Inaugural Northwest Jam first major event for WJ Skate Park

EUGENE, Ore. -- Since its opening in early April, local skaters have had daily sessions carving through the Washington-Jefferson Skate Park and Urban Plaza.

That all changed Saturday as skateboarders from across the West Coast dropped in to compete in the inaugural Northwest Jam.

"The people that build this put their heart and soul into skateboarding, not money. They worked so hard to make this happen and it's worth every penny - it's beautiful," said Portland skater Tyler Martin

Martin was one of 50 skaters in the WJ Skate Park's first major regional competition.

Will Morton, an 8-year-old Seattle skateboarder, hit the park with pros that were three times his size and age.

"My favorite (trick) in the bowl are backside airs, and my favorite in the street, I really like to do board slides a lot," said Morton.

He said it's hard to compete against skaters pulling flips but he says it's all about skating and having fun.

Roberto Gongora, an employee for Northwest Jam sponsor Tactics Boardshop, said competitions like this are in-part why the city chose to renovate the existing park two years ago.

"We have the right people in and the wrong people out. It's good for the community and it's getting kids off the streets and getting people doing something, getting active," said Gongora.

The top skateboarder at the Northwest jam took home $3,000 cash, and the skater to land the best trick got $1,000.