The History of Skate Shoes

The History of Skate Shoes

Editor’s Note:I don’t mind that pretty much 100% of all skate shoe companies refuse to engage in anything but street and vert. It’s their money to spend on whatever they wish, marketing wise. While it would have been great to have a nice big skate shoe company take space in the mag, it never came to fruition. And I am sure as heck not holding my breath now! If I look back on the past 20 years, I’d say Vans has probably done the most to promote different types of skateboarding. They threw down $800,000 for the Dogtown film. Can you imagine if Nike had sponsored a freeriding event or two? Doubtful that will ever happen. Skate shoe companies still wield a mighty powerful stick in the industry and any variance from the mean will not be tolerated. It’s pretty much street, transition or vert…and don’t even try and think of creating a downhill shoe! 
And then along comes a nice email from the folks at Simple Shoes. As my friend Kilwag pointed out (over at Skate and Annoy), Simple created this chart and didn’t even include themselves. That’s quite amazing and on top of this, Aurelija​, their publicist wrote such a nice email, that I truly couldn’t resist posting something.
 So, in the spirit of Simple, I present this blog post. Keeping an open mind is paramount. Thanks Simple. I hope you sell a ton of shoes and if you want to spread the message in CW Mag, I’d be down.  From the original Chuck Taylors of the ‘20s to modern sneakers, the crossover between fashion and skateboarding created a uniquely recognizable style. People were quick to capitalize on the youth trend, but it always kept its rebellious core. Adopting everything from surfing, early boarders would ride their glorified box carts bare foot. Early shredding tended to take place below the ankles (in the form of bloodied feet). It took a while before fashion and tech were refined. With the arrival of the first skate shoe in 1965 (thanks, Randolph Rubber), the stage was set for clever manufacturers, professional sponsorships and merchandisers to fund the brave new world. From vulcanized rubber to the ever-changing shape of hi-tops, skate fashion was one of those rare instances where young people were given a voice. Companies listened and made products that worked. Every sneaker is like a time capsule. Shoes of the ‘60s copied basketball style. The ‘80s saw chunkier, padded sneakers make a break with the past.  The present day has a slimmer, more confident shoe design—popular with boarders and non-boarders alike. Charting the story from humble shoe to cultural icon, this interactive map should paint a clearer picture of the skate scene.

Punk Rock and 1977

Punk Rock and 1977

For many skaters of the 1970’s, 1977 proved to be a crucial year. It’s when everything really started to come together for me as a skater. I was 2 years deep into skateboarding and in late 1976, I learned about punk rock. In the summer of 1977, I found myself in England. I was with my family on a trip back to visit my extended family and pick up a few records. Specifically, the Sex Pistols. It was pretty funny going into a record shop and seeing a blank space at “number 2” on the charts. The shops were so scared of putting “God Save the Queen – Sex Pistols” that they intentionally left it blank.  I still have this single. And yes, this song still sounds as good today as it did back then. When I returned home and played the song for friends at school, they couldn’t quite understand it. Three years later they had mohawks.   Well, 40 years later, I am here to warn you that we are not going to intentionally leave anything blank like that shop did. Punk rock is not just music. It is an attitude. And that attitude runs a gamut of emotions and actions. No, we’re not going to spit on you. But we are about to unleash a 6,000+ word essay (over 4 postings) that looks at the state of things in skate retail. Bud is warning me that this might ruffle a few feathers. Ruffling feathers is the essence of punk, so I think we are on the right path. Ironically punk rock came full circle last year when Malcolm McLaren’s son burned five million pounds worth of memorabilia. Talk about punk rock – that is very punk rock. But we’re not going to that extreme. Stand by…you have been warned. Special shout out to Doug Ward of Clifton, NJ for inspiring this piece.

Mike Moore – The Man Behind the Logo

Mike Moore – The Man Behind the Logo

 We’ve just hit over 20 years on the web. You can see it for yourself here. This wonderful logo was created by Mike Moore. Hard to believe that time has passed so quickly. As the June issue celebrates our 15th Anniversary issue, I will be featuring an editorial that looks at the roots of the magazine. The Skategeezer Homepage definitely kicked things off. We are long overdue for an interview with Mike. I am pleased to present it to you now. THANK YOU Mike for your inspiring art!  How did you stumble across the skategeezer homepage? This was well before google…!Mike Moore: My wife and I were visiting her sister and brother-in-law. He was on line before I was, and was pretty sure I’d be hooked. He set me up on his computer, showed me the basics, and let me roam. This was ’96, I started typing in different searches, just goofy stuff, and WAS quickly hooked. To that point I had only used computers as graphics machines. I started skating Christmas of 1975, at 10, with the other kids on my street, the first trick was to see how far you could go down the sidewalk, without dying, on a clay wheeled Roller Derby board. Didn’t know you could do much beyond that. Puttered around like that for a while. Sometime between ’77 and ’78 (with the release of Skateboard “The Movie”) skating blew up in our area. I started buying Skateboarder at the local 7-11 (sometimes taking the “tube sock discount”), I was hooked. Kept skating from then thru college, was out by ’91…thought I should be a grown up. So after my brother-in-law sat me down at the “wonder box” and I spent time goofing around, I started searching out skate stuff. That era of skating (’96 – ’97) was completely foreign to me. It was ugly in my eyes. So I started searching old company names, old pro’s names, etc. Somewhere along that search safari, The Skategeezer site popped up. If I remember right, you had a quiz, “Are You a Skate Geezer?”….I passed with flying colors, though admittedly I’m probably more of a Skate Geek. We went home from the visit. I convinced my wife we needed a blazing fast 28.8 hook up, which thankfully soon morphed into a mind numbingly fast 56.6. I searched out the Geezer and made you some sorta cheesy sales pitch to do graphics, cause I needed to be part of skating again. (the rest is history!– Ed)  What are some of your favourite skate memories from the rebirth in the mid to late 90’s?My favorite memories of skating are probably from ’80 to ’90. There were no other skaters in my area, or more to the point in my school in Jr. High. I started High School in 1980. There were a few skaters I had no previous knowledge of. As any old guy knows…in that period, if someone was wearing Vans…you started asking questions. Met a few guys, took me to a few spots, good times. Not a super tight crew by any stretch of the imagination. My hometown is blessed with an inordinate amount of good ditches for an otherwise bummer of a conservative little Texas town.  Ditches are still my main skate love. Skateboarder had died, Action Now came and went, I discovered Thrasher at a skate/bike shop in Waco, TX. (Ordinary Bike Shop) on a skate trip with my one go to skate friend in High School Larry Cook (R.I.P). Through Thrasher I learned of the Pflugerville ditch, the Big Boys, Zorlac, and all that was skate cool about Texas. The first trip I made to Pflugerville, I didn’t know where the ditch was. I drove around til I found a cop, I asked him about the ditch and he led me to it. (so cops don’t always suck kids). I witnessed the chaos of Craig Johnson ripping the ass out of the Pflugerville ditch, after all these years…that is still a magic memory. On my visit to Texas Tech (to potentially attend college). I witnessed skaters skating around the library on campus, rolling along, then suddenly in the air and rocking on benches…my first view of the ollie. What was skating in college like?College (’84-’89}. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…Art School, Skating, Bands, Beer, Friends, Fun (and all that can be implied). You could conquer the world or be crushed by it. Ditches, ramps, pools, the old Big Spring Park, first Powell videos…we were pirates. Then it blew up again. Mall shops, goofy fashions, soggy wood, dumb graphics, kids (that were better than me…by a long shot),it got corporate and dumb again. The bridge between adolescent and adult got shorter. Life slapped me around a little, I probably deserved it. There’s some ugly bits I won’t go into, but by ’90-’91 I was out of skating. My last set up was a Small Room Deck, with Sixtracks, and some sorta OJs or SC wheels. I did not want to let go, but it seemed there was no other choice. I was old and done. How did you deal with the fact (that hits many skaters at some point) that you weren’t going to be the next great pro?To be bluntly honest, I knew from VERY early on…I wasn’t a great skater, I barely scratched good, but I loved it. I loved everything about it. From grinds to road rash, it was all nirvana. I always wanted to be part of it somehow. I was the artist guy, the funny guy, the smart guy. I had a pretty good way of talking my way into, or out of, “situations”. I was allowed clearance into the higher ranks because of those skills. Didn’t matter to me, I was in, and it was good. Tell me about your entry into a new artist contest? Sometime in the mid ’80s (’85-’86) Powell had a contest for a new artist. Replace VCJ? Certainly not worthy, but willing to try. I submitted some pieces. The fact that we’re doing this, shows the outcome. Sean Cliver won it, and very deservedly so…still doesn’t make me not want to hate him a little. From that point forward, I knew if I was gonna be involved in skating, it wouldn’t be on a board. Learn more about Mike Moore at his website.  

Evening Music Break: Xombie

Evening Music Break: Xombie

  Xombie, a New York based group, is hard to define, so I’ll just call their sound “original”. The group’s latest album Super Cell (slated for release in June of this year) is solid from front to back. Xombie’s first single “Might As Well” is a great example; this great skate-soundtrack!     While calling them “punk” would be accurate, it would also omit their fluid Hip-Hop rhythms, the slashing guitar of Rock/Metal and the smooth bass of Blues. They seem to be a blend of every type of legit music rolled into one. Here’s the link to the complete album, check it out: https://soundcloud.com/xombienyc/sets/xombie-super-cell-full-album-1/s-OS7oo Simply put, if you jammed Zebra Head, Suicidal Tendencies and Bad Religion together with Eddie Van Halen’s guitar work you’d be in the general vicinity of Xombie. As always, you are the best judge of what you like. Give it a listen and let us know what you think. Thanks for reading (& listening), see you here next time!    

Rolling for Noel

Rolling for Noel

  The infamous Dingo’s Den of Clifton, New Jersey.  I’ve been living next to the USA now for about 45 years. The truth is the more I learn about the States, the less I understand it. But there is no doubt that my life has been incalculably shaped by America.I am fascinated by every part of the country I’ve had the privilege to visit. Today I head off the USA once again. Noel Korman’s philosophy was all about spreading the joy. The unrelenting pace and intensity of New York City can be overwhelming to some. The fact is that NYC is best explored by skateboard with locals. Thankfully, I will be able to do just that starting tomorrow.I can’t remember how many times I’ve been to NYC, but each time the place gives me new insights and helps to put an extra snap in my stride. It is vibrant and explosive and each passing minute reveals something extraordinary. Our March 11, 2011 longboard expo remains one of my favorite skate memories. It was, as they say “a moment in time.” But I am not just going to be in NYC. I am actually landing in New Jersey and heading up to Clifton, the hometown of my very good friend Ray Korman. Since the passing of his son, Noel in 2014, Ray and I have formed a close friendship. It’s funny, because I only met Noel on 6 occasions. But there was something about Noel that left an incredible impression on you. Shralplin it at Kona Skatepark I have also forged a very close association and friendship with Luke Ayata of the Shralper’s Union. Luke turned 49 this week and we’ll be celebrating his birthday this weekend. Probably at Clifton’s notorious hot spot “Dingos.” New Jersey is probably where I’ll be spending the majority of my time. We are looking at doing a grassroots skate event in early June. A key reason for me being in NYC and specifically Central Park is a session that the Shralper’s Union and Longboarding for Peace are hosting called “Roll for Noel.” We’ll be meeting up at Columbus Circle at 2pm and heading out to ride for Noel and celebrate Earth Day. I am not sure how many folks are going to be there. But I know one thing, it will be an incredible experience and a great way to pay tribute to my friend Noel. If you can’t join us in Central Park, roll for Noel in your own way and shralp it! 

Aluminati Releases New Deck Shape

Aluminati Releases New Deck Shape

 

Aluminati Skateboards introduces the Mullet, their first concave deck that features a longer length with vintage style.  Part of Aluminati’s Ultra-Lite series with channels that advance performance while maintaining strength, flexibility, endurance and uniqueness, the Mullet offers a 28 inch deck with a 0.25 inch concave.  

 

 

The Mullet shape is a throwback to vintage cruisers and is available with any Aluminati graphic of your choice.

 

Mullet Dimensions:

Length: 28”

Width: 8.125”

Wheelbase: 18.5″

 Visit Aluminatiboards.com 

Photo Op in Kanab

Photo Op in Kanab

If you are anywhere near Kanab, Utah this April 20th, please come on down to the K Town Pumptrack/skatepark. It is the grand opening and the fun begins at 4pm. There will be a photo shoot and yes, drones will be flying high above the park to capture all the action for an upcoming video.The Kanab park lays the foundation for the future – a skatepark AND a pumptrack together. Congratulations to all the folks who worked hard to make this happen. My only wish is that other cities adopt this model. You truly get the best of both worlds!For more info, email here   

Minds: Michael Brooke of Longboarding For Peace

Minds: Michael Brooke of Longboarding For Peace

  “Longboarding for Peace is a movement forward. We embody the spirit of all that is good and pure about Longboarding. We empower people to step on, step up, and make great things happen in their communities. We strive to increase joy and happiness, and decrease pain and suffering.”
 
Michael Brooke
Founder, Longboarding for Peace
 “I’ve been trying to get Mikey on record about what ‘Longboarding For Peace’ is all about for quite a while, but no luck. I tried ass kicking, browbeating, and badgering; none of it seemed to work. Exasperated, and out of options, I finally decided to put Fatty on the case. He’s from Jersey, so he knows how to  get stuff done. The brass knuckes and the kilt really work wonders sometimes.” Bud StratfordExecutive Director, Concrete Wave Magazine Michael Brooke and I go way back. My old company, Longboards by Fatboy, Inc., used to advertise in Concrete Wave, and International Longboarder long before that. We have been what I would consider to be good friends for all those years. We have seen each other sporadically, sometimes skating together, other times just hanging or maybe having a meal; I’m fat, it’s what I do. We talk about the business, both manufacturing and media. Sometimes we fanboy out on skaters from our youth – he knows WAY more of them than I do. Maybe we’ll chat aboot music; we’re similar in age, so we like a lot of the same stuff. Or maybe we’ll just get together and make fun of Bud. Whatever. It’s always time well spent. I’d heard about this new venture he’s been working on, “Longboarding for Peace”. Peace, people, not piece; he’s not trying to pick up chicks with skateboards. He doesn’t have a white van with “Free Longboards!” written on the side. Interested in what he’s up to these days, I took some time to investigate some of the stories surrounding this movement. Obviously, being a fat douche, I don’t have time to read them all, what with the constant flow of sandwiches that needs to happen just to keep me upright and typing. But I liked what I read, and proposed an interview with Mikey where I could ask those pressing questions like, “Starbucks, or Tim Hortons?” or “boxers, or briefs?” Y’know, crap like that. So enjoy my teasing of a real swell guy, with a really swell cause.  -Fatboy  Mike in Jamaica, April 9th, 2017  Soooooo……….you just roll up at some place with a bunch of skateboards in your car, and ask people to ride around on them regardless of their athletic ability or age or gang affiliation, and they just drop their Glocks and hop on, and that puts a stop to decades of persecution and hatred? If only it were so simple. Actually, it takes a bit of planning and an ability to think creatively. Yes, that was a very general yet douchey synapsis of what you do. But seriously, do you hafta get permits to do this? Is there some kind of security present? Sure, you’re a burly dude and know how to throw knuckles on the mean streets of Toronto and whatnot, but I’m guessing riots are out of your current defense wheelhouse.Not really burly, but I know people who know people. Here’s how we started: probably six ago or so, I learned about this skateboarding non-profit called Skatistan. I was both impressed, and inspired with what they were doing.  In January of 2012 at the Surf Expo tradeshow, Abraham Paskowitz of Carver Skateboards told me about his work with Surfing for Peace. A few weeks later, I decided to start my own initiative and I called it Longboarding for Peace. I got in contact with a guy called Matthew Olson, who had done work with the Peres Center for Peace. Once we contacted them, the process of sending longboards and helmets to the middle east began. The Peres Center also coordinated our tours throughout Israel and the Palestinian Territories. You can’t just roll up to the West Bank and start skating with kids. There are formal procedures that are in place and when you work with locals, it all comes together.  Longboarding For Peace at work in Israel. Photos by Efrat Sa’ar.   Do the cops show up and hassle you like any other event involving skateboards?No issues whatsoever. The kids are happy. The adults are happy that the kids are happy. With each new initiative we do, I see smiles and joy. It is the embodiment of what it truly means to spread the stoke.  How do you approach these folks? Yes, you’re a delightfully charming and classically handsome man that reeks of success and personality, but how do you engage them if they don’t even speak Canadian? Are you multi-lingual? Or do you bring interpreters? I’m assuming you have SOME sort of connection with a local or two. It’s about connecting the dots. I know a lot of people. And once I meet someone and they are intrigued about LFP, I bring them in. Once they are in, it’s simply a matter of bringing in the volunteer. This just happened with our Spanish operation. Julie Quenneville  is based in Quebec, and does a lot of travelling. She contacted me last summer before she went to Brazil. We loaded her up with stuff, and let her do her thing in Brazil. Now she is off to Spain, and I put her in touch with Jacobo Ramírez Barroso of the Carving Social Club. It’s all about harnessing the energy that people have, and directing that energy into teaching others.  Where do the boards come from? Where do babies come from?Boards and various skate products are graciously donated from a wide variety of companies. This includes Kebbek, Carver, Bustin, Landyachtz, Loaded, Abec 11, Neversummer, Sector 9, Honey, Aluminati, Sunset Wheels, Rainskates, and Triple 8. There are so many people that have stepped up to help, it’s overwhelming! As for babies, you’re going to have to phone a friend.  Are there any sorts of snacks provided at these events? Your careful answer may sway my decision to support and/or attend one of these things?We had pizza in Jaffa, Israel, and magnificent patties in Jamaica just recently. I will have you come down for the next adventure there.   Michael in Jaffa, Israel.  Since you and I have both been in the skateboard business for decades, and we are of course subsequently thigh deep in hookers and blow, how can someone assist you in your philanthropic adventures? Is there a Kickstarter/GoFundMe thing? Can we bake and send cupcakes? Is there a need for volunteers for your skate sessions?All you need to do is email me at mbrooke@interlog.com and I will endeavour to make something happen. Remember, we are NOT a charity or a non-profit. We are a movement. Whatever we do, it must impact on the areas of peace, balance or justice. I won’t get involved with things like drag racing or hot dog eating contests.  Is it a skateboarding thing, or a world peace thing for you? Is it your eternal quest for more and more wheelie plankers for your dynasty and inevitable world overthrow and domination, or would you just like to stop watching people fly planes into buildings on the news?You know it’s funny… I think about this quite a bit. The truth is that I became a skateboard magazine publisher because no one was writing about the kinds of skateboarding I was doing. The mags at the time had declared that rails and ledges were pretty much all that was necessary within skateboarding. Sure, there was vert here and there… but it was tunnel vision up the wazoo. So, I stepped up and did something. And in stepping up, it taught me something valuable. If you really want to know what skateboarding has taught me – it is simply this: just get out there and do it. This do-it-yourself, creative spirit has driven me for 40 years.  A lot of people look at the pursuit of peace, balance, and justice the same way they look at the weather. They talk about it, but don’t really do much about it. I decided, “I am going to do something”. The benefits of creating more interest in skateboarding is that we get more skaters. This helps the industry. The benefits of LFP far exceed anything I can even comprehend.  
I call this “The Butterclip Affect”. It marries “the butterfly affect”, and “the red paperclip story”. “The butterfly affect” is not the movie starring Aston Kushner; rather, it is the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane halfway around the world. Put another way: Small things lead to dramatic consequences.
 (Editor’s note: this analogy is the most simplistic, and possibly the most famous, explanation of Chaos Theory)As for the red paper clip… well, through the course of 14 trades, Kyle MacDonald wound up with a house. And he started with something that most would see as practically worthless.  (Editor’s note, from Wikipedia: “The website One Red Paperclip was created by Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald, who bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of fourteen online trades over the course of a year.”)Visionaries might not always know what is at the end of 14 moves, but they know the process. And process starts with something small. That, in a nutshell, is what I am doing.    How do you handle the logistics of these events, especially in foreign countries? Like, how do you get dozens of skateboards and gear into third world places without throwing up red flags all over the place? I was once detained by, of all people, Canadian Customs for having like 10 skateboards in my car for a skatepark safari.We work with locals and we know the ropes. Enough said.  What’s the big picture for LBFP? Is it more events like you’ve been doing? Or are you looking to not only expand globally, but in attendance as well? Will there be factions of your concept featuring hosts other than yourself?We want the movement to grow organically. I am putting it out there that a visionary philanthropist will say, “Okay, Michael, what do you need to make it happen?” The truth is that pump tracks combined with skateparks are the final goal. We come in, we stoke the crap out of everyone, we get funding, we build the parks, and everyone is super happy. I just keep repeating until they pry the skateboard from my cold dead hands (albeit with a smile on my face) Is it embarrassing when fans recognize you in foreign countries, and experiencing them throwing bras and panties at you?  I’m sure it confuses the locals. I gotta tell you, it was unquestionably treacherous skating near you at The Board Meeting, dodging all the undergarments. Panties and bras dodged? Zero. Bullets dodged? Also zero.    

Inside The Industry: Chris Brunstetter of Goldcoast

Inside The Industry: Chris Brunstetter of Goldcoast

 

 

Six years ago, I did an in-depth interview with Chris Brunstetter of Goldcoast for my old blog, Everything Skateboarding. That interview is still accessible online, and can be found here:

 

http://everythingskateboardingmagazine.blogspot.com/2010/05/interview-chris-brunstetter-of.html

 

Now that I’ve returned as a contributing writer for Concrete Wave Magazine’s website, I decided that I’d make catching up with Chris “Job Number One”. Six years is almost an eternity in the skateboard world; I thought it’d be interesting to compare and contrast where Chris (and Goldcoast) were back then, versus where they’re at today.

 

I believe that it’s very important for the skateboard consumer to be well aware of who and what, exactly, they are supporting when they buy a product. That said, I thought that it was high time for a recurring feature that sheds a brighter light on the brains behind the brands. Without further ado, I hereby present Mr. Brunstetter:

 

Chris, thanks for sitting down with us to answer a few questions; we all appreciate it. “We all” not just being us at the magazine; the readers, I’m sure, will appreciate it too. It’s been a solid six years since we last chatted. In that time, how have things changed in your life? In the world of skateboarding? And, with Goldcoast?

 

First of all, I can’t believe it’s been six years! Almost nothing in my life is the same as it was when we talked before, my skateboarding has evolved to include way more cruising and just pumping around a bowl or skatepark. My kids are starting to skate themselves, and now I’m starting to see how my love for skateboarding is affecting their lives. The skateboard industry has gone through another boom/bust cycle with the longboard and cruiser category, so by way of that, GoldCoast has had to remain nimble and really look at ways to keep pushing the potential of this category without losing sight of who we are. We’ve opened two new distribution centers, begun building all our completes at our HQ in Salt Lake and Amsterdam (for our European customers) and completely revamped our shape matrix, Century Truck designs, and our Shred Boots Wheel line. It’s been six years of learning, travelling, and of course, skateboarding!

 

Chris Brunstetter of Goldcoast

 

When I came back to the magazine, I was blown away at how diversified skateboarding… and, the industry… has truly become. There seem to be literally dozens of new brands in the marketplace that simply didn’t exist five years ago. What’s your stance on that, and how does Goldcoast approach the market in light of all that sudden competition? How do you differentiate yourselves in an industry that’s flooded with so many brands?

 

Brand differentiation in this market is really tough. There’s a lot of great product out there and from where we were six years ago to where we are now, our product is better than ever. That being said, when we started the brand and began working with Concrete Wave, there was no one in the market really taking the design-centric approach to their product (with the exception of Buddy Carr) and now there are a ton of people who look strikingly similar, so we differentiate by continually evolving our product, strengthening our relationships with our accounts, and really being involved with our customers. Over six years we’ve developed amazing relationships with people all over the world and it’s been one of the coolest experiences to see what we’ve created impact so many people.

 

 

How would you describe Goldcoast to somebody that’s never heard of the brand? Or, to somebody that might not be particularly familiar with it?

 

We are a design-driven skateboard brand that wants to be your favorite ride, whether you’ve been skating for one month or twenty years. When someone looks at our brand, we want them to say, “Oh that’s fun.” We’re not out to be the gnarliest dudes on the street, we’re “aggressively casual”.

 

It wasn’t too long ago that the overall market was very divided between “skateboarders” (ie, “vert and street skaters”) and “longboarders” (basically, everybody else); does that divide still exist in 2016…? Or have we finally gotten to a place where everybody’s a skateboarder, regardless of what kind of board they might choose to ride?

 

It’s getting better, for sure. Just judging by the social media comments we receive the number of “that’s not a real skateboard” type of interactions are way lower for us now. I think a lot of that comes down from the retailers who have been saved by longboarding’s boom during the street skateboard downturn that has realized that more feet on skateboards are always a good thing. We try to be really careful to refer to our company as a skateboard brand first, and really want to show people using this product in as many ways as possible.

 

 

If I may, I’d like to talk “retail” for a minute or two. Is there still a place for the “core brick-and-mortar retailer” in the marketplace? Or, are we seeing a steady migration to online retail that will ultimately end in the eventual demise of the core retailer?

 

That’s a tough question. In my opinion, retail has shifted in a way that will never go back to the way things were. The evolution has weeded out a lot of people who unfortunately weren’t able to adapt. But people that have been able to create more of an experience while shopping, building their brand as a retailer to give customers something they can’t get anywhere else, and diversified themselves to maintain their place as the tastemakers in skateboarding have succeeded. One of the best “core” shops in our backyard, Milosport, is having some of the best years they’ve seen in a long time. They have worked their asses off to make that happen, they didn’t just throw their arms up and say, “Well, the internet won”.

 

What does Goldcoast do (if applicable) to insure the viability of the core skate shop? Do you offer, for example, MSRP’s? Protected territories? Exclusive product that’s only available at core retailers?

 

We have MSRPs, reps that service the core accounts, and we try and work with our retailers so that it’s easy to do business with us. We support contests and marketing efforts that our retailers have, basically try and do as much for them as they do for us. Be a partner in the business.

 

Besides the seasonal changes in product offerings, how has the Goldcoast product line changed and/or improved in the last six years?

 

I can say with total confidence that our product is better than it has ever been. It’s been a constant process of improvement, and I couldn’t be prouder. We have new manufacturing partners who are committed to the success of our brand, plus we’ve got total control over our product from the factory level to the shipping dock.

 

 

Which Goldcoast setup do you personally ride the most, and why?

 

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m doing a lot more cruising and skatepark skating these days. I have the Classic Bamboo Cruiser and the Death To Summer Pool Deck, Century C60 Trucks, Helshredica Bearings, and Shred Boots Burnouts Wheels for my park setup.

 

What’s the “age limit” on skateboarding? Or, is there such a thing? How long do you see yourself skating?

 

I’ll keep skating as long as I physically can. Even if it’s just a push around the neighborhood, that does so much for me mentally. It keeps me young. There’s no age limit, you just have to be comfortable being the “old guy”!

 

Here’s an interesting question that I’m basing on personal experience. When I had my company, I was amazed that I only spent maybe twenty percent of my time actually running my company; the other eighty (or so) percent was mostly spent talking to kids, and answering all of their various questions. Do you have the same experiences in your role as a brand manager? If so, what sorts of things do the kids ask you? And what kinds of answers (or advice) do you give them?

 

My role in managing the brand has evolved a ton over the years. Six years ago, there was Facebook and kind of Twitter. Now you have a new social media platform emerging every 15 minutes that you have to at least be aware of if you don’t have time to focus on it. 80 percent of my time is spent in that realm these days. Engaging with our fans, answering questions, letting people know that there is a human being on the other side of their screen. I get all sorts of questions. Kids are straight up aggressive on social media asking for free product. I am shocked at how that lack of face to face connection eliminates all politeness. “You should send me a board.” Is the one that I get all the time. Really dude? That’s your opening line? Then you’re offended when you get shut down? It makes me laugh. I took about 20 minutes to explain to a kid on Instagram how sponsorship works, what he could do to get on the road to that, but all he heard was that I wasn’t just going to send him a board, he told me I should kill myself. That was fun, definitely time well spent.  I love chatting with people from all over about where they skate, how they came to find GoldCoast, etc. Google Translate is a great tool!

 

 

In what ways does Goldcoast “give back” to the market that supports it? How does the company support the “greater good” of the pastime?

 

We try to support our retailers in their events as much as possible. We’re a small crew so it’s hard for us to really take the reins on stuff, but if there’s cool stuff going on we want to be a part of it. We try to support the “skateventure” movement as much as possible. If someone is taking a cool trip and needs a board, we’ll try and help out. It has gotten us some amazing product photos.

 

“Women in skateboarding” still seems to be a hot-button issue these days… which seems kind of weird to me, because I think everyone should skate (if they want to), regardless of age, gender, race, nationality, or religious affiliation. And I support all skaters, regardless of their age, gender, race, nationality, or religious affiliation. What’s Goldcoast’s stance on this? Is the industry doing enough to empower and encourage everyone to participate in, and enjoy, skateboarding? If not: what could, or should, we be doing differently as an industry…?

 

This topic amazes me. That “we” as an industry should say no to anyone skateboarding is insane. GoldCoast wants as many people on skateboards as possible. We don’t make girl specific product, but our customer base has a ton of girls who love the brand. Exclusion doesn’t work for us.

 

Where do you see skateboarding, and Goldcoast, in the next five to ten years? What challenges and opportunities lay ahead for both the company, and skateboarding in general?

 

Skateboarding in the next 5 years is going to change a ton. With it going into the Olympics, there’s going to be a global awareness of the sport that it has never seen. That could be a great thing, or a horrible thing, depending on your view. I’ve seen skateboarding go from something pretty specific to something that a bunch of people interprets differently. Basically, when I was a kid, if you were a skateboarder, you were a street skateboarder. Now, it’s like, what does skateboarding mean to you? Is it a creative outlet, a career path, transport, exercise, a competitive sport, a cool accessory? I see people that fall into all those categories and more. I hope GoldCoast is there to be the board that people look back on as their favorite when it’s all said and done. The opportunity to make an impact on someone’s life by being their favorite skateboard is something that always inspires me.

 

 

For more info visit skategoldcoast.com

 

  

Evening Music Break: The Long Dark Road by Chad Thomas

Evening Music Break: The Long Dark Road by Chad Thomas

 The Long Dark Road’s self-titled release is due out April 8th, and is the focus of this week’s ‘Break’. This four-piece freak-show from Toronto is reminiscent of System of a Down and Propagandhi.  With songs in the 8-9 minute range, these guys are like Punk-Metal on steroids. From the first track “Tragedy of the Commons”, these neighbors to the North come out swinging –although the real jams (at least for me) start at track two “I Will Follow” where TLDR’s influences become readily apparent. If you didn’t see the cover you may very well think you’re hearing a new ‘System’ album –which is great, if you’re a fan. I can’t say I heard anything terribly original, however these fellas absolutely have audio-adrenaline on lock. This is a great ‘getting ready to skate’ album. Here’s the link to their album on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-191219491/sets/the-long-dark-road/s-bhiSs As always, you are the best judge of what you like. Give it a listen and let us know what you think. Thanks for reading (& listening), see you here next time!   

Inside The Industry: Stephen Oliveira of Survey Wheels

Inside The Industry: Stephen Oliveira of Survey Wheels

 

 

 

 

 

Among the masses of skate clips uploaded to Instagram on the daily, there is no possible way to skip through videos of guys like Craig Clements doing mind-numbing kickflip to feeble grind tre flips like this one: (And if you somehow had skipped this madness, I suggest checking out his new part in Elliott Vecchia’s new video, Drought):

 

 

 

 

Keep scrolling, and you’ll probably find a clip of Aaron Collier unleashing bigflip hurricanes on a bump to bar:

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond the undeniable amount of style in these clips, it’s the creativity and damn-near masterful level of technicality in the balance of these tricks that set them apart from all the other daily uploads in skateboarding. To me, these clips stand out as some of the most innovative and gifted riders putting it down. Upon closer inspection, however, I realized that these Floridians are united in riding with an all-star lineup of other rippers from the Sunshine State as teammates on Stephen Oliveira’s brainchild, Survey Wheels. From that moment, I knew I had to get the inside story.

 

 

 

 

 

Oliveira’s intent to recruit a team, “built like a metal horse of Florida-based team riders”, stems from an influence of High Grade Distribution brands from the early 2000s including Creation, Yellow Brand, and Satori. These companies sponsored talent such as Brian Delatorre, Brent Atchley, and Neen Williams as they sought to appeal to an eco-conscious market. However, it was Oliveira’s work experience from Focus Skate Magazine, to the famed Berrics, to his current position at The Ride Channel, that has truly taken Survey Wheels from the drawing boards to the streets.

 

 

 

A six-year stint at Focus gave Oliveira everything he needed to get his feet wet in the industry, as he largely focused on managing and shaping the company’s online presence. Their iconic cleanliness in terms of art direction also provided Oliveira with inspiration for his future venture. When Focus folded, Oliveira used his strategy of communicating personal value to Steve Berra and landed an internship at the Berrics, which he credits in helping learn how to properly lay out content. From this position, Oliveira moved over to Ride Channel where he says he has really figured out how to push out relevant online content. The challenge to this, as Oliveira puts it lies in the fact that, “The way the consumer needs content catered to them is constantly changing.”

 

 

 

 

By the time that Oliveira transformed these years of industry knowledge and strategy into the formation of Survey Wheels, the venture was primed to succeed. At the moment, Survey Wheels thrives off the in-your-face style in which Instagram displays content. By capitalizing on a focus of where the consumer’s eyes are at, Survey Wheels’ team is hard to miss. This again is where Oliveira’s team of hitters succeed in “sparking the stoke”, and grabbing attention. Could you really scroll right past a clip of June Saito perfectly throwing big flips and backside flips, in and out of manuals?

 

 

 

 

Despite Survey Wheels’ widespread success and attention over Instagram, Oliveira recognizes the reality that his follower count will be eventually rendered useless once the viewers transcend to the next hot platform. To survive the inevitable shift, Oliveira focuses on building a legacy out of Survey Wheels, rather than just a viral social media following. To that end, Survey Wheels are only available in select retailers, fostering grassroots relationships with certain local shop owners and creating a sense of exclusivity for the product. In Oliveira’s own words, “Relationships are everything, and if I can build a long-lasting relationship with a rad shop owner, I’d much rather have that than potentially ruin that over what could possibly be just a single sale to their neighboring shop.”

 

 

Going forward, Survey Wheels strives to continue building their Florida-based legacy through the announcement of new riders, most recently including Mike Rosa. Also in the works is a potential collab with Upperhand Supply, and a new wheel with the always empathetic handiwork of Henry Jones. To keep up with everything else Stephen Oliveira has up his sleeves, join the masses by dropping them a follow   on Instagram @SurveyWheels.

 

See more on The Insta at https://www.instagram.com/surveywheels/

 

 

 

The Editor Speaks, April 2017: Finding Your Voice

The Editor Speaks, April 2017: Finding Your Voice

 When I was a kid, I was the fat, nerdy dork that you and your snot-nosed little buddies probably picked on in school. For the most part, that still stands to this day. I’m definitely not the picture-perfect definition of “The Cool Dude”, regardless of what others (Mike included) might mistakenly lead you to believe. The only real difference between me then, and me now, is that I’m a much older, and much fatter, balding dork (with bad knees) that has somehow made a “name” for himself by pecking out biting… yet, “incredibly insightful”… cuss-filled think-pieces. At the end of the day, the balding and the cussing are really the only differences between my past, and my present. I catch a lot of crap for speaking my mind in the way that I do. Or rather, I used to catch a lot of crap for it. Not so much anymore. You’d be amazed at what having a billowing bank account, an impressive job description, and a fancy-pants title will do for your overall reputation. Which I find hysterical, because it’s so hypocritical. One of the founding covenants of this fine nation of ours was “Freedom of Speech”. Apparently, you can only speak your mind in this f’n country, and really be respected for it, if you just so happen to have an impressive enough resume, and some cash burning a hole in your pocket. Otherwise, you’re on the outs. America. Go figure. When I was a kid, I couldn’t talk at all. I totally forgot to mention that part. Not only was I fat and nerdy; I was also cursed with a super-serious stuttering problem. Not like, “oh, the fat kid that stutters on occasion”. Nuh-uh. I’m talking like, I seriously couldn’t talk at all. It really, really sucked. One of my earliest childhood memories was sitting on a bus on my way home from kindergarten. We’re going way, way back in the day now. The bus driver was asking me a simple enough question: where did I live? So he could get my fat ass home, naturally enough. After all, that was his job, right? But, I couldn’t answer him. I seriously couldn’t do it. I could not manage to get even a single word out of my face. And he’s looking at me like, “Oh, God, this kid’s a special kinda stupid, ain’t he…? I really hate this job sometimes. Dammit…!” So, he took me right back to school. What else could he do…? And the poor school had to call my frantic mom, and explain to her what a damned idiot I was and all, and how I was gonna be such a hopeless loser in life. Your earliest memory is probably something really cool, like riding a bike or playing baseball or swimming or something. But my earliest memory is of me, being a f’n moron. And that was pretty much the story of my life for a long, long time. Fast forward to my freshman year of high school. All that same stuff, unfortunately, still totally applied. The fat, the nerdy, the stuttering, the whole shebang. Until one day. I actually remember it remarkably well. I can’t tell you the kid’s name. Truth is, he’s still a beloved and loyal friend to me, all these years later. But on that day, he was being a real prick. He was picking on me, of course, for stuttering. Most of my life, I had just quietly kept my mouth shut, and taken it straight up the butt. I couldn’t f’n talk, so what else was I supposed to do…? It’s not like I really had any options or anything. So basically, I was screwed. Until that day.  That day, everything changed. It was pretty awesome… My pops is a truck driver. Always has been. Runs in the family, in fact; his pops was a truck driver, too. Truckers, y’know… they can cuss it up. Sailors and bikers might be in the game, but truckers man… they’re winning at that shit. And of course, I was always surrounded by these bad, bad influences, just by palling around with my pops so much. They were some of the very best influences that I would ever have, as it turns out. But generally speaking, they’re still widely seen by the holier-than-though, bible-thumping, politically-correct, thought-policing general public as being pretty damned lowbrow. And that’s at the very, very best. That day, my whole life changed for the better. That kid picked the worst day ever to pick on my fat, nerdy ass. I stood right up, and pounded him right in the ojo. Poor bastard never saw it coming; probably didn’t think I even had it in me. Now, just to be clear here: I’m not condoning violence. Not one bit. This magazine is pacifist in nature, and all conflicts in an idealized, picture-perfect world would be far better handled by reasonable and empathetic discourse amongst respectably inclined, mature people. All I’m saying is that, sometimes, it’s in the eventual best interests of your victims… and it’s almost always in your immediate best interests, as the perpetrator… for you to stand up, kick some ass, and beat some “enlightenment” into the brains of a bully. That’s all I’m sayin’. Nothing more, and nothing less. So while I’m beating the utter craptasticness out of this poor bloke, I finally pulled my secret weapon out of my back pocket. No, it wasn’t a gun, or a knife, or brass knuckles; we handled stuff like real men back then, not like the pansy-pants wannabies of today. The secret weapons that I’m referring to here are all those years of listening to my dad’s buddies bullshit. Every cuss word that I’ve ever learned… and believe me, there were some pretty impressive ones, thanks to the spontaneous and boundless cussing creativity of your average truck driver… came straight out of my mouth, and fast-tracked into this dude’s ears. And dude really had no choice about it. Wasn’t much left of his head when I was done with him, besides his ears. In that moment, something magical happened. I stopped stuttering. Like, completely and permanently stopped stuttering. Suddenly, much to my immediate amazement, the words smoothly and effortlessly flowed right out of my mouth. Never missed a beat…! Punnyness intended, of course. The eventual solution to my stuttering problem wasn’t a decade’s worth of “speech therapy”. School administrators, of course, are really quick to employ such meaningless bureaucratic psychobabble to “solve these sorts of problems” with kids. That wasn’t the best medicine for me, obviously. But kicking some substantial ass sure was. And right then and there, I accomplished what years of “therapy” could never even dream of doing: I finally found the value of my own voice. Not, the value in talking. Talk is cheap, as the old cliché goes. But the value of speaking your own mind, in your own way, and on your own terms. And screw the whole damn world if they didn’t like it, or if they don’t approve of it. And believe me on this one, they most definitely did not approve of my suddenly liberating, trash-mouthing revelations. Damn near got suspended over them, actually. And my poor, poor mom. She’s never lived a day without disappointment ever since. My job here at The Magazine is so multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, that I could never give you a full synopsis in a quickie little intro. But, I can whittle it down to the pertinent core pretty quickly: my job at This Magazine, first and foremost, is to empower and embolden everybody else around me to speak their minds, in their own way, and on their own terms. It’s really that simple. Everything else that we do here at The Mag follows suit from the source of that basic premise. In the very same way that this magazine has made a continuing contribution to me, exercising my voice… and I, in turn, immediately gave our staff a platform from which to freely exercise theirs… ultimately, this magazine exists to help you discover and exercise yours. We’re just the mentor symbols in the equation. You, the readers, are the ultimate endgame. Just by being a skateboarder, of course, you’re off to a great start. Skateboarding is, without doubt, one of the best vehicles for self-exploration, self-discovery, and artistic expression ever conceived. It’s also an efficient and fun form of personal transportation for us to explore the finer nuances of the world that surrounds us. Of course, you know all this already. I just wanted to remind you of it, in case y’all have forgotten or something. Given skateboarding’s declining popularity right now, it seems that a whole lotta heads have forgotten this stuff. But, no worries. We’ll get to them, and set them straight eventually. But at the end of the day, we want to encourage, empower, and facilitate you, the reader, to step up, open your mouth, and speak your mind, on your own terms, and in your own way, both inside and outside of skateboarding. If we can do something to advance those aims and ends, then we’ve done one of our most important jobs. Without even having to kick a single ass along the way. Not in the literal sense, at least. In this month’s issue, we’ve cataloged, spotlighted, and celebrated a handful of skaters… everyday people, really, just like you and me… that have stepped up, spoken their minds, gone for the gusto, and made something unique and special happen. And in doing so, they have made some significantly huge contribution to skateboarding’s ethos, culture, community, and history. They’re the leaders of the moment. You’ll see. Just keep on turnin’ the virtual pages, buddy. So read the rest content, get what you can out of it (hopefully, it’ll be something inspiring)… and take the whole thing as tacit permission to go out, find your voice, follow their (or our) lead, and get ready to set the whole f’n world on fire. Because you’ve got it in ya. I know you do. Because I’ve been there, kid.   Bud StratfordFancy-Pants Title GuyConcrete Wave Magazine                 

Rider Profile: Diego Polito

Rider Profile: Diego Polito

Diego Polito is 27 and hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He’s been longboarding for 15 years and he combines the best of freeriding and street skating.

 

“I decided to live in California one year ago to ride the hills and to be near the best skateparks” says Diego. “I wanted to raise my skateboard level and learn to speak English.” Today Diego is part of the Abec 11 Wheels, Liquid Trucks and Jet Skateboards team. He developed his 41″pro model with Jet.

 

Backside noseblunt at Ocean Beach

Photo: Raphael Azevedo

 

Currently, Diego lives close to the Ocean Beach “Robb Field Skatepark.”  It is here where he usually shares sessions with his friends every morning.

 

“I started Longboarding in the hills and over time I’ve adapted to skateparks and streets where today I feel more at ease. Longboarding for me is more than a sport, it’s my lifestyle, where I can find my peace and fun.”

 

Diego says living in California is a dream, because here is where the big brands are, the best skateparks are located. “I also find many skaters that truly inspire me.”

 

He would like to thank God for all the blessings, his friends who share the sessions with me, his girlfriend and his family, Abec 11 Wheels, Liquid Trucks, Jet Skates, US Boards, Starhaze, and Wonk Clothing. “I truly appreciate all their support!” says Diego. “I can’t forget my family at Priority Longboard because they give me strength to be able to move on.”

 

 

LONGBOARD ALWAYS!