Ode to the Junk Jam
There is always an element of nostalgia that accompanies a junk jam. There’s something about loading your shitty box into the truck to take to an empty schoolyard that reminds us of how great the simple things are. It takes us back to a time in our lives where we were content skating in the driveway or cul-de-sac or sidewalks in front of the house. The equation was simple: skateboard + obstacle = fun. Before access to metropolitan landscapes, plaza styled skateparks, or even the freedom of transportation to take us to these places, all that we required in order to have a good time was our skateboards and our little run of the mill obstacles. It was less about what we were skating, and more of just the fact that we were able to skate at all.
The modern junk jam is simply an extension and elaboration on this minimalist approach to the art of skating. Communication with an entire community is literally at our fingertips, growing these sessions within a couple of hours becomes a reality. And the fundamentals never change. The only variable is the size and scale of these simplistic skate sessions. By nature, junk jams are a crucial component to a functional skate scene. They level the playing field — providing all skaters in attendance with obstacles that require them to navigate their new environment together. It’s chaotic, messy, and anything but organized. And in reality, I don't think that we would have it any other way.
In the Pacific Northwest, junk jams signify the approach of warm, dry weather. And when it rains for 9 out of the 12 months in a year, you’d be a fool to not take full advantage of them. These events are broadcast far and wide through the proper and ever-present social media channels, and most everyone in the skate community makes it out to get their own little piece of the action. And they bring their junk. Slappy curbs, kicker ramps, and even those amazing synthetic wood benches make an appearance. You also get your various forms of media — iPhone videographers, VX enthusiasts, and the occasional Hi-8 camera all come out to capture and be a part of a session that takes place for the sole purpose of having a good time. It’s an opportunity to skate with people that you haven’t seen in a while, make new friends, and celebrate the collaborative efforts of a community and culture that you spend so much time indulging in. It’s an opportunity to mix things up and directly contribute to your local scene.
The timeless nature of a junk jam is something that all skateboarders can relate to, and certainly something that they can all appreciate. It’s a unique environment that thrives off of others stoking each other up, in a setting that is comfortable and relatable to everyone in attendance. And the best part of it all? All that you have to do is show up.