Isla Vista residents get an unexpected gift every year around this time. Following a flurry of parties and other celebrations marking the end of the quarter or semester, students leave en masse to visit their families, go skiing, etc. Before they do, however, there is often some interesting activity.
Most of the revelry centers casually around beer and pop music, but every once in a while there is a party that is a little bit different. Last weekend, a group of students hosted a skate party that also doubled as a winter formal. The flier advertising the event said it would feature a BBQ, deejay, and shralping ( according to one definition this is shredding, ripping, and crushing all at the same time). Representatives from the Church of Skatan and Shorty’s sponsored the event, which began in the afternoon and extended long into the early morning hours.
Unlike normal I.V. parties, attendees brought their skateboards and tried out an approximately 25-foot-long by 25-foot-wide half-pipe, made out of plywood and set up in the backyard. Tessa Bergheger Orach, a Shorty’s representative who helped plan the event, said that the party was one of several held throughout the year. She said that the enormous half-pipe that was the party’s main attraction had recently been dismantled but was rebuilt with the help of some Church of Skatan representatives.
It was a sight to see as men in semi-formal dress lined up and one by one took a crack at the half-pipe. Some managed to do themselves proud, others looked slightly shamefaced and quietly walked back to stand in line to give it another try. After the skateboarding, the event morphed into a winter formal with festive music.
While people may imagine that skate culture is passé, it is certainly alive and well in I.V. There are skateboarders everywhere, speeding by on their way to class, and the temporary Isla Vista Recreation and Park District skate park is open in downtown I.V. But what people might not always notice are the private skate parks set up in many backyards. While some might involve simply a pipe or a piece of wood, others are intricate and enormous.
The After Party: For those in I.V. who stay after the parties are over and the students have driven off to distant realms, a calm settles on the community. The streets are practically empty, the nights are relatively noise-free, and the true beauty of I.V. shines through.
This is the time to take a trip down to the beach or walk around downtown. Permanent residents take this as an opportunity to regroup and clean up. You might see a villager walking around with a paint brush touching up fences that have graffiti on them, or picking up trash. It’s a time for those who live in the area to be reminded why they love I.V. When the streets are empty and clean and you can hear the birds singing in the trees, it’s hard not to feel lucky. Just take a walk down to bluffs, have a seat, and appreciate one of the most incredible, and under appreciated, areas around.