A leftover supply of Fourth of July fireworks and a liberal amount of libations fueled the anarchy as a parade of daredevils took over Dolores Street last Thursday afternoon for the annual, unsanctioned “Dolores Park Hill Bomb.”
Skateboarders came from across California to partake in the mayhem. Ambulances idled for those that didn’t make it down the steep hill on four wheels, and the gutters were lined with spectators who formed a barrier to block oncoming traffic.
Tragedy would strike this year however, as at least one skateboarder received more than road rash. Tomoko Oikawa, known by the skating community as Tomo, took a brutal fall, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Tomo is the owner of Tomo Skate Co., a custom-skateboard-grip tape company.
Tomoskateco posted the following to its Instagram:
“Tomo, creator of Tomo Skate Co and San Francisco shredder, took a rough fall at the Dolores Hill Bomb. She is in critical condition with severe brain trauma and had to have emergency surgery to alleviate pressure in her brain. She’s in great hands, but her recovery is looking to be long and tough. We’d like to thank you all for the outpouring of love and support for Tomoko.”
A Gofundme has been created to help alleviate the pressure of medical bills.
Donors have so far raised over $14,000 to help with what looks to be a long road to recovery. The donations showcase the tight-knit nature of the San Francisco skateboarding community.
One Uber driver didn’t get the memo that Dolores was closed. As the car made its way through the Mission District, it was pelted with beer bottles and other debris. Skaters hitched a ride back up the hill on whatever they could grab hold to, like a make-shift chair lift. Unsuspecting motorists were accessories to the adrenaline junkies, many without consent.
For the last three years, skateboarders have reclaimed what has been lost to the influence of tech companies if just for one summer afternoon. Many millenials in attendance had come to San Francisco for its history as a place of unbridled expression. Most have found The City to have a silicon soul.
The event is organized word of mouth by the skateboarding community. There are no permits, promotions or an attached entity, just a spectacle and the occasional run-in with police.
This year, the San Francisco Police Department conceded to the concrete fiends. There was just too many of them.
In 2017, Anthony Economus, a 19-year-old, was hip-checked by a police officer resulting in broken bones and a gash to his forehead. The crowd destroyed the police cruiser in response, and Economus sued The City.
The 2019 Dolores Hill Bomb wasn’t without controversy, and the event stands as living proof, for those that need it, that San Francisco hasn’t lost its edge.