Skateboarders rip at rally

A skateboarder “goes vert” at the Rip Ride Rally in Lincoln City. (Photos by Rick Beasley)

LINCOLN CITY — A crowd of hundreds — perhaps a thousand or more over three days —thundered its approval Saturday as skateboarders Aaron Homaki and Alex Sorgente crossed paths in the half-tube like supersonic jets at an airshow.

The talented duo was among 100 of the Northwest’s most talented skateboarders invited to compete in the Rip Ride Rally, May 31-June 2, at a massive municipal skatepark hailed as “the gnarliest” in the United States by a leading industry publication, “Thrasher.”

Riders zoomed 20 feet into the air, pirouetting at the apex of their freefall to aim for a near-vertical landing slab of bone-breaking concrete.

“To be a skateboarder, you have to take your bumps,” commented Frank Stringfellow, 48, as a fellow rider caught a wheel on the edge of a wall and plummeted to the bottom of the cement chasm. “But once you start you’ll never stop, unless you weren’t really into it in the first place.”

The rally was described by organizers as a 20th-anniversary celebration of the park’s creation and as a memorial for three departed ‘boarders, “Thrasher” editor Jake Phelps, skate park designer Mark “Monk” Hubbard and videographer Preston Maigetter.

Skateboarder Ambika Terhanian traveled from Seattle to see “the twisted concrete terrain” of the famous skatepark, considered a “mecca” in the sport.

“It’s one of the biggest events in the country, the biggest rippers in skateboarding are here,” she remarked. “It’s a heavy session.”

Parking lots and streets were jammed with cars, and nearby businesses such as the Subway store were swamped with unexpected business. Beer flowed from ice chests as the aroma of marijuana wafted over the stage where a band was setting up. The crowd chanted “Higher!” as competitors shot skyward, and the announcer invited Little Leaguers at a nearby baseball diamond to join in the fun.

“The Pacific Northwest offers a type of living that you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, and that’s exactly what this rally celebrates,” commented Gavin Smith, an organizer.

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