Niches vs Waaaaay Out There

Niches vs Waaaaay Out There

Over the last 20 years or so I have watched skateboarding change. In 1996, you could barely get anyone to pay slightest bit of attention to longboarding let alone slalom or freestyle. Skateboarding media was very much like the scene in the Blues Brothers movie where someone says “we got both kinds of music: country AND western.” 

Niche events did take place but they were truly off the radar. Thanks to the hard work of a lot of people and the power of the web skateboarding now covers a wide range of niches. 

 

The truth is however is that these niches haven’t really received the type of attention or sponsorship that street skateboarding garnishes. Most longboarders (and all the groups that are lumped together in the “OTHER” category) are realists. Sure, it would be nice to have a big fat sponsor like Ford or Pepsi throw in some major money to the IDF or other types of skate events, but it’s going to take time. We have to accept that we are a niche.

 

Numerous skaters spend a huge amount of their own money to attend races. Downhill, by its very nature poses some risks while every precaution is taken at races, accidents happen. The reward comes in the camaraderie – for the most part, the prizes are secondary. 

 

The worldwide tribe that doesn’t generally follow the going’s-on of traditional skateboarding is sometime given an occasional nod by the mainstream media. The tragic passing of 70 year old Victor Earhart is one of those times. If your attention is to the more mainstream side of skating, someone like Victor isn’t going to get onto your radar. For those who do explore outside what is presented in most of the skate media, the experiences are truly exceptional.

 

One of those rewards is the chance to compete against world-class skaters. If you go race Danger Bay or ahead out to Oceanside for the National Slalom Races, you will be up against the very best in the world. Not only will you be able to skate with your hero’s, you’ll be able to hang with them too. It’s quite a bit harder to do this at the Maloof Money Cup or Dew Tour.

 

THIS IS FROM 2011…wow, time flies!

If the other categories in skateboarding are classified as niches and are getting a paltry amount in the way of sponsorships, can you imagine what it’s like to be a pro wrestler in Combat Zone Wrestling. Most of us know of the WWF but trust me when I say you won’t see Doritos, KFC or even Band Aid jumping to sponsor this niche part of wrestling any time soon.

 

The CZW documentary profiling this way out there niche within wrestling is a 42 minute orgy of violence the likes of which will leave mental scars. We’ll all know that Vice covers it all – from drug abuse to bestiality but nothing can prepare you for this niche within wrestling. 

 

The level of brutality is so beyond anything that you can imagine, it’s frankly hard to comprehend. Sure, it’s all done for the fans…but holy shit, it’s insane. These guys literally drive spikes into each others heads

 

Don’t believe me?

Take a look at the documentary below: Warning – once you see this, you will not be able to UNSEE it.

If you get past the violence, you will see there is camaraderie here between the wrestlers and yes there is an incredible bond between the wrestlers and the audience. It is so over the top and so incredibly intense that even the refs are seen clenching their teeth. Chances are this waaaay out there niche within wrestling will garner a few fans via the documentary. The CZW seem be garnering some money via on demand video – not sure how much money it generates – but full marks for trying!

 

From what I understand, Delaware is one of the few places left in the USA that you can actually do a tournament of death. Not sure about Canada. I would say it’s doubtful.

For those who worry about the future of niches within our amazing skateboard world I say, fear not. Niches within skateboarding will expand and contract, just like the rest of skateboarding. Sure, we may never get the big dollars like our street skating counterparts. But that’s ok. No matter what happens, chances are you’ll never find yourself picking glass out of your body. Unlike our counterparts over at CZW.

 

 

Victor Earhart – 1946 – 2016

Victor Earhart – 1946 – 2016

It is with a heavy heart that we report on the tragic passing of Victor Earhart. Victor worked for Sector 9 for a number of years and was truly one of the most genuine and inspirational skaters you’d ever want to meet.Victor passed away last Friday in a motorcycle accident. Our condolences to Victor’s family and friends. We did a profile of Victor back in 2013 and I am proud to reprint it here. The photos are from Jeff Budro. Victor, you were truly one of a kind and you will be missed by many. 

I WAS BORN IN 1946, and in 1953 I rode what was called a skateboard, which at that time consisted of a 2 x 4 and a roller skate. In 1954 my parents moved to Northern California and I had to make my own board made out of a 2 x 4, some bent nails and old roller skates. There was no real skateboard scene. Skating with my friends Barry Kanaiaupuni and Mike Turner, who were world-class surfers at the time, created the scene in the PB area slaloming down hills. The first skateboarding scene that got me involved was a skate demo. I got a free board and I was the only one to drop in on the ramp. That started the fire.

 

I went to three different junior high schools and took wood shop. After I completed my requirements of making spice racks and a bird house, I started making skateboards out of pallets. In the late ’50s, clay wheels came out. Steel-clay-urethane. In the mid-’60s we moved to PB and I started skating the boardwalk. Nobody was on the boardwalk with skateboards. So I started giving my pallet boards away, getting more people riding skateboards. I was unaware of other skate scenes. I bombed my first hill at 7 years old with steel wheels. Clay wheels made it easier. We were also barefoot. Shoes were for pussies. From 17- 26 years old we were bombing hills all around San Diego. In 1965 SkateBoarder magazine’s first issue came out with an article about the Concourse [garage] in San Diego. I still skate parking garages every Friday night. Come join!

 

In the mid ’70s, skateparks started popping up all over. Some rich kid showed up at one of my local skateparks with his bike and posse. It ended up being Bob Haro of Haro Bikes. In the ’80s I had a chance to go work at a

skateboard shop in Temecula. That’s where I met some pro skateboarders for the first time – Steve Claar and Jason Jessee, to name a couple. Because of working at the shop, I began attending other demos at other

shops and meeting other skaters with the same passion that I had for skateboarding. Then I found out in the late ’80s about Roger Hickey, who had races going in San Dimas. Meanwhile I was still skating the Concourse every Friday night. Rain or no rain, it didn’t matter. That’s where I met Denis, Steve and Dave. They were starting a longboarding company called Sector 9. I also found them at a race in San Dimas and got ahold of one of their

boards, a 42” pintail, and fell in love with it. That’s when I parked my SMA and switched to a 42” pintail. I later traded my 38” SMA for a tattoo. The rest is history. Sector 9 put me to work. I’ve been at Sector 9 since 1995.

Because of Sector 9 I’ve been to a few races in Colorado, Canada and some local events. I am SO STOKED that the younger generation along with their 40- to 50-year-old dads are picking up on the same vibe. It is really exciting to see where the scene is going. And now we have these kooks like Louis Pilloni and Jeff Budro who are not satisfied with going 40 miles an hour – they have to add high-speed stunts. I don’t why they’re doing it; I guess because they can. I’ve been skating for 60 years now and hope to continue skateboarding for the next

40. Now tell me your stories at Facebook.com/Victor.E.Sector9 

 

Check out the video below:

 

  

The Karma Police Strike Again

The Karma Police Strike Again

 Three years ago we published a story about Troy Derrick. Troy is an RCMP in Vancouver, BC. His connection to skateboarding is a highly intriguing story which you can read here:  I promise you that you will find it fascinating. That’s the crazy thing about karma, it never fails to capture our imaginations. The reason why I am posting this story is that just a few days ago I found myself in one of the most extra-ordinary skate shops you’ll ever visit – Toronto’s very own So Hip It Hurts. Loaded to the gills with an incredible collection of goodies, the shop is a true jewel of Queen Street West. Upon entering the shop, my eye spotted this deck and I immediately got the reference. It would appear that Friendship Skateboard Company is taking a page from Welcome Skateboards and going for a vibe of  inclusion and fun. What a great take on a iconic image. Kevin Harris was instrumental in me putting together the book Concrete Wave. Hard to believe I’ve known him for almost 20 years. When I decided to do a post about this Friendship deck, it actually led me to this post which was written by Hippy Mike of Protest Skateboards and a fixture of the British Columbia skate scene. Three years ago I did not know Mike had written such an awesome introduction to the piece and I am so very happy to share it with you now. This past May, I finally got a chance to meet Troy at the Freestyle Round Up in Cloverdale. The Kevin Harris deck was first released in 1986, making this year the thirtieth anniversary. How very appropriate…or as I would say, pretty good karma. Watch Kevin blow your mind here – from Ban This:   

Nostalgia/Ephemera ain’t what it used to be

Nostalgia/Ephemera ain’t what it used to be

I am in the process of a giant clean up. I am finding things that I hadn’t thought about in ages. Here’s something I found from a decade and half ago! This was well before YouTube. The Evolutions DVD’s were free (shocking for the time) and were a staple of many shops. I figure hundred of thousands of people have seen the footage and I am quite sure the companies that put their videos on the DVD got their money’s worth!

The Evolutions DVD was released in 2006!

What’s curious about ephemera is that it has a not-so-subtle way of creeping up on you. The web seems to intensify things. This morning I was doing research on festivals in Ontario (we are working on something pretty cool) and up cropped a link on Heatwave. I was 16 years old when this festival hit Bowmanville, Ontario. Take a look at the line up:

Sadly, The Clash didn’t wind up performing. From eye-witness reports, we hear the Talking Heads blew the crowd away. The festival had about 15,000 or so additional gate crashers meaning that 100,000 people enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately, the gig lost over a million dollars. While I wasn’t able to get to the festival, I did manage to pick up a poster for a buck at the CNE at the end of August. This was 36 years ago and I can still remember purchasing it….damn, that’s crazy….er, nostalgic!

I proudly displayed the poster in my bedroom for several years and even brought it with me when I moved to Toronto to attend college. A quick search led to me a site that is now selling a reissue of the poster for quite a pretty penny. Ah, the price of nostalgia!

Over the course of the next few months, Concrete Wave is going to be releasing something rather special items. We are going to make available some classic covers of the magazine and we hope it triggers some sense of nostalgia.

Music has always played a huge role in my enjoyment of skateboarding. Back in 1980, punk had pretty much imploded and in its wake came New Wave. Love it or loathe it, this new sound still sounds pretty freakin’ great three decades later.

Here’s Elvis Costello’s full set at Heatwave.

Nostalgia/Ephemera ain't what it used to be

Nostalgia/Ephemera ain't what it used to be

I am in the process of a giant clean up. I am finding things that I hadn’t thought about in ages. Here’s something I found from a decade and half ago! This was well before YouTube. The Evolutions DVD’s were free (shocking for the time) and were a staple of many shops. I figure hundred of thousands of people have seen the footage and I am quite sure the companies that put their videos on the DVD got their money’s worth!The Evolutions DVD was released in 2006!What’s curious about ephemera is that it has a not-so-subtle way of creeping up on you. The web seems to intensify things. This morning I was doing research on festivals in Ontario (we are working on something pretty cool) and up cropped a link on Heatwave. I was 16 years old when this festival hit Bowmanville, Ontario. Take a look at the line up: Sadly, The Clash didn’t wind up performing. From eye-witness reports, we hear the Talking Heads blew the crowd away. The festival had about 15,000 or so additional gate crashers meaning that 100,000 people enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately, the gig lost over a million dollars. While I wasn’t able to get to the festival, I did manage to pick up a poster for a buck at the CNE at the end of August. This was 36 years ago and I can still remember purchasing it….damn, that’s crazy….er, nostalgic! I proudly displayed the poster in my bedroom for several years and even brought it with me when I moved to Toronto to attend college. A quick search led to me a site that is now selling a reissue of the poster for quite a pretty penny. Ah, the price of nostalgia!Over the course of the next few months, Concrete Wave is going to be releasing something rather special items. We are going to make available some classic covers of the magazine and we hope it triggers some sense of nostalgia. Music has always played a huge role in my enjoyment of skateboarding. Back in 1980, punk had pretty much imploded and in its wake came New Wave. Love it or loathe it, this new sound still sounds pretty freakin’ great three decades later.  Here’s Elvis Costello’s full set at Heatwave.And here are the Talking Heads: