MIKE KERSHNAR; CHILI BOWL
We caught up with Element Advocate Mike Kershnar after his recent trip to the 9th anual Chili Bowl contest, Hosted by Toad & Salmon in San Francisco, CA. Chili Bowl 9 was the biggest turnout to date, full of slams, collisions, and broken bones, acompanied by the most epic year of shredding yet. Here's Mike's full report, with nothing held back:
The Chili Bowl in SF is my favorite skate comp of the year. It’s exists as an opposite of all the commoditization of our culture that goes down at mainstream big time skateboard events where we are told to join the US Navy with every point worthy stunt. The Navy is wise to avoid campaigning at The Chili Bowl. I couldn’t even begin to fathom this crowd running amuck aboard a warship.
Toad and Salmon have been hosting the Chili Bowl for the last nine years. It has become a SF tradition calling in raw bowl trolls from the four corners of the skateboarding world. If you have never been to the legendarily cruel Potrero Park there are a few things to note.
- The distinct bowl is difficult enough to skate solo, put in five gnar-dogs, juiced to shred for the crowd and it becomes a vertical American Gladiators. You gotta keep your head up on raw tranny or risk someone flying into you from any direction.
- The cultural phenomenon of the rugged urban bowl skater prevails, and one will see fights, people getting chased out, graffiti, blunts, and hustling in heavy rotation.
- There is a grassy hill just above the quadruple connected bowl in which the contest takes place. Dubbed “Heckle Hill”, this slice of heaven offers the skateboard aficionado an inviting spot to view The Chili Bowl.
This year the women’s division was all time. The shredding was crazy double-dutch trickery, full on witchcraft, with multigenerational skate royalty. We’re talking Bones Brigade Beauty Babes Blasting. Ladies were also quite prevalent at the Heckle Hill Brewery, with flights of tattoos, leather jackets, and form fitting denim being served up in the sunshine. Unsuspecting fans that may have left girlfriends unattended opened them up to immediate array of human curiosities and behaviors.
I was in a bit of a haze due to the previous nights urban lock out turned urban campout. In addition to spending a misty cold Bay night under the stars, a block away between 24th and 25th a snarling dog jumped out of a window and fully attacked, and bloodied me. I arrived at CB’13 seeking medical treatment for a hopefully-not-rabid left ankle. While skating up I saw a lady contestant being wheeled out to an ambulance on a gurney, and a few more would pay the same price that day. This made me feel like a mere canine flesh wound was a mellow $2 Tecate. The Chili Bowl unleashes unexpected twists and turns to everyone in attendance whether contestant, spectator, judge, photographer, or party crasher. Maybe that’s the medicine of The Chili Bowl, the steep ‘crete of SF demands everyone to offer an energetic ingredient to the cosmic slop of karma chili; it’s guaranteed to shock and delight the senses
Not the only iphone pointed at some spontaneous women's doubles.
Toad's on the mic saying, "Don't do it Wheatberry!"
"Heckle Hill" became "Spectacle Hill".
Custom Chili Bowl 9 stickers by Kershnar.