As some of you may be aware, I have recently decided to turn the editorial reigns of the magazine over to Bud Stratford. You can learn a little bit more about this decision in the fine print of our Summer 2017 edition (you can read online for free here)
This issue’s cover story is about my trip to Jamaica and it features Brady Brown on the cover. Brady is a local ripper who I met a number of years ago at the infamous Poop Chute here in Toronto.
It also features awesome artwork from Chris Dyer of positive creations.
I have decided to publish this issue on line right now because I wanted to ensure that EVERYONE was on the same page. Our subscribers and advertisers have their copies, but it takes time to trickle the mag out to the shops.I am still the publisher and will still have stories in the magazine, but our September issue will be the first for Bud as editor.
The time is now for new blood to direct and create a deeply inspiring vision for inclusion within skateboarding- that is where Bud and I agree 100%.Bud started skateboarding in the 80’s which means he has a perspective on things that are unique to mine.July 2017 marks 42 years rolling and tomorrow (June 30th) is the fiscal year end for CW.
The skate journey I started over 2 decades ago with the skategeezer homepage is about to take another “left turn in Albuquerque.”My sincere thanks to Wentzle Ruml IV Brady Brown Luis Bustamante and the SHRALPERS UNION for their support of this issue. This issue is dedicated to the people of Jamaica and in memory of Ty Page
Wishing you all high fives and positive vibes from Toronto, Ontario.
Stand by for a rather intriguing announcement coming soon.
Rayne Longboards and Origin Distribution Partner for Manufacturing and Worldwide Sales
SEATTLE, WA – June 26th, 2017: Origin Distribution and Rayne Longboards are proud to announce a new agreement under which all Rayne products will be manufactured and distributed worldwide out of the Origin Distribution warehouse and factory in Washington state. The partnership marks the beginning of a new chapter for both Rayne and Origin alike. Since being founded in 2004, Rayne has widely been known as an industry-leading innovator in board design. With Origin managing manufacturing and distribution, the Rayne team will be provided the opportunity to directly focus on the product innovation and progressive development that defines the brand. Moving warehousing to the US will offer better access for North American dealers, as well as the added convenience of online ordering utilizing the Origin b2b webstore infrastructure. The core management team at Rayne will remain intact and a physical location will be maintained in Vancouver for R&D to continue their long heritage of bringing radical new ideas to market. With the addition of the Rayne product line, Origin now offers one of the most robust longboard skateboard product selections available. Rayne is a complementary addition to a brand catalog that already includes DB Longboards, Cloud Ride Wheels, Atlas Truck Co and Predator Helmets. Origin will also now be offering Vicious Griptape to US customers. Rayne’s long history of product innovation, superior manufacturing and community support align perfectly with the goals of the Origin team and both parties are excited to move forward with a partnership rooted in these shared values. rayne.com origindistribution.com
Concrete Wave is heading down to the 40th anniversary party of the world-famous Kona Skatepark.We will have a full report in our September issue. Meanwhile, be sure to follow what we post on Instagram and Facebook. Jacksonville, here we come! Some awesome footage here:
Now available in 77a Clear Blue & 79a Clear Purple!
Brand new are Seismic’s crystal-clear shades of light blue and light purple Speed Vent wheel. Poured in their “Premium Clear” urethane and molded around their proprietary “EC Core”; these wheels are fast, sticky, and light!
The 77mm diameter gives it the roll speed of a downhill wheel, while the weight-saving core adds the quickness and agility of a smaller wheel, as well as enhanced rebound. The offset bearing placement and deep bell-shaped outer lip profile give this wheel amazing grip for hard carving and pumping! Go to Seismic Skate to learn more.
PHOTOS: CESCHINI GERSON ARRIVAL After about a 10 hour flight from JFK airport in New York City, I arrived in Rio de Janeiro a bit tired but more anxious because I was about to be part of one of downhill skatings most elite races. I am very fortunate to have a residence in the State of Rio in the beautiful mountain top city of Petropolis so I was able to rest a little before my drive to the city of Nova Lima. The 2017 APAC WC was only a five hour drive away through some of the most beautiful regions of Minas Gerais. Minas, as it is commonly referred , has a never ending landscape of hills and valleys covered in green fauna, palms and trees I would never be able to identify. Its beauty is only surpassed by its long winding roads, steep grades, long sweeps and short banking turns with deep drops, a paradise for any downhiller. As I neared closer, In the distance was what appeared to be the magical city of OZ was actually the bustling city of Belo Horizonte which is the neighboring city of Nova Lima which gave clue we had arrived.Kassy Jhones (center) takes in a run. CHECK-INWe checked in to the Alamanda Pousada which was recommended to everyone on the IDF- (International Downhill Federation) registration site by Matheus Felicio ( the IDF event organizer). Since this was my first event I could not believe that the accommodations were so top notch, I mean this place was beautiful. A large well manicured grounds with a pool and several semi natural stone fountains. I could go on about the Pousada but we are here for the race. Not long after check in I ran into Will Stephenson, currently ranked #3 in the world for DH luge, we had a brief discussion about the industry and agreed to meet for dinner with Ryan Farmer (ranked #1 for DH luge) and Jeff Suchy (ranked #5). Needless to say there was a lot of fast guys staying at the Alamanda. The finals with Guto Negão, Tiago Mohr and Silon Garcia. We all later met at a restaurant next door named Mata for drinks and dinner. They had live music and an open mic so after some more drinks and a few shots of Cachasa (a brazilian specialty) Ryan Farmer and myself were called to the stage to perform. Im told we did surprisingly well, however, i hope theres no video evidence. Its been a while since I performed. After that I called it a night, I needed to get my beauty sleep for the big day. I don’t have much beauty so i needed to get as much sleep as possible. REGISTRATION and QUALIFYINGThe following morning was registration day where everyone could get in some practice runs and get familiar with the hill. It was everthing Matheus Felicio said it would be; fast drops, fast sweeping turns and a very technical chicane at the finish surrounded by the beauty of Nova Lima, Brazil. The weather was a plus, beautiful blue skies and summer like conditions made for a unforgettable and most desirable experience for the awestruck athletes. As the athletes lined up to register, Federico Barbezio and Cyrille Harnay, aka Koma Kino, held court with Matheus Felicio to reiterate the rules and importance of respect on the hill while distributing transponders. I was certainly impressed with the professionalism and organizational skills of the event. Logos of sponsors were well draped along the chicane and other key sweeps, hay bails were neatly positioned, emergency care was on stand by, plenty of temporary bathroom facilities, local police maintained traffic safety and it was clearly obvious the city supported the event. Willian Rubim, Daniel Engel, Weyder and Nascimento Lourenço. The son of the Mayor of Nova Lima, Gabriel Pedrosa, was a huge factor in helping some last minute details. He provided landscapers to clear more spectator space, brought in city trucks to hose down and sweep the course, made a larger bus available for the athletes and stayed all 3 days for the event. It was a pleasure to befriend such an advocate of the skating community. As the athletes got their runs in you could feel the energy build as each run got better then the last. As old friends got reacquainted, new friendships were being forged. It didn’t matter if you were ranked #1 or a fist time competitor like myself, everyone seemed to be on the same plane just mixing it up and giving each other advice to get ready for qualifying runs. RACE DAYAfter all the niceties and politeness of qualifying day their was a sudden shift of consciousness. Just as fast as a skater can go down a hill the focus changed to the realization that this is a race and only the best would make it to the podium. So as the day commenced after some practice runs the real fun began. Everybody crowded to view the heat chart and the official races were on. As the day moved forward and races commenced each time the racers crossed the finish line the first two would advance and the other two would fall. The energy was palpable as each heat progressed towards the finals. Aaron Hampshire and Daina Banks FINALSAs expected, APAC would not disappoint with regards to excitement and drama. Some of the worlds best DH athletes such as Carlos Paixoa (BR), Thiago Lessa (BR), Aaron Hampshire (USA), Daniel Engel (USA), Daina Banks (USA) and Douglas Dalua Silva (BR) just to name a few were about to go head to head on one of Brazil’s most notable courses. In the end though, the Brazilians owned the day on their home turf but not without the Americans giving them a run for their money with a spectacular demonstration of competition. The final races for board and luge were equally exciting. It came down to the final bends at the chicane to decide the winners. Aaron Hampshire, Daina Banks, Yan Bertinati, Keenan McCartney, Jeremias Gasparotto, and Pepe Laporte In luge, Will Stephenson held the lead with Ryan Farmer closely drafting up to the winding chicane where he executed a brilliant maneuver to pass the powerful titan from Great Britain. It was hair raising to say the least. The finals for the women’s DH longboard was also equally exciting. Upon entry to the chicane Luana Campos and Melissa Brogni were neck and neck until Brogni took a tighter entry to the final bend to sweep the win. Having registered to compete for the Masters, I was not able to have an accurate account of this event or the Juniors, as I was suited up and at the top of the hill at the starting line. All results could be found on the IDF web page. The ladies division: 1st Melissa Brogni, 2nd Luana Campos, and 3rd Luana Chaves. MAIN EVENTThe final event of the day proved to be everything the spectators wanted. After taking the Qualifying rounds the final four would be the Brazilian armada; Thiago Lessa, Carlo Paixao, Pepe LaPorte and Douglas Dalua Silva. This race was nothing short of a hair raising drama right up to the finish line, it was absolutely incredible from the very start. Paixao and Dalua pulled a lead off the push until the sweeping drop at the top of the course where Lessa made his move after drafting and held the lead till the finish. It wasn’t until the famous chicane where the drama of who would place and show unfolded. At the entry of the chicane it was Lessa, Dalua, Paixao and LaPorte. Mid stream before the final hard left all riders drifted together very tightly, the roar of the crowd was testament to the excitement of the moment when suddenly in the final left, approximately 20 meters from the finish, Paixao brilliantly leaned left to pass Dalua followed by LaPorte who executed an amazing pre-drift allowing him to have enough speed to take third place. This was one of the tightest and most beautifully orchestrated demonstration of DH that I’ve ever seen and it was clear by the roar of the crowd that we all witnessed an incredible moment of DH sports history.Adriano Silveira was delighted with his performance! I was honored and humbled to be part of such an amazing event. There was such a positive vibe in the air for the entire event that no-one could deny it. This sport, while dangerous and extreme, separates itself from others by its incredible sense of comradery coupled with the spirit of intense competition. At the end of the day we were all arm in arm with big smiles celebrating for the victors and encouraging the others for the next event. I will never know what intangible force guided me to this community but I am grateful and fortunate to have been so lucky. Congratulations to all the athletes, the choice to compete is what makes us all winners.
Skateboarders generally aren’t seen by the public at large as “The College Types”. Being a skateboarder in college, I’m uniquely perturbed by this narrow-minded and short-sighted stereotype. So when I first sat down with Keegan Guizard, the founder of Collegiate Skate Tour, back in October of 2016, I was intrigued in his pioneering efforts to bridge the gap between skateboarding and higher education opportunities. It seemed like a sensible strategy to start shattering this glass ceiling that skaters have imposed on ourselves, and that society has saddled us with. Collegiate Skate Tour Founder, Keegan Guizard, speaking from experience. After seeing the level of ripping that went down on a rainy afternoon in Queens the following day, I was confident in CST’s ability to attract and share it’s message with skateboarding’s talented youth. After all, there is no better way to connect with skateboarders than through a sweaty skate sesh at the local spot (or park). However, the one aspect that I doubted to myself was the effectiveness of getting that pro-college message across in a hectic street-contest setting. In the middle of a chaotic skatepark jam session where making sure not to cross into anyone else’s line is taxing enough, I wondered if such an important message was falling on deaf, preoccupied ears. Launching one off the top deck This is precisely why I made myself available, on the day after I finished my last final exam of my junior year, to check out Collegiate Skate Tour’s return to New York. This was not a hectic street contest; this session was quite the opposite. In collaboration with the Harold Hunter Foundation, this event was held at the Keep Grinding workshop at the House of Vans. In doing so, my doubts about the effectiveness of this sort of program were soon eliminated. The ensuing presentation was not particularly substantial, in terms of covering every single aspect of preparing for higher education. The key here was that it was a rare presentation produced specifically for members of the skateboarding community, by skateboarders, to give a broader perspective of the possibilities that are out there, just waiting to be seized. No teachers. No academic advisors. No recruiters. It was simply a group of college-experienced skateboarders, trying to mentor other skateboarders through a few of the hurdles of getting a higher education. Locking into a crispy front blunt. By gathering skaters in an environment more conductive to lecturing, the message from Collegiate Skate Tour and from the Harold Hunter Foundation was demonstrated with greater specificity, and came across far more clearly than might be achieved in a typical skatepark setting. This session tackled leading (and widespread) concerns from skaters regarding the immediate challenges of preparing for college by explaining solutions like grants, scholarships, and loans. It stressed the need to exercise freedom of choice in the college setting, and encouraged skaters to drop classes and switch majors if they became undesirable (even if it’s not always a popular strategy). It told up-front, real-world stories about some skaters hating school, and not finding their desire to continue their education until long after dropping out. Last but not least, it provided hope in showing the examples of very real and tangible benefits that could only be achieved through a college experience. Some examples of “extracurricular college perks” included the freedom to tailor a class schedule around skateboarding, starting/joining clubs that aligned with personal interests, and meeting new people to go skate with; the goal here was to reinforce the reality that not every moment in college has to be spent studying, or preparing for the next exam. College delivers some real-world lifestyle and recreation benefits as well. The mantra for the night, according to Shut Skateboards’ Michael Cohen, was that “attitude is everything.” It’s everything in college, just as it’s everything in skateboarding. If you can imagine it, then you can do it. Then, as is typical of Collegiate Skate Tour events, an impressive amount of shredding went down after the workshop. Skaters are always ready to take on whatever challenges might lie ahead. CST merely puts “education” on the challenge radar of the everyday skater, and points them toward the path of personal success. Danny, as always, would like to extend his appreciation to Maya Minhas for editing his photos.
Electric skateboards keep cropping up on our radar with increasing frequency. We met up with another electric skate company by the name of Muun in Vancouver last week. They have created a modular kit to get those with electric dreams pretty psyched. There must be something in the air in Arizona college campuses as this marks the second company to tap into this market. As Sydnee Akers, the director of public relation explained, “we started with our three co-founders in a dorm room at Grand Canyon University. We had a dream of making any beloved longboard or skateboard into an electric board, while still coming in below all other electric longboard prices. We were tired of sitting idle in rush hour traffic and barely making the trek across campus to class on time. Looking for solutions, we were faced with two options: either pay for an overpriced product or build our own – one that surpasses our highest expectations without breaking the bank.” The company offers both a modular kit along with a Muun Voyager board which comes pre-installed with the powerful kit. The Muun Modular doesn’t require any modifications to your deck and can be installed in as little as 5 minutes by simply unscrewing your rear trucks and screwing on the electric unit. The patent-pending battery design allows you to “plug and play”. Each battery pack slides in and out with ease, with a unique locking mechanism that secures your battery into place. The portable battery packs include USB ports so you can quickly charge your electronic devices when you’re on the go. The unit also has regenerative braking. When you pull back on the remote, you come to a smooth and controlled stop while simultaneously recharging your battery every time you slow down. The unit can reach speeds of up to 20 MPH. A Kickstarter campaign is about to launch. Concrete Wave has been featuring electric skateboards for over a decade and we will continue to showcase this technology.
Sometimes, things don’t exactly go your way. Sometimes, things go even better than you could have ever hoped for. Or even, dreamed of. This was one of those rare weekend diversions that memories are made of.
I was not expecting this weekend to be “great”. Being a salary employee at a trucking company means lots of deviations, distractions, and unscheduled working days. Saturday was one of those days. Not that I mind at all… after all, my job is always pretty damn entertaining and enjoyable… but, it did wreak a bit of havoc with my travel plans for the weekend. Which it regularly does.
I was also pretty worn out. I’d been skating, touring, writing, photographing, and yakking a lot over the past month. I did need a bit of a break to rejuvenate and recharge. I decided that a quick trek over to Buckeye was just what the doctor ordered.
Buckeye does not have a “great” skatepark. I knew this already; I’d seen it before. It’s a bunch of steel prefab ramps on a concrete slab. Not that big of a deal at all. But, it does have a great camping facility in Buckeye Regional Park… a free facility with very sparse facilities, and as a result, very few camper-customers. But it does have as featured assets beautiful, wide-open skies; lots of stars; and fantastic panoramic views of the valley. It’s a fairly well-kept pseudo-secret. One that I profit from quite regularly. And it would allow me some downtime this weekend to play the “typical tourist”, to boot. A role I enjoy playing, and playing well, from time to time between skateboarding breaks.
Buckeye is a former farming community that has undergone a bit of a modern movement to become one of Phoenix’s burgeoning “bedroom communities”. Fields that once produced cotton, citrus, flowers, and alfalfa now sprout Middle-Class McMansions at an alarming rate. Many of these middling communities are queued up on either side of the I-10, a few miles north of midtown. But Buckeye Proper still retains the old-school main-street feel of many familiar farming towns; indeed, it reminded me quite a bit of rural Indiana. But in a much more arid, highly irrigated desert environment.
The Buckeye History Museum was fun. Small, but super friendly and informative. The lady manning the front counter was gabby as hell. She was probably just really lonely; it seemed like maybe this museum didn’t see too many visitors. Although it was centrally located on the “main drag”… ie, Maricopa Country Route 85… the reality is that the real “main drag” was the whizzing interstate to the far north of town. Buckeye, in the grand scheme of things, is a tiny diversion that most travelers would probably go well out of their way to avoid in their mad rush to get to Phoenix or Los Angeles. But the tale of the valley’s native Indian and transitory migrant past, and the stories of turn-of-the-century cotton farming (and the hardships and opportunities that came along with increasingly irrigated and industrialized agriculture) were all extremely fascinating. The museum was really well-done, for being such a small little facility. I was glad that I took the time to stop in.
The skatepark, on the other hand, was actually far worse than I expected it to be. There were lots of obstacles between the obstacles. Not like, “Oh look, a fun-to-skate obstacle!” More like, “Holy crap, I could seriously impale myself on that damn thing” sorts of “obstacles”. And then, there were skatewheel-sized expansion joints in the concrete slab that I only survived by bringing 92a 60mm Bullets with me for my outing; anything harder or smaller, and death would have laughed his ass off at my expense. The park was extremely hard to skate, to put it generously. But, y’know, it’s part of the job. I took a few runs to say I skated it, did a couple carves and grinds, and lived to tell y’all about it. I consider that a high achievement worth being pretty proud of.
Not only do I camp out at Buckeye Regional on a fairly regular basis, I’m also a bit of a caretaker when I’m there. By necessity, not necessarily by choice. Fact is, Buckeye Regional isn’t really “maintained” in the same manner as White Tank, Estrella, Lost Dutchman, or any of the other area parks are. The grills are almost never used, so they’re prone to severe rust. And the “landscaping” is completely ignored. My campsite for the evening was the same as they always are at Buckeye Regional: in dire need of a little TLC. So again, I spent my evening burning the dead branches of a Palo Verde tree (they’re great at keeping the flies at bay), and sanding, priming, painting, and seasoning the on-site grill before I made my dinner.
“My Dinner”, by the way, was delicious. You should be openly jealous. It included seasoned burgers with sharp swiss and cheddar cheeses, topped with my garlic and brown sugar BBQ marinade; spiral-cut sweet potatoes sprinkled and baked with butter, paprika, and parmesan cheese (among other secret spices); potato, macaroni, and corn and arugula salads; and a few tasty desserts brought by my friend Brooke, who graciously joined me for the sights and sounds of a brilliant evening out on the high desert. The campfire smelled sweet, the ghost stories were spectacularly spooky, and the stars were burning bold and bright. Camping and skateboarding, as it turns out, complement each other pretty well.
The next morning, I had woken up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to rock and resume my tourist-itinerary, which included exploring various airfields and abandonments in and around Buckeye that I had spotted in my travels the day before when… completely out of the blue wild yonder… I spotted one of those every-skater’s-dream-scenarios: a brand-new, perfectly clean and smooth drainage ditch complex under construction. Along with an isolated, unmanned, and unsecured construction site, complete with an easy-access road and all kinds of ample parking. No security, no hassles, no worries, and not a single problem… just a bunch of fun under the sun. And boy, was it ever the find of the year. Quite possibly, the find of a lifetime. And all because I went to document a crappy skatepark, and do a little bit of impromptu camping out in the middle of nowhere. Who woulda thunk that I’d stumble across my own little slice of heaven in the process…?
Kids everywhere, listen up: Dreams do come true. The adventures are definitely out there. They’re just waiting on somebody… anybody… to get up, get out, initiate the search, and discover them for themselves.
The only missing variable in this equation, is “you”.
My travels, generally speaking, are pretty solitary in nature. This weekend, however, was a rare exception. I met Mike Kitchen a couple months back at the SkaterCon event in Phoenix, where he was on hand to represent his sponsor, Millennium Skateboards. Being kindred skating souls in our mid-’40s that still live a very ’80s paradigm of skateboarding, we hit it off pretty famously right away. Ever since we met, Mike has made it a point to extend an assertively open invitation to me to come up to Lake Havasu City, skate a bit, and check out the local scene. Hearing that he would be leaving Arizona soon to spend his summer up in the Colorado Rockies, I cancelled my imminent plans to head off to Yuma and Southern California’s Imperial Valley, and fast-tracked my plans for a Northwest Arizona tour. An open invite, after all, is not something to be taken for granted or missed. Especially when it sounds like a heap-ton of fun. Mike and his lovely lady, April, live on BLM land just north of Lake Havasu City. Their site is about two miles down a sandy wash, in the heart of a jagged mountain range, where they work as campground hosts while whittling away their time doing odd jobs to keep up a steady income. They live a very simple, yet extremely adventurous lifestyle, one that I was quite keen on seeing and experiencing for myself. This would surely be a prime boondocking opportunity, and I spent the week getting my micro-camper scrubbed down, geared up, and ready for the great unknown ahead of me. As always, Atlas Obscura and Roadside America offered a whole host of deliciously eccentric deviations for me and my wandering eyes to check out along the way, while Concrete Disciples shaped and shored up my skatepark search. While I was planning my round-robin trip, I decided to add the skateparks in Bagdad, Kingman, and Bullhead City to my overly-ambitious itinerary. If I’m gonna spend a weekend traveling all over the sparse northwest corner of the state, I might as well get everything I want to accomplish done in one efficient swoop. As you can see, my itinerary for this trip was stacked up pretty tightly. There was barely a moment left unscheduled and unaccounted for. From the moment that I left my house at daybreak (5am) on Saturday morning, I had a whole host of strange places to go, interesting things to see, and obscure oddities to document. In that regard, it was just like many of my more recent expeditions. At the same time, these journeys are always full of all sorts of surprises. You just never know what you’re going to stumble into along the way, no matter how obsessively-compulsively pre-planned your trip may be. I’m staring bright-eyed at the prisoner sitting squat on the ground in front of me. The prisoner, on the other hand, is leaning heavily on his arm, staring back at me with dull, glassy eyes that suggest a long night of drunken hijinks might have precipitated his impromptu incarceration. He seems to be suffering from a hangover, coupled with a heaping helping of dismayed confusion. He’s not a real person, of course; he’s a mannequin dressed up in jail-stripe prison overclothes. But he’s a very convincing mannequin, and an unusually creepy one at that. Two feet away, there’s a steel pole with a bright green button that’s just begging to be pressed. I’m a skateboarder. I like to press buttons. So, I slowly and steadily reach across and give it a decisive poke. The mannequin startles me right out of my skin by suddenly speaking, his voice amplified by his fiberglass form. His easygoing drawl, however, is strangely disarming. The Jail Tree is far more urban legend and lore than it is an accurate historical recording. The story goes that, in the haste of Wickenburg’s sudden and spontaneous growth as a mining claim, they just didn’t have the time, the energy, or the resources to build a “proper” jail. Other priorities came first, and robbing the land of its various riches was definitely Priority Number One. Shackling arrestees to this mighty lump of a mesquite tree did the duty perfectly well for the town’s immediate purposes, the serendipitous by-product being a not-so-subtle, overtly public display of what would happen to certain segments of the populace if they decided to step anywhere out of line. Wickenburg is not widely known for harboring successful criminal contingents; the rule of law stands pretty solidly ’round these parts. After seeing The Jail Tree for myself, it’s pretty easy to see why that might be the case. Giant Spurs sculpture, just north of Wickenburg, Arizona. Saturday, May 13th, 2017 Bagdad Skatepark. Saturday, May 13th, 2017 Bagdad is a company town. The large mining interests of Freeport McMoran seem to own everything around here. They are, after all, the town’s largest employer and benefactor. It’s not a big town by any means, and it’s about twenty solid miles off the beaten path. The only way in and out is over a windy road traumatized by extremely hazardous twists, turns, hips, dips, and blind corners. The scenery is heavenly, but the drive is pure hell every single foot of the way. The skatepark looked great from Google Earth. They always do. It even looked great through the tall steel fence and the chained-and-padlocked gate. Across the way, I could see a playground standing idle, yet inviting. “There must be a way in there, somehow”, I thought to myself; and I was dead set and determined to find that way. A determined human is, after all, a fierce animal. A few doors down, somebody had left an entrance gate swinging wide open. My good fortune really does astound me sometimes. I ran back to the car as fast as I could, grabbed my board, and lunged straight for the skatepark. Oh, God. This place, wow. The transitions were… how do I put this nicely? “Definitely abrupt” might be fitting; “Absolute Torture” would be far more accurate. Things do not always skate as they seem, and this was Exhibit A of my unfortunate reality. There were two small nipples right in the way of my line that seemed to serve no functional purpose whatsoever, above and beyond making my life far worse than it already was. And then we had “The Quarterpipe Of Certain Death”, made far more lethal by the jagged razor-blade pebbles strewn around the base. I did manage to land a few grinds, and boy, did I ever feel accomplished for having done so. Bagdad is a company town, sure enough. And just like those lucky miners that manage to make it to retirement, I was happy as hell to make it out of there alive. Abandonment at US 93 and AZ 71, north of Wickenburg, Arizona Nothing, Arizona. “Population: 4, Chicas: 2”. Saturday, May 13th, 2017 At the Wikieup Trading Post Jail. Saturday, May 13th, 2017 Snoopy on a Rocket, Wikieup, Arizona. Saturday, May 13th, 2017 Kingman, Arizona started life as a humble railroad siding named Beale’s Springs. This simple city subsequently grew and expanded due to two entirely unpredictable circumstances that could have never been imagined when it was founded in 1883: the certification and construction of Route 66, and the outbreak of World War II. Both brought a glut of infrastructure and humanity into to the area between the 1930’s and 1950’s; Kingman Army Airfield alone trained well over 35,000 aerial gunners during the wartime effort. Route 66 was how the government got them here, and Route 66 is how the Army Air Forces got them to the coasts, so they could ship straight to the front lines to do battle with Hitler and Hirohito. After the war, Kingman AAF became a Reconstruction Finance Corporation center, tasked with storing, selling, and ultimately scrapping entire air forces of obsolete Army Air Corps bombers; 5500 airplanes met their final fates at Kingman, most of them being ingloriously smelted down into raw aluminum ingots by fires that raged 24 hours a day. There used to be a small museum here dedicated to Kingman’s invaluable contributions to the war effort, but that museum is no more. A victim of public funding woes, a far-off-the-beaten-path location, and a general indifference towards such obscure historical tidbits (or even American History in general), the sole World War II remnant that survives at Kingman Airport is the original control tower, built in 1942 to handle Kingman’s burgeoning military air traffic. The railroads and Route 66, however, are still the toasts of the town. There are historical spaces and places all over the city that have been lovingly preserved and restored to tell the tall tales, and there are several museums right in the heart of downtown to further educate and enlighten anybody that has an interest in the area’s past. It’s even possible to drive a long-forgotten and bypassed remnant of the original National Old Trails Route, the precursor to Route 66. Yes, it’s a narrow and harrowing drive along a sheer cliff that dead-ends at a former raceway, but it’s also a rare experience that illustrates just how unsophisticated (and unsafe) those old roads really were. The El Trovatore Motel’s restored neon, gloriously beckoning a new generation of Route 66 fans and aficionados. Saturday, May 13th, 2017 An abandoned raceway still (barely) stands at the end of the National Old Trails Highway, just southwest of Kingman, Arizona. The Powerhouse Visitors Center and Route 66 Museum, Kingman, Arizona. Mural detail at The Powerhouse Visitors Center and Route 66 Museum, Kingman, Arizona Classic car show on Route 66 at Locomotive Park, Kingman, Arizona. The Kingman skatepark, however, left a hell of a lot to be desired. It looks as if it was designed fairly competently… you can clearly see some real potential here in the overall layout… but somebody, somewhere, seriously dropped the ball on the execution and the construction. It seems like it was poured and trowled by rank amateurs that knew little to nothing about the finer points of skatepark construction, let alone skateboarding. I’d be hard pressed to think of a bigger kink-sink anywhere in the world; I’ve certainly never skated anything quite this quirky in all my time as a touring skater. The quirky art-enclave of Chloride, Arizona. “In science, chloride is an ion used to desalinate seawater into drinking water. Which is ironic, because the Arizona town of the same name is incredibly dry. Founded in 1862 as a silver mining town, Chloride was once home to some 75 mines and 5,000 residents. The local miners excavated minerals like silver, gold, and turquoise for over six decades, until in the late 1920s when the town was burnt to the ground in its (near) entirety. By the 1940s, it had practically become a ghost town. Now Chloride is making a comeback, thanks to tourism. With new attractions like mock gunfights, Arizona’s oldest post office, and “The World’s Only All-Female Gun Fighting Troupe”, the town is a chance to walk through an original Wild West town. Yet amid all this, the two most unique characteristics of Chloride often go unnoticed. The bizarre junk art of Chloride can easily be seen along the roadside of the non-historic part of town. Drivers can admire a flamingo made of a gas tank, a tin man with a blue hat, and a junk tree with rusty items hanging from the branches. The graves in the town cemetery are even topped with old telephones. In fact, of the 20 currently-inhabited residences of Chloride, each of them features some display of junk art. One house, for example, features an elaborate bottle tree; another displays a metallic spider next to a caterpillar made of bowling balls. Harder to reach, yet equally worth the visit, are the Murals of Chloride. A 1.3-mile, 4-wheel-drive-only road past abandoned mines and ancient Native American petroglyphs will take you up the hill to the murals of Roy Purcell, who, in 1966, was a local prospector with some extra time on his hands. Not yet showing the signs of weathering, Purcell’s “The Journey” covers 2,000 square feet of cliffside granite and is dense in symbolism, featuring a yin yang, a giant red snake spanning multiple rocks, and a fertility goddess.” – From Atlas Obscura The Murals of Chloride (top), and detail (above). Chloride, Arizona. Santa Claus, Arizona. Founded in 1937 by land speculator Nina Talbot and her husband, the unlikely roadside relic of Santa Claus, Arizona was the focal point of the couple’s strategy to entice forward-thinking investors to purchase lots out in the distant desert. Unfortunately, the tourist spot’s close proximity to absolutely nothing at all and the scalding summertime highs probably did more than anything else to insure its eventual demise. Even the relative success of the Duncan Hines- and Jane Russel-endorsed Santa Claus Inn could not stop the inevitable downward spiral; Santa Claus was sold in 1949, and was well on its way to ghost-town status by the early 1970s. The long-abandoned and nearly forgotten remnants of a land speculator’s dream investment, these empty shells still stubbornly stand twelve miles north of Kingman on the southbound side of US 93. “Poki, the World’s Largest desert Tortoise”. Bullhead City, Arizona. The Lil’ Red Schoolhouse, erected in 1946 and currently residing at the Bullhead Community Park, Bullhead City, Arizona. Oh, dear… Here, we have the third total blow of the day, the Bullhead City Skatepark. Another built-by-total-amateurs misconstruction masterpiece, this one featured flaking concrete that was peeling off the walls of the bowls in big chunks, and settling into the flatbottom, creating all sorts of unexpected hazards. You can see the rudimentary (but ineffective) attempt at patchwork in the photos. This might well be one of the worst skateparks that I’ve ever attempted to skate in my entire life. Because of the lackluster quality (to put it mildly) of the Bagdad, Kingman, and Bullhead City skateparks, I managed to arrive in Lake Havasu City well before my scheduled 7 pm rendezvous with Mike and April. That allowed me to take a quick catnap before they arrived to escort me to their campsite far out on the northeastern edge of town. On the way to the site, we spotted several Mojave Green rattlesnakes crisscrossing the primitive road, and stopped to watch one of them rattle off a fair warning from beneath a bush (from the safety of our vehicles, of course). The evening was spent relaxing in outdoor easy chairs, reminiscing about skateboarding’s heydays, and the various misadventures that we’ve enjoyed all along the way. Sunday started at a local breakfast boutique named Rusty’s, where we tanked up on omelets, pancakes, Cokes, and coffee before making our way over to Beachcombers to fine-tune our boards a bit before we began the day’s skating adventures. Mike had a few seized bearings that he had to break free and lube, which gave me the time and the initiative to give my rolling stock a thorough clean-and-lube as well. Beachcombers was a surprisingly welcoming and well-stocked skate shop that shared its ample retail space with water skis, life jackets, kayaks, scooters, surf trunks, bikinis, and a whole host of miscellaneous “beachy” offerings. With our rides rolling smoothly, we made our way over to the first skate spot of the day. Tillman Memorial Skatepark in Lake Havasu City is, as Mike put it so simply, “The sort of skatepark that’s built for pros to skate”. It’s massively huge and extremely impressive to be sure, but the one thing that it’s not is particularly “fun” for the average, ho-hum, run-of-the-mill, middle-aged skater. Everything in this park is super-sized to the max, so it’s definitely not the sort of place for easygoing guys like us to chill, relax, and enjoy the simpler pleasures of skateboarding. The view of the lake, however, was absolutely outstanding; we did spend some quality hanging time hanging at the beach before we made our way to the next spot on Mike’s to-skate list. London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Because it’s shoehorned between a backdrop of high mountain ranges and the low-lying Colorado River Valley, Lake Havasu City is blessed with a bevy of drainage ditches that serve to re-route floodwaters harmlessly around and through the city during the infrequent (but potentially severe) monsoon rains that blow in throughout the fall. Exploring these ditches was the itinerary for the day, in lieu of killing ourselves at that monstrosity of a skatepark. The ditches were pretty manly, as it turns out, but at least we didn’t have to deal with any scooter kids at the ditches. That was a definite bonus. Mike checks out the harsh transitions of our first ditch of the day. The second find, just up the street from the first. Hot damn! The third ditch of the day was a real charm, complete with hips and roll-in channels. Mike casually carves a speedy line while grabbing a rail to hold onto. This mellow masterpiece might have been the best of them all. Mike scoops up a beauty of a bean plant for the amateur photojournalist in me. Mike and April really know how to win over a traveling skater. Food (and lots of it) pretty much wins every single time. That evening, before I hit the road for home, April made a Chicken Alfredo (from scratch) that completely knocked my shoes off. It smelled delicious just relaxing in their camper, which was sheer torture. Mike and I were seriously starvin’ after a long day of tossing ourselves around on harsh transitions and splatting our old bones onto the flatbottom; after a long afternoon of self-abuse, that Alfredo was a real smell and sight for sore eyes and empty stomachs. That dinner was the best dinner I’ve had on the road yet. If Mike and April ever invite you to dinner, don’t be stupid. Go…! I really didn’t want to leave, but I had a warm bed and an idle computer at home, patiently waiting for me to return. Even though the skateparks along the way ranged between mostly-to-entirely unskatable (for a variety of reasons), thanks to Mike and April’s hospitality and sense of adventure, the overall trip ended up being a real success story. When the going gets insurmountable, skaters start searching for alternatives. Thankfully, Lake Havasu’s geography has a lot of hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered. On my way out of town, I spotted another half-dozen (or so) ditches that we didn’t even see in our initial search-and-destroy mission. If you decide to take a road trip to check it all out for yourself, bring along a broom, a shovel, and a pair of bolt cutters; they’ll serve you well in your skate explorations. Until next time, travel safe, travel well… and by all means, travel often.
I recall meeting up with the man who started up Skullcandy a few years ago. Skullcandy’s logo borrowed heavily from Skull Skates but they wound up disrupting the earphone market. Last fall, Skullcandy got bought by another company for $197 million. The headphone market is definitely a big deal! Today I received an email about a new company that has come up with another take on headphones. They are called Unit 1. Take a peek at what they look like.While most folks on the snow would appreciate this unique helmet/headset combo, there’s no doubt there is a fit for skating. But, remember to be careful. You gotta be able to hear the cars too!The wireless headphones dock in and out of the helmet for separate use (so great for anyone with iOS jack issues). The unit has a super simple one button and dial control that work with thick gloves. Thismeans you can pause, skip tracks and take calls without having to fiddle about Indigogo campaign is in full effect.
While there might be big news regarding the Paris Accord, in the world of skateboarding, Loaded Boards and Paris Trucks are pleased to announce that Loaded has taken over global distribution for Paris Trucks.
Loaded states they’ve had a strong friendship with (Paris Truck owner) Joey Pulsifer for 10 years now and have always believed in Paris products and in Paris as a brand.
Loaded Boards is now providing Paris product to specialty shops and distributors worldwide via its Culver City, CA headquarters.
Paris Trucks will continue to oversee all product development and marketing of Paris products. Paris’ Pulsifer pontificates: “The future is looking bright for Paris Trucks, and we’re stoked to be working with our longtime friends and awesome people at Loaded.”