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Written by Isa Ruiz and Joe McLaren.
Photos by Joe McLaren.

Ditch Slap 2024 has concluded, leaving skaters with memories, smiles, and plenty of slaps. The 17th Annual event was one for the history books. This year’s race earned the esteemed title of Banked Slalom World Championships, sanctioned by the International Slalom Skateboarding Association for the first time. Despite the heightened stakes, the atmosphere remained charged with the familiar excitement of competition, shuttle runs, breakfast burritos, and good times with friends.

The festivities kicked off on Monday night, as eager racers gathered in the Cracker Barrel parking lot to register and enjoy mellow rides at the nearby ditch. Amidst the camaraderie of new connections and reunions with old pals, anticipation hung thick in the air, akin to Christmas morning for skateboarders.

Tuesday morning marked the official start of Ditch Slap 2024. Racers convened at Indian School Ditch, ready to leave their mark on this legendary terrain. However, a last-minute call from local law enforcement prompted a swift relocation to a new venue. Initial disappointment gave way to unbridled excitement as riders embraced the new ditch, eager to kickstart the races.

Day 1

Day one unfolded with a traditional banked slalom course, weaving through the ditch and under a bridge. While friendly to newcomers, racers battled strong winds and the course demanded precision and power to garner top speeds. We had a stacked women’s class and skaters from around the country battled it out. Seasoned rider Hans Frank and local sensation Nathalia Larios seized the top spots.

Day 1 – Men’s Podium:

  1. Hans Frank
  2. Adam Mercado
  3. Joseph Kyle Smith

Day 1 – Women’s Podium:

  1. Nathalia Larios
  2. Jennifer Coppa
  3. Lynn Kramer

Day 2

Day two brought more winds and a fresh challenge, featuring a special baked slalom course blending traditional and banked styles. Once again, Hans Frank and Jennifer Coppa dominated their divisions, showcasing their skills and securing victory. The women’s category continued to impress with their talent and determination.

With the dust settled, Hans Frank and Jennifer Coppa emerged as the undisputed champions, their stellar performances across both days securing the title of 2024 Banked Slalom World Champions.

With the racing finished, everyone was ready to kick off two days of freerding. We welcomed more skaters on Wednesday night and Thursday morning everyone gathered at “X marks the spot” to grab their free breakfast burritos courtesy of awesome sponsor, Riptide Bushings, and find a seat in the ditch to listen to Joe’s rider’s meeting.

With heads full of important safety information the skaters finally heard the words that they had been waiting to hear, “GET ON THE BUS!” They piled into the buses and vans and were off to the first ditch of the day. All day they get dropped off at the top of the ditch, and then met at the bottom by the shuttle vehicles to take them to the top, or a new ditch, once again. Everyone is able to charge as hard as they want, take easy cruiser runs, stop for a break, or stop to session particular spots in the different ditches. We ended at the legendary Bear where skaters were honored to witness the sheer talent and classic style of event organizer, Joe Lehm, doing his signature Coleman slides halfway up and across the massive walls of the bear.

Day 2 – Men’s Podium:

  1. Hans Frank
  2. James Tracey
  3. Robin McGuirk

Day 2 – Women’s Podium:

  1. Jennifer Coppa
  2. Lynn Kramer
  3. Judi Oyama

As the sun sets on Ditch Slap 2024, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed to its success, ensuring it remains an unforgettable experience etched in the hearts of all who participated. Event Organizers Joe, Isa, James, and Caleb made sure that everyone had a good time and everything ran smoothly. We would also like to give a special thanks to our unexpected staff: Joe McLaren who drove down from Colorado and provided invaluable support and “Big Wave” Dave Mattson, who came from New Jersey despite not being able to skate, to help out because of his longtime love of this event.

None of this would be possible without all of our amazing sponsors: Skate School, Timeship Racing, Daddies Board Shop, S1 Helmets, Paris Trucks, Organic Hogwash, Eastside Longboards, Riptide Sports, Logan Earth Ski, Palmer Brewery, Powell Peralta Downhill, Luxe Truck Co and Remember Collective. And lastly, we would like to thank the Sandia mountains for necessitating the creation of a massive flood control system to safely get water through Albuquerque in the event of a flash flood. We have over 44 miles of skateable ditches which are unique in the world and it’s a privilege to call these ditches home for our annual event!

One personal highlight for me, was seeing Joe McLaren back on his board just 3 short months after major back surgery. He took one timed run for fun (which was not included in the results) and blew everyone away by laying down the fastest time by almost two seconds. I’m super excited to continue to watch his comeback. Look out for him at Ditch Slap 2025.

Isa Ruiz