January 26-27 at The Palm Springs Skate Park and Hard Rock Hotel

By Jason Hall

The El Gato Classic is returning to Palm Springs on the weekend of January 26-27, 2018.  Anybody living here who is a fan of skateboarding should already know about this amazing event put together by legendary bowl champion and local pastor, Eddie “El Gato” Elguera.  This event features the legends of skateboarding skating in an expression session at The Palm Springs Skate Park, art exhibits by KC Armstrong and Robert Vargas, a book release for Back In The Day by William Sharp and Ozzie Ausband, and a concert at The Hard Rock Palm Springs featuring Allen Losi’s band, One Less Zero and Tony Alva’s band, His Eyes Have Fangs. 

Most of the art and music events will be held at The Hard Rock with all of the skating events to be held at the skate park in Palm Springs.  The expression session always features legends from the early days of bowl riding including, El Gato, Christian Hosoi, Steve Caballero and Tony Hawk. There is also a vert contest for some of the best amateurs in the world held just outside of the skate park. Friday, January 26 at 8 PM, the Hard Rock will host a free art exhibit. Saturday, January 27, Palm Springs Skate Park will host the legends expression session at 10 AM with Hard Rock hosting the Legends VIP meet and great at 7 PM and concert following at 8 PM.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

Friday, January 26th – 7pm – Art Exhibit  FREE Event!!! 

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Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs

150 S Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 

Featuring the following artists:

William Sharp “Back in the Day” Book Release

With the recent release of William Sharp’s book “Back In The Day” which features hundreds of Sharps astounding photos from this early pioneering era of skateboarding.

Sharp will be displaying unseen photos that did not make the cut in the book, which the majority of these photos have never been seen before. You are not going to want to miss this.  Books will be available for purchase.

Robert Vargas “Portraits of a Legend” Art Exhibit

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Robert Vargas has played a central role in the shaping of the revitalized DTLA art scene thanks to his omnipresence on the streets, where people line up to see his infamous drawing sessions.

Vargas has ventured out on his largest mural yet and can be seen working on the corner of Fifth and Hill Streets in LA on “Angelus,” which will be the largest mural in the world created by a single artist, according to Vargas.

Vargas will be displaying for the first time in one place his collection of legends portraits.

KC Armstrong “Portraits of a Legend” Photo Exhibit

Armstrong is a Sports, Entertainment and Advertising photographer working out of Los Angeles and Toronto. He has produced award winning imagery for such brands as Canada Goose, Adidas, Hockey Night In Canada, ESPN, and more. He creates stylized images of athletes and celebrities for advertising and editorial clients. He will be displaying portraits of legends that he has photographed over the last few years.

Saturday, January 14th

10am – Legends’ Expression Session – limited tickets available

Palm Springs Skate Park

405 S Pavilion Way, Palm Springs

Sunrise Park, Sunrise and Ramon Roads, Palm Springs

2pm – Generations Flow Bowl Skateboard Contest – limited tickets available

The Generations Flow Bowl Skateboard Contest will feature the top Amateurs, Girls, Pros and Legends in the industry today.

Palm Springs Skate Park

405 S Pavilion Way, Palm Springs

8pm – Concert  – Tickets available

Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs

150 S Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs CA

Featuring the following bands:

One Less Zero

The Zero brings a fresh flavor to the music scene, with the beautiful and talented Sara Wright on vocals, legendary skateboarder Allen Losi on guitar, world renowned veteran tattoo artist Mike Spasbo on drums, the gifted stylings of Fender employee Luis Agulair on guitar and the back bone of many bands-master of all music Allen Buglione on bass. With their “we’re here to skate the session” attitude and Sara Wright’s natural charisma, the fun never stops!

His Eyes Have Fangs

His Eyes Have Fangs Band with members Matthew Rainwater, legendary Dog Town skateboarder Tony Alva, Vulcho Bonev and Rachel Anne Rainwater

Tickets are on sale now at www.elgatoclassic.com

Sponsors of the El Gato Classic Legends Weekend include PS Resorts, Palm Springs Skatepark with the City of Palm Springs, The Rock Church, S1 Helmets, Vans and CV Weekly.

This year, we got to talk with Eddie “El Gato” Elguera himself, Ozzie Ausband, and legendary Christian Hosoi.

CVW: How did you get involved in skating?

Eddie ‘El Gato’ Elguera: “When I was 8 years old, we moved up to Lake Arrowhead. My brothers surfed, but we couldn’t surf after the move, so they took up skating. I used to borrow their old boards with clay wheels and mess around. It wasn’t until later that I finally got my own board.”

CVW:  What is it about skating that keeps you hooked?

El Gato: “I feel like it’s the freedom of learning and expression. It’s the freedom to challenge myself. It’s helped me with life. You know, you fall down a lot, but you always get back up. You want to conquer that trick. Life is like that. You just have to get back up. I see that in skaters a lot. They take the gnarliest slam and get right back up. If you do that in life, you’re going to succeed.”

CVW: You’re the pastor at The Rock Church where in the Coachella Valley. Can you tell us a bit about your church as how you decided on the Coachella Valley?

Photo By MRZ

El Gato:  “I was the youth pastor at The Rock Church in San Bernardino for 14 years. When it was time to launch a church on our own, my wife and I prayed about where to set up our church. We kept getting led to the Coachella Valley. When I was a professional skateboarder, I would come out here a lot with the guys. With helping discover the nude bowl and various other things, I sort of had roots here. This seemed like the perfect spot. It’s not your traditional church. We have a saying here… it’s our message. We ‘love people to life.’ A lot of people ask what that means, and really, a lot of Christians point fingers at non-Christians and judge a little bit. Jesus loved people no matter what. No matter what they were going through and no matter what their life style was. We want to continue that message. We accept everybody that comes. We have contemporary upbeat music. We try to set an atmosphere that is very inviting.”

CVW: How do you keep the El Gato classic fresh?

El Gato: “Every year we want to do something new and different. We always wanted to include music, skateboarding and art. We started with the era of the beginning of bowl skating. This year is actually 40 years of bowl skating. It started in 1978 with the Hester Series. We always change up the music and art. This year we have Allen Losi’s band One Less Zero and Tony Alva’s band His Eyes Have Fangs. And with the art this year, we also have a book release: William Sharp and Ozzie Ausband’s “Back InThe Day.” It’s about 500 pages of unreleased photos and stories. We also have Robert Vargas. He’s always been a part of this. He’s painted a lot of the legends and he’ll be bringing some of those. KC Armstrong is an amazing photographer in our scene, and he’ll be a part of this. I try to make it unpredictable. We bring people in from all over the world and different kinds of art and music.”

CVW: How do you get the skaters to come out to the classic?

Photo By MRZ

El Gato: “There are so many legends from so many eras. I started bringing legends from The Hester Series to the Gold Cup Series. That was 78, 79, 80. A lot of the amateurs in the Gold Cup Series were skaters like Tony Hawk and Christian Hosoi. I started inviting those guys too. It’s the grass roots of bowl and vert skating.”

CVW: What is the overall message of the El Gato Classic?

El Gato: “Our vision is to ‘honor the past and champion the future.’ That’s what life is all about. Everybody needs to honor their history and help bring in the new generation. “