Tekax Hilljam 2017
A year ago, we went on a mission to find a board to ride in the Yucatan. Shipping costs for a maple or bamboo deck from California or BC were very high, so we looked at some reviews and found our way to Madero 3/4 skateshop. They sell everything one could need, from bearings and wheels to special gloves for sliding across the pavement (left).
Perhaps due to a surplus of merchandise--or the novelty of chatting with some foreign board enthusiasts--they gave us a couple t-shirts from the 2016 Hilljam, which had just ended. We made a point to come out next year and explore the Yucatan sub-culture of longboarding!
Friday, Novemeber 24th we stayed in the Hotel Puuc--Oxkutzcab's finest business hotel--in order to cut down the drive to Tekax on Saturday. If you haven't been out to the Tekax lowlands, it is one of the most beautiful areas in the Yucatan and features a genuine hill with a well-paved road winding to the summit.
After some facebooking and googling, we found the event; marked by traffic cones, emergency service vehicles and a Monster Energy promotional truck. The hill is dotted with sleepy, bucolic little milpas and barefoot children. A DJ booth was set up around the final curve to make announcements and provide music. 90's hip hop and hard rock: classic skater anthems.
There were two groups--juniors and seniors--for a total of about 30 participants. Everyone was very young; we saw one rider, who looked about 10 years old, shredding the course and adding freestyle flourishes left and right. We were also glad to see several skilled female riders.
Despite a few dramatic crashes, the emergency services were not needed for anything but minor scrapes. The local law enforcement who were present should also be commended for their assistance in the event; each heat of riders was shuttled up the hill in the bed of a police truck.
Besides the race, there were several other contests, including a power slide competition. For this event, each rider uses a drifting technique to come to a stop.
Click on the picture at left to see this rider in a long power slide. They actually turn the board perpindicular to the road and grind the wheels SIDEWAYS to reduce speed. It's fast and requires guts and coordination.
That evening, there was a trophy ceremony in Tekax square for Saturday's victors. Then it was to bed to get some sleep and prepare for Sunday's heats.
The whole event was marked by the camraderie between participants--clearly a tight-knit community--and respect for the risk that their hobby requires. The reactions of the locals to these Merida skaters bombing down their backyard hill was priceless. We highly recommend looking out for Tekax Hilljam toward the end of next November. We'll keep you posted.
Thank for reading!