#27: Oakland Blade Jam, a Podcast with Pictures

The Bay’s own Gene Steagall may be the back-to-back champ of the Oakland Blade Jam, but he was getting a little nervous at the end of his run.

Why? You’ll have to listen to find out.

Thankfully photographer Nate Herse gave us these awesome photos so there’s a visual offering of the dopeness of the day. Thanks, Nate.


Not everyone made it out of the day as smoothly as Tim Franken’s grin.

But even before we get to that, let’s talk about the venue. Town Park was started by K-Dub, an Oakland art teacher, in a vacant lot at DeFremery Park in West Oakland. The first Blade Jam was held there in 2013, the brain child of Brian “BFree” Freeman.


The man himself.

It was first filled with wooden ramps made out of donations and scraps, but after sponsorship from Levi’s, K-Dub’s dream of a concrete park became a reality.


Chris Dafick with the disaster sweaty. If you notice, Victor Arias found the wrong spot to sit.

Like all neighborhood skate parks, this one is a meeting ground for kids in the area, many who can’t afford a Razor’s scooter, let alone a pair of rollerblades. But if you skate there after school, kids will watch with amazement at what can be done on a pair of rollerblades.

Even JBah can't believe that shit.

Even JBah can’t believe that shit.

Many of them, quite frankly, have never seen or heard about aggressive inline skating. But after the Blade Jam, they know it very well.

VossGoingOverThanks to a donations from Aggressive Mall and Bay area bladers, six pairs of skates went to kids who wanted them.

Chris Calkins rides 72mm flat Aeons...

Chris Calkins rides 72mm flat Aeons…

...and he still can do a backside stale fastslide like he's riding freestyle.

…and he still can do a backside stale fastslide like he’s riding freestyle.

One kid showed up with a skateboard, got a free pair of USD Sways, put them on, and never took them off. He skated home at the end of the day with his shoes in one hand and his skateboard in the other.


The judge’s booth, acknowledging that the contest was fire, much like Franky’s latest edit.

Besides a skate contest, the Blade Jam was a community event. There were free tacos, free haircuts, and, of course, free swag being thrown out all day.


Speaking of swag, Casey Bagozzi shows the kids that good basics are the best.

That swag came from a bevvy of sponsors, such as Hemp 2.0 to Roller Warehouse, Aggressive Mall, Gawds, and others. Besides products, many sponsored the mini competitions, including Moonshine, Filth Juice, Wolves Den, and more. And, yes, Rock Town Press gave Gumby some money.


Michael “Gumby” Braud (pronounced BRO) sporting some Hulk shorts and getting ready to beast out…


…with this disaster 360 royale from the quarter…


…or this backside stall to disaster royale, which is only about 15 feet off the ground. No bigs, though.

Oh, and if you listen to the podcast, you’ll finally learn the correct way to pronounced Michael Braud’s last name, Mike “Obe” Obedoza helping out by leading a skate clinic and essentially being a co-host for the episode, and interviews and commentary with Matt Mickey, Megan Petersen, Ivan Narez, and more.


Kennan Scott, the MC with a Masters Degree, on the mic and E. Rod on the drone.


Stephen Babcock with the freestyle back torque up the Grand Avenue rail.


Danny Malm finding out that, yes, sometimes mistakes are made.


But make no mistake that Victor’s darkside alley oop negative mistrial on the square rail was a thing of beauty.


Bander Saleh keeping it loose.


So he could pop this misty over the rail.


Fucking drones everywhere.


Franky showing there’s nothing he can’t ride.


Gene Stegall, getting ready to defend his title.


With tricks like this soul grind in the danger zone, he wasn’t going to make it easy on the competition.


But, naturally, some mistakes were made in the process. But he didn’t die.


Gene was the only one to tackle the perimeter kink to gap out of the park.


The homies letting everyone know Gene stuck the landing.


The ATL showing is always strong at the Oakland Blade Jam.


Issac DeSanto bringing his style to this AO top acid in the bowl.


Speaking of style, JBah made this AO soul transfer into the corner look easy for all the cameras.


If you’re going to fish a bowl corner, you better make it look good. JBah has no problem with this concept at all.

But never forget these immortal words: “When you’re in a shitty situation, just go low.” — Obe #SquatSquad


BFree giving dabs to Gene, who is never short of dabs.

To support the podcast, buy something from RockTownPress.com.

Blade or Die,

— Brian Krans (writer)

— Nate Herse (photographer)

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