The EZ-7 Ditch

EZ-7 is Houston’s oldest skatespot. The best I can tell from researching the construction of White Oak Bayou, is that it was built around 1967-69. I am sure the skaters and surfers found it right after that. The earliest skate photos I have seen are from 1973. There are about 15 of these same type ditches along White Oak Bayou, but none as skateable as EZ-7.

EZ-7 Smithgrind. Circa 1987.

I first laid eyes on it in Spring 1981. I was visiting my mom for Spring Break, and some of my BMX friends took me there. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There were ramps built on both sides, and these surfer dudes were just terrorizing! I had a skateboard at the time, but wasn’t a skater. It wasn’t long after that visit that I traded the bike in for a skateboard.

A local shredder doing a boneless at the EZ-7 ditch. Circa 1987.

I moved back to Houston the summer of 1984, and have localized EZ-7 ever since. Lot’s of ramps, ledges, benches, tables, grind bars, and other props have been built over the years, usually only to get washed away in one of the floods that happen a couple of times a year. The city has always accepted the place as the skater’s. I don’t remember a time when there has ever been a hassle for skating there.

Mike Niemann doing a frontside rock on one of the many ramps built in the ditch.

The place has such a long history. Tons of pros have stopped by, video parts have been filmed, photos have been in all the mags. I remember when Gonz kickflipped the channel and blew us all away with what was actually possible on a skateboard.

Fast forward to about 2004. We were just beginning to get organized in skatepark activism. P.U.S.H. had not even formed yet. Just a few of us got together and went to meet with Parks and Rec. The meeting kind of planted the seed with them, but still didn’t drive it home. We then invited them to come to the Annual EZ-7 Turkey Jam contest that November. Luci Correa, from Houston Parks and Rec, came and brought her family. She was blown away that this many people would show up for a contest in a drainage ditch. She then saw the need and became our biggest supporter.

Frontside parking block grind at one of the many EZ-7 Turkey Jam Contest

About a year later they came down and put in trash cans and signs designating it a skatepark. We have continued to build DIY props down there, and they have never torn anything down or asked us not to build stuff. This year will mark the 28th Annual EZ-7 Turkey Jam. I can’t think of any contest that has gone on longer.

In 2005 the city put in a sign designating EZ-7 as a skatepark

Mike Niemann and crew build the tranny wall at EZ-7 Ditch in 2005.

Jeremy Smith with a sweeper at the last EZ-7 Turkey Jam Contest

The EZ-7 Ditch in 2010

Words and photos provided by Mike Niemann.