Outlaw at the Snake

Writing & Photography by Ari "Shark" Chamasmany

It has always been a pillar of the LA skate-scape. A fabled roadway that has not only served as a benchmark for the Southern California downhill skateboarding scene, but also as a testing platform for some of the most iconic skate products to ever to grace the discipline. A hallowed stretch of asphalt that riders have journeyed the world over to skate. Something of a high bar, a slithering ribbon of road that demands respect, skill, and courage. The Snake, Lookout, Mulholland, whatever you choose to refer to it as, has come to represent a certain mark of downhill skateboarding prowess.

Postin' up.

Posted up.

10 monies scored you race entry, and fresh Orangatang 4Pres for the event.

10 monies scored you race entry and a complimentary set of Orangatang wheels for the spec race.

The goodz.

The goods, rejoice!

Wheelz, rejoice.

Coppin' a feel.


Moar friendz arriving.

Moar friendz arrive.

Stakd heats.. sorta.

Race heatz.

Pre-race prep.

Pre-race casual.

For years we mastered its right lane, keeping in mind that to venture anywhere beyond the double yellow line was certain death (as is for most situations pertaining to oncoming traffic). And for years we mused, starry eyed, about what it would actually be like to host a race (or freeride event) on the asphalt serpent itself. Daydreams and adrenaline-fueled fantasies about what it would feel like to be able to use the full width of the road, no concerns for oncoming traffic, a gravity-induced wonderland, all to ourselves. 

Event host John Slugg leading the charge.

Smiles for miles.

Lone wolf.

John Slugg again, out there.

Eye of the tiger.

Fast forward a decade: with the onset of global warming came the fires of 2019, which tore through Malibu and left behind scorched earth and soil subject to the natural phenomenon of erosion. Erosion is a process by which soil that has been burned clean of vegetation by fire is then subject to rainfall, which often causes landslides. Now while you might be asking yourself, “Why the geology lesson?”, the reason this pertains to our story is that in 2019 a large section of the Mulholland roadway collapsed into the canyon as a direct result of erosion caused by the 2019 Malibu brush fires. This caused the city of Malibu to promptly close the roadway to traffic, leaving it to pedestrians and cyclist to enjoy while the city council mulled over a potential fix.

Tite packs all day.

Due to a section of the road missing and gravel, the race started just before the famed "Hospital Corner".

Pushin' off.

Juicy race action.


Morgan Smith, out front.

The boyz, close behind.

Two years later with no future fix in sight, the road remains closed to traffic, slowly dissolving into an overgrown bike path—and the ultimate vision of every downhill skateboarder from the 2012 era. Enter John Slugg, a veteran SoCal skateboarder who may be a little older now but surely didn’t forget those heady days spent wondering. On September 19, 2021 John threw the first official Outlaw At The Snake event, bringing to reality the vision we had all contemplated for so long.

John & Elliott

Eli, surfin' wide.

Daniel Perez lining up an apex.

Elliott Casey, workin' his heat.

Hot pursuit.


The format for the event would take place as such: the $10 race entry fee also garners the contender a set of fresh 70mm, 80a 4President wheels donated by Orangatang.

John introduced a spicy dimension to the competition by making it a spec race. With all riders on identical single, brand-new sets of wheels, the playing field was dramatically leveled, and common racing imbalances like budgetary restraints or unlimited supplies of fresh wheels from sponsors were eliminated. 

Riders warmed up in the morning practice runs with their choice of kit, but by the close of registration all racers had mounted their spec 4Presidents and would ride them for the remainder of the day and the entirety of the race.

The day saw rider Morgan Smith take home first place, Elliott Casey in second, and Gabriel Hernandez with third, in a race that had been a long, long time coming.

Morgan Smith, crossing the line to take 1st!

Gabe is stoked.

Herbert, cruisin' through.


Post race celebratory chug.

Racing wrap.


Stay shredded, Gabe.

Versa out.

Road closed.

A very sincere thank you to John Slugg for hosting an event more than a decade in the making, Orangatang Wheels for supporting the community in invaluable endeavors such as these, and to everyone who came out and became a part of the downhill skateboarding history. Thank you.

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