Posts Tagged ‘ELEMENT YMCA Skate Camp’


Julian Christenson was the overall winner of the 2011 MAKE IT COUNT Contest Series, which took place at the Element YMCA Skate Camp in Sequoia, California.
The skating was insane and the scenery was beautiful. It is incredible to believe all these kids are un-sponsored and skating at this level.

Check out the portraits I shot of all the contestants here.

Music by: Loren Humphrey
“Final Fury”


Below is a series of portraits that I shot of the contestants of the MAKE IT COUNT contest at Element YMCA Skate Camp in the National Sequoia Forest in California. Check out the 2011 Finals video here!

Julian Christianson – Denver, CO. 2011 Make It Count contest winner

Kevin Phelps – Rhode Island

Anthony Anaya – San Jose, CA

Tim Prozorov – Europe

Matt Nordness – Milwaukee, MI

Dominick Devries – Vancouver, Canada

Travis Glover – Atlanta, GA

Yariel Melendez – Puerto Rico

Thomas Dritsas – Raleigh, NC

Edgar Barrera – Santa Ana, CA

Cory Hale – Dallas, TX

Taylor Bray – Make It Count contest winner (2010)

Yusuke Oguri – Japan

Frankie Spears – New York, NY

Mitch Phillips – Edmonton, Canada. 3rd Place.

Miika Adamov – San Jose, CA

Adriano Lachouski – Brazil. 2nd Place.

Ben Paterson – Edmonton, Canada.

Chris Mongenals – Montreal, Canada.


We just got back from a road trip to the happiest place on Earth, aka Element YMCA Skate Camp.

Camping in the mountains is a humbling experience… When you rise with the sun in the mornings, and go to sleep when the sun slips behind the trees, it reminds you that you are one with the earth.

The Sequoias trees dwarf you as they reach for the sky. Would you believe that these four growths come from one tree stump!

I loved walking this path everyday. There was a squirrel that would play in the tree to the left, and on the right was where the Japanese campers were staying… Every morning, I would greet them with a Konichiwa!


With Skate Camp season around the corner, I’ve been scouting for a lucky kid to receive a scholarship to the Element YMCA Skate Camp with the funds raised by the Mr Big Sur event in December last year… And I found the winner! Her name is Victoria Ruesga, and she is 13yrs old.

I first saw Victoria compete at the Los Angeles, Make It Count event last year, and then again at the Santa Ana contest this year. Both times, her passion and talent for skateboarding caught my eye. She is definitely destined for big things.

Congratulations to Victoria for being so awesome! You get an all expenses paid  trip up to Element YMCA Skate Camp and a week among the beautiful Sequoia trees.

A very special thank you to all the Element Advocates that donated your time and talents to give a kid an experience of a lifetime… Brooke Reidt, Chad Eaton, Chad Muska, Juliana Neufeld, Matt Irving, Mike Kershnar, Miya Ando and Todd Francis, you guys rock.

Also special shout out to Elemental Awareness for all the awesome things you guys do for the local communities and kids. It’s what you guys do every day that inspired this exhibition. So, thank you.

Also, check out this video I found of Victoria Ruesga skating at the North Hollywood Skate Plaza – Victoria Ruesga At North Hollywood Plaza.  It’s so rad!



Four hours north-east of LA is a sacred piece of heaven. It’s 5400 feet above sea level, and the Sequoia trees grow so high that you can barely see their top branches.

Over the weekend was the MAKE IT COUNT contest series, in the Sequoia National Park at the YMCA Element Skate Camp. It’s a place where kids come to learn how to survive in the wilderness, how to succeed in life,  and how to skate their best.

Visually, Skate Camp is absolutely beautiful. Audibly, there were accents from all over the world… Contestants came from  Portugal, Canada, Australia, and cities throughout the United States. And Element’s international offices came out to cheer for their respected regions, as Element Europe, Japan, and Australia were in attendance.

Prior to the contest, we hiked to Stony Creek where the Europe crew, Guy (from Portugal), Levi Brown, and a few skaters were the only ones brave enough to swim in the icy waters.

Todd Larson and Matt Luciani from Elemental Awareness taught us survival techniques, how to make shelter, create our own utensils with hot coals and wood, and make fire from only the bare essentials. Nevertheless, our European brethren Phil and Christian came through with the goods by making the best looking spoons!

Late at night we got to hang out next to the camp fire, where Guy tried to scare us with his Black Bear impersonation, which was met with rolling laughter instead of screams! Hehe… Thanks for the laughs Guy!.


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