September 11, 2010 is a day to be remembered in the evolution of longboard skateboarding. 450 skaters gathered in Toronto, Canada to raise awareness for various non profits and the passion we share, longboarding. The event exceeded attendance of previous years supporting the fact that longboarding is at its pinnacle of involvement, internationally.
The Bustin Crew traveled via MEGABUS from NYC to Toronto to experience the phenomenon of the 450 member board meeting. Not sure of what to expect, the Bustin Crew arrived at Penn Station at 6:45am the morning before the event. Dreary eyed, we packed into the bus ready for an insane weekend. 10 hours later we arrived into Toronto, unpacked our boards and gear then shredded the city streets in search of 74 Oxford St – LONGBOARD LIVING, Toronto. Our good friend Ryan Rubin, co-founder of LL was hosting a party at the shop when we arrived. The shop is located in Kensington Market, a diverse cultural center of Toronto that is a breeding zone for longboarders. Ryan suggested a cool hostel on Augustus St called Backpackers Hostel which I would recommend to anyone seeking the ultimate Toronto vacation experience. Group/single rooms on ground zero of the cultural epicenter of Toronto that cost $25/bed. The accommodations were clean and cozy and each room featured a balcony. We settled into the hostel then set out into the streets for an evening skate and to feel the positive vibe of Toronto nightlife. Everywhere we skated we met groups of longboard enthusiasts and everyone was stoked for the Board Meeting. Tacos, burgers, poutine, falafel, nachos and beer filled our gut before we hit the sheets for a good rest before the group skate.
The morning of September 11, the American crew shared a moment of silence for those who lost their lives and families affected on September 11, 2001. Nine years later, in a different country on the same continent we shared the experience of skating with 450 longboarders. A good majority of skaters gathered at Longboard Living then we skated as a group to the starting point on north Toronto. The group leaders decided we spend $3 on subway fare to be sure we would not be late. The underground train ride was fun because everyone was chanting, clapping and cheering and curious commuters learned about the joy of our sport. Off the train, the group screamed and hollered at everyone we passed on the streets, many who decided this was a great opportunity for a photo sesh. We will be in thousands of family photos, I know it.
At the starting area, hundreds of skaters, shirt and tie clad socialized and shared stories of previous Board Meetings while the organizers distributed swag. At 1:45pm the crowd squeezed together for a group photo then we sat on the lawn for a group stretch session led by DH longboarding phenom, Dasha Kornienko. Stretched, hydrated and stoked – the group was ready to roll. At the kick-off an important message was shared with the skaters about protective gear and the importance of wearing a helmet. The group was divided into helmets and non-helmets and the two groups were directed along different routes. The higher profile, more difficult route included a great mile long descent where many of the photographers had been instructed to set up. Safety awareness is #1 in Canada.
The ride was incredible. The skate was an estimated 4.5 miles throughout the city but this year 4.5 miles was too short for the insanely stoked riders. As we finished the 1st lap of the course the group chanted “one more lap” and immediately we set out for a celebration loop of Toronto. Bystanders seemed very aware of the event and greeted us with clapping and cheers as we stylishly ripped the streets. At every moment of the ride someone was yelling “BOARD MEETING” and I noticed a few skaters even join us as we passed by, somehow unaware of the event. All in all, the crowds loved us. My favorite part was when we skated into the busiest intersection of downtown Toronto and everyone sat down as if we were protesting. Everyone pumped their boards in the air, clapped, cheered, used noise makers, anything to elevate the stoke of 450 skaters occupying the street. We experience zero law enforcement officers though we must have bent the rules of occupying the streets somehow. To this day the Toronto Board Meeting remains and Outlaw event.
The group skate was concluded outside the City Counsel square where we lined up in an enormous circle and counted from 1 to 425. Somewhere along the skate we lost 25-75 skaters so the official count was less than the actual attendance. The trick savy skaters played “skate” in the middle of the circle for everyone’s entertainment and Bustin rider Adam “Crispy” Crigler landed the most amazing hippie jump over a barricade fence while everyone was watching. Try to imagine the uproar cheer when he stuck the landing on his Bustin Maestro. AWESOME.
Afterward everyone skated back to Kensington Market for the after party festivities. The Longboard Living crew collaborated with local artists and crafts persons and hosted a dope block party with live music, art and good times. The after-after party was at the Annex Wreck Room and has been for a few years. Inside were more artists doing live art on Bustin Boards, Concrete Wave mags for everyone and a live DJ. AWESOME.
We socialized, shared stories and created lasting friendships among the international longboard family. New ideas were shared, collaborations were discussed and the ultimate question remains…”HOW DO WE MAKE THIS EVENT EVEN BIGGER NEXT YEAR?” The Bustin Crew was fortunate to experience this adventure and the team will do its best to help coordinate the biggest and best NYC Broadway Bomb 2010 –OCTOBER 16, 2010 @HIGH NOON. MEET 116TH ST AND RIVERSIDE PARK – WEST SIDE OF NYC.