Why did you decide to put on the DIY World Championships?
We wanted to celebrate the spirit of DIY where people are building their own fun, and go to your not-so-typical public spots. We wanted to get people to understand that you can throw your own jam, and make it happen. You don’t need a corporate sponsor, you don’t need a big skatepark or dirt jumping spot. You can do whatever you want.
The mid-Atlantic U.S. region seems to have quite a few DIY spots.
Gnarrboro, the Lost Bowl, and The Slab are all spots that are built and maintained by dudes from our generation. Until recent years, there weren’t skateparks in a lot of communities. These kinds of spots popped up out of necessity; there were no other options to ride. This is a product of that kind of scenario. There are regions that are famous for their public spaces for riding or skating. Where these spots are, they are in the cut, and riders and skaters took it upon themselves to make their own fun.
Why did you choose those three spots?
Because we either helped work on them, or our friends, the people who we ride with when traveling, made them. I think this is the first BMX event at The Slab.
I think there is a lot of separation between skaters and riders. BMXers have a long history building their own jumps, and skaters have a long history with building concrete. Wooden ramps were the norm back in the day. On the East Coast, winter destroys them. Skaters kind of took the ball and ran with doing concrete. For us, we were lucky to get involved with some skaters that were building some stuff; we actually helped build parts of the Lost Bowl. As a result, it opened up access for us to be able to ride there, where in a lot of cases BMXers aren’t involved with some of the projects, be it their local parks or people building DIY spots, and they wonder why bikes aren’t welcome. If you’re not involved in the process, then you’re not going to be involved in the sessions. Making shit from the ground up is awesome; that’s the essence of BMX for me and the riders I hang out with, whether it’s building the bikes at FBM or the spots that we’ve ridden our whole lives. The Slab dudes would come to the Lost Bowl to camp out at Pat’s house and skate. We ended up becoming friends, and coming here on FBM tours. Having something cool, and sharing something is cool. We ended up meeting the dudes at Back Alley Bikes in Carrboro, North Carolina, and the built something that looks like we would have made, and we instantly became friends. On FBM tours, we meet people, and we’re all like-minded on how we approach things. The real-time interactions enriches the whole community. More people do cool shit, and BMX gets more fun.