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Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Massacre of the Venetians

Text and Pictures by Xavier Lannes.

The Most Serene Republic of Venice was an Italian state originating from the city of Venice. It existed for over a millennium, from the late seventh century until the late eighteenth century (1797). However, in 1182 a Byzantine political crisis led to a large scale massacre of westerners in Constantinople. The families of Venetian, Genoese and Pisan merchants, who had relocated in large numbers to Constantinople for business reasons, suffered the most at the hands of both Byzantine soldiers and rioting citizens. It is believed that at least 50,000 Venetians were massacred during the rampage. Almost 900years after that massacre, the Californian Republic of Venice sprouted almost overnight from nothing and gave life to a new Venetian attitude: life on wheels, liberty to ride and the pursuit of WTF. But on December 19, 2009, a new massacre was committed in the Venice of the West in the name of that spanking attitude.

Then at the dawn of December 19, in Dogtown II, Year 01, after a terrible fight between numerous contestants left them totally exhausted and lifeless, everything finally settled: the Venice Massacre was definitely over. This is their atrocious story.

That was history in the making on Saturday, December 19 when the 1st Annual VSA Thanksgiving Day Massacre skate competition was held in front of Councilman Bill Rosendahl and several hundred skaters, friends or family of skaters, tourists or just curious people. For the first time ever, in front of Ger-i Lewis and Jesse Martinez, the pair who organized and defended the construction of the park over the last ten years, the contest reunited all styles and backgrounds, kids only 6 years old competed against Masters 48 years or older. And guess what? There was no difference when it was coming to shredding. The pictures below are the proof.

During all day, several dozens skaters competed in two different events: the Snake Run and the big Pool. This first contest is definitely the place where skaters needed to be this week-end and the precursor for many more great contests to come at Venice.

Shane Borland (on the left) is the big winner of that contest. He took 2nd place in the Snake and 1st place in the Pool contest. He was born on May 26, 1993 and lives in Los Angeles. He beat seasoned skaters like Bennet Harada and Pat Ngoho who were competing too. His runs were flawless and he is definitely the future of skateboarding. Shane grew up in Topanga Canyon and Malibu and currently lives in Topanga (California). His current sponsors are Osiris, Powell, Bones, Volcom, Active Ride Shop, 187 pads, and Matt Calvani Surfboards. He mostly skate at the Cove, Vans, Etnies, and a bunch of street spots. His favorite videos are Cataclysmic Abyss, United by Fate, and The Beginning. His favorite skaters are Jake Duncombe, David Gonzales, Rune Glifberg, and his favorite bands are NWA, Wu-Tang, Iron maiden and AC/DC. Congrats Shane!!!

Other amazing skaters of the contest include the young Kiko Francisco (7 years old) and Asher Bradshaw (6 years old). Kiko Francisco is the one pictured below with an orange Kanoa helmet. Also note that Kiko is already part of the legendary Kanoa-Flyaway team along with legends like: Lonnie Hiramoto, David Hackett, Rick Blackhart, Bennet Harada, Wentzl Rumel, Aaron Murray and Melissa O'Grady (another Venice local skateboarder).

Asher Bradshaw lives in Downtown Los Angeles and is coached by his father who regularly takes him to different skateparks. He spends half of his training in Venice and the rest in Belvedere for night sessions, where I regularly skate with him. I have seen his progression over the past 6 months and little Asher not only already has his own style but knows what he wants. At 6 years old, he got upset with me a couple of days ago because after he missed one trick in the coping and fall back into the big pool at Belvedere, I was ready to drop in when he yelled at me not to go because he was not finished! He was so convincing that I had to hold my board and just let him go again…

O'Grady at the Venice Massacre, photo Xavier Lannes

Take a look below at the official VSA results for the Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew Skate Plaza Thanksgiving Day Massacre:

Snake Run Competition:
1st Place: Killer
2nd Place: Shane Borland
3rd Place: Jamie Quaintance

Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew Big Bowl Competition:
1st Place: Shane Borland
2nd Place: Skreech
3rd Place: Shane Allen

Post Scriptum: for those of you looking for violence, destruction, rage and blood within those lines, bad news, not even the Thanksgiving Turkey was massacred on this sacred day. Anyway, that "sucker" had already been pardoned a fortnight earlier by Barack in His immense clemency…

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Sunday, December 20, 2009 


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