Arts & CultureScene Guide

Nike SB community wear test brings demo shoes to Washington-Jefferson skatepark

The sun was shining and the Washington-Jefferson Skatepark was packed at 4 p.m. on Friday during the Nike SB community wear test. Nike SB, along with Tactics Skateshop had two booths set up and were renting out the new FC Classic and Koston Hypervulc models for skaters to test out. Other Nike SB representatives were filming the event for a recap video, skating with the locals and giving away merchandise such as hats, shoes, t-shirts and other items as prizes for impressive tricks.

Gabe Mackenzie, the Nike SB northwest sales rep, said that the company has been holding these wear tests for three years now. “We just want to get kids skating in the shoes, trying them out, and getting stoked on the brand,” Mackenzie said.

Read the Emerald’s feature about skateboarding in Eugene here.

Olin Vetterlein, a junior at the University of Oregon and a longtime skateboarder, grabbed a pair of shoes and proceeded to say, “these are pretty lush,” while practicing some flip tricks.

He was able to wear the shoes for about 15 minutes, getting a feel for them while slithering around the sun-kissed skatepark.

Another skater named Ryan Hulmes took a more direct approach toward testing the shoes. He repeatedly threw himself down the set of stairs in the street section of the skatepark while attempting a finger flip. After a handful of bad falls and sketchy bails causing Hulmes to sprawl out on the concrete while holding his knee, he eventually landed the trick and won himself a t-shirt.

Ryan Hulmes attempts to finger flip down the 8 stair at Washington-Jefferson skatepark during the Nike SB wear test. (Levi Gittleman/Emerald)

People were going all out in their attempts to impress the Nike SB reps, which made the event even more entertaining. Kids crowded around the edges to watch talented skaters express themselves in a wide variety of ways. Some took the grungy approach, smashing their board on the ground after a failed attempt while flexing their tattooed torso and cursing into the air, while others were more laid back and liked to casually waft around while performing incredible tricks that seemed effortless.

These community wear tests are the first of their kind, but Mackenzie aspires to spread the event onto other skateparks around the Northwest. For now, they remain a unique attribute to the Washington-Jefferson Skatepark and provide for some good laughs and some lively skateboarding.

Highlights from the event and all skate footage collected will be made into a recap video that can be found on YouTube or on the Tactics website.

Watch the 2015 highlight video from the event below:

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Levi Gittleman

Levi Gittleman