Go Skateboarding Day in Venice Skatepark Catie Laffoon/Red Bull Media House

Southern California beaches were packed Thursday as skate fans celebrated the arrival of summer by participating in the unofficial international holiday Go Skateboarding Day. Venice Skatepark kicked off its festivities at noon, as herds of skaters rolled up, thirsty for a chance to show off their latest tricks, snag some free gear and skate among pros.

Red Bull athlete Joey Brezinski (pictured below) complimented people on their boards and shelled out advice to his many admirers.

“Some kid was asking me advice about knee surgery," said Brezinski. "I’ve had knee surgery once and he’s about to go through it and I was giving him some pointers on how to take it and how to recover faster.” Brezinski added that he was honored to be a part of a day designed to give skateboarding the recognition that it deserves.

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Red Bull pro Ryan Decenzo (below) raved about Go Skateboarding Day as being a big part of his life while growing up in Vancouver. “It is pretty much one of those days that’s known as the day that everybody goes out to skate," he said. "Even if you haven’t gone skating in a while you grab a board or borrow a friend’s old one and cruise around and enjoy it.”

He also joked about not being too eager to jump into the skating pool because the presence of the pros among the amateurs is known to turn things more serious. “If we get in there, everybody starts showing off and the tone just changes," he said. "I want to see what they’ve got on their own before I get in there and mess up the vibe.”

Go Skateboarding Day brought out skaters of all ages and abilities. The youngest we spotted was “almost” 4-year-old Levi Edelman, son of Joe Edelman. Levi has apparently been skating since he was 6 months old.

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“As of the last eight months or so, he’s been pretty much on his own," boasted the proud father. "He’s standing and turning and he’s absolutely obsessed with Lords of Dogtown." Levi followed up his dad’s praise with a “Dogtown!” chant.

Mikey Inostroza, a recreational skater, sat on a cement wall watching an organic skate-off that broke out in the park. He proudly showed off his homemade “Skate or Die” T-shirt that he had designed in honor of the day. “I’m just starting out but these guys are so good. I’ll be in that pool one day. I’m just taking it all in,” he said.

Fifteen-year-old Olan Prenatt, who has been participating in Go Skateboarding Day for the event’s past nine years, said the best part of the day was being surrounded by all the amazing skaters that push each other to be better.

“I’ve been skating for as long as I can remember," he said. "I’d love to be a pro. I’m just having fun right now but will see where it takes me.”

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The highlight for many was the “Cash for Tricks” contest that took place on both the four stair and in the park’s snake run. Participants lined up and repeatedly rail slid/kickflipped/ollied down the stairs to the best of their abilities as the DJ played Bob Marley. A judge hand-delivered $5, $10 and even $50 bills to those who landed the most stellar tricks. As the pot got bigger, so did the tricks and, consequentially, the wipeouts, which nonetheless made for a good show.

To bring the day to a triumphant end, a crowd piled up behind the Red Bull MXT as Dwindle Distribution and Globe threw skating freebies off the back of the truck.

From the pros to the amateurs and curious bystanders, Venice’s Go Skateboarding Day event was a success.

“It’s just so cool because it really helps to bring eyes to skateboarding from people that haven’t thought twice about it, and it gets better every year!” exclaimed Brezinski.

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