Leaving Los Angeles behind, we packed up the van with skate lords Reese Salken & Shawn Hale and headed deep into the Sonoran Desert.
Packing our latest collection, our first stop was a DIY skatepark at the famed Slab City, a community built by squatters and drifters within the California Badlands. Decommissioned and uncontrolled, Slab City has no building codes, no electricity, no rubbish pickup and no laws: a misfit’s dream come true. After a session at the Slabs we ventured to Salton Sea, a once booming tourist town that’s now nothing short of a desolate ghost town, wrapping up a tripped out road trip we’ll never forget.
Slab city, A.K.A Slabs, a desolate community set in the heart of the California Badlands, deemed the 'last free place in America', was naturally where we headed with skate lords Reese Salken and Shawn Hale for our Summer Campaign. The Sonoran Desert being home to iconic landmarks such as Salvation Mountain, East Jesus and The Range, this is an outlaw’s haven. A place where all rules and regulations are capsized.
Kicking off at a makeshift skate park, head to toe in our new Hemp range boardies, short sleeve shirts and retrofit tees. The boys sped past us in the burnt orange Paradiso print and heavy skate chino pants, a pair that could last the savage conditions out here in the desert. This concrete playground adorned in fading graffiti, burnt out pickups and tourist billboards long-forgotten does not admit defeat, it is quite the opposite. Evolved into its own community, rich with characters, kooks and friends alike, we felt right at home. Salken even found his forever buddy in a stray kitten, promptly adopted and named Aggie, we all took a part of this weird and wonderful place with us.
This primitive backdrop hosted the perfect off the grid mantra, lawless living that is mirrored in the comfort, durability and style of this collection. Skate, surf, drink beer and spill Ski Inn special burger sauce down these pieces, they can take it. In this vein, spills and kitten in tow, we migrated to the Salton Sea, a rift lake, floating amid the Coachella and Imperial Valleys. The lake carries a greater salinity than that of the Pacific Ocean, one salty bitch. It is a harsh and vacant landscape, an advertisement for a crippling climate only heightened by the surrounding thirsty desert, littered with abandoned heavily oxidised plastic chairs. Here, videographer Cal Travis Oats truly captured the eery, nomadic scenery with a switch up of black and white to saturated grainy footage of the boys running wild. This was an unruly road trip from start to finish, seesawing on the outskirts of society, there were undeniably some far-out emotions, cloudy headspace laced with a f*ck it kind of attitude. As Hunter S Thompson once wrote, "when the going gets weird. The weird turn pro". Safe to say we are pretty stoked to have both Salken and Hale onboard as fresh Afends ambassadors.