Photos: Effraim, Juan Lopez, Bobby Carter.
The 9th annual One Love Jam in Newport Beach, California was lived up to all the hype I have heard over the years. We were staying around an hour away in Corona, and I believe it was James McGraw who said “it will be sunny at the beach Effraim”. I remember thinking “yeah yeah, that’s not going to happen”, low and beyond we arrive at picture perfect Newport Beach and the sunshine is booming, girls in bikinis everywhere, hockey players, and a fast smooth newly resurfaced riding spot which is large enough to hold 120 riders pretty comfortably with a California beach backdrop.
Within five minutes of showing up at the Beach I could feel myself getting sunburnt, after a pedal down the Beachwalk I bumped into Rich Slezak who was kind enough to let me use some of his sun block. And the session was on, right as we showed up the hip hop beats were flowing, super friendly vibe, meeting old friends I haven’t seen in years and seeing riders I have never met. All generations of flatland were here, it really is something you have to experience.
I ride a fast spot at home indoors as many of you will know, the Long Beach Marina spot was a little slow. This spot at Newport Beach is fast, little resistance on your tyres and I knew right away after a pulling a Cowboy flip line third go that this would be a good day.
I am thinking how can I describe this One Love jam to you at home, and the best way I can describe it is imagine a court the size of a football field on a picture perfect Californian beach that brings visions of Baywatch to mind right away. Add 120 riders maybe more with pockets of riders sessioning throughout the lot with riders socialising, sharing stories, filming, hanging out and of course riding with hip hop beats in the background and you have the One Love jam. Throughout the day I had some great sessions with Pete Brandt, Dylan Worsley, Bill Nitschke,Ed Jolie, and the list goes on and on. I learnt two new tricks, and one I have been working on for over a year. Absolutely buzzing, thanks Bill for the extra push.
It was great to see and meet so many riders throughout the day from all generations, and great for flatland to see Jesse Puente back riding. After a quick discussion, we talked him into trying to ride again and it was so great to see Jesse smiling again and enjoying flatland. Hopefully we see Jesse come back and get back to riding like only Jesse can, really humbling and motivating experience right there that I will keep with me forever. The banter was real hanging out with Pete and Jesse, KHE? hahahah good times….
70 degrees in January is unheard for me, after riding all day I was pretty beat. I rolled down to a nearby restaurant with Pete Brandt and grabbed something to eat whilst taking in the Southern Cali lifestyle. When we got back a scuffing contest was going down with Joe Cicman donating $200 and Darin getting another $100 as well, so $300 up for grabs. And a whole bunch of riders crowded around and got in in the act, in the end Jon Dowker was the last rider scuffing and took the cash.
Good vibes in Newport Beach, the day winded down with a group shot and riders hanging out and drinking beers. Such a good time and something I will never forget, I can’t thank everyone who helped me get out to California enough, theres too many to name but thank you all. I really appreciate the gesture, if you ride flatland this is a must attend event. Next year marks 10 years of One Love, and I already want to come back and experience this event again and everything that goes with it. Big props to Darin Wright for holding it down, 9 years! As the man, Jesse Puente would say Respect, Respect! The day winded down with everyone getting food at a nearby restaurant then back to Robert Castillo’s house for drinks and an impromptu Tim Dog rap session went down, another funny moment that I shall remember forever! The best times out here in California, literally don’t want this trip to end!