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.
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:
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:
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!
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.
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!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:
I offer this list as a Canadian wishing my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving! 1. When you ship from Canada to the USA and the package gets there QUICKER than what they told you at the post office! 2. Trade shows in January in Long Beach – going from freezing cold to gorgeous heat 3. Knowing that more pumptracks are on their way – hello Miami! 4. Having friends in USA of all political stripes – and knowing that we can all agree that skateboarding is awesome. 5. Watching the NFL with my son on Sundays. 6. Realizing that the more I visit the USA, the less I understand it. Being at peace with the previous sentence. 7. Carlsbad, California – truly a perfect spot in an area of perfects spots. 8. Canadian Maple combined with American craftsmanship equals millions of happy skaters. 9. The incredible number of things that Americans invent…on a yearly basis! 10. The fact that Canadians and Americans share the world’s largest undefended border. A sincere Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Most people have photos of a rash or any wound/injury.
We are launching a photo contest concerning your worst injury. If you have a photo of your injury, time to show it off!
We are GIVING AWAY Clayer products to the top 3 worst ones. And a special coupon code will be given to everybody who participates.
Send an email to email@example.com with:
* Your first and last name
* The photo of your wound
* How you got the wound
* Your @instagram (if you have one)
The Deadline to send your photo is November 28th
Please do not get injured on purpose to win this prize.
*USA and CANADA only
If I could take you back in time to 1996, you’d see me with my 48″ Foundation Longboard running around like a mad man telling everyone I met about longboarding. And while I had been riding longboards since 1977 and had purchased a Yard Stix in 1988, it wasn’t until the mid 90’s that things really came together. I realized the potential of what variety in skateboarding could bring about and twenty years later, you now see a completely different skate landscape. With this in mind, I am proud to present to you the future of skateboarding and longboarding. It lies in this hybrid pumptrack AND skatepark that is just about to be completed in Kanab, Utah.Take a good hard look at something that deftly blends together two fantastic experiences. The FLOW of a pumptrack with the challenging terrain of a skatepark.Make no mistake, this is the future. And it’s a future that can spark interest from many different people. From the young kids on scooters, to those on longboards, to local skaters who want an opportunity to shred. Hell, even bike riders can enjoy the terrain.When we look back on this installation in 20 years, we will all realize what an insanely great idea it was. For now, you need to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Have a peek at the latest video!
When Michael asked me to come back and write for the magazine, he did so with three overriding mandates: to think (and execute) well outside the box; to shake things up a bit; and to instigate change. And he gave me virtual carte blanche to do all three of those things, however I saw fit to do so, with the full support of the magazine behind me. One of the first things on my personal shit list to tackle was the status quo of “skateboard events”.
“Skateboard events”, as we know them today, generally take two popular forms: contests and demos. Neither of which float my boat very much. Contests, I despise for fairly obvious and straightforward reasons. To me, skateboarding is (fundamentally speaking) a form of artistic self-expression; I’m almost positive that very few skaters will disagree with this assessment. As a form of artistic self-expression, I still can’t figure out how it can ever be “judged” to discern which style of artistic self-expression should be deemed “better” or “more valid” than another style of artistic self-expression. So just based on the philosophical grounds, I abhor any and all attempts at having skateboarders “compete” against one another. It seems to go completely against the spirit of the whole thing.
Demos are a bit better… but not much. When I go to a skateboard event, I want to go skateboarding; I don’t really want to sit on my ass (or stand around idly) watching other dudes go skateboarding. Skateboarding, to me, is a participation pastime, not a sporting spectacle. Some skaters may disagree with this one, but I really don’t give a toss. It’s my article, bubbo. If you have a differing point of view… well, throw your own event and write your own damn article then.
In any rate, what I really wanted to do here was to organize and execute a very different sort of event. “The Weekend At The Wedge” was almost exactly what I had in mind.
The event itself was a brainwave between myself, and Stuart Anglin. I met Stewart a couple months back, while I was on tour; we crossed paths at The Wedge Skatepark at Eldorado Park in Scottsdale, Arizona. We struck up a conversation based on the common ground of being old, lifer skaters. At some point in our friendly chat, I asked Stuart why The Wedge Skatepark wasn’t named after the park it sat in (like so many Phoenix area skateparks are), and thus called “Eldorado Skatepark”. He explained that the skatepark was named after “The Wedge”, and old skate spot that was heavily sessioned way back in the ’70s and early’80s.
Thinking that the original spot must have been dozed and buried eons ago, I remarked that it’s really too bad that it’s not around anymore. To which Stuart replied, “Oh, it’s still there! It’s right down the hill beside the bike path!” Being a bit surprised by this, I asked if he’d like to escort me down there, point it out, and maybe join me for a quick session? Stuart, being the supercool chap that he is, was more than happy to oblige.
As we skated The Wedge… which is a long, mellow embankment by the way, ideal for surf-skating (because it’s basically a huge, stationary wave)… I asked how long it had been since anybody had seen a mass session there…?
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe twenty, thirty years?”
“Stuart….! We have to have an old-school session here. For old time’s sakes, at the very least. Let’s get a hold of Adam, and make that happen.” Stuart was in, Adam was in, and the event was a total go.
Here in Phoenix, we’re blessed to have a very well-organized and active old-guy skateboard club known as The Gray Beard Crew (found on Facebook under “Prevent This Tragedy”); Adam is our ringleader, so his support and promotion was an integral part of the plan. I made a digitized flyer for the event, posted it up all over our Facebook page, and started planning the details of the festivities.
Putting together an event like this is really pretty easy. Anyone can do it, although having an already-existing skateboard club does help immensely. If your town doesn’t have a skateboard club, well, go right ahead, be like Adam, and organize one; all it takes is a desire to meet (and skate with) new people; a little bit of outreach, networking, and promotion; and a Facebook page. Club tee shirts help a bunch, too, because they’re so boss. Just sayin’.
There were some simple logistics to sort out. The Wedge has a nasty habit of collecting dirt and dust at the base of the bank; that would have to be swept out, so people were encouraged to bring brooms (two ended up being enough, and those were personally manned by Stuart and I). I printed flyers, and left them at the area skateshops. We picked a day and a time that worked for almost everybody and their schedules. That was the bulk of “the planning”, right there.
And then, there were the “prize packs”… a little idea that I put together, so that nobody would leave the event empty-handed. I wanted to show my appreciation to everyone for showing up and participating… so, everybody got a prize pack that included a free copy of Concrete Wave Magazine (thanks, Michael); a color version of the event flyer, printed on some spiffy paper; and a handful of stickers because, really, what kind of skater wouldn’t appreciate a handful of stickers…? Nobody I know…! Those were provided by Michael (again); Jim Gray at Powerflex; Jack Smith at the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum; Mike Horelick at Tunnel Products; the fine folks at Speedlab Wheels; and the fellas at Sidewalk Surfer Skate Shop, right up the street. I’d like to thank them all, too, for helping out.
As far as the time-and-money costs go, they really weren’t particularly significant. I spent maybe forty bucks on the whole deal at the very most… I actually ran most of the flyers off for free at work… and I spent maybe ten to fifteen hours on the whole project, total. This really is something that almost anybody could put together, by and for themselves. I cannot emphasize that enough.
My biggest worry was over how many people would (or wouldn’t) turn out for the shindig. I feared the worst, as I usually do; I had visions of another private session for just Stuart and I, and nobody else but the sound of crickets. But the turnout blew me away…! There were about fifty folks there, of all ages and abilities… that was the best part, I thought… and they, in turn, brought out many of their kids, wives, and girlfriends. My sweetie Renee even tagged along to spectate, and had quite a good time doing so. But really, the best part was seeing such a diverse cross-section of skaters, young and old, newbie to experienced, skating together and having fun. That’s the best reward you could ever ask for, right there. That made it all worthwhile.
The most surprising part of the day was watching everybody skate the “wrong” side of the bank. The back side of The Wedge is another embankment that leads down to a grassy flatbottom… not something that I would have ever imagined skating. But somebody… I think it might have been Adam… started trying to pump the whole bank, from the paved sidewalk to the opposite end. Within minutes, everybody was trying it (including me)… and surprisingly, making it. You learn something new every day, I guess. Sometimes, even something completely unforseen and utterly surprising.
After a couple of hours of skating The Wedge, we all migrated up to the skatepark to keep the fun times rolling. The skatepark has a bunch of quarterpipes, grindable islands, and a bank/bowl complex that’s short, mellow, but still a significant challenge. The whole event lasted three solid hours, and everybody seemed to go home happy and content.
If the event itself wasn’t surprising enough, then that Facebook love that I found in my inbox when I got home definitely sealed the surprise deal; I wasn’t really expecting that, either. Of course, I tried to deflect much of the credit back to the participants… an event, of course, isn’t really “an event” without a whole bunch of participants… but it was nice to see such tangible confirmation of a job well done, and times well spent.
I’m sure that we’ll put something together again really soon. Adam and I have already discussed what, where, and when the next event might be. Sidewalk Surfer is already down to support it, wherever and whatever it might be. But really, what I’d like to see are more homegrown events like this, all over the country and/or the world. That would be amazing.
So put ’em together, have your own fun, shoot a few photos along the way, and send your stories in to the mag. Make Mike and I proud, and make ’em happen.
With winter fast approaching, you might be wondering what you could do to pass the days. We hope this article will give you some inspiration to head down to your local library in search of a Makerbot! How to Make Custom 3D Printed Fingerboards What you’ll need: · 3D printer (if you don’t have one or want to buy one, many makerspaces and even libraries havethem)· Slicer software· Printer filament (I use PLA)· 2 fingerboard trucks with 5 mm x 8 mm bolt pattern*· 8 fingerboard screws*· 4 fingerboard wheels*· Mini Philips head screwdriver· Mini socket wrench (2.5mm) *Fingerboard parts can be ordered from here: Steps: 1) Open the custom fingerboard designer tool: Since 3D modeling a custom skateboard can take a while, I created a tool to speed up the process. You can access this tool via http://bit.ly/2fwIi42 (I recommend using Firefox or Chrome). Here’s a video describing how it works for the full-scale skateboard version, which is basically the same tool, except it uses larger numbers: Simply change the numbers in each of the parameter boxes and click “Update” to render the new design. 2) Generate a .stl file: Once you’ve designed a shape you like, you’ll need to generate a .stl file of the model. To generate a .stl of your board, click on the “Generate STL” button (leave the default settings). Then click “Download STL”. 3) Prepare and print: Import your .stl file into your 3D printer software. Your settings will vary based on what type of printer you use, but you’ll likely need to generate supports, which add structure underneath the overhangs of your board (if you didn’t have supports, the overhanging features would fall down). It will probably take several tries and failed prints to get the settings right. Don’t give up! 4) Finishing touches:Depending on your printer, you may need to drill the holes to fit your bolts. If necessary, use a1/16″ drill bit to drill them. For more into, click the photo below.
5th annual Skate the Cape Shred Festival was our best yet! The weather was perfect, the stoke was high and the riders were pushing their progression in every event. We had an awesome lineup of vendors Stark Energy, Spacey Cloud, WhaDaFunk, Category Collections, Blendlife and of course Faceplant that made this event feel like a shred festival. There were no shortage of prizes to give away thanks to our sponsors Bethesda Boards, Liquid Boardshop, Shred Threads, HogWash, Shady Tree, Sector 9, Original, Bustin, Muirskate, Otang, Loaded, WheelRZ and Faceplant Boardriders. Open DownhillWe started off Saturday with our most popular event, the Downhill Race with heats of 3 riders, top 2 advanced. In the Junior division, Ohio native and WheelRZ team rider Troy Dycus led the pack all day and finished 1st in the finals followed by PA rider Nathan Yagar and MD rider William Macleod. The Open division was stacked with talented riders. Local Delaware riders Jeremy Woolsey and Aaron Gordy used there Cape knowledge to navigate their way through the difficult heats to the podium. Virginia Beach powerhouse Jarrid Lopez snuck right between the locals to take 2nd place in the Open DH Finals. 1st Jeremy Woolsey2nd Jarrid Lopez3rd Aaron Gordy Junior Downhill1st Troy Dycus2nd Nathan Yager3rd William Macleod
Small Wheelbase RaceNext was the Small Wheelbase Downhill Race where riders had to use smaller skateboards with a wheelbase of 22″ or less. This smaller board and wheelbase makes it more difficult at high speeds and made racing more intense. The final race was super tight going into the turn with Jarrid Lopez leading the pack. As they rounded the corner Jarrid could not hang on to the high speed line and allowed DE Local Jesse Wipf to take the win with myself and NC rider Josh Fuentes right behind him for a photo finish. 1st Jesse Wipf2nd Rob Wheeler3rd Josh Fuentes Slalom RaceAfter that we set up the two lines of cones for some old school slalom racing. Local OG rider Scott Thompson took the gnarliest Faceplant of the day right on the finish line as his board loss traction and slipped out from underneath of him. Luckily he was all smiles after that and still competed! Dave Bangson wowed the crowd on his weird no binding roller blades called freelines. The top 3 riders were all from Delaware! 1st Jesse Wipf2nd Jeremy Woolsey3rd Dave Bangson Enduro Push RaceThe last event of the day was the 2.9 mile Enduro Push Race which has downhill sections, pine needles, sand traps, cracks, 90 degree turns and an uphill finish. This was one of the craziest push races we had with a huge pile up right from the start as everyone mobbed into the narrow path. Animal and Jarrid Lopez were leading for the first half until the tricky 90 degree right turn took them both out and allowed myself and Matt McCoy to push our way to the front. Jarrid Lopez training paid off as he quickly made his way back to the front of the pack. I was drafting behind Jarrid for the last half mile of the race thinking I could push past him on the final uphill but his determination and slight lead took him to a well deserved 1st place. 1st Jarrid Lopez2nd Rob Wheeler3rd Matt McCoy Saturday evening we couldn’t stop our competitive drive and played a big game of kickball before sundown. Right at dark we opened up Blendlife Food Truck for dinner, ran some lights out to the picnic tables and started a community fire to set the mood for the rest of the night. Everyone enjoyed having our own Skate the Cape campsite this year with plenty of room to spread out and camp next to your friends. Boarder Cross Time Trial RaceDay two at Skate the Cape started with our Boardercross Time Trial Race where riders had to navigate through a challenging coned course making hard turns they had to slide to check speed, air over the ramp and zig-zag through the slalom section. Each rider had 3 runs to clock in there best time to make it to podium. Zach Longacre was charging the course every run and came so close to the best time of the day. I was stoked to win 1st at this event against some of my favorite riders and good friends.1st Rob Wheeler 23.562nd Zach Longacre 23.823rd Jarrid Lopez 24.89 Hippie JumpAfter that we took a lunch break thanks to Blendlife, opened up the hill for slide jam practice and setup for the Hippie Jump contest. Many riders tried the high jump but yet again Aaron Gordy dominated this event with style and maxed out our hippie jump at 52″Aaron Gordy – 4 feet 4 inchesJunior Slide JamThe Skate the Cape finale was the Junior and Open Slide Jam which would decide who our Faceplant Freestyle Cup (longboard series) winners would be. The Juniors division was led by new-comer Sam Crandall from Virginia Beach who was laying down solid runs all day. The entire Junior division was a tight matchup every heat. In the finals, Faceplant Freestyle Cup leaders Troy Dycus and Benny Clark laid down there brand of slide style to make there way to the podium.1st Sam Crandall2nd Troy Dycus3rd Benny Clark Juniors Faceplant Freestyle Cup Series1st – Troy Dycus 37.5 points2nd – Benny Clark 33 points3rd – Rian Singleton & Nathan Yager 20 pointsAll eyes were on Faceplant Freestye Cup leaders Zach Longacre and Mark Nicolaus in the Open Slide Jam. Zach dominated the opening heat but could not put it together in the semi final heat to make it to the finals. Aaron Gordy fought his way into the finals and landed an incredible technical run to bump him into 3rd place for some very valuable Faceplant Freestyle Cup points. NY rider Cody Baker was the standout of the jam putting together laser sharp runs all day long. Mark Nicolaus continued to heat up as he made his way to the finals and landed a 9.5 and 9 on his final runs to win his first Faceplant Slide Jam of the year and win of the First Faceplant Freestyle Cup! Open Slide Jam1st Mark Nicolaus2nd Cody Baker3rd Aaron Gordy Open Faceplant Freestyle Cup Series1st – Mark Nicolaus 33 points2nd – Zach Longacre 25.5 points3rd – Kardon Allard & Aaron Gordy 23 points Big Air We always end Skate the Cape with the competition where riders launch off the kicker to see who can travel the farthest distance. Kardon Allard broke a board going for the big air. Josh Fuentes was the record holder last year and pushed it to try to beat that. He took some gnarly falls but continued to walk back up the hill and try again. Cody Baker had his technique down as he soared 15 feet! Animal wowed the crowd with his longboard binding setup getting the highest out of all the riders and tied Cody at 15 feet for an epic closing to this awesome weekend. Cody Baker & Brandon “Animal” Cassel – 15 feetThank you so much for coming out to this event! Mark your calendars now for 6th annual Skate the Cape on November 4th & 5th 2017.
With the rush of the biggest city in the world right next to the New Jersey border, it sometimes goes without a second thought to take a look into the Garden State’s skateboarding scene. That’s exactly why I made a trip out to the placid corner of Northwestern Jersey to check out the headquarters of Original Skateboards.
Upon arrival, I was relieved to even find my way to the doors of an otherwise unassuming warehouse. Inside, a foyer plastered in skate stickers and action shots almost lead me to believe I was about to enter a full skate shop, rather than a production HQ. Instead, President, Joel Penkala welcomed me into a command central bustling with the operations of one of the East Coast’s top longboarding brands.
We took a tour to find Mark Imbrie, father to founders Scott and Brad Imbrie working in a much more evolved space than his garage, where the company started. In another room, a pair of graphic designers were reviewing the finishing touches on some ads to be run and a revamped website to be launched. Finally, in a warehouse that would make any longboarder swoon at the sight of stacks of decks and bins of wheels, a team of assemblers were working together to fill an order from one of the the company’s largest retailers.
From wall to board-covered wall, the Original Skateboards headquarters echoes Penkala’s description of the company’s mantra: “Be original and be yourself.” Also noting that the allure of riding so innately universal, the folks at Original seek to bust down the categories and labels that tend to shade the skateboarding world with gray areas. From traveling the world with friends in search of beautiful destinations and smooth concrete to stoking locals by bringing the best of the best professionals to local events, OS seeks to spread this passion with board riders on any terrain at any age.
With this, Penkala explained to me how from the early stages in the child’s life, the search for adrenaline embedded in human nature draws them towards wheeled objects. In a world where the range of options across the bike, scooter and skateboard markets are ever expanding, the President hopes that children stick with the latter of the three and sees Original as a gateway to an inclusive skating community. After all, Penkala delights in the fact to say that his proudest contribution to the skateboarding scene is to hear someone say that OS was the reason they got into skateboarding. “Longboarding is what brings us together” he added with a smile.
With one of Original’s new Arbiter KT’s under my arm, I left the headquarters and headed back into the quiet North Jersey suburbs. This time, however, I felt a particularly burning desire to get out and ride knowing that a local East Coast heavyweight was right in NJ’s backyard; cranking out boards and showing riders everywhere what it’s like to get out and experience the world with an Original Skateboard under their feet.
The 7th Catalyst – Sector 9 Sold to Billabong – 2008Although Sector 9 had been in business since 1993, they found success was quite elusive. The vast majority of the skateboard world couldn’t or didn’t want to understand the point of longboarding. It was an entirely new category bringing in an entirely different customer. They were laughed at initially and many retailers were reluctant to carry longboards. But by the mid- 2000’s, longboarding emerged from its underground existence to really catch on with the public. Women, who for decades were only a marginal part of skateboarding, suddenly felt at home on a longboard. When the sale was announced, it brought a number of competitors to the forefront and telegraphed the enormity of the longboard market. By 2010, Penny plastic cruisers were launched as a longboard alternative. The success of the Penny is due in part because of the success of longboarding. The cruiser market continues to be a vibrant part of skateboarding. Although Billabong has recently sold Sector 9, one cannot underestimate the significance of their initial purchase. It really signalled that longboarding was a major force. The 8th Catalyst – Velosolutions Brooklyn Pumptrack – 2015 While pumptracks have been quite popular in Europe, it wasn’t until 2015 that an actual asphalt park built for bikes and skaters was established in the USA. There is no doubt that with the creation of hundreds of new skateparks over the past 15 years in North America, we have seen dramatic things happening in the world of skateboarding. However, for many on a Penny or a longboard or even a scooter, the prospect of being in a skatepark can be quite daunting. In fact, most beginners on skateboards can find it quite intimidating to be in a skatepark. Longboarding in a skatepark also requires a fair amount of skill.The pumptrack, due to its emphasis on flow and inclusion, means that all types of riders can enjoy the track. This has huge implications because if a culture of inclusion can be fostered around a pumptrack, it means we can have kids move effortlessly from scooter or bike to an actual skateboard/longboard. A second pumptrack was recently built in Oklahoma City and stands at 15,000 feet. Plans are underway to build dozens more over the next year. Pumptracks are about half the cost of skateparks and a worthwhile addition to current parks.
The 5th Catalyst – The Extreme/X Games – 1995By the early 1990’s, skateboarding was in free-fall and the industry tried to figure out what had caused the crash. In a meeting in January of 1994, a group of skateboard executives pointed out the obvious:
- Too many pros
- Not enough diversity – too much emphasis on street skateboarding
- Too much focus on the hardcore skaters – not enough focus on fun for all By 1995, ESPN 2 had launched the Extreme Games and while some in the skateworld bemoaned its commercial sensibilities, there was no question this was going to impact skateboarding. The visibility was huge and Tony Hawk (after a decade and half of being a pro) finally got the fame he so richly deserved. By 1999, skateboarding was on fire once again. The focus was mostly on street skateboarding, with a bit of vert and transition. On the horizon was another genre within skateboarding – Longboarding and in 1999, I launched the publication International Longboarder.
The 6th Catalyst – Dogtown and Z Boys Documentary – 2001Although this film was released in 2001 at the Sundance Film Festival, it didn’t get major attention until 2002. The film features the dramatic stories of skate pioneers the Z Boys and was the breakout hit at Sundance . The film was the first time that skateboarding’s rich cultural history was explored and it lit a fuse. The documentary effortlessly meshed the Southern California surf experience with the punk rock ethos that dominated the late 1970’s skate world. Four years after its release, Vans (who had helped finance the film) found itself on a complete rebound financially. It opened up people’s eyes to the roots of different types of riding and captured people’s imagination. It brought in a lot of former skaters and sparked tremendous interest in the history of skateboarding.
While European roads are traditionally esteemed for long bombs and tight hairpins, Zak and the crew found an especially fun road full of dips and swoops deep in the French Pyrenees. Check it out here!
The 3rd Catalyst – Thrasher Magazine – 1981 In 1981, seven years after the rebirth of skateboarding, Thrasher Magazine was launched. It was underground and it helped create the next wave of interest. It documented regional contests and backyard ramp events. By galvanizing a community, it forged the third wave of skateboarding. By 1985, skateboarding was roaring back. But as the 80’s ended, skateboarding again found itself hitting the skids. The 4th Catalyst – World Industries – 1988Curiously, the fourth catalyst within skateboarding was so impactful, that the ramifications are still being felt to this day. As the 80’s came to close, skateboarding became so overwhelming huge, that there was bound to be a backlash. The “do it yourself” spirit was first experienced in the late 1970’s as punk rock fused with skateboarding. As things snowballed, five dominant companies ruled and smaller, independent skate companies found it very hard to compete.In 1988, Steve Rocco (along with Rodney Mullen) began World Industries and their slow but steady march towards taking on the major players eventually put them in a very powerful position. Numerous new skate companies were established as skateboarding reverted back to a small, niche market. Four years after Rocco launched his renegade company, he had completely disrupted the market and emerged as THE brand from all the carnage in the market. By 1995, World Industries dominated. Tomorrow – we have more catalysts!
Alex Lenz is based in Frankfurt, Germany and he runs the Longboard Embassy at the ISPO Trade Show. We’ve worked together for a number years and I am constantly surprised as to the amazing products he finds. The latest item he’s discovered is something called the Whitezu Surfskate Urban Wave.Whitezu hails from Italy and is headed up by a very friendly guy named Matteo Tontini. Matteo has a background in building ramps for cable wakeparks. As he explained to me, “I have also have a lot of friends who wanted us to build a surf trainer when the waves were small.” It wasn’t a huge leap to go from the water to dry land and Whitezu Urban Wave’s are gaining quite a reputation in Europe. Like many of you reading this, I don’t have the good fortune to live near epic surf…or even plain ole surf! I am truly landlocked and the Whitezu beckons me to ride it! There are two models currently available. One is fairly small and retails for about 4000 euros. A much larger model contains a number of modular components and is over 30,000 euros. It can be expanded. The ramps are made from fiberglass and are quite light. Neil Carver developed the “surfskate” truck with Greg Falk back in the mid 1990’s and worked tirelessly promoting the experience. Fast forward almost 20 years and Carver has seen the rise of Surfskate worldwide. Many are copying Carver‘s innovative patented designs, but ultimately the growth of Surfskate is the best validation for the movement. The more things, the more they stay the same! For those fortunate to attend the ISPO show in Munich this February, you will have the opportunity to ride a Whitezu Ramp. I for one cannot wait!
I have over 40 years rolling on four wheels. The enjoyment I get from skateboarding is surpassed only by the joy I get when I get other people turned onto riding. Twenty years ago I knew that longboarding was going to have a dramatic effect on skateboarding. I knew instinctively it would be a catalyst that would reverberate worldwide. Unfortunately, a number of people in the skate industry didn’t really understand how longboarding would change things. I knew something was up and I went down to Sector 9 in 1997 to try acquire the distribution rights for Canada. While that never happened, I did wind up writing the book Concrete Wave – The History of Skateboarding and this eventually led to a TV series and a magazine. A catalyst is a person or thing that precipitates an event and when you look at the past 50 plus years of skateboarding, there are seven key catalysts. Of course, these are merely my choices and opinions. The purpose of this article is to give skaters a sense of history. As Bob Marley famously wrote (Buffalo Soldier), “if you know your history, then you would know where you’re coming from.” The 1st Catalyst – Makaha 1963You have to go all the way back to the early 1960’s to understand how skateboard catalysts work. Prior to Larry Stevenson creating the world’s professional skateboard, skaters had to settle for crappy metal-wheeled contraptions. Back in the 1950’s the Roller-Derby board sold for $5. This equates to about $44 today. Skateboards were thought of toys – and indeed they were.When Makaha came out with a larger deck and clay wheels, it launched a revolution. Pro surfers endorsed the brand, demos were plentiful and suddenly the baby boomers were in full swing. Larry Stevenson’s experience set the pace for the next 50 years in skateboarding. The boom was enormous. At the height, Makaha was receiving $50,000 a day in orders. As skateboarding grew in popularity, cities began to ban it, citing safety concerns. Clay wheels, while better than metal, were horrendous. By 1966 it all went bust and the industry collapsed. Things were to remain dormant for about 8 years. The 2nd Catalyst – Urethane Wheels – 1974 In 1974, the urethane wheel helped relaunch skateboarding’s 2nd boom. The reason was simple – the urethane wheels could grip much better than clay and metal. All Hail Frank Nasworthy!SkateBoarder was relaunched and became the bible of the sport and the images captured the imagination of a SECOND generation of skaters. This move from 1975 would have been impossible on clay wheels! By 1978, things had exploded. SkateBoarder published its biggest issue yet. At the height, there were and estimated 20 million skaters in the USA.However, by 1981, the popularity of skateboarding had dropped immensely.Some blame the closure of skateboard parks, and still others blame a glut of product. But if I were to lay the blame one single thing it would be that the industry and the skate media got too focused on one type of skater and skate environment. They failed to showcase an inclusive skate environment. The roots of skateboarding are flatland and downhill. It’s ditches and pools and any spot you scope out and start to ride. When the first skateboard parks were established, they contained some incredible terrain that duplicated what was out there. However, many skaters didn’t have access to the terrain they saw featured in the magazines. This focus on vert and mostly male skaters was to have a detrimental affect. Unfortunately this is something the industry finds itself doing. Myopia combined with tunnel vision makes things incredibly difficult from a business perspective. Tomorrow – the 3rd Catalyst.
Cory Fuhrmeister and Rocky Borgstorm have a revolutionary new concept on their hands that answers the prayers of street skateboarders plagued by not having access the proper skateparks or street spots. Their South Carolina based operation, Transformer Rails, has its eyes set on pushing skateboarders to higher levels of progression than ever before by manufacturing the world’s first transformable grind rail. Concrete Wave was generously given to chance to try out the 6 foot transformer rail and put all of the possible combinations to the test.
From the ground up, every angle of the eye-popping orange colored rail makes the mind race with thoughts of possibilities. The six foot long flat top is just wide enough to manual but still slender enough to board slide. On either edge, there are both square and round copings that can be hit frontside or backside from any direction. Plus, with several different adjustable heights, the ability for inclined grinds and slides is also there.
Then, with the twist of a screw, the magic happens. By rotating the rail 90 degrees either direction on a patented hinge, the copings can become a flat bar or a round rail, respectively. The large diameter of the round rail allows for easier lock ins while the flat bar is plenty wide enough to inspire confidence and allow for stable grinds.
The first thought that comes to mind when rolling up to the rail is comfort. No matter what trick you’re setting up for, the Transformer Rail can be maneuvered to accommodate for the smoothest ride possible. If you want to practice smith grinds on a square angle before moving to round rails, you got it. Or, if you want to level out your board slides on a wide bench before working your way up to the flat bar or round rail, you can conquer that too. Plus, the height adjustments allow you to build your pop from the ground up to a peak of 24 inches.
Never before has the street skater been granted such great adaptability with just one skate spot. The rail is portable enough to bring with you on a short skate and it can even fit in the average mid-sized sedan. (If you can position it in there properly) The trick ideas are endless and the path of progression seems to open up when first taking the Transformer Rail out for a session.
Next up for Transformer Rails, the Flip Rail and the Mini Transformer Rail are set to hit the streets this season. These more mellow options offer lower height settings and are designed to be more portable and appealing to skaters looking to learn their first grinds.
For more info about the versatility and freedom of Transformer Rails, please visit transformerrails.com and stay tuned for Concrete Wave’s street test, coming soon!
Menlo Skate Jam 2016 was an event to remember! There were gnarly pack runs, huge airs off tiny kickers, and lots of shredding all day long. The sunny Northern California hillside provided for fast runs and long slides.
Mellow turns made it easy to hit goofy and regular. The hill was littered with ramps and obstacles, a key feature of the Menlo Skate Jam. Some of the gnarlier dudes were hitting the ramps all day long. Jasper Ohlson landed a benihana off of a 4 foot kicker to flat.
Towards the end of the day Quentin Gachot and Jakob Santos were hitting the kicker gap for longest jump. They both wound up hitting 15 feet before they each called it quits.
Menlo Skate Jam was a killer time this year. The judges said it was one of the most organized freeride events they have ever been to. Make sure to be there next year as Menlo is sure not to disappoint.
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Black Diamond Sports
I am proud to publish this interview with Tracey Miller of RipTide Sports. Tracey has been working hard with her husband Brad to create a world-class company. We encourage all female skate entrepreneurs to get in touch with us. We’d love to interview you and find out what your vision is for your company. And we are very stoked to share your message with the skateworld. What are some of the work experiences that you’ve had that prepared you for the skate industry? None! Hahaha – When Brad had the idea for the product to improve longboarding with our son, I was asked to put together a website to launch the idea and see if there was any interest! That was my first attempt at a website too, so this was all new to me. Prior to RipTide I was in Interior Design and Sales for the Software Industry.What are some things about the skate industry that surprise you?How utterly wonderful it is for starters! Everyone is super chill to work with – it’s obvious they’re in the industry because they’re passionate about it. I love that on Facebook & Instagram etc., the pages of longboarders are all about longboarding! I mean seriously, it’s not the occasional post – it’s 90% of their posts! Also, the innovation that is going on is energizing & impressive. Whether it’s wheels, trucks, decks, bushings, pivots, spherical bushings – new designs are coming out often and they’re not just a variation on what’s come before, they’re truly bringing new ideas to the industry that will improve the ride & performance for everyone.There are now more female skaters (longboarding/vert etc) than at any time since the 1970’s. Do you feel there are more opportunities for growth?Oh continually…..mad respect to all the beautiful ladies out there! I think with all the Longboard Girls Crew type movements, associations & schools worldwide and with incredible spokespeople such as Valeria (Kechichian) spreading the word & stoke so well & strongly, that this is an area that will only continue to grow. Same with the youth market – getting families skating together, whether it’s the true littlies being able to turn in circles on a board in the garage while Dad works on his quiver, or families out for a long-distance push as a lifestyle sport – the market is growing and appreciating the new technology that is diverse enough to include the entire family! What do you think is needed to be done to encourage more females to own and operate skate companies?To let them know that anything is truly possible! Identify a need, or work for someone in the industry – whether it’s running a shop or putting your personal perspective to use by working for a manufacturer, the attention to detail and creativeness of the female personality is imperative to a healthy industry. Yes, there will always be some men out there that don’t like dealing with women…you’re going to find that anywhere, it’s just a pathetic fact of life that we as women need to deal with in a healthy & non-confrontational manner. I guess this used to bother me more when I was younger and then one day when I was in my early twenties, I just realized how dumb it was to get twisted over some stupid remark a guy made and it really hasn’t affected me since! I just laugh things off and move on to something more productive and positive in my day.Is your company actively recruiting more female riders?Absolutely! We believe in having a well-rounded Team – for us that includes youth, women & men. We’ve always had what I consider to be a very strong & representative group of women on our Team – Spoky Woky, Lyde Begue, Georginna Ivano, Nayhomi Cruz, Manu Stabile, Maga McWhinnie, Possala Wang – we do our best to represent & support female skaters worldwide and there’s a few young women riders that we’ve had our eye on for a while now who we hope to approach within the next year!Do you find the business of skate to be female friendly?Mostly! Not all of it, not by any means…..I think there’s a basic lack of respect for women in the industry, at the base level – whether it’s for those behind the counter, on top of a board or owning the whole company. That being said, I think you could translate this discussion to fit ANY sport (or business) today. As much as I don’t like to think this – it is still a man’s world out there…..for better or for worse. Women have made a dent in it – and improved it no end! But at the end of the day, macho still rules. Have I personally experienced this – yes! Has it affected me, no. Because the majority of my interactions have been, and are, truly wonderful and personal. I love this business, I love people, I love being a woman – if someone disrespects me, that’s cool, they can deal with Brad and I’ll take care of all my other incredible guy customers who treat me as if I’m a person no different than themselves.What are three to four things you think male skaters should know about female skate entrepreneurs?That we’re serious, smart, fun & funny, talented and have a drive to succeed that will dwarf that of most men.
We are partner with Black Diamond Sports Skate Jam.October 1st, 2016 – at Valparaiso Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025, United States More information on the the event FB page:
Editor’s Note: I first met Dave almost 20 years ago at an Action Sports Retailer Show. It was my first trade show and at the time I was writing my book “The Concrete Wave.” I was pretty nervous and knew no one except Larry Gordon of G&S. Dave was a key part of G&S in the 1970’s and it was wonderful to hear his stories. Dave was one of the most hospitable people and welcomed me into the industry. I am especially proud to share a little bit into Dave’s remarkable past with our readership. How did you wind up at G&S?I first met Larry and Floyd Smith in 1962 as surfers in Pacific Beach. I asked Larry for a job as a shaper in summer of 1965 during my college days but I didn’t have the eyes for lines in shaping boards so they chased me into the showroom to sell surfboards(no skateboards). After college graduation I spent 5 years in property management and last project was to finish a new apartment building by Crystal Pier. In August 1975 Larry asked me if I want to be sales and team manager for both skate and surf at $600.00 per month & a commission. He said that I could have 2-3 surfboards and free t-shirts so I said yes. I resigned in early 1980 to start a surf apparel brand, Pacific Styles which failed. Then Rich Novak (of NHS) at the August 1984 ASR in Long Beach asked if I would perform the same duties and success at NHS/Santa Cruz/Indy and I said yes (1984-1992). He tried to steal me first from G&S in about 1978. Should never have left NHS/What was your position there at G&S?Sales and team manager for both skate and surf, which expanded to product development and administrative chores so I was basically working 7 days a week and loving each day. Larry also opened the door to serve our Lord in 1974. G&S was a “Christ centered company” as noted on most ads. Tell us a few incredible stories about the FibreFlex?Larry’s dad and 2 uncles had the patient on Bo-Tuf for the archery industry and first made G&S Fibreflex decks in early 60’s with ads featuring Mike Endless Summer Hynson and Skip Frye and others. We are doing the annual ski show in Vegas in 1978 and on the 2nd day told buyers we had to ration decks since production was at maximum output in Vista-north of San Diego & only made by Gordon Plastics. Fibreflex decks were unique and world famous due to their flex, snap, memory and strength. I also had to turn down other riders as it didn’t make sense to add a new FF model when we are basically sold out. That is the reason I had to turn down Stacy as a paid rider by royalty till a found a local carpentry shop that could make the famous Warptail 1 & 2 was created selling 110,000 decks. Deck royalties were $0.50 each or $55,000.00. I believe Larry Gordon was 1st to offer a fixed royalty on pro branded decks and wheels. G&S was also the first skate and surf brand to display at the largest sporting goods show in Munich Germany in Feb of 1977. What was it like at the height of G&S in the 1970’s?The height of G&S skate products was in 1978 when the Euro market exploded and Stacy and YoYo Man and I did promo tours in 1978-79. Unfortunately this market collapsed by April 1979, but the Japanese market took over as the major international market but it collapsed in early 1980. G&S was the first pro skate and surf brand to tour in Japan for 3 weeks in August of 1978. It was their summer so the temp and humanity was overwhelming doing demos out doors. Doug “Pineapple” Saladino got scolded by a press guy for taking his team shirt off.You are in the iconic photo (by Warren Bolster) of Stacy Peralta at the desert pipes. What was that day like?Yes that is me at the bottom left standing with yellow shirt, blue pants and G&S camera. Bolster called me about flying over to Phoenix on Sunday with 2-3 G&S riders to first be filmed riding those famous 25’ diameter pipes till the contractor stood them on end as they became world famous once Warren’s pics for SkateBoarder mag got on the newsstands. It was exciting as Stacy mastered riding them within 10 minutes along with Steve Sherman (long blond hair). I can’t remember if another G&S rider was on this first world famous trip. May be Steve YoYo Cathey?Tell us about some of the key things in your collection that you are selling.Warren Bolster book autographed to FibreFats Book cover of the book enlarged, scanned and mounted on foam board 23 x 30” Signed by 11+ G&S 70’s team riders.Porsche Design sk8 truck plans 1979. 3 designs-13 pages. Have an envelope from Porsche Design in Austria to the G&S German distributor and note in German.Interested parties should email me at email@example.com.
With the International Downhill Federation (IDF) having its blockbuster world cups like Kozakov in July the usual time for freerides and open road sessions is August. Team AOB’s (Ry Swanton, Bodhi Keen, Aaron Skippings Ben Stainer along with myself ) plan included Insul World cup, Giaosteka Freeride and Bela Joyride leaving as much free time as possible to skate the Alps. We set off from the UK for the second time this summer on August the 9th and proceeded to drive onto Insul World cup via Cologne.
Cologne proved to be especially beautiful with a historic cathedral and river. For AOB Cologne is our birthplace. Our boards are 100 percent made from veneer to finished product by the On the Grind crew for skaters in a workshop in downtown Cologne. The On the Grind crew are a bunch of hardworking skaters making top of the line boards for a few brands supported by Fun4u. We spent a day exploring the city centre on our Dancers and then helped out in the Workshop. Its pretty awesome to race someone at Insul on the weekend and then see them laying up a board in the factory on Monday.
Although some of the World cup races in Europe have been plagued by rain Insul ,nestled in North Western Germany, happened to be blessed with eternal sunshine. The track looked like a simple 5 hairpins and one 90 degree right but turned out to include 3 kinks. The advantage of Kinked corners is that everyone can choose their strongest breaking method but this in turn makes racing interesting and hectic. With the rise of Swiss foot breaking Insul made for an interesting race. Notably Pete Connolly (of the UK crew) ended up taking 7th place in the Open’s and winning the masters yet again. Pete looks like he could end up winning the Masters world tour and being crowned Champion and we are all excited to see him make it. Insul as a skate festival has a super relaxed vibe.
Berry Plasman and Olivier Gires from the IDF were absolutely on form and made sure the race ran smoothly while Stephan Kolpatzik oversaw the whole show. An impromptu football game was organized by a group of keen German skaters (who happened to be both skilled and armed with football boots and shin pads) and we all left with more scars from football than skating. Free food came with event entry; a Dinner and 2 breakfasts were included which made sure unprepared skaters managed to stay alive. Quin Boards (a core German brand also from Cologne) built a mini-ramp for the event with a whole load of comfy barrel seating for a super strong Lurk game. It turns out that when they are not designing top quality boards they spend their time making lurk equipment from board benches to the Quin table and chair set.
After Insul we then continued along on our skate adventure down to Switzerland. We had a few days free so we decided to head to a few of the classic swiss descents. There are only a few roads in Switzerland you can skate without trouble from the police and the locals who want only to protect the few spots that are still not blown. Skating is thus limited to a handful of quiet spots which the locals are happy to share.
The Entire Swiss scene meets for Giaosteka Freeride just outside of San Bernadino. Organized by a small professional crew and with camping beside a beautiful lake Giaosteka proved to be a laid back 4 days riding with friends. The course was relaxed which enabled us to ride in tight packs on our Fussion’s. The Wheel of choice for all of us was the 78a Mommentum. With just enough grip to keep up with any wheel the team spent the long weekend charging down the hill and playing drafting games on the straight. With the event starting at 1pm every day mornings were relaxed featuring games of Tennis and Mini Golf. Unfortunately Tom and Bodhi managed to end up getting injured on the penultimate run at Giaosteka. They were forced to stop by another crash in front and tumbled leaving them both with a load of road rash making the drive to Bela Joyride pretty uncomfortable.
Once we had left Giaosteka Freeride we drove north to one of Switzerlands best spots hidden amongst Boulders and Dairy Cows. Endless Freeride runs were taken on the Slide Perfect Supremacy with all three editions in use on different setup’s. We camped at the top by a small lake which Ben quickly swam in and found it to be around 12 degrees. Switzerland in general was stunningly beautiful and would be a downhill skate paradise if it were not for the police issues.
We set off from Switzerland on Tuesday beginning a long drive to the Austrian-Slovenian Border for Bela Joyride once again run by Bigmountain skate. Setup down a 10 minute long run from the border the track featured 18 corners and steep gradients. The bottom section consisted of endless hairpins you can rally around on freeride wheels while the top section had 4 interesting corners including a chicace you could go through at around 70kph.
A huge UK crew joined us there as well as friends from as far as New Zealand and Australia. Pack runs were plenty with as many as 8 runs a day efficiently achieved by Big Mountain Skate. Bodhi got out his luge and filmed for a whole day as the team just had fun. With Aaron’s ongoing knee injury from Kozakov World Cup he was limited to a little bit of skating and then a heavy icepack session. The Fussion was a perfect match for Bela Joyride and the team excelled on their boards. With locked in concave and a little drop the board made easy work of the kinks and challenging pavement Bela Joyride presented us. Evenings at Bela Featured Mini Ramp sessions and (as usual) Someone’s homemade local schnapps which proved to be blindingly strong. After a short war between Team AOB and the Dutch GUCCISQUAD we set off for Innsbruck in Western Austria to stay with Quirin Illmer.
Quirin Illmer (or Qui to his friends) is the 2015 IDF European Champion. His style features a mix of perfect technical ability and clever race decisions which have always made him one of the most heavy hitting European Skaters. After Bela Joyride Qui offered to have us stay and explore the roads around him. One of the first roads we hit was a Glacier access road which turned out to feature 25 minute long runs and have 29 corners. Straights featured speeds close to 100 KPH and on our first full descent we were all pretty shaken but excited about the run. Personally I don’t think I have skated a road as enjoyable as that. With such crazy corners and views from 3000 metres up I look forward to returning in the future. After a few full runs of what was a dream hill bad weather rolled onto the mountain and we were forced to drive onwards to an Alpine Coaster.
Alpine Coasters are gravity powered rollercoasters which have starred in many viral videos in the last few years. We were all desperate to try one and decided to go to the biggest in Austria. With Go-Pro’s attached to our helmets we flew down the track in a pack bumping each other down the mountain.
Although we were only allowed one run I would encourage anyone doing a Eurotour to check out an Alpine Coaster as the thrill is pretty close to skating downhill on a longboard. Thanks to Qui for showing us around his local downhill paradise for a few days and putting us up in Hotel Illmer.
With a short amount of time left we set off on our long drive back to Calais with a stop on the way to rest for a night. By this point in the trip we were all pretty sleep deprived and looked forward to resting in our own beds at last. However with a National UK race planned for the weekend by Brianne Collective we would only get 3 days away from each other before we were re-united to race.
Special thanks to AOB Longboards.