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Antelope Valley Banks

Posted on March 07 2018

By Kevin Osborne - Ocean Park 26

As a skateboarder, you are always looking at terrain as you are travelling--looking for anything that might be skateable. You keep your eyes peeled for any empty pools, full pipes, and especially banks. Banks are created for a variety of reasons such as drainage, flood control, and retaining walls, but usually not for skating.
Most of the banks you see while driving are not very good--they are either too small, or too rough, or they have a dirt bottom, or they are too steep, but every now and then you will spot something you think might be good. 
During the winter we are hitting the local mountains a lot to snowboard and ski, and on the way to Mt. High, we noticed some banks that might be skateable. We drove by them a couple of times, then made plans to go a little early on Saturday morning and check 'em out. We took a broom and shovel for any needed cleaning, and as always, Steve had his photography equipment.
The banks are just off of the highway so we wanted to go early so there would not be as much traffic speeding along right next to where we were skating. We pulled off of the highway before the sun had come up on a crisp, clear morning. The first task was to sweep and clean enough space to be able to take a couple different lines. I got to work prepping the banks as Steve started to scout out spots to take photos from. The banks are situated parallel to the highway, with a driveway splitting the channel, creating two bowled areas on both sides of the driveway. We cleaned both bowls and part of the channel leading to the first bowl and away from the second one.
After getting most of the dirt, rocks, trash, and glass cleared away, we were ready for our first runs--probably the first runs ever taken on these banks. The banks felt pretty good and pretty fast on the first run, the concrete was smooth and the angles were good for skateboarding. It took a few runs to figure out where the lines were, and how to hit different parts of the channel walls and the bowls. Petty soon we were hitting the top of the banks and getting some grinders along the lip. With the Nikon blasting away, we started finding lines through the bowl and up onto the wall and back down into the bowl. As we skated, 18-wheeler semi trucks were barreling down the highway at 70 mph, with us ripping just a few feet away. This was definitely a spot to be careful and aware of your surroundings.
As we began to warm up and learn the lines, we started to connect one side of the channel to the other side, by coming out of the bowl and crossing the driveway, and dropping back into the bowl on the other side. This proved to be the funnest way to skate the banks, letting you hit the wall a couple of times on one side before crossing the the driveway to drop back into the channel again. Then we turned around and came back up hitting the channel walls from the opposite direction.
After a quick half-hour skate and pro photo session, we figured it was time to get back on the road and head up to the snow. But it was a fun skate and worth our time and effort to stop and take advantage of some new terrain. So whenever you are out on the road, travelling to some distant locale, always keep your eyes open for any new skate spots. And bring a broom!

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