This year went by fast. Incredibly fast. It seems inconceivable that I was preparing to meet up with folks at our annual bbq at the Agenda Trade Show 12 months ago. Next week, Agenda 2017 in Long Beach hits once again. It’s always a very special event. The annual gathering brings a variety of people together but this year we have a truly remarkable guest of honor. Our guest does not own a big skate brand. He also doesn’t place in the top 10 of various skate events. Rather, he is leaving a mark on skateboarding that is unique and jaw-dropping Our guest is Chris Koch and he is one of the most incredible skaters I’ve ever had the privilege to know. We featured his story in our September issue. You can learn more about his skating in marathons in the video below:Chris is a motivational speaker and you find out more about him here. I am so delighted Chris will be joining us for the BBQ. As we roll into 2017, take the time to ride and enjoy the freedom that skateboarding offers.
We are going to be taking a short break as the entire Concrete Wave crew takes some time to enjoy the holidays. Best wishes to all our readers, advertisers and friends. We’ll still be posting on Facebook…but take the time to take the time!Greg Weaver at the Concrete Wave Skatepark circa 1976. Photo: Warren Bolster
Of all the programs that Longboarding for Peace has been a part of, none gets the attention like the annual “Gun Buy Back.” Yesterday someone posted a comment on our Instagram account if “this was a real thing.” I am here to tell you Howweroll_wpg indeed it is!Depending on what side of the political fence you find yourself on, you either want more guns with less restriction or less guns and more restriction. This is not what our program is about. It is about getting guns out of people’s homes who don’t want them and replacing the firearm with a skateboard. It is 100% voluntary. I have also found that the gun buy back is also a great way to start a discussion about a number of touchy subjects!From rifles to .357 magnums, you would be amazed at what people have stored in their homes! This extraordinary idea was created by Neil Carver of Carver Skateboards. It was Neil that came up with the concept back in 2013. It was his response to the tragedy of Sandy Hook where Adam Lanza stormed into an elementary school and killed 28 people. Twenty of them were between 6 and 7 years old. Speaking of Sandy Hook, December 14, marked the 4th anniversary. What is astonishing to me is that there are conspiracy theories on the web that say it was a hoax. You can read about one father’s fight to take on the hoaxers here: Over 250 guns were traded in. From this unspeakable act, Neil felt compelled to do something. Working with the police department in San Pedro, California, he was able to co-ordinate a gun buy back that offered all a chance to trade in their gun for a Carver Skateboard. Over the past two years, we have conducted 4 gun buy backs. Working with Dennis Martinez (a former pro skater and current prison pastor) along with Harvey Hawks (another former pro) the program has grown to be permanent fixture each December in San Diego. I want to pause for a moment and mention the fact that Harvey Hawks might not be familiar to all readers. His is an incredible story of redemption. Harvey actually wound up going to prison for 26 years for 2nd degree murder in a road rage incident back in 1987. He thought he was firing a warning shot at a van that was trying to ram him off the road. The sad truth is that the gun had actual bullets and they pierced the metal and fatally wounded an off-duty police officer. Harvey turned his life around in prison and I find it absolutely amazing that he such a huge part of this program. San Diego’s Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman The gun buy back would not work without the tremendous support of skate companies. These include, Carver, Bustin, Loaded, Randal, Dusters, Hashtag and in previous years, Landyachtz and Rainskates. Thank you on behalf of Longboarding for Peace If you are multi-millionaire philanthropist or a skate company with a whole bunch of product you’d like to donate, email me. Exchanging guns for skateboards is not a crime.
Like many of you, I am staring down 2017 with a mix of trepidation and excitement. I dread to see another world war but at the same time, I am excited for the future. This upcoming year is going to be filled with an enormous amount of great things in skateboarding…I can feel it. You want proof? Ok, Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage the SAME DAY Trump is sworn in! Without sounding too cliche, I have admit, change is difficult, but it’s worth embracing. Recently, my family and I changed our lifestyle. Nothing too radical but definitely different. We downsized from quite a large house to an apartment. On the plus side, no more worry about squirrels eating parts of my windowsill and no more driveway to shovel. At the same time, when you downsize, space becomes a premium. There wasn’t room for the boxes of magazines I had published over the years. My extensive skate quiver was also going to be a challenge to fit into our new place. I spent most of November giving away most of what I had collected, bought, produced and/or hoarded in the past four decades. The joy of downsizing was matched only by the pain I thought I was going to experience through eliminating 90% of my stuff. It’s hard to say good bye to something you have truly given your heart and soul to. But, as Yogi Berra famously said: “nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.” Curiously enough, as I was going through my journey of minimizing, I spotted a documentary on this very subject on Netflix. Here’s the trailer: Minimalism is now playing on Netflix.The film resonated with me on a profound level. Minimalism isn’t about giving up stuff. It’s about embracing the things that really count. You don’t give up technology or clothing…you simply have less things. The old saying “less is more” is at the heart of a minimalist philosophy. At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, “what the hell does this have to do with skateboarding?” Well, it turns out that one of the key people featured in the documentary is a skater. Ryan Nicodemus owns a Santa Cruz complete. His partner in the minimalist adventure is Joshua Fields Milburn. I am not sure if he skates, but his story is just as compelling as Ryan’s. I was so taken with the film that I wrote to the Minimalists (as they are known by). I explained that I ran a skate magazine and that I was intrigued to know more about Ryan’s skate background. Pushing around Montana, Ryan’s hometown. The publicist got back to me pretty damn quickly and I had an opportunity to ask Ryan some questions. You’ll have to wait until our March issue to read them. Meanwhile, I encourage you to open up to the ideas of minimalism. You might be very surprised at what it can do for you. Ryan only owns ONE longboard…but it does the job! Learn more about a less is more lifestyle here.
Welcome to the on-line edition of a popular column we brought out earlier this year. If you would like to help break the stereotypes that many people have about skateboarders, please submit story along with a photo or two. No jacket required.
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Coordinator
Integrated Cadastral Information Society
After completing a Geography Degree from the University of Victoria I went on to completing an Advanced Diploma in GIS. I have been working in the GIS Industry for over 15 years. I have worked for both Provincial Ministries and for a variety of consultant companies. I am currently working with a non-profit society the exchanges geospatial data between local & provincial governments, utility companies and First Nations in BC. I am an avid skater, father of two and an ambassador for Longboarder Labs in Victoria. I am also the organizer for the Victoria Greenskate Longboard Cruise.
Do you recall your first skateboards as a kid?
My first longboard was a “Reject” board from PD’s Hotshop back when It was located on Oak St. in Vancouver. I was in grade 3. My parents used to take us into PD’s to buy skateboard gear. I still remember the 99 cents paper hats with the shop logo on them. Skullskates is an institution.
How did you get into Longboarding?
I grew up in the 80’s and was fully immersed in street skating. In White Rock where I grew up skateboarding was a huge scene. I guess I never loss the stoke. While attending the University of Victoria in the 90’s I picked up my first longboard. It was an old Powell Peralta deck with a hula girl on the bottom. It was basically just a big skateboard, but it acted as my “gateway” longboard. Since then I have been collecting boards. I think my quiver is up to around 15 right now.
What are some of the comments you’ve received over the years?
With my work I have the opportunity to travel to both large urban centers and smaller rural municipalities. If possible I will always bring a longboard with me. It’s such a great way to explore a new town. Colleagues are often surprised when I tell them that I was out exploring their town via longboard.
I also do a lot of online training webinars and site visits and I have a screen saver of my son and I longboarding and it always gets a few remarks.
When checking in to hotels in Vancouver it’s always funny to see the reaction of hotel staff when I check in wearing business attire and a few minutes later I leave to go longboarding.
I often get comments from colleagues that they used to skateboard growing up. I have actually got a few of them into longboarding after taking a 20-30 year hiatus from standing on a board.
It looks like your kids is are also into skateboarding.
Yes, I encourage both my kids to get out on my longboards. We have such a great variety of longboards we are always switching trucks and wheels around and dialing in set ups. We live less than a kilometer away from their school so they often longboard to school. As well a lot of the neighborhood kids come by and use the longboards. It make for a super fun and sometimes terrifying session.