Dolores Hill Bomb – Bay Area skating “festival”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Italian American
Age: 20
Occupation: Law enforcement at Nordstrom
Residence: with her parents in San Jose
Date of Performance/Collection: Friday April 24, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

The following is a transcript of a conversation between me, M, and my friend, T.

M: What is the Dolores Hill Bomb?

T: I guess it’s more for like bay area skaters, but Dolores Hill Bomb is this event we go to. So like every summer, I don’t remember what day, in San Francisco, a bunch of –hundreds actually– of skaters get together and they just like, bomb hills in San Francisco. If you look up Dolores Hill bombs there’s tons of videos. They or we actually do it every year, its literally just skaters getting together and fucking bombing hills, because there’s a lot of hills in San Francisco. 

Me: what does that mean? Bombing hills?

T: Just like, going down hills, like fast. Super high speed. It doesn’t sound scary, but just going downhill on a skateboard, like a big San Francisco hill…..its intense. You need to watch videos.

M: How did you hear about it?

T: (pause)…just like, through the community….if you hang out with um any sort of actual skater and skating is something they’re passionate about, you learn about it. It’s through word of mouth, and that’s how it started. 

Me: So it’s hundreds of people?


T: Yeah, and people keep coming, even though every year someone injures themselves pretty bad. It’s a big deal for us.

Me: How long have you been going to it? 

T: Just two years. But I’ve known about it for a while…I didn’t go before because I was younger, its a bit of …well, you know skate scene can be vulgar, so I didn’t go, and also it was a bit of a drive and I didn’t have a car. 

Me: Is it like a festival?

T: Yeah, but it’s not an organized thing. It’s not sponsored or official, people just choose to meet up on this day, and support each other, and just skate. 

Me: Did you compete or just watch?

T: Hell, no! I skated around there and casually, but I didn’t bomb…its not a competition necessarily, more like a meet up….it just goes on until the cops come shut it down, because it does shut down the entire street. Skate culture in San Francisco is huge.

Background: Informant is 20 years old, and considers skating to be a big part of her life. She builds her own boards starting in middle school. She skated to school everyday since she was 12 and has continued to skate on her own and with her friends. (most of her friends skateboard as well) 

Context: T is a good friend of mine who I interviewed while FaceTiming her to catch up during quarantine. I asked her about any interesting folklore she knew.

Thoughts: This is the first time I have heard of anything like this. I think it’s a great example of how folklore is so reliant on community and word of mouth, and that people can strongly feel connected to something. Also, that there are layers to folklore- this is not just about skateboarders, but also the Bay Area.