Behold, Dan’s latest masterpiece.
Source: CW from MyStyle
Source: CW from MyStyle
As you may recall, we ran a piece on our website earlier this year featuring the crew over at American Ramp Co. and their latest project to hit the skateparks of the world: the “Pro Ops.” signature ramp series. This collection of ramps, rails and boxes appear noticeably different from any of their other prefabricated park obstacles and were designed in part by an illustrious team of pro skaters. The series of ramps notably includes a colorful spine ramp with a parking block sitting atop bearing Willy Santos’ name, a Y-shaped round rail bearing Shaun Hover’s name and a wavy recliner shaped quarter pipe bearing Jud Heald’s name among others.
Granted, American Ramp Co. has received their fair share of hate for their prefabricated parks on the grounds of durability issues over the years. However, for their efforts to create something innovate and different for people to skate, I commend them. To those familiar with my neck of the woods, the North Jersey skateboarding scene has been grateful to see new parks opening in up in towns like Maplewood, Fanwood and Roselle in recent years. However, these three parks are nearly nothing more than carbon copies of each other. With same-sized ledges, euro gaps and quarter pipes, I found myself indifferent to the announcements of these parks because of how repetitive all of their designs were. Thus, when I heard that a couple of the Pro Ops pieces were headed to a newly constructed park in West Orange, NJ I was immediately intrigued by the allure of being able to skate something different for a change. With this in mind, I was happy to see the variety of tricks being thrown down in my visit to the grand opening of the park, thanks to American Ramp Co.
At the park, Dan MacFarlane’s signature “Snap!” ramp is the first feature that skaters were struck by when they entered. With several different levels to skate, the ramp provided a stage for kick turns, 180s and frontside no complys for skaters looking to flow back into the park. In doing so, many went on to hit Sierra Fellers’ signature “Crete Planter” ledge. This piece challenged skaters to pop out of their boardslides and ollie over the ends of it to grind the inside angles of the ledge. In the background, Joe Moore’s striped “Kick Tail” box led some skaters to grind up the angle and back down again while others hopped onto the box from the low end and launched off the other side.
Seeing the level of stoke that these new obstacles brought to the grand opening, I reached out to Fellers, Moore and MacFarlane to get their take on seeing their ramps go from ideas in the warehouse to physical creations being skated:
First off, Sierra Fellers described the feeling of having a ramp with his name on it by saying “It’s so awesome to have a signature obstacle. The idea didn’t start in my own head though. ARC came to me with a few different options to choose from and I got to help adjust and modify the ones I chose. As a skateboarder, being a part of creating something you’re gonna be skating and seeing the changes made to make a dream spot is a dream come true.” To truly make this dream scenario complete though, Fellers told us “I’d be hyped to see a board slide around the whole thing!”
Next up, Joe Moore, summed up his satisfaction by stating “Having a signature obstacle based on a style of skating I’m known for and being one of the first people to be part of a skatepark project like this is truly an honour. To see them now being put into public skateparks around the world is so cool and quite funny as well; my name on skate ramp, somewhere in the world I’ve never been. Each of my obstacles in each skatepark will have its own story and each one will be experienced differently by many skaters. It’s interesting to think how they will adapt their trick selection, lines and how their creativity may evolve from skating these unique skatepark pieces.” When asked what sort of a dream trick he would like to see go down on “The KickTail” Moore replied, “I would like to see an ollie over the back of the obstacle to bluntslide down the bank to fakie manual the rest of the manny pad.
Finally, in Dan MacFarlane’s mind, “It is a great feeling anytime you have an idea that you haven’t seen done before, and for it to come to fruition in physical world. Nathan Bemo, the owner of ARC, and I developed the Pro Ops line together in February 2017. Our minds and our lifetime of skateboarding experience combined and it was an amazing experience. Later, the other pros were signed on then assigned obstacles based on their unique skills. We were all flown out to the ARC headquarters in April and skated the prototypes then gave feedback so they could be fine tuned. The final products look amazing and I’m glad to see both beginner and advanced skateboarders enjoying them at skateparks.” As far as what tricks he would dream of seeing go down he told us “I wouldn’t say there is one dream trick: my dream is to see every part of them skated really well, and for many people to invent new tricks and combos on them. I’ve already seen so many NBD’s done on the Pro Ops during our prototype session in April and I just want to see that continue. If you’re reading this and invent any new tricks or combos on the Pro Ops, tag us with #ProOps and our names.
Skateboarding and socks. Ever since Stance hit, it’s been a skate sock world.
So, here are two stories on skateboarding and socks.
Pride Socks, an apparel brand empowering individuals to take pride in who they are, has teamed up with the youngest pro skateboarder, Sky Brown, to release a limited edition sock. Part of the proceeds of the sock go to help kids in Cambodia. We had a chance to interview Sky and find out what the deal was.
Sky – what originally brought you to Cambodia?
It’s a big dream of mine to use my skateboarding to help children in poor or tough places. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world. So the chance to go there and to play, and skate with the kids over there was really special.
What does skateboarding mean to you?
My Skateboard has always been a way for me to express myself I like singing but I’m not very good but skateboarding is a dance for me also it’s is my favorite Toy, I love it. I think people sometimes forget this is one of the funnest toys in the world. And it’s taught me a lot. I can be anywhere and have a good time if I have my Skateboard, that’s why I think it’s really awesome to let young people try this.
The video is very sweet…what are some of your favorite memories of creating it?
Playing in the Sock factory, we had too much fun. The whole journey has been super special and super real, it feels like we can do something amazing. Playing and hanging out with Rachel was super awesome especially because we have a mission. A mission to save the world.
What do you say to people (especially kids) who feel they can’t make a difference?
You can always make a difference, and any difference however small you think it is, is worth it because lots of smalls make something big.
What has been the best part of working with Pride Socks?
Pride socks is just a small company but Rachel the CEO has put so much into this it’s amazing and selfless. I couldn’t be more proud than to call Rachel my friend. She’s my best friend.
SOCK STORY PART #2
MERGE4 is pleased to announce the addition of Spidey De Montrond to its growing stable of artist-athlete collaborators.
Rick De Montrond – better know as “Spidey” – started out as a sponsored amateur skateboarder and turned pro at The Capitola Street Style contest in 1985. He’s been a contributing writer for Thrasher Magazine and Freestylin BMX; Spidey studied music formally; while he was in college he was signed to Capitol Records to a record deal as a singer/songwriter.
Spidey has always been fashion-forward – leaning toward eccentric preferences in everything he does from head to toe: “I am a sucker for a good looking sock. I LOVE SOCKS!!”
MERGE4 founder Cindi Ferreira Busenhart loves that Spidey loves socks: “Spidey cares about the planet and wanted something that was a soft eco yarn. Luckily we were already developing the Bamboo Blend which is 80% mechanical bamboo.”
As you can see, there is another skater who helped me develop this blog post. This skater has spent over 30 years in the skate business and has worked with a number of brands, including Powell Peralta, Sector 9 and World Industries. But before he made skateboarding part of his business life, he first made skateboarding part of his life. His name is Kevin Harris.
THE STATISTIC THAT FEELS TRUE
In the Winter of 2016, I fell in love with parking blocks in the depths of an unassuming New Jersey parking garage. Rows and rows of them. Always in pursuit of the best low impact skateboarding I can find, I would spend nearly every night from January through April realizing how much potential these mini concrete flatbars had packed in them. As skateboarders, curbs and parking blocks are up there among the most appealing found pieces of architecture to mash our trucks into and slide our decks across. From those seemingly perfectly polished California red curbs to the crustier east coast hexagons that chip away to exposed rebar, few skaters can say they have gone without hitting a parking block one time or another.
In the midst of this developing love affair, I came across the work of Cory Scroggins, (aka @CoryTheCreative on Instagram) and found another skater out there who seemed to share this affinity for the blocks. In his work, Scroggins has painted blocks of all shapes, sizes and colors, to compose his neon and pastel-heavy aesthetic. Whether busting out his favorites, either lipslides or front/back blunt slides, or having a casual session, Scroggins told us, “to me the parking block is one of the more fun things to skate, especially with your mates. With a fresh waxed block and sesh with your friends, there’s nothing better haha.”
Beyond the blocks though, Scroggins’ art catches the eye through the variety of non-conventional mediums he uses. Random slabs of wood, broken boards, cassette cases and beer cans are all subject to be taken by Scroggins’ brush and reimagined in a colorful second life. Speaking on his choice of canvas, Scroggins says, “I honestly enjoy painting on all different types of objects and items. No real preference as long as it’s not something brand new. There’s just something to an old item or object that tells a story all in itself before I even paint on it.” For example, if you see some of his work on that pint bottle that would have otherwise been trashed, you might see that it’s actually an IPA from that local brewery up the street from his studio called Upland Brewing Co.
As for the other bottles and scraps that Scroggins salvages, you might find them at a pop up art show, of which he has had plenty. When asked about the process and intent behind his shows, he told us, “When I had my first couple of shows years and years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. Some folks where taken back by my style while other loved what I was doing. When I have these shows I try to have a theme or a message I want to say, instead of just making all about me or my name. In the end I just want to inspire others to be creative and to be comfortable as the kooks they are.”
As for some of these other kooks Scroggins has worked with, his work was notably shown at the Quiet Life’s “The Art of Table Tennis” show alongside the likes of Chris Pastras, Henry Jones and one of his best friends, Lucas Beaufort.
The ping pong paddles he designed helped benefit Long Beach’s homeless community. With impactful goals in mind for shows like this one, it is important for Scroggins to dive right into the creative process when an idea arrives. This way, he can avoid, ideas “sitting in your mind floating around [and] not being put to use. Wasting away. When I get an idea that I’m really excited about, I try to draw it right away so I don’t forget it” he asserts.
Not only is Scroggins dedicated to keeping his ideas from going to waste, he is committed to fostering environments where up and coming creatives can let their ideas out as well. To speak more about his vision, he announced, “I’m working a project to give back to skateboarding and the youth. I’m currently planning out 10 stops at skate shops to have shows and bring art supplies and skateboards to create unique experiences and donate all proceeds back directly to each shop I stop at, in hopes to build up creativity and spark positive change. While this announcement leaves us to question whether or not his tour will breed the next generation of parking block painters, there is one thing for certain: with the eclectic collection of work that Cory Scroggins has produced thus far, those participating will have all the inspiration they need to emulate both his creativity and his humanitarian endeavors.
To follow the upcoming events, drop Cory a follow on Instagram here.
First up, apologies to anyone who read my first post on Instagram yesterday. As my good friend Sean said, “it’s not fully cooked.” Actually, Sean didn’t really say that, but it was the basic idea.
There are so many things changing with Concrete Wave. A new team is coming in. You don’t know most of them but each of them are doing a tremendous job. As we roll things out, you’ll learn more about them with each passing issue.
And speaking of issues, the next issue is almost at press. It’s VERY different than what you have seen before. Visually, you’ll be in for a shock. But have no fear. We are bringing the magazine out at three key events: Shred Expo, Agenda and ISPO. We want to make take notice of what’s cooking here.
Now it’s time for an explanation, confession and apology….and not necessarily in that order.
A confession: A few days ago, our Instagram page turned into a sh*tshow. A Thrasher logo turned into the word POSER placed with an image of a core downhill rider started the ball rolling. Comments quickly turned ugly from one particular individual. This led to outrage…and more outrage and then, well…barf.
From my perspective what started out as fairly odd quickly turned into a cesspool. The comments definitely rubbed some people the wrong way. It was so out of line for Concrete Wave….which I think what made it so viral, awkward and irritating/amusing…and not necessarily in that order!
You start out with this….
And then in 18 years… this!
And then in your 40’s….THIS!
Concrete Wave has always stood for inclusion. Some Instagram comments were truly the antithesis of this philosophy. And skaters got riled up. And so they should have.
The truth is that Concrete Wave doesn’t care what your riding as long as you’re riding. And the kinds of people associated with Concrete Wave feel the same way. Sometimes these people have very different ways of spreading their ideas.
Skateboarding contains a spectrum of behaviours and beliefs. Concrete Wave works with convicts, ex cons,, former heroin addicts, alcoholics and former alcoholics. Vert, freestyle, street, slalom…pools, freeriding, skateparks, downhill…commuter…it’s a community.
The fact is that Concrete Wave offers a very unique perspective within skateboarding. I sincerely believe we need the full spectrum of skateboarding to make it work. Our apologies to those who were angered and/or confused.
If you questioned Concrete Wave and the posts, you did the right thing. Moving forward, we will aim to move things forward!
Those familiar with the name Lucas Beaufort may remember the piece we ran on his wildly popular artwork earlier this year. Behind the colorful characters he paints on top of magazine covers, ads and other skate photos, Beaufort told CW, “My goal is to bring something special to the world. I don’t want to come out with something that you see everyday.”
In the time since that last piece ran, Beaufort has again caught the attention of the skateboarding world in different way: his documentary on the legacy and future of print media, “Devoted.” In the hour long feature, some of skateboarding’s top professionals, photographers, writers and videographers chronicle their feelings on a variety of different issues currently facing print media today.
Speaking about the how’s and why’s of this project in an interview with Jenkem, Beaufort mentioned that his intent is “more about showing the new generation how important print was before the internet era. But I think it would be interesting to know what they think about the documentary.” With that being said, I logged into Gmail and shot Beaufort an message to venture some questions and share some thoughts I had on “Devoted” based on my “internet era” mindset.
To explain a bit further, I should express the predicament I find myself in regarding the subject. I became immersed the skateboard world well after the explosion of digital media, HD video and internet-based content, yet I write for a print magazine. I very often interact with people who lived through an all-print era and continue to fight to prove the value of print today. I look up to those who pushed skateboarding through the work of printed publications and I’m every bit intrigued by the stories of yesteryear, where the industry’s greatest surprises and announcements warranted sanctity in the pages of a monthly magazine. These are moments that Beaufort recalls by stating “back in the days you could (before Internet) you could surprise people with projects, now it’s almost impossible. You always have somebody to spoil it through Instagram.”
At the same time though, I wake up every morning scrolling through an Instagram feed to see how many dream tricks have come to life over the past couple hours.
This is something that Beaufort dually expressed support of by saying “Social media is also a super good tool to promote whatever you want and if you don’t have the big media to support you.”
However, as I find myself writing for this print publication’s digital website, I remind myself that embracing my overall position of neutrality is probably the best way to continue being able to relate to both sides of the coin. Featuring people dealing with similar iterations of this juxtaposition is, by far, the defining element that makes “Devoted” as special as it is.
In regards to the divisions between print and digital, Beaufort himself told me, “To be honest with you I like both. I like to dream with a print photo in my hands as I like to connect super fast with people around the world through social media.” On one hand, he is supported in the documentary by the likes of Steve Berra and Jaime Owens, who support the potential of print magazines, if executed in a sustainable way. On the other hand, his dreams are perhaps more passionately supported by the likes of Skin Phillips stammering with “I don’t know’s” and Marc Johnson nearly in tears over the possibility of a future without print media.
Former editor of Transworld Skateboarding and the Skateboard Mag – Dave Swift
These are critical firsthand accounts of the future of skateboarding’s media landscape as volunteered by some of the foremost players involved. In the end though, the ultimate question of “Where do we go now?” is left to interpretation and subject to the progression of whatever the future may hold. Speaking on this, Beaufort told me “With Devoted I’m not here to tell skateboard magazines who they have to talk with or how do they have to run it. Being that there is a crucial element of the right mixture of people needed to blend together though, Beaufort continued “It’s a team effort. Print has to do the best to get more readers, it sounds cheezy but it’s true. It’s the same with everything, if you want to survive you have to be extremly good, especially today.”
Pro Marc Johnson is devoted to skate mags.
With that being said, I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who wonders where those magazines that used to come to their door have gone to take a look at Lucas Beaufort’s “Devoted” for a comprehensive look into where they came from, where they have gone and when they’ll be delivered next.
Check out “Devoted” in it’s entirety here.
Calleigh Little is doing something quite incredible in the world of skateboarding. She is going across the USA via longboard solo. We caught up with her in Wyoming. Before we get into the interview, here are some of Calleigh’s impressive contest results:
Adrenalina 2016 – 2nd Place Women’s
215 miles – Miami Ultraskate 2017 (Second Place Women’s)
188 miles – Chief Ladiga Sk8 Challenge (Second Place Women’s)
Central Mass Skate Festival 8 – Women’s First Place
Somewhere in Nebraska
Why do you find long distance and downhill skateboarding so enjoyable?
It’s not so much that I find long distance or downhill enjoyable- I truly feel like both disciplines ask things of me I dont normally do. They enable me to extend myself in ways I never would in any other part of life. Long distance requires a mental focus, extensive planning, and full body commitment. I find that when I am in a situation where my entire being is used, I have an opportunity to see how far I can take it. And then I take it further.
Downhill, on the other hand, is a streamline of panic, fear, focus, and commitment. I absolutely adore the moments where I have no idea whats coming up after a turn. How will I react? Do I fully tuck or do I have to prepare for a predrift? When I’m going fast, no other questions matter. I dont worry about student loan bills. Who cares what that guy said to me last night? All that matters is that I make it down safely. I love that.
What made you decide to go solo across the USA?
When I first came out as a transgender woman, the world hadn’t even begun to bring it into the mainstream news. I didn’t have all kinds of acceptance, and I certainly didn’t have the friends I do now. That was 3 years ago. The world wants to make it seem like it’s being shoved down their throats, but its just a new thing the media is okay with talking about.
Now, three years later, I didn’t want to run away from anything. I had friends all over the globe from competing. I wanted to do it solo for me. I came to a point where I wasnt learning anything anymore from the people I interacted with. I knew there had to be more to learn. If I did it with someone else, the experience could have been about our experience together, and not my experience with the world.
Where do you think your competitive spirit comes from?
After a long life of being beaten down and coming up short, I found that my competitive edge was a product of me wanting to rise above. People tend to think that I have always been on top- its simply not the case. I experienced enough life to a point where I had to fight back, I had to be myself, and I had to win. I have been so sick and tired of sitting in the back of the class. I trained and fought and trained a bit more. And when I sat down at the end of the day, I thought about training again.
What has been your best experience so far within skateboarding?
I think the best experience within skateboarding has been the vast amount of friends I made. Every event I attend has people I look forward to meeting, whether it is downhill or long distance. I learned of a world where people encouraged me and pushed me, and made me work for everything I had.
If I had to narrow it down to just one experience, my absolute favorite was winning the Central Mass 8 women’s division. It was a race I attended for years, and I picked up everything I could to figure out how to win it. It was neck and neck all the way to the end and a true photo finish. My friends dumped champagne on me at the podium and for once in my skate life I had earned my title.
What has been the worst experience and how did you deal with it?
Worst experience…they are few and far between. The world is a good place. The absolute worst, though, was when I had just kicked off for the 24 hour Ultraskate in 2017. My biggest competitor had turned around and said, “If you’re going to race as a woman, you need to pee like a woman.” I could have taken it a million ways. I could have dwelled on it for 24 consecutive hours of skating around in a circle. I could have quit. Instead, I appeased the proposal- given that I only urinated once in 24 hours anyways, I retired to the bathroom and peed. The guys usually just drop their shorts and pee as they skate. I did go on to lose to her by only 10 miles that year, but it burned a fire in me to fight harder.
You mentioned at the Longboard Girls Crew website you are lost between jobs and are questioning the meaning of everything. The fact that some stole your intellectual property must have been devastating. Is this trip helping you deal with that loss?
It totally hurt that the company I was working for used me for my creative work, forced me out, and then didn’t pay me. Legally I have all of the rights to everything I created as an independent contractor without a signed contract. I didnt have the means to hire a lawyer. I was flat broke. I began selling my collection of boards and gear to make end’s meat and often went days without eating. It hurt a lot.
I learned, once again, to fight back. Even if I did sue for my rightful property it could have been years of litigation. I wasnt going to see a dime that could have helped me at that moment. I looked for a new career for two months, struggling along, doing 2 or 3 interviews a day and ended up with a job at a burger place. I knew I was worth more than a job at a burger place, so I formulated my plans to follow my dreams. I could only struggle for so long. I sold my motorcycle, stopped paying rent, threw away everything I couldn’t sell, and fit my life in a backpack. With the help of my friends, the companies who support me, and the money I earned from selling my belongings, my dream didnt seem so far off. So I made it happen. No longer was I going to slave away at a job I hated putting money in someone else’s pocket. I realized this life is mine and it is what I make it.
What do you plan to do once this feat is accomplished?
Honestly, I have no idea. I’d love to expand on my blogs and sell them as a book. I’d also love to turn around and go back the other way. Mostly, I plan to take my experience and use it to be the number 1 female distance skater in the ultraskate. As for where I’ll live or what ill do for money, who knows? I still have a tent and a skateboard- the world is my oyster.
Harsh question to ask – but I would like to ask what do you say to people who feel this whole “transgender thing” is all about seeking attention? Instead of seeing your bravery, they just question your entire reason.
Haha. I get these comments all the time. It’s hard for me to take them seriously. Its not about being transgender, and it certainly isn’t for attention. I planned and left for this ride in a month’s time. I’ve been trans for as long as I can remember. I race with the girls as any other girl would. There was an article written about me on Gay Star News that wanted to highlight my identity as a transgender woman because of the relevance to their audience and people saw it as a big slap in the face, like I purposefully slathered my identity around. Trust me, if I could be seen and accepted as any other girl is, I would kill for the chance.
But I think the use of telling people of my transgender identity is more for other trans people in the world. I want them to know I am trans. I want them to see that we dont have to hide in our bedrooms. We can go to the corner store as ourselves and we can be a part of society. As I skate I see all different kinds of people, and the grand majority have accepted me and spoken of my bravery. I think it gets a little twisted when you read it in an article versus witnessing it in real life.
Imagine seeing someone skateboarding past your house with a 30 lb expedition backpack and saying, “You just want attention!” Its a little ridiculous. At the end of the day, I’m out here making my dreams come true, tethered to nothing, while others somehow find a reason to feel taller than me. I’ve never felt taller for making someone else feel small.
What’s been the reaction from the various articles you’ve had written about you?
I spoke about this in the last question a bit, but its really a mixed bag. I can with 100% certainty say that it has been all straight white men who have a problem with me. I am a woman, I have lived as a woman, I have endured the horrible society women live in every day, and their opinions don’t change that. Whether they want to fall back on some pseudo-scientific argument to denounce my gender or just speak out of bigotry, it doesn’t change anything. I have never sought respect from anyone who didn’t have mine.
Met another one of my Hero’s of the Skateboarding Culture the other night, and she should be your hero too!
This is Sally Anne Sheridan. I’d always heard about Sally Anne Miller (pre marriage to Don Sheridan) in the 1970’s in her skateboard industry days, but had never met her. She built the world’s first City Owned Municipal/Public Skatepark in Irvine California. Whether you love it or not, they are the future of accessible skateboarding for all and she started it in 1976.
She did much more for and with skateboarding like running the ISA International Skateboard Association out of Costa Mesa no less, but let’s start with the story of the Irvine Run.
It was a very fun snake run leading to a banked semi bowl area at the bottom. I rode this place many times, loved it a lot, and sadly was there the day they came, asked us to stop and started Jackhammering it. That was not a fun day. (Pics of me skating it on two polaroids next to the pic of her and I). She told me she was with the City of Irvine Parks and Recreation department and local skaters and Hobie Teamriders like Steve Shipp said they wanted somewhere to skate, she asked what they want, and the snake run is what they came up with. If only it was that easy today, we’d have even more skateparks than we do.
She said they had no idea what they were getting into and that once the skate world got word of this free public skatepark skaters from a hundred miles around all converged and there were hundreds of skaters there everyday. They had built condos right next door which you can see in my skate pics. They got complaints about noise etc. They first built that big wall to quiet it down but still got too many complaints and eventually promised the residents it would be removed.
David Paul Lacey hits the first ever municipal skatepark in Irvine, California.
Several years later at the typical pace of a city the item came up in the Irvine city’s public works list of things to do, and even though it was now much calmer now and usually 10 people or so would be skating anytime we skated, it was still scheduled to be removed and couldn’t be stopped. One day I believe in 1982, we were asked to stop skating, they pulled the trucks up and started Jackhammering, that was a sad day. I am beyond stoked to have gotten to spend lots of time in the world’s first public skatepark and will forever be grateful to Sally Anne and crew for making that happen.
Sally Anne did so much more for skateboarding, including making sure skateboarding continued to exist, because there was a point when the Consumer Products Safety Commission was considering banning skateboard deeming them too dangerous of an item to be sold.
Here’s a post from Dave McIntyre
Sally was an Ivy League graduate and was asked to help head up what became the ISA. She had to help sell skateboarding as safe, and standards were set to get people wearing safety equipment and sell the sport as safe before it was made illegal to manufacture skateboards, and believe me they can do that.
Luckily that battle was won and we are all here today to tell these stories. It could be a different world today had that happened and it might have been a footnote in history and all the joy we have enjoyed on our boards may not have existed. Such a crazy thought, thanks again for helping us get through that one Sally and crew.
The ISA or International Skateboard Association also ran pro contests, set the standards etc.
After meeting Sally, I called Glenn Miyoda, an old friend who went to the same high school as me and was friends with my sister. I knew he’d have some insights and knowledge. He was a Photographer for Hobie in the early days, and come to find out he also ended up working with Sally Anne for the ISA. He shared story after story from how she sought to find the right people to set standards for contests, like how to measure the height of an air as airs started coming into play in contest, how she collected money, and a good one about her putting Mr. Bennett in his place once during a meeting.
Basically he told me she was kind, smart, hard working and a hell of a bad ass when she needed to be 100% thumbs up from Glenn Miyoda who I have 100% faith in sharing skate history with.
I don’t have all day to keep writing but I will end with the funniest story she told me all night. She said among her jobs was to make the riders wear their safety gear, and one she always got a lot of grief about it from was Tony Alva. She told me a story of walking up to him once, and him thinking he would get a rise out of her, dropped his pants. She told me she just calmly looked down at his exposed private parts, told him on a scale of 1-10 I’ll give it a 2, and then everyone started laughing including Tony.
That cracked me up. Ironically, she is now married to Don Sheridan, who worked with Zephyr back then and asked Tony Alva “who is that cute lady” when they were at some TV filming or something like that. Well that was the start of something and now Don and Sally Anne Sheridan live in Laguna Beach and have been married for 39 years.
Sally is 82 now and I look forward to going and spending some more time with her and Don and learning more of the untold stories of the skateboard world.
I am a very fortunate guy to have gotten to participate in so much in skateboarding for the last 40 years.
Amazing story on Tony Alva from 1978 from People Magazine.
And a post from Mofo (ex Thrasher photographer and CW contributor) about Sally
The Loaded Tarab is designed to push the boundaries of modern longboard dancing. Rocker, concave, symmetrical shape, kicktails, grab rails, and purposeful griptape and cork top combine to form an elegantly ergonomic platform for flowy footwork and the most frenetic freestyle dancing. Bamboo and basalt construction keeps the Tarab lightweight, lively, and durable. A cork top layer complements the griptape design, providing secure yet non-abrasive traction across the standing platform while also damping vibration. Urethane-reinforced kicktails and unique UHMWPE rails enhance durability, protecting against a wide array of freestyle-inflicted damage. Two truck-mounting options accommodate a variety of riding preferences. loadedboards.com
Over the weekend we hit up the local skatepark in my hometown area. The same old prefab ramps, still standing like a decrepit stonehenge, the ancient ruins of teenage years. Decades of harsh New England white-outs had left the blacktop a cratered moonscape. The blazing summers suns had faded the offensive and misspelled graffiti into nearly unrecognizable spray paint smudges. Overall, the skatepark was in one piece, just as i remembered it, except for one thing…
I love visiting skateparks, at home or abroad, not for the inventive array of obstacles, but for the culture. The petri dish that is the local scene, the faces, the names and the energy of the locals. Appreciating the power of the community that they have constructed. I am always fascinated by the drastically varying subcultures with the subculture. The microcosms contained within 60 square feet of tar and chain link fence.
I was welcomed with nods and smiles from the locals, as me, my brother and my childhood friends entered the park. I inquired of a friendly, smiling local, Jimmy, about the new wooden ramps and DIY ‘crete that speckled and encrusted the park. He happily obliged and told me that he was responsible for the ramps’ construction. I thanked him for provided them.
Within moments, my crew and theirs were skating together, bumping quintessential 90s hip hop anthems, bumping fists and cheering for each other. Everybody was boppin’ and basking in the warm autumn sunlight.
While cruising around in euphoric figure 8s, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, that Jimmy the friendly local, had deserted his skateboard, had turned his back and was excitedly fiddling with something. Figuring Jimmy was frantically rolling a blunt I was bewildered to find that instead of a gutted backwoods wrap, Jimmy was tousling around a wooden ball bound by a string to a wooden dowel.
In his right hand, Jimmy clutched what appeared to be a wooden double-sided hammer, although strangley the face of each hammer head was inverted, concaved, resembling a miniature cup or bowl. Above the dual hammers was a small cone that gently tapered into a blunted tip. A white string, anchored to the base of the handle, flailed wildly in the air attached to a red ball. This red ball, the size of a beer pong ball, had a small hole that tunneled through the entire diameter of the wooden sphere.
A boy on a BMX appeared, and joined Jimmy, and expelling a wooden ball hammer from his pocket. Within moments, the two were fully engaged, shouting and giggling as they spun and casted their balls on a strings, attempting to catch it with either of their hammer cups or to spear it throughout the hole with the tips of their wooden cones.
After observing for a bit, this mutated form of cup-and-ball, I asked Jimmy what the hell was up with that thing. He told me it was called “Kendama” a game originally played by drunken Japanese sailors to pass the time on long sea voyages. Now, according to Jimmy, Kendama-mania has swept the states from coast to coast.
Jimmy elaborated, comparing the cup-ball game to skateboarding. He said that you master certain tricks and then try to do your tricks consecutively in a row, like a line.
This game reminded me much of the hacky sack or even devil sticks sessions of my youth. Flinging an object through the air and trying to catch it, stall it, and then return it to flight. It also reminded me of a string-based perpetual-volley toys like the yo-yo or paddle ball. Even the strange design of the Kendama toy shocked and intrigued me like my first eye witness accounts of fidget spinners.
I’ve seen many fads come and go, toys that were just as fickly picked up as were easily discarded- only to be rediscovered on the dusty shelves of Goodwill. What intrigued me about this new bizarre low-tech gadget was that, it did indeed, remind me of skating. Not only was Kendama a strange looking simple-machine, but to play, you simply needed time and patience. Fine-tuning your motor skills and battling the constraints of gravity were the shared struggle of both Kendama and skateboarding.
Not only was this an light-hearted, nonsensical escape from the mundane pressures of modern living, this game, clearly, had no coach, no team and no opponents. You were free to practice and create maneuvers as you so chose. Not only could you choose how to play but you could also choose to share the play with others, whoever you wanted.
I watched these two young men play for vigorous 20 minute stints, taking breaks to skate and BMX and then returning to their ball string hammers. They practiced their extreme sports in tandem with their string contraption disciple in even increments.
This not only was like skateboarding, it was an intrinsic part of Jimmy’s skateboarding experience.
Kendama was just about enough of a part of Jimmy’s sesh as other peoples’ weed-smoking, shit-talking or dead-eyed staring into their smart phone.
My hometown friends scoffed at the ball string hammer game of the locals, and remarked that they avoided coming to this very park because of the pervasive Kendama culture. I disagreed and said that I enjoyed the locals using the space however they pleased. I felt confident that these young men were outcasts, just as we skaters are, and that they should be cherished just the same.
When I found Jimmy and his BMX counterpart, brought together in Kendama bliss, now filming each other with a GoPro, I was certain that this game, like many other bizarre rituals, are in fact skateboarding. Having fun, expressing yourself and progressing a skill, by means of offbeat physical rhythm, doing what you want, where you want, solitarily or socially, that is what skateboarding means.
The world is a skatepark and you can play whatever you want in it.