“What the hell is the Jaks Team?” is a question I am asked a lot. I say the same thing every time: “They’re like the Hells Angels of skateboarding.”

I think this is a fair description of a gang of skateboard misfits, but it’s not very accurate. Unlike Hells Angels, Jaks don’t run guns, manufacture methamphetamines, or dabble in racketeering. But a lot like Hells Angels, they wear “colors”: denim vests covered in patches with an iconic eyeball painted on the back. And they raise hell—not on motorcycles, but on skateboards and in mosh pits.

Jaks discussing choreography and operatics during rehearsal (there wasn’t a rehearsal) onstage at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma.
Photo by Tom Tranfaglia
Jaks discussing choreography and operatics during rehearsal (there wasn’t a rehearsal) onstage at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma.

Jaks have nicknames like Melvis, Blue Lagoon, and Goose. They take over skateparks and crash the local bars in numbers. They’ll throw beer bottles at your favorite band if they like them and throw bar stools if they don’t. Some are sober, most are wasted, and the old ones are worn and crippled. They are armed with skateboards and fireworks instead of knives and chains. Hauling drums, guitars, and amplifiers, Jaks will show up to party anywhere there's a good spot to skate.

Every July 1 (Canada Day) through July 4th (America Day) a Jaks "convention" is held. Jaks from Vancouver, Canada to Long Beach, California come together with their best bands, best skateboarders, and best skateboard hockey players to represent their countries in a weekend of absolute debauchery. This year they united in Petaluma, California to beat the shit out of each other in their annual skateboard hockey tournament.

A tournament skate hockey game taking place on a sheet of hot black asphalt.
Photo by Tom Tranfaglia
A tournament skate hockey game taking place on a sheet of hot black asphalt. No zambonis required.

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