The story of how I discovered the Morro Bay Skateboarding Museum may be one of the most odd coincidences I’ve experienced in my skateboarding career, so far. Picture this: You’re on a family vacation in California for first time, up in Vacaville. Your mom decides to go to the hotel pool for the night, and ends up meeting some new friends. They get to talking about their sons and about their shared interests in skateboarding. Lo and behold, the new friend says “If you’re headed down the coast, you gotta check out the skate museum in Morro Bay!” Jackpot. Thanks mom. As I came further down the coast, I reached out to Concrete Wave and arranged a visit to the museum with Owner and 1978 Skate Car World Champion, Jack Smith. Before long, I found myself inside the walls of the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum as co-curator Eric Torhorst showed off a Hobie Fiber Flex from the 70’s, to a father who beamed with memories of that same setup he once owned. Eric Torhorst Over the next hour or so, Torhorst walked me through a visual representation of skateboarding’s history from both Smith’s personal collection, started in the 1980s, and beyond. In fact, the beginnings of Terhorst’s tour discussed how the most primitive boards stemmed from the Great Depression and WWII era mindsets of conserving and doing the most with whatever was available at the time. This would explain the museums earliest, metal wheeled contraptions, slapped together with any roller skate pieces that made sense at the time. And as our conversation moved from floor-scuffing clay wheels to urethane wheels that were originally labeled as rejects in a factory, I found out about more minute details in skateboarding’ history than I knew existed.Owner of the museum and skate legend – Jack Smith We then looked into sets of original color-coded Cadillac Wheels of the 1970s according to their durometers and learned how original ball bearings were taken from an office copy machine. With each piece of the more modern skateboard coming together, Terhorst’s claim that skateboarding’s early racing collectives and the drive to go as fast as humanly possible is skateboarding’s true backbone. From the echoes of the trophies and medals in surrounding display cases and the boards developed to win them, he makes an undeniably valid point. While I will not give away all of the museum’s nooks and crannies, it is important to note what Smith and Terhorst had to say about the role of the museum and skateboard history as a whole in today’s times. To touch on this, I asked the pair each what they thought of a passage in my current read, Iain Borden’s Skateboarding, Space and the City. In the book, Borden says “In particular, as with many young adults, skateboarders have little sense of history, and indeed see ignorance of the past as something to be proud of in their celebration of themselves as a ‘pure beginning.” In Smith’s eyes, this “has to do with the fact that everything happens and changes so quickly in today’s internet driven world. It seems as if there is no time for self-introspection or to study the history of the sport/lifestyle that you are pursuing. It’s all about what is the newest trick, the newest spot, who is riding for who or what the next event is.” In turn, Terhorst responded by stating that kids today want to make things their own to foster sense of entitlement. Citing examples of how the names of old 360 Kickflips and one foot ollies have been hijacked and forgotten in the faces of tre flips and ollie norths, he makes another solid point. A point that has even been echoed by the likes of Steve Caballero.Trophies from skate events “So many skateboarders think skateboarding started five years before they began riding. We see it all the time in the museum. Young skaters will look at steel and clay-wheeled boards from the 1960s and comment ‘I wouldn’t have ridden that.’ We explain to them that’s all there was and share the type of riding that skaters were capable of back then” added Smith. And while the pair of historians try to find new ways to introduce skateboarders to different disciplines, different ways to have fun on the board, and even to get skateboarders interested in learning skate history general, it is clear that the challenge is formidable. However, equally as clear is the exceptional manner in which the Morro Bay Skateboarding Museum wages this war to those who pass by it on the street. For a small part of their day, the people I saw walk in during my time there seemed mystified at the sprawling display before them. Who would have thought there was so much history behind that guy who looks too old to be riding that noisy old board down the street anyway? Perhaps not enough of us. This is why I encourage those crammed in their cars for trips down the Pacific Coast to stretch their legs out and make a detour through Morro Bay. If you’re not going on a trip anytime soon, take a peek at their Instagram and get a taste from there. Odds are, you could learn something that may shift your perception on modern day skateboarding. For more info, click here PS: Thanks again for this one, Mom.
The oceanside community of Asbury Park, New Jersey has endured a roller coaster of ups and downs in terms of development and prominence for the town’s economic and cultural livelihood over the past couple of centuries. Most strongly effected throughout this period has been the town’s skateboarding scene.
At its peak, the 90’s are remembered as a time of international recognition from the skateboarding world, centered around Asbury Park’s Casino Skatepark. The park’s vert ramp, bowl and street section, in addition to the local Deal Lake Motel Pool, drew skateboarders and publicity from all over the world. Despite a decent run after Casino Skatepark closed down, the Deal Lake Pool eventually went under as well. Though the 2010 opening of Woodshop Skateshop tried to breathe new life into a waning scene, its demise led to another blackout for Asbury Park’s culture.
As of late, however, a complete resurgence has overtaken the town’s skateboarding scene at the hands of Forth Union. The collective formed as a testament to the town’s longstanding skateboarding heritage and seeks to rejuvenate the related artistic, musical and communal components that once made the boardwalk thrive. In devising the proper title for this fusion, artist Tim Ziegler explained “Generally speaking, the arts, be it music, photography, or fine arts, are constantly trying to push the envelope of expression, and build off of the foundation of the previous generation. Skaters work in much the same way, pushing each other to go bigger, and constantly come up with more inventive tricks and runs. So I chose “Forth” to convey their shared sense of movement and boundary pushing and “Union” to reinforce their coming together in one space.”
Forth Union’s efforts took root last year as they worked in conjunction with Redbull to renovate the famed Carousel into an interim space for the thrashing to resume. Now, a collection of banks, quarterpipes, stairs and, of course, Jersey Barriers surround a perfectly placed mini bowl that is attracting industry attention to Asbury Park, once again. This support will culminate in a grand opening set for Spring 2017 that will unite food trucks, retailers and skateboarders alike.
In the mean time, Forth Union will continue their work with some of skateboarding’s most noble nonprofits, including A.Skate and Boards for Bros, and will continue pushing for a free public skatepark in Asbury Park. Forth Union is also hosting a rad competition at the park next month which you can check out below:
The Mellow team that makes the e-drive that turns any longboard into an electric skateboard headed to the infamous local ditch. They brought a BBQ to relax with friends and see if they could ride an old spot in new ways.
The crew met on an unusually sunny Sunday in Hamburg, Germany to go Mellowboarding. The ditch can be a little wet and a somewhat smelly place. They had played around in it early on with their Kickstarter prototypes but this was the first time they were back with so many of the final versions and the whole crew to ride their creation!
They had attempted sections of the spot in the past, but this time the ditch was dry enough to ride the whole zone. There is a metal sheet that serves as a bridge over the center stream that never really dries up due to the systematic water evacuation. The boards eventually got wet but that is of little worry to the water-resistant (IP65) Mellow. Suddenly, they were seeing lines that had only been joked about during the last visits. The crew turned up the speed and the style with every try. Flying up the banked walls and cutting a turn felt like a snowboard slash on a mountain or corning the banks gave you the sensation of catching a massive wave. The ride was endless. They covered the boards in mud that smelt a little like dead fish.
After cleaning the decks back at headquarters with that feeling of a first descent or discovering a new surf spot, they knew this was the beginning of something awesome. Visit mellowboards.com
Brad Edwards was a longboard pioneer, artist and a most excellent human being. His smile, grace and total stoke for skateboarding is something that I will never forget. Over the past 2 decades or so, I’ve met up with Brad on a dozen occasions. His family and friends who spent more time with him (than I ever could) know that Brad had a large heart. Ten years ago, Gravity Skateboards released FLOW – it’s still one of the best videos out there and way ahead of its time. A video from 2013 where Brad shares a little bit of his skate philosophy. Concrete Wave was proud to give Brad not one, but FOUR covers. With Mr. Tibbs – just over a year ago. Some thoughts from Facebook:FROM BILL BILLINGDevastated.
Brad was one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met.
At the beginning of the year when we did a gofundme to get the Old Bro ramp back in shape, all that money went to materials and Brad. He did all the labor. He was completely professional and showed up for work on time every day as if he was punching a clock. He cleaned up every day and when the money ran out, I had to turn him away. He insisted on doing more saying I paid him too much. I didn’t.
I’ve only known a few people who loved to skate as much as Brad, and he did it with more style than most of us could ever dream of.
A few weeks ago he had agreed to go to Egypt with me next month, to ride his skateboard. He was totally stoked on it and I knew we were going to have an amazing time. There is a big hole in skateboarding today and there is a hole in my heart. RIP my friend, you will be so missed. FROM ROBBIE LYONS
Not only did the skateboarding world lose a legend today, but the world lost an amazing person. Brad Edwards, it was an honor to work and skate with you for so many years, and to call you a good friend. I will never forget the fun times and great memories we shared.
You will surely be missed by people all over the world, and your legacy will continue to inspire so many. You were more than an inspiration to me, you taught me so much about skateboarding and about life at such a critical part in my existence and my gratitude for you will forever be owed.
RIP to one of the coolest, most humble, down to earth people I will ever know. He’s up there with Shane now, shredding all that heaven has to offer. Until we meet again one day, thank you Brad, for everything.
Geoff Edwards – Brad’s brother
Thank you all for your prayers and kind thoughts over past few days.
As many of you know Brad recently suffered a significant brain hemorrhage and stroke, and while he initially made a miraculous recovery and we thought he was well in his way to a full recovery, however, his condition rapidly deteriorated and he was unable to overcome the damage to his brain. It is with profound sorrow and broken hearts that we that we have to tell you all we had to say goodbye to Brad…
We know this news comes as a shock to all of you and be devastating to many of you that he called his family and friends, as it has been for us. Brad will obviously be missed by his extended family and freinds he has made all around the world, we all wish he was still with us ready to skate that next pool, bowl, and ditch…
For those that aren’t familiar with Brad’s entire story or least an abbreviated version, Brad was born in 1969 in Framingham, Massachusetts, and lived in Holliston, MA until our family moved to California the day after Christmas in 1972, which Brad thought was great because we had two Christmases that year (one on each coast). Brad grew up in the sleepy little town of Agoura, CA, and started skateboarding at the age four. Brad was always extremely active and involved in outdoor activities like soccer, cross country running, surfing and of course skateboarding. Brad graduated from Agoura High in 1987 and attended Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
Brad literally traveled the world skateboarding, surfing, and working for Gravity Skateboards for many years. Recently he has been involved a building skatepark in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Brad is survived by his brother Geoff and his wife Teri, sister Alison and her husband Tom and his five nieces and nephews (Zach, Jeremy, Peri, Wes and Tess), who affectionally called him “Uncle Rad”.
Details on memorial services will shared with all at a later date. We ask that in lieu of flowers or cards, if you would like to honor Brad’s memory you make a donation in his name to Saint Francis Hospital who provided world class medical care to Brad during his brief battle (details to follow).
As many of you know Brad was always a giver and as his final gift to the world was that he donated his organs that will potentially save the lives of 8 people, and tissue that will benefit as many as 75 additional people.
If Brad were still with us, we are sure he would want the lesson of his life to be, “Be good to each other, and make someone smile today through some small act of kindness, or even a smile”. And he would say the lesson from his death is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis and take care of yourselves and each other.
Brad is off on the next leg of his journey to join his parents (Nancy and Paul), and all his friends and family that preceded him, and I’m sure looking forward to the endless perfect wave, and the ultimate skatepark!
We already miss you immensely, but until we meet again skate on little brother, skate on!
To many in this complicated era of skateboarding we find ourselves in, technology and skateboarding are like oil and water. On one hand, the old school diehards and their loyal descendants seek to protect skateboarding subculture through an outspoken rejection of current technologically driven trends. With this, topics of rejection include everything from shooting in HD, releasing shorter bouts of footage and, perhaps most hotly contested: being an active presence on Youtube.
On the other side, we see a more slaphappy group of younger skaters who see no harm in mixing in some skate clips to a 10+ minute video of themselves vlogging. While either side is still every bit acceptable, perhaps a more interesting position to consider would be the middle. In this tech inclined vs sub-culturally protective dispute, a group of absolute rippers exist that serve as the case study for a balance between using Youtube to their advantage while backing up the strategy with seemingly casual and creatively empowered skateboarding. The homies in this group are the guys of Majer Skateboards.
To those not a part or of the Majer’s massive Youtube following of over half a million subscribers or who have somehow missed some of their wildly viral creations, the following video should give you an idea of the caliber of skateboarding and style of video that Majer puts out on the regular.
To shed some light on the years before this video dropped, we have to start the story back in Chicago in the months before brothers Eddie Gonzalez (aka Freddy Kruger in the above video) and Jacob Gonzalez would move to Texas. Then, he was regular skating at the Warp Skatepark with local ripper and future pro, Chaz Ortiz. By the time the pair were in South Texas, Eddie began tearing it up with, now teammate, Rick Molina while Jacob began linking up with one of skateboarding’s most underrated Am’s, Mikey Whitehouse. Adding their cousin, Angel Ramirez to the mix, the acrostic-dubbed MAJER crew was born on a trek home from the skatepark one night.
As we start to get the gist of the Majer crew’s tone, allow me to fill in the gaps regarding what exactly makes them different from the other skateboard-centric content creators on Youtube. From a content perspective, their videos are consistently over the 10 minute mark, as with most other Youtube content creators today, so as to double their ad revenue. However, that time is predominantly filled with skateboarding, straight through. And often technically unheard of skateboarding at that. Their videos typically take the form of a Battle Royale between teammates, a street mission or, most frequently, a refreshing perspective on the flat ground game of S.K.A.T.E. As filmer Jacob Gonzalez puts it, these videos are some of the easiest to come up with and film, considering they are the warmup of choice for the crew. In these clips, you might find Mikey Whitehouse pulling some ridiculous body varial out of his unending bag of tricks or see 10 year old JP Garcia progressing far beyond his years. Unconcerned with winning or losing, JP says the influence of his older crew is a huge help to his progression. Not for nothing, but we’ve seen him hold his own and get some letters on some of the eldest members of the crew too.
While these sorts of videos are common with other skate-centric Youtube channels that have been dubbed as “kooky” by many, filmer Jacob Gonzalez’s take on their position justifies the difference. “We want to be seen as hardcore skaters” he said, in contrast to the more kid-friendly tone that such other channels strive for. That being said, the quality of skating in their videos is far from kooky and is rivaled to the footage some of the today’s top Pro’s.
However, it is still important to note that his brother, Eddie Gonzalez credits such pioneers of Youtube’s skateboarding presence, including the hugely successful, Andy Schrock, to Majer’s success. In addition to having Schrock and a host of other popular Youtube content creators pop up in their videos over the years, Majer is similarly in the arena of competing for views within Youtube’s ever-changing algorithm. To wage this war, they too have claimed use of “clickbait” titles to lure viewers. In fact, it was their original Halloween-themed edit titled “Lil Wayne Skateboarding” that Eddie Gonzalez claims launched them to their first bout of national recognition. Where the Majer crew excels, as articulated by Eddie Gonzalez, is the way they back their titles up. Even though you may not see the real Lil Wayne skateboarding, you’ll see the guy dressed as him bust out a huge kick flip footplant in the midst of mind blowing NBDs and creative approaches to skatepark setups.
As it currently stands, though, Majer’s future was best summed up in our interview with brother, Jacob Gonzalez. In their quest for legitimacy in the eyes of the skateboarding community and independence from the confines of Youtube, Majer Skateboards is actively carving their own path. To longstanding supporters, the “Majer Crew” only recently adopted the moniker of Majer Skateboards recently, after beginning their sale of decks. Also new to the Majer Skateboards agenda is the deadline for their first full length video. Editing it along the way, only 2-3 months of filming remain before they drop it in the street skateboarding’s house of dreams, The Berrics. With the humbling support of Steve Berra, the group is set to move another step closer to their goal of legitimacy by being able to add a “real” skate video, as put by Gonzalez, to their rap sheet.
Of course with new territory will come new challenges for the young crew. Among these obstacles is the balance between stacking clips in the streets for the full length while still producing content for their Youtube following at the skatepark. This comes coupled with the unfolding battle of the amateur team getting older and requiring to spend more time on real life responsibilities. Well, perhaps the only one immune to this one at the moment is 10 year old JP Garcia. As I made sure he had time for my interview, Garcia, over a bowl of cereal, advised me he had all the time in the time in the world. After a recent trip to the “heaven on earth” of Camp Woodward PA, he told me that the opportunities he’s enjoyed in skateboarding have feel like a blessing and clearly shows no signs of slowing down for the future.
All things considered, the Majer Skateboards squad does have the world in front of them and are poised to take it over. “We got a good start and are closer than ever now” Eddie Gonzalez assured. As the group is taking things one step at a time, the best way to keep up with them is to join their Youtube following and see where the journey will take them next.
It’s Saturday and the weather is in a fine mood. Let’s hope the world won’t end today as predicted here. If in fact, we do make it through the day/weekend, take a peek on some of these fascinating videos/links. First up, Ellen Oneal is setting Reddit on fire. This is a fantastic shot from 1976 by Warren Bolster.Have a peek;Ellen Oneal – 1976 – Photo by Warren Bolster Next, the folks at Arbor have just dropped a very cool video Josh Stafford in the new Arbor video Josh Stafford and his dog Carver take a pull down to WSVT to break in a new Cucharon from the Arbor Whiskey Project’s new Legacy Series. The Legacy Series includes three modern takes on some of the Brand’s favorite old-school shapes, including the Martillo (hammer), Pistola (gun), and Cucharon (shovel) Concrete Wave TV continues to drop some rather intriguing videos. Thanks to our very own Ninja Master Lu, things are heating up! Take a peek below!And if that wasn’t enough, have a peek at my first video part in 17 years! Now that Silverfish has flown the coop, you might be interested to know the roots of the site. Take 15 minutes to watch founder Marcus Vorwaller discuss the history of this much-beloved site. Marcus Vorwaller – Founder of Silverfish, explaining how it all came about! And finally, while you’ve had a chance to enjoy these links, please take a moment to think about our friends in Puerto Rico. Hector Valle is a driving force in PR for the skate community and he sent this email today. It’s absolutely tragic what has happened and CW and Longboarding for Peace will be embarking on a plan to help support relief efforts. If you can offer a kind word of support to Hector and those dealing with this nightmare, I know it will go along way. Email Hector at email@example.comPuerto Rico is completely devastated. The power grid is non-existent. Dear Family and Friends:
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers in the last couple of days.
Please see attached image briefly. It represents the damage Hurricane Maria imparted on the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, a US Territory. It compares to nuclear bomb detonation.
100% of the infrastructure was down as of the drafting of this message. No electricity, water, phone services, or internet. No bridges or roads, as they were taken down by the torrents of the rivers, or blocked by the trees, poles, and debris from destroyed homes.
No communications at all with loved ones, government agencies, or emergency services, as they will have to dig themselves out of the rubble first, then open lines of communication and transportation for the outside world to bring aide. That may take weeks, if not months.
Me and friends/colleagues/veterans from my small hometown on the NW side of the Island founded 2 non-profit civic organizations over a decade ago to aide in nation building programs (that could not be provided by the government down there), such as dog rescue, and lifeguard training to name a few. Our group members living here on the Mainland (various States), have started an effort to collect donations of any kind for relief operations to our small hometown of Quebradillas (Little Creeks). One of our members has secured a shipping container that we intend to fill with donations and ship straight where needed the most, to our small town. You can find us on-line as:
House of the Doggz
Pirata Surf Club
We do not know the specific needs as of yet, as we’ve had and no contact with anyone in our little town since the storm hit, but as soon we do make contact with our town’s Mayor or our Emergency Operations Management Center, we will have a better idea what their specific needs may be. We can anticipate they will need medicine, food, water, fuel, tarps, etc…
This is the worst catastrophe to ever hit our little Caribbean paradise, which is no more. Recovery will take months, if not years. May God bless you for caring. Please share this message with others, if you would, as many of you have been asking me what the situation is down there, and what you can do to help.
Hector R. Valle Sr.
Here in Canada there have been some alarming reports about folks are going out to buy fake diplomas and degrees. Apparently, it’s a billion dollar business worldwide. There’s a report here about here. According to a CBC report, Allen Ezell (pictured above), a former FBI agent who investigated diploma mills for decades, estimates half of new PhDs issued every year in the U.S. are fake. HALF! More incredulously, this chap is on YouTube actively bragging about how he purchased a Bachelor’s Degree and it changed his life. Over 200,000 views. Let’s hope his current employer never sees this video. The truth is that while millions of people are buying fake diplomas to further their careers, you can’t fake fun. You simply can’t. You can smile outwardly, but there is no way you can fool yourself. If you’re not having fun skateboarding and you are faking things, it will eat away at your soul. Over 40 years ago, I entered a college called Flow State. If you drop into a pool, ditch or hill, you know that every ride counts. And if you drop out of Flow State, you will soon regret it. Perhaps you are familiar with Flow State? It took a Hungarian psychologist to distill what people have known for years.Here’s a video from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to explain it in more detail. But if you don’t have the time, here’s a photo of me in Flow State. Note: it has not been photoshopped. That smile is 100% real.Flow State is the only non-accredited college that is dedicated to fun. If you’re not in the zone, the diploma you receive from Flow State (see below) will serve as a constant reminder that you’re on the wrong path. At Flow State, the student body is powered by water, waves and gravity. Full disclosure: it will cost you some money to purchase the tools to enter Flow State. Skateboards are an investment in your future. It will also take some time and attention to master these tools. However, in MOST cases tuition is 100% free. If you decide to become a teacher at Flow State, chances are your financial reward will be limited to the stoke you spread to others. But the joy you receive from bringing new students to Flow State will actually increase your level of joy within the hallowed grounds of Flow State. Funny how that works. If you’d like to create your own diploma from Flow State, simple reprint the image below and fill in the blank. Unlike other diploma mills, this diploma is 100% FREE. But it does require some investment of time and energy. Take it from me, I’ve never graduated from Flow State, and I’ve never been more happier! PS: you might enjoy this video – it’s me in flow…captured on tape!
The post from Malakai Kingston on Facebook yesterday has stirred up quite an outpouring of shock and support. Malakai, along with Erik Basil grew Silverfish into an incredible website that supported dozens of skate communities. It had fans that spanned the world and literally millions of posts. Many skate brands got their start on the ‘Fish and it was great to see the interaction between owners and potential customers. Of course, there were literally dozens of keyboard wars between foes. I am not sure how Malakai and Erik had the strength to police things for all these years. I know that I would find that a thankless task. I remember when I first migrated from NCDSA to Silverfish. Of course, for a lot of folks reading this, the letters NCDSA won’t mean anything. Such is the world of digital. But the truth is that before Facebook, YouTube, smartphones etc, Silverfish set the standard and used its massive reach to influence a generation of skaters. Concrete Wave (and its predecessor, International Longboader Magazine) has strived to promote all types of skateboarding. Thanks to Silverfish, our message was spread wider than even we could have imagined. Longboarding grew up on the web and Silverfish was the undisputed leader in promoting a welcoming vibe. All of us who ride “different” types of skateboards should be extremely grateful for the tireless work that the Silverfish team put in. From what I can recall, there were some issues with the backup of data. As most of you know, I am not technical so I can’t explain what happened but somewhere along the way, a huge swath of SF data went kaput. I find this very unfortunate because I know that thousands of skaters contributed some very worthwhile comments and stories. Sadly, it would appear that most of the data is not available. The site is now dark and when I visited there this morning, it confused the hell out of my browser. Of all the memories I have of Silverfish, it’s the memories of meeting up with Erik and Malakai at an Irish pub after or during the Action Sports Retailer Show. Those meetups to discuss the industry and just decompress are something that I will never forget. If you had an opportunity to attend one of these events (especially the one where I brought Spike, the iguana), consider yourself truly fortunate. Erik and Malakai, the world of skateboarding owes you a tremendous amount of gratitude. You both have done so much to foster stoke and build a worldwide skate community. Erik Basil Malakai Kingston While many pixels will be spilled over the course of the next few days about the work that Erik and Malakai did, I think these words best sum up how many people feel. Silverfish may be gone, but it will never be forgotten. On behalf of skaters everywhere, THANK YOU.
Seven years ago if you asked me what was celebrated on September 21st I would have given you a blank stare and the following answer: “How the hell do I know what happens on September 21st? – I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday!” So what is happening tomorrow? Well, read on and I’ll give you the scoop. A great many things have changed since 2010 but looking back through that year, Concrete Wave was doing things that NO other skate magazine would touch. Here’s a sample: Here’s another example – do any of these folks look familiar? Damn you guys look so YOUNG!The fact is the IDEA of DOCUMENTING skateboarding from different perspectives is what makes it such a phenomenal sport/pastime/lifestyle or whatever noun you want to put in there. Before International Longboarder/Concrete Wave, pretty much all skateboard magazines in North America ignored much of what was happening in skateboarding during the mid to late 90’s. The exception of course is Juice Magazine who have done an incredible job blazing their own independent path for 75 freakin’ issues. Seven years ago, if someone were to tell you that Donald Trump was going to be giving a speech to UN as President of the USA, you’d probably think they were out of their mind. Seven years ago, I predicted a great many things within skateboarding. Here’s just one: In case you can’t read that…here’s the most significant part: A lot of folks thought I was out of my mind – but the time from 2010 to 2013 was clearly the “golden age” with demand far outstripping supply. Now, as the industry wonders about demand, participants, contests, media and the latest Facebook shenanigans, I am here to tell you that Concrete Wave is about to change ONCE AGAIN. Things change within skateboarding – that’s in its DNA. But sometimes you get so bogged down you can’t see the forest through the trees. I’d be the first to admit, there are times when I get bogged down as a publisher of CW. But after some serious soul searching, I can tell you, I am on a very different path than I was one year ago – and it feels great. I got my skate mojo back and I fully intend to utilize it. As a magazine, we’ve pivoted a few times. That’s what happens when you buy ink by the gallon and pixels by the terabyte. But one thing I’ve never waivered from: I promote the joy of skateboarding through all kinds of media – not just print. We did videos (CW TV) 17 years ago and we did DVD’s way before YouTube. And for the record, this site still stands – and it just celebrated 21 years on the web! We’re about to unleash some pretty cool things in the next few weeks. My mind has been restless to determine a path for the future. Oddly enough the answers were right there in front of me. A lot of folks will tell you it’s all about going with the flow. For me , it’s all about FLOW state. That’s what skateboarding gives me – I enter flow state. Not sure exactly what that is? Click on the link above! So, to bring this full circle, let me break it down like this: 1. The world is going through quite a bit of trauma/drama/issues right now (just like some parts of skateboarding) 2. Within the world of politics , extreme right and extreme right are severely testing the MODERATE middle. Extreme left and right just creates a circle of mistrust, instability and chaos(skateboarders know how to turn both LEFT and RIGHT in order to move forward) 3. The future is unwritten – Joe Strummer(so what are you going to do about it?) Seven years ago I did not know that September 21st is the International Day of Peace. If you dream of peace in this world, you can do several things: 1. you can skate for peace (or longboard for peace)2. you can roll for peace (thank you to all who did just that on September 16th) to celebrate the 21st3. you can have a role IN peace. The third one is tricky. Our actions define who we are. If you want to roll for peace, that’s awesome Kudos to you. If you want a role IN peace, that is a little more complex because you might face some headwinds from those who don’t quite get what you’re up to. In truth, five years ago, a few people thought that Longboarding for Peace was weird. They thought “search spark stoke” was kinda lame. Have a peek at an online at interview from Wheelbase Mag with James Kelly: Note: I have the greatest admiration for the work that Marcus has done with Wheelbase and I am glad he asked James about his thoughts on winning “Speedboarder of the Year.” But fast forward four years and James Kelly (along with Liam Morgan) has a 12 page story in Skate Slate. Have a look at Jon Huey’s final question: Like James, I view my role in peace as an integral part of who I am as a skater. I am mixing skateboarding with my desire to foster peace, balance and justice. Have a peek at the past five years worth of our work: I am proud of the work that James is doing. I am also very proud of Valerian Kechichian of the Longboard Girls Crew who is also doing great things for skateboarding AND peace! Here is Valeria in her own words:
Through all these years we’ve received thousand of emails of women and men around the world telling us how they started skating after seeing one of our photos or videos and how their lives have changed thanks to longboarding. How empowered they now feel. And even though not everyone became an avid rider, this feeling stuck in them and affected their lives in the most positive way. THAT feeling is exactly what we want to bring to people who need it the most. Work on how we feel about our Selves and hopefully help see more of the magic inside us. We’ve been empowering people through longboarding all these years. Now we want to take it to the next level.
Us humans have basic external needs like food and shelter and we have others just as important: Love, Self-esteem, respect, education, support… We want to work on these aspects and if possible, bring them to people in need.
So how are we doing this? We’re creating new social projects all around the world and we’re also partnering-up with existing ones actively supporting their initiatives through financial and material support, media coverage, creating mutual actions and directing our audience through personal involvement and/or donations.
What does this mean? It means watch how skaters worldwide find their role in peace. Watch how Concrete Wave changes over the next few weeks. Watch how we completely pivot and create something vastly different. And watch as others in the skate community define and act on their role in peace. Tomorrow is the International Day of Peace. Now that you know this, what will be YOUR roll/role? Twenty years ago, my pathway to publishing was through the act of skateboarding. Five years ago, my pathway to peace was through the creation of Longboarding for Peace. One month ago, I created Roll for Peace. I am about to combine all three elements and you’re invited on my journey. Yours in peace, balance and justice,Michael Brooke Yoni Ettinger helps a student at the Shuafat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem. Ps – High fives and positive vibes
What started as an idea between two friends became a very significant part of my life. It all started while I was at I <3 Downhill in Windham, NY and experienced the longboarding community in all it had to offer. People were friendly, supporting, and caring but still there to compete. In other words it was my first introduction to the new family. Shortly after I returned I was talking to my friend about a post I saw on Facebook from Concrete Wave Magazine, about getting involved and spreading the stoke. Quickly I emailed Michael Brooke and after talking for a bit, Michael agreed to hook me up with some wheels and some boards. Soon after I approached Boys and Girls club of Cornwall/SDG and bought some trucks and we started a longboarding program began. I worked with 1 kid at each site for the first while but it allowed me to sit and talk with them about what they want to do and experience. What I could not appreciate more is the one on one time I got with these kids, because they taught me so much more about myself than I could ever have hoped to learn. The stoke was real and there were a lot of kids who really enjoyed the program and the opportunity to try out skating for the first time in their lives and some kids who couldn’t really afford it. With this group of caring youth I was motivated to put everything I had in to this and continued to teach the program for 3 years. Three of the best years of my life I might add. I have watched them grow from barely being able to push to going on cruises around town, using it for transportation and bombing some hills when it interests them.
In one week, exactly on September 21st, the world will celebrate the International Day of Peace. I’d bet dollars to donuts that if you’re reading this, you probably didn’t know this fact. But I’d also bet that if you’ve been following our work with Roll for Peace, you might well indeed know the significance of September 21st. JJ Husley did this awesome artwork. Our decision to launch Roll for Peace was based on the reality that peace begins with us – our skate community. Within the skate community, there is much that binds us together. We take great joy spreading the stoke of skateboarding. Videos of the latest tricks and raw runs make our heads explode. We marvel at those legends still riding hard and with passion well into their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond. The amount of incredible product means we are literally dizzy with choice. Skateparks in every conceivable form are in numerous parts of the world. If you want instant freedom and joy, a skateboard is pretty much the best bang you can get for your buck. And yet, despite all these incredible things that skateboarding gives us, there are some who are not at peace. Social media elevates and amplifies our ideas. There is both good and bad consequences to this. If you find yourself getting depressed and de-stoked by the negativity, you might want to rethink where you are positioned. I know where I am positioned along with hundreds of others on September 16th. On that date I am pledging to Roll for Peace. You can register here. We don’t care how long you roll or what you roll. We don’t care where you roll or who you roll with. We don’t care how long or how fast or slow you roll. We don’t care how many people join you when you roll. All we care about is that if you’re reading this message you get out there and roll. Once you’ve finished rolling for peace, we’d like you take the five days before the International Day of Peace and think about your role in peace. Are you fostering peace? Are you creating balance in your life and the lives of others? Are your actions and ideas compassionate? Are you striving to shine a light on injustice, no matter where you find it? Is harmony part of your life? Are you establishing trust with all those you come into contact with? These are tough questions to ask, but they are necessary. When you pursue peace, you have to first build trust. When you foster balance, the bi-product is harmony and when you pursue justice, you must be compassionate. We ALL have a role for peace. My sincere thanks to all those who are participating. High fives and positive vibes to the Shralpers Union. Special thanks to Sean Powell of Whatever Skateboards Visit the Day of Peace. Chris Koch is one AWESOME human being! Visit ifican.ca
Sioux City, IA local skateboarders lost a fellow skateboarder last January to brain cancer. Andrew Langin 40 years old was a single father of a beautiful 13 yr old daughter Sophie, an avid skateboarder, a bad ass drummer and an amazing metal sculpture. He was a member of the Sioux City Skateboard Association since it’s inception in 1999.Andy with his daughter Sophie The Association was formed by local Sioux City Skateboarders to raise funds for concrete skateboard parks in the midwest. The funds raised help build the concrete skatepark in Sioux City. The skate-able memorial for Andy was project idea from Association members David Hall and Trevor Osterholt. “We wanted to design and construct a memorial for our brother that he would be stoked about. So we designed an obstacle that would work for skateboarding and flow of the skatepark. Also the design is in the shape of an A. We also decided last minute to inlay a spade shaped base so from a certain angle you see a spade.The memorial is specifically shaped in the letter A Andy was a big fan of the band Motorhead and after the passing of Lemmy Kilmister that previous year we thought that would be fitting. The concrete was integrally dosed with butterfield dark charcoal color. We also dosed the truck with 400 pounds of 00 size lime green glass along with Andy’s ashes. All grading, forming and pouring was done by the Sioux City Skateboard Association, JFE Contracting in Sioux City and Concrete finish work was provided by MJ Concrete in Sioux City Ia. The polishing of the elements was done by Rich’s concrete polishing in Sioux City, Ia. The glass and aggregate after polishing glimmered and gave a beautiful finish to the elements. This project is a tribute to our skateboarding brotherhood. Some of Andy’s friends pay tribute to him at the park. All in all a very unique project for a one of a kind father, friend and fellow skateboarder.
Earlier this year, we collaborated with the crew over at Lume Cube to learn about what exactly went into the making of the world’s most versatile camera light. In short, we found out that a successful Kickstarter campaign was responsible for the creation of a device that packs a massive amount of light into a tiny, handheld block. With promises of lighting up skate spots forbidden by darkness without the use of elaborate lighting setups, we had to give it a shot once the Winter weather left NJ. Check it out: Check out some of the incredible photos taken with Lume Cube below. For more, take a peek here:
Tomorrow is the 15th Annual Board Meeting. Hard to believe it’s been that many years…but it has. For a number of Board Meetings, I wasn’t able to attend. I was down at either the Action Sports Retailer show or Surf Expo. I feel badly that I couldn’t have been at those Board Meetings. The fact is the Toronto skate community created a ridiculously great event. It’s not a race, it’s a gathering and I couldn’t be prouder of my hometown. If you’re not able to make it, don’t worry, we’ll be live streaming via Facebook. Here’s the link on Facebook.
The 20th Paderborn BBQ contest is now over. It’s pretty rare to have a whole day dedicated to short shorts, headbands and tiny skateboards at a skatepark, but freestyle has been a part of the Paderborn contests since 2001, and the Germans absolutely LOVE it. I’ve travelled all over Europe and North America and I’ve never seen a crowd respond as strongly as the Germans; the skatepark is in a natural amphitheatre, and every year it fills out with people of all ages who come just to watch a bunch of freestylers take part in one of the most anarchic, fantastic events in the world. This year, freestylers came from across Europe, Brazil and the USA to get involved. Next year, wherever you’re from, get on a plane and join in. It’ll be the best experience you’ll ever have in freestyle. Here’s the podium places: Amateur:1) Robert Wagner (Germany)2) Christian Müller (Germany)3) Danny “Darkslide” Klahold (Germany) Professional:1) Tony Gale (UK)2) Felix Jonsson (Sweden)3) Turi Zoltan (Hungary) Masters:1) Yoyo Schulz (Germany)2) Bert Matheson (USA)3) Bob Loftin (USA) Hot on the heels of the Paderborn comp was the annual English piss-take that is the UK Round Up. Hosted on the usual exposed hill overlooking the grim city of London, a motley crew of British freestylers were joined by Alex Rademaker of Switzerland and Gresch Bandicoot of Germany for a day of absolute silliness. Now on its third year, the UK Round Up has begun to establish its own traditions: 1) The format will be known as the Overkill Deathmatch Format and constantly referred to as “four one minute runs, taken in blocks of two, back to back, meaning riders’ one minute routines will last for two minutes at a time”, much to the confusion of everyone who isn’t in on the convoluted joke. This will never be explained to anyone in a clear and simple fashion. 2) Anyone who doesn’t come prepared with music will have wildly inappropriate music chosen for them by Alex Foster and myself, which led to the beautiful spectacle of Alex Rademaker taking his first ever freestyle competition run to the sweet, sweet sounds of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”. If you don’t know it, consider yourself lucky. 3) The Offline Instagram Grand Slam – a format involving skaters taking fifteen second runs, with no gap between one skater and the next – will be treated with absolute seriousness despite being the most ridiculous event known to man. 4) Trophies will be scavenged together a couple of days before the event and possibly be purchased from a garden centre on the journey to London. Here’s the final standings, with the final tally of points given to each skater: 1. Tony Gale (263,000)2. Denham Hill (248,000)3. Alex Rademaker (237,000)4. Matt Smithies (227,000)5. John Hanson (211,000)6. Alex Foster (210,000)7. Michael Erskine (195,000)8. Gresch Bandicoot (184,000)9. James ‘Fairbro’ Fairbrother (164,000) And the winner of the Offline Instagram Grand Slam, chosen in a completely arbitrary and mysterious way by Nathan Hill, was Matt Smithies. Anyone questioning Nathan’s decision was lined up against the wall and shot, as per British tradition. Honestly, I don’t recommend you come to this event next year. You’ll probably hate it. In contests-that-aren’t-actually-contests news, Starbeat, an online popularity contest/low-rent talent agency website has been running an “ultimate skateboarder” contest for the last month. As I write this, the deadline in the “qualifiers” is almost up. I’m not sure what happens after the qualifiers, and former NJ native Jesse Whalen is in the lead by some points. Honestly, I can’t understand the system here at all. He’s on 37.65M points to the second place Mike Osterman’s 28.16M points, but Mike has a higher “average” of 79 to Jesse’s 78. Killian Martin’s got an even higher average of 81, but is in third place with 23.07M points? The highest averages are Isamu Yamamoto, Dan Garb, Ole Peder and Bert Matheson who all have an average of 84 but are in 14th, 23rd, 25th and 26th place respectively. Figure that one out. I guess it’s all down to number of votes, but from where I’m sitting it looks like Starbeat have finally solved the issue of people complaining about freestyle contest results by finding a system that’s even worse (and even easier to game/bribe/abuse). Thanks, guys. More power to Jesse, though. That dude rules. As tends to happen during the summer months, the Freestyle Podcast is largely quiet right now, but you can head over to freestylepodcast.com (or your podcast app of choice) to enjoy a short episode recorded on the way back from the Paderborn comp. Featuring some very tired Brits, a terrible burger, some choice Romanian swearing, and a poor Texan librarian trying to deal with life, hopefully it will serve as a suitable stop gap until we can all do a proper hour-long ramble about trucks again. The Youtube takeover of skateboarding is now leaking its way into the niche within a niche that is freestyle skateboarding. Freestyle’s foremost like-share-and-subscribe-baiters, Daniel Trujillo and Mike Osterman, have joined forces to create “Waltz”. What is Waltz? What will it become? Will they ever sell anything other than a white T-shirt with an oddball design? No one knows at this point, but there is a website over at WALTZskateboarding.com, and with their combined subscriber base, I expect it’ll be a huge success, whatever they decide to do with it. Bit of team movement: Terry Synnott has picked up Tűri “The Tank” Zoltán as a new team rider for Mode Skateboards. Terry started a dedicated wheel team just to get Tűri on board – there’s no way the Hungarian Beast would leave Cirus for his decks – which opens up the theoretical possibility of more freestylers being sent wheels for free. Dust off your VX100s and start working on your “sponsor me” tapes, folks. You can always rely on Decomposed to give you some product news when a deadline is looming. The latest deck in the works over at Witter’s House of Horrors is a new Rey Meyer graphic. Details are thin on the ground so far, but we do know that the graphic will be drawn by the improbably-named Crab Scrambly (who previously did the amazing reimagining/reissue of Hans Lindgren’s crowbar) and will play homage to Meyer’s classic Santa Cruz model, so even the shape’s jacked, it’ll look beautiful on the wall. Keep an eye on Decomposedsk8.com for that one. Last (but hopefully not least), Moonshine Skateboards (no, not those bloody MFG guys) are releasing their first ever freestyle pro models, meaning Stefan Lillis Åkesson and myself get to have our names on boards alongside vert luminaries such as Jocke Olson, Sean Goff, Rich Lopez and Rob Mertz. Lillis has opted to put his wizard-oriented graphic on the same shape as the 7.3″ x 28.5″ team model with a 12.5″ wheelbase – which has been slightly reworked to mellow out the concave both for Lillis’ deck and the team boards – while I’ve taken a big gamble on a well-thought-out (but possibly off-putting) new shape. Coming in at 28″ long with a wheelbase of 12″, the deck has the same tail lengths and shapes as the bi-directional team boards, but goes all crazy in the middle by having no concave at all and dropping from 7.3″ wide at the trucks to a skinny 7″ wide in the centre. Yep, my board’s a bi-directional double kick that’s not only completely flat in the middle but steals Hans Lindgren’s rail cutouts from the 80s. You don’t want to know how much we had to spend on getting that mould made. Hopefully, by the time you read this, they should be online and available at www.moonshineskateboards.com. Go buy one of each and give Lillis and I some beer money (although Lillis doesn’t drink alcohol so his board royalties will probably go on rice, ayurvedic herbs or Heroclix figures). The Editor Adds: AJ Kohn probably wouldn’t let us live very long if we failed to remind our readers that that the Philly Freestyle Championships are coming up on September 16th, 20-17, at Rizzo Rink in Philadelphia. Rain or shine, it’s going down; you can catch up with AJ via Facebook if you need more information. That’s a Mark Cline photo, by the way, in case you were wondering. You can find out more at www.phillyfreestyle.com. Got some freestyle news? New products, projects, or events? I still don’t have a dedicated email address for such things, leave them in the comments below and I might put them into next month’s summary of freestyle-related nonsense. Now go and skate!
If you think about it, skateboarding is like a maze a lot of the time. Right?
You set out at a clear starting point. But to reach that coveted ending, is chaotic. From the literal twists and turns of our unsanctioned streets to the metaphorical dead ends, constituted by pebbles, snapped plys, and chronic mental fatigue, the similarities between skateboarding and hand drawn labyrinths are comparable. However, Eric J Eckert, better known to the professional skateboarding world by his Instagram shorthand @idrawmazes, fuzes the skateboard and the maze together differently.
For Eckert, skateboarding and maze drawing started out as trivial pastimes in his elementary years until being taken more seriously in and around his college years. From there, skipping class to go skate and knocking out a new maze on the daily opened up the floodgates. As the mazes started popping up on Twitter, they began to go from being solely linear creations to ones featuring well-known celebrity faces. As traction grew, he noticed the most love coming from none other than us – the skateboarders of the world. With the positive responses and interactions from the skate community, Eckert shifted his focus more centrally towards skateboarding. When he took the work to our beloved breeding grounds for sharing of Instagram, “it was the perfect showcase and the exposure went nuts” in Eckert’s words.
A first look at Eckert’s work hearkens back to a story that just that went live for CW earlier this year on skateboarding’s first coloring book: Color-X. In it, the prospect of interacting with skate photography in a new light is discussed. In a similar sense, these mazes too celebrate the complexity and difficulty that go into the skating and shooting for a successful photo in a way like the coloring book does. In Eckert’s case, adding his own personal element of the mazes is even better because it allows for a personal connection to both the skater and the photographer being showcased.
Speaking of these pro skaters, the level of pure stoke and appreciation has been nothing short a dream come true. Guys like Chris Cole have stepped away from the floodlights at Street League to show his maze some love. Chris Roberts made enough room on the set of his ever-popular podcast, The Nine Club, to display one of the mazes (next to the switch flip to switch manual, of course). T-Puds actually stopped slaughtering the flatbars of the world for long enough to pose in Eckert’s collab shirt with Hellaclips (even though he probably could have done so in the midst of a crazy looking dipped backside smith anyway). Hell, even Danny Way took time away from hurling himself through the sky to give away a copy of his maze. To Eckert, seeing the pros hitting the like button is enough to fan out over, but seeing the pros with their hands on it and even requesting mazes is a whole different ballgame. Judging by the amount of exposure in the eyes of the industry, it’s safe to say Eckert is playing that game well.
Perhaps the most rewarding one for Eckert was getting to do a graphic for the always creative boys over at Enjoi Skateboards. As he put it himself, “When I started really making mazes that were focused on skating, my end goal was to get a graphic made. Enjoi was by far my favorite company, so that was my hope, but I never actually expected it to happen. Then one day they hit me up and it still feels like a dream. I have that board with Louie’s signature hanging in my living room, and I still look at it every time I walk by.” Make no mistake, though, Eckert stands by the claim that seeing his graphics put to good use is better than hanging them as mere decorations. “I love the interactive nature of skate graphics in that people can appreciate what’s gone into it, but then they actually get use out of it”, he added.
The maze does not end here for Eckert though. With plans to keep riding the wave until it fizzles out, he intends to formalize his attempt at the world record for largest hand drawn maze. He has been unofficially successful at this feat twice, covering his home office once and a covering sizable mini ramp another time, but was rendered ineligible for due to technicalities. So long as his supply of Sharpies runs deep, it’s best to stay tuned to @idrawmazes on Instagram to see where the story goes from here.
The label of being a “skate rat” has been thrown around for years at the seemingly unproductive skateboarders of society. To most, the typical skate rat serves no purpose but to spend their weekdays patronizing the skatepark and their nights and weekends infiltrating corporate America’s hidden street spots. In a more constructive light, crews like the SK8RATS, have added a more positive connotation to the slang since 2004 by showcasing some ripping footage from guys like Sebo Walker and, one of my all time favorites, Cory Kennedy.
Now in 2017, we find yet another iteration of the infamous “skate rat” moniker, this time being interpreted as a pun in the illustrations scribbled from Dustin Ammons’ pen. As he puts it, “Honestly, I just love terrible puns. The worse they are, the better they get. I’m not the first to make skate rats and I doubt I’ll be the last, but I do like that I’ve kept them relatively proportionate to an actual rat.”
It is this commitment to the joke that makes Ammons’ work so enticing. One scroll through his Instagram reveals dozens of these things. There are skate rats gripping their board on the curb, battling the presence of pebbles and, most notably, busting tricks over the coping on transition pieces and sliding their way through on ledges made of cheese. “It’s hard to go wrong with cheese ledges and skate rats”, he adds.
In the spaces around the misadventures of his beloved skate rat, Ammons uses the platform to express his opinions on a variety of other hotbed topics that beset modern day skate rats. Included in these topics are the proper terminology for longboards, implications of corporate influence in skateboarding, the importance of a poser-free skate scene and of course, the PSA that snaking on scooters is starkly unacceptable. Also included in the mix are some seamless looking collabs with guys like Eric J. Eckert (aka @idrawmazes), who was just recently featured on the Concrete Wave site. Though all come off with the same lightheartedness as the skate rats’ casual shredding, these works do hint at a more formal purpose behind the seemingly mindless doodles.
“I definitely would’ve lost my mind without art”, says Ammons. Currently pinned down by a lingering knee problem in his early 20s, the art provides a way to stay involved in the skate world, even if unable to physically go out there and be able to emulate some of those wallies and nose bonks that his illustrated skate rats have on lock. As as another 20-something year old, documenting this story with a set of crutches beside him, awaiting a second knee surgery, I can wholeheartedly sympathize with Ammons. His ability to continue finding ways to resonate with the skate community is admirable, no matter how many sessions of physical therapy lay ahead.
As for the rest of the skate rats across the world, whether out there chomping tranny or confined to knee braces and recliners. the skate rats on the pages of Ammons’ work are here to stay. With the exposure they have already received, Ammons is still taken back by it, noting, “It’s so weird, but in the best way possible. Like, to have a person on a different continent enjoy my stuff still blows my mind.” For this growing worldwide collective, the best way to keep up with the skate rats from Ammons’ pen is to stay glued to his ever growing collection of work over on Instagram.
I can remember the exact date I met Noel Korman of the Shralpers Union – March 11th 2011. It was a the world’s first longboard expo held in NYC. The folks at Bustin Boards had graciously allowed Concrete Wave to host the event at their new shop at the Lower East Side. The store (sadly, now closed) was to be called The Longboard Loft. It was just getting refurbished and the timing was perfect to host an event. Theseus Williams worked diligently to ensure that we had the space to hold over 35 companies and hundreds of skate fans. I am still not sure how it all came together, but it did! On that auspicious day, Noel put out his hand and said “I’m Noel Korman of the Shralpers Union and I’m here to help.” It was a surreal moment. I shook his hand and began to learn about the Union. Noel had single-handedly created a movement that encapsulated everything I loved about skateboarding and snowboarding – high fives and positive vibes. I was immediately convinced that Noel had a heart bigger than all of New York or New Jersey. Over the course of the 3 years that I knew Noel, I saw his incredible, larger than life personality affect literally thousands of people. As many of you know, Noel along with his girlfriend Alice Park passed away on December 6, 2014. It was a freak accident – a boiler in the building they were working at leaked carbon monoxide. As a result of these completely unnecessary deaths, Governor Chris Christie eventually signed a bill that made the use of carbon monoxide detectors compulsory in all commercial buildings. Why they weren’t there before is something that I will never understand. By the way, a number of people DIED of carbon monoxide poisoning after both houses in the NJ Legislature passed the bill. It was only after Christie finally signed the bill that it became law. Thankfully, it’s already having an affect.Noel with fans at the 2013 Vans Warped Tour. Noel’s message of “high fives and positive vibes” resonated deeply me with this past weekend and yesterday. We had over 5,000 people visit our booth at Buskerfest here in Toronto. We gave out a lot of “high fives” to stoked out kids. Below is the proof: Another freshly minted skate enthusiast. Luke Ayata One of Noel’s most trusted friends was Luke Ayata. Luke has worked tirelessly to spread Noel’s message. Over the summer, he announced the new SU website. Take a peek at what they have and please support their efforts. We need folks riding, not ripping on each other. We need spread some high fives and positive vibes. I also want to mention Ray Korman (Noel’s father) who I have become very close with along with Jeffrey Collins Harper who has spent hours working on graphics for the Union. Ray Korman Concrete Wave is proud to put the Union logo on our homepage.As things get crazier and crazier, I urge you to get out there and spread high fives and positive vibes. Please visit here to register for Roll for Peace.
Hribernik Boards was created in Richmond, Virginia by me, Susan Hribernik. I have been a colored pencil artist, a photographer, and a graphic artist for many years. I fell in love with skateboarding, and so my art went with it. The boards are all made of Canadian maple, and screen printed in California. Some of the designs are made from a created computer graphic, while others are hand drawn by myself. I have been testing out various shapes, to see what works best, and will continue drawing and creating for the next board. Hribernik Boards are made to ride.
Have you ever wonder what happens to kids that are too young to go to jail?
Located in the Mexican Caribe, near to the border of Belize theres a small city called Chetumal where The System for Integral Family Development (DIF for their spanish acronym) offers an option for Quintana Roo’s underage law infractors to avoid facing a serious sentences in youth jail.
The place is pretty much like a school that they can’t leave, with unarmed guards and scheduled activities. Parents of many of these kids choose to leave them in this facility for up to one year, often as a punishment for their actions that can go from stealing, gangs, drugs and fights.
We met up with 11 kids and 3 girls from 10 to 17 years old. They were super friendly and excited to have skateboards in their basketball court. Some of them had skated before so it was easy for them to learn tricks, for the rest that didn’t know how to ride a skateboard it was a challenge, but after some fear overcoming and a few falls they started flowing comfortably through lines.
After the session we shared snacks while we watched Get In The Van 2 full length video by Landyachtz Longboards and had a conversation about how passions and interests can uplift you from any situation. This opportunity of exchanging stories allowed the kids and skaters to learn from each other by generating an environment of empathy and freedom of being imperfect and that is okay to make mistakes, since it is one of the best way to learn something. The constant involvement of activities that foment understanding, listening and sharing are one of the main actions that might bring us closer to a real and sustainable peace.
I would like to thank Pauilna and David Andrade from Jóvenes del Siglo XXI, Ruben Martínez from Backside Skate Shop, Marisa Smith from Barracuda Board Co and Lea Philibert our first french volunteer for all the help in this workshop. I’d also like to thank Correctional Director Yamili Gómez for the Invite and the opportunity to skate with the kids.