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L.A. Underground at Laffy on NY’s day 2013

L.A. Underground at Laffy on NY’s day 2013
Heidi Lemmon

L.A. Underground is a group of LA locals who have been doing free underground events in LA since 1999, long before LA had any skate parks or plazas. Before there were skate parks we used to haul ramps around, get street closures and presto – a jam / contest. It started back when the first school skate park opened up in the Rampart area of Los Angeles. Fuzz was the director, Herbert #1 skater, I had the truck and ramps and Raul Cienfuegos the camera.
In 2000 we did an event in Watts at the Jordan Downs housing projects and that event made us officially a team. From that event we added a core group of rippers from Watts including Andrew Caro, PJ aka Fresh Boy Bleed, Lamonzo Coleman, Frank Alvarez, Mario Diaz & Israel Hernandez. Later the squad grew to include Jonathan Lopez, Victor Garibay, William Arnold, Lamont Holt, Jayson Valencia (JSLV), Oscar Meza , Alex Valdez, Jorge Comelli, Moi Marinez, Anders Nordow, Rich Cummings (Dirty Birdz), Triple, Sleepy , Luis Lanes, Matt Lemond, lil Rene, Aarec Baker, Aaron James, Potter – not to be confused with Andrew Pott who used to skate our contests in Lynwood and countless others skaters who showed up and made it happen.

This was before Fuel TV, Skateparks, skate plazas or legit contests in the LA area. We did an underground event every weekend if not 2. Events, ASR & road trips – non stop fun. In fact if you were skating back then you probably had a blue RGXS sticker – we had 88,000 of them! Maybe you went to some of our contests in Lynwood, Hollenbeck, Rampart, Inglewood or Watts.

About 2003 Element formed Elemental Awareness and joined in the fun with a focus on Watts which grew into an international contest series called “Make it Count”. Todd & Mike still host events in Watts every year and another one in LA and yes, we go to all of them.

We did a few events with Baker up in Hollenbeck. Last one we did there, about 2004, the rec and park guys showed up for a surprise visit and found about 1,000 skaters there and not 1 helmet. We were officially banned from Hollenbeck… but Baker was blowing up and loved the street scene so we managed to squeak one more contest in thru a different district whose officials had not heard about Hollenbeck. It was a big one in Chinatown with over 3,000 skaters showing up. Robin Flemming, brand manager for Baker at the time, pulled in favors and got DD announcing, a budget for a course, DJ and a truckload of product. Steve Van Doren showed up with his motor home and BBQ’d all day – for free! Again a huge success but the city was not happy that there were no helmets and pads and they started to get the idea they could make $$$ off events.
We switched over to Inglewood and did events there for 5 years till the new chief of police shut us down for .. you guessed it no helmets. And so we morphed into LA Undergournd; ghost jams and bootleg contests.

That is what was going on at LAFFY. This was our 3rd year for the New Year’s Day Best Trick contest. A lot of the old crew showed up and a lot of new rippers.

Watch for our events on FB and we encourage you to throw contests and jams whenever you get the chance!

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