If you watch skatehouse on a regular basis, you know we’re quite fond of a particular one-way downhill canyon road.
Most hills that people skate all the time end up with named turns. Lookout has the Gooch; Maryhill has Cowzer’s, Ambulance Turn, and spaghetti; GMR has Dead Man’s, Second Gear, Lehman’s, and more; Z-Bomb has the speed-hole and the switchbacks; you get the idea.
So far, our favorite run has only one turn with a name: the Rock Wall Left, creatively named for the rock wall you hit if you drift out wide.
And make no mistake: if you skate this road, eventually you will hit the rock wall corner. It’s tight, dropping, and off-camber, with very little time to set up. Most people slide in the left kink that feeds into the right-hand corner above it, sending them flying into the rock wall corner with more speed than they’d expected. They’ll start their slide a little late, then look at that wall getting closer and closer until they’re in the dirt or tumbling up the wall. When out-of-town visitors are taking their first run, the locals have been known to skate down ahead and stop at the corner to watch the crashes.
All things considered, it’s probably better to crash in the left than the right above it, as hitting a wall is better than flying off a cliff.
A number of notable rock-wall moments have been caught on video. The first time he skated the road, Matt K pendy’d up the wall wearing leathers in the rain (unfortunately, the video seems to have been taken down). Braden Tibbles hit it when James was filming and Louie made a video about it. Aaron from the Block came within inches of hitting it about 1:00 into his raw run. We’ve heard rumors that the rock wall claimed another victim last week (update: it was a different left, further up the hill).
Apparently, this corner isn’t only dangerous for skateboarders. We were out shooting photos last weekend and saw these skid marks that lead directly into the famous rock wall.
This road’s one-way downhill traffic pattern means your first run is totally blind, so remember: the rock wall left comes after that one right with the wide shoulder, which comes after the drop-off left, which comes after the first sliding right with the jersey barriers. Got it?
UPDATE: Who could forget Zeid Bataineh’s crash? We picked him up from the airport and went straight to the hills. Second or third run down, Zeid crashed into the rock wall, broke his hand, and chipped his front tooth through his full-face helmet. He spent the next two weeks in remarkably good spirits on our couch.