should tell you the kind of skill level he is at, that being well beyond most.
The judges score sheet had the words, switch master, crowd pleaser, winner-forget about it! All written down to describe the endless lines of Benji Galloway. There were no doubts in anyone’s mind that Benji had won it for a second year in a row. His lines were almost three times as long as everyone else. Second place went to Chris Senn with Chad Shetler receiving third place. I’m pretty sure that Cab and Wade tied for fourth. And just like the past years, all the prize money was donated back to The Tim Brauch Fund. This year’s memorial raised close to $10,000 dollars.
The after party was held at The Blank Club in downtown San Jose. The venue for the night consisted of The Clay Wheels, Mike V and the Rats, and Greg Ginn of Black Flag. All three bands rocked and some personal highlights included seeing some girl grab Mike V’s ass during the middle of a song. Mike turned around and didn’t quite know how to react. He seemed pissed and confused all at once. I think he wanted to be mad but was too surprised at the situation. I asked the girl afterwards if she knew that Mike was a married man and she said, “I didn’t know he was married, but he was pissed about what I did. And after the look he gave me, II knew he had to be married or something.
It was cool to see everyone that showed. Some of the guys that couldn’t make the jam session showed up for the crowded after party. The Six Gun team arrived all dressed in suits. Yeah, Chalba in a suit! Together they looked like a group of classy bank robbers.
With plans to skate the Sunnyvale Park in the morning, Eric and I cut out to get a hotel and some rest. I awoke the sounds of Eric dry heaving. The Thai food for dinner he had the previous night wasn’t sitting well with him. I kind of figured he wouldn’t be able to skate and who would want to sit in a car and wait, so we v-lined straight for Oceanside. I was following a Ford Expedition and we were making great time, averaging 90+mph. The Expedition exited the highway and I decided to keep the pace going. The Grand Prix was running like a champ! Not a good choice as I was hit for a speeding ticket five minutes later. I was clocked at 90 mph and the officer told me that there was a mandatory court appearance for anyone going 90 or above. He asked me how I felt about that and I said, “Not too good. Good thing I still had an Ohio driver’s license because he marked me down for 80 mph. and sent us on our way.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about friends and loved ones who have passed. It’s a great that everyone gets together once a year for this event to honor and remember Tim. Skateboarding is truly a special thing and this weekend proved it once again.
For more info on the event check out