Thank You Sally Ann Miller

Thank You Sally Ann Miller

Most people who skate nowadays probably have no idea just how close the US government came to shutting it down during the 1970’s. Thanks to Sally Ann Miller, you still have the freedom to roll in the USA. And thanks to Jim Gray of the mighty Powerflex Wheels and Inkjenda, you can learn about this incredible woman through his incredible Facebook Post. A On behalf of skaters everywhere, THANK YOU SALLY ANN MILLER! FROM JIM GRAY 

Met another one of my Hero’s of the Skateboarding Culture the other night, and she should be your hero too!

This is Sally Anne Sheridan. I’d always heard about Sally Anne Miller (pre marriage to Don Sheridan) in the 1970’s in her skateboard industry days, but had never met her. She built the world’s first City Owned Municipal/Public Skatepark in Irvine California. Whether you love it or not, they are the future of accessible skateboarding for all and she started it in 1976.

 

She did much more for and with skateboarding like running the ISA International Skateboard Association out of Costa Mesa no less, but let’s start with the story of the Irvine Run.

 

It was a very fun snake run leading to a banked semi bowl area at the bottom. I rode this place many times, loved it a lot, and sadly was there the day they came, asked us to stop and started Jackhammering it. That was not a fun day. (Pics of me skating it on two polaroids next to the pic of her and I). She told me she was with the City of Irvine Parks and Recreation department and local skaters and Hobie Teamriders like Steve Shipp said they wanted somewhere to skate, she asked what they want, and the snake run is what they came up with. If only it was that easy today, we’d have even more skateparks than we do.

 

She said they had no idea what they were getting into and that once the skate world got word of this free public skatepark skaters from a hundred miles around all converged and there were hundreds of skaters there everyday. They had built condos right next door which you can see in my skate pics. They got complaints about noise etc. They first built that big wall to quiet it down but still got too many complaints and eventually promised the residents it would be removed.

David Paul Lacey hits the first ever municipal skatepark in Irvine, California.

 

Several years later at the typical pace of a city the item came up in the Irvine city’s public works list of things to do, and even though it was now much calmer now and usually 10 people or so would be skating anytime we skated, it was still scheduled to be removed and couldn’t be stopped. One day I believe in 1982, we were asked to stop skating, they pulled the trucks up and started Jackhammering, that was a sad day. I am beyond stoked to have gotten to spend lots of time in the world’s first public skatepark and will forever be grateful to Sally Anne and crew for making that happen.

 

Sally Anne did so much more for skateboarding, including making sure skateboarding continued to exist, because there was a point when the Consumer Products Safety Commission was considering banning skateboard deeming them too dangerous of an item to be sold.

 

Here’s a post from Dave McIntyre

Sally was an Ivy League graduate and was asked to help head up what became the ISA. She had to help sell skateboarding as safe, and standards were set to get people wearing safety equipment and sell the sport as safe before it was made illegal to manufacture skateboards, and believe me they can do that.

 

Luckily that battle was won and we are all here today to tell these stories. It could be a different world today had that happened and it might have been a footnote in history and all the joy we have enjoyed on our boards may not have existed. Such a crazy thought, thanks again for helping us get through that one Sally and crew.

The ISA or International Skateboard Association also ran pro contests, set the standards etc.

 

After meeting Sally, I called Glenn Miyoda, an old friend who went to the same high school as me and was friends with my sister. I knew he’d have some insights and knowledge. He was a Photographer for Hobie in the early days, and come to find out he also ended up working with Sally Anne for the ISA. He shared story after story from how she sought to find the right people to set standards for contests, like how to measure the height of an air as airs started coming into play in contest, how she collected money, and a good one about her putting Mr. Bennett in his place once during a meeting.

 

 

Basically he told me she was kind, smart, hard working and a hell of a bad ass when she needed to be 100% thumbs up from Glenn Miyoda who I have 100% faith in sharing skate history with.

 

I don’t have all day to keep writing but I will end with the funniest story she told me all night. She said among her jobs was to make the riders wear their safety gear, and one she always got a lot of grief about it from was Tony Alva. She told me a story of walking up to him once, and him thinking he would get a rise out of her, dropped his pants. She told me she just calmly looked down at his exposed private parts, told him on a scale of 1-10 I’ll give it a 2, and then everyone started laughing including Tony.

 

That cracked me up. Ironically, she is now married to Don Sheridan, who worked with Zephyr back then and asked Tony Alva “who is that cute lady” when they were at some TV filming or something like that. Well that was the start of something and now Don and Sally Anne Sheridan live in Laguna Beach and have been married for 39 years.

 

Sally is 82 now and I look forward to going and spending some more time with her and Don and learning more of the untold stories of the skateboard world.

 

I am a very fortunate guy to have gotten to participate in so much in skateboarding for the last 40 years.

 

 

Editors Note:

 

Amazing story on Tony Alva from 1978 from People Magazine.

 

And a post from Mofo (ex Thrasher photographer and CW contributor) about Sally

  

Collegiate Skate Tour – Astoria, Queens 2017 Recap

Collegiate Skate Tour – Astoria, Queens 2017 Recap

PHOTOS: AMY TORRES In my previous ventures out to cover some of the events that the Collegiate Skate Tour puts on, I have been lucky to cover them from ground level to get up close and personal to the shredding. This time however, sidelined by injury, I was fortunate enough to have watched this contest go down from a completely different vantage point: behind the judge’s table. Alongside a couple Astoria locals, we got to experience this stop of the tour from a unparalled point of view that overlooked the sprawling water-side park. From this spot, we got the experience of watching guys like Helaman “Hela” Campos go from signing up, to throwing crook nollie flips and absolutely ripping the course to retuning back to the podium to collect their hook ups. In my first experience judging a skateboarding contest, I might argue to say I had the toughest job out there in trying to make sure my papers would not fly away with the intense wind that descended on the course that day. Just kidding. All credit on this day goes to the student and non-student crops of skaters that came out and threw down regardless of the blustery conditions. This year’s stop of the Collegiate Skate Tour saw a bunch of new faces, along with a handful of familiar rippers who braved the rainy conditions last year. Bryant HS student, Brian Pascuaal seemed to use the wind to his advantage, flying around the course in his iconic durag. Meanwhile, internet-famous Humzea Deas showed up pulling clean front tailslide 270s to the tune of his name being called for the start of Heat 3. DC rider Derek Holmes also returned this year, making easy work of throwing back tailslides off the park’s shootout ledge. Lastly, coming back for more after his first place run last year, Andrew Valencia showed how familiar he was with the Astoria park by linking effortless lines together left and right. Perhaps most notably, Valencia even managed to hop to another board that got in his way, mid-grind. As if that weren’t enough, Valencia finished by shutting down the the best trick contest with a massive ghetto bird on the centerpiece gap. In the end, however, Heat 5’s Nico Ramos stepped up and put down an amazing set of runs to not only advance from his heat but to make it through to the semifinal and final heats. From what we saw behind the judge’s table, we had to give the win in the non-student division to him. From his blunt backside flips to his kickflip 50-50 body varials to his back 360 grabs off the platform gap, Ramos’ tech showing had it all. Unfortunately, the only hiccup on an otherwise easygoing contest was Joel Jones’ unfortunate injury in the middle of Heat 4. After an absent-minded bicyclist wandered onto the course, Jones hit the concrete and was rushed to the hospital to receive a handful of staples in his head. Though the contest resumed to close out an incredible afternoon of skateboarding, we would be remiss not to have kept Joel, who has come out to each and every stop of the tour since Fall 2013, in our thoughts. Since the event, a GoFundMe has been started to help cover some of the unexpected ambulance and hospital costs for Joel and his young family.  We welcome and encourage any donations to be made here.  After Saturday’s event wrapped up, Keegan Guizard led another installment of a College Readiness Workshop with the folks at the Harold Hunter Foundation which was actually the first to take place during the same week as the contest.Speaking on the experience, Guizard said, “The Harold Hunter Foundation is always helpful in making that happen and really brings the skateboarding community together for good.This workshop was a great opportunity to connect with young New York City skateboarders off the board after a great event in Queens.” Check out the action that went down here:    

50 Miles on a Single Charge!

50 Miles on a Single Charge!

 Squishy 654 just completed a 50 Mile Electric Skateboard Ride, on one charge. You can see his previous video for more details on the electric skateboard he used. (below)   Squishy is going for 100 miles next. And as Mr. Squishy writes: “If you have any beer to donate to the project email me at squishy654@gmail.com”   

Toys R Skateboarding

Toys R Skateboarding

 

Over the weekend we hit up the local skatepark in my hometown area.  The same old prefab ramps, still standing like a decrepit stonehenge, the ancient ruins of teenage years.  Decades of harsh New England white-outs had left the blacktop a cratered moonscape.  The blazing summers suns had faded the offensive and misspelled graffiti into nearly unrecognizable spray paint smudges.  Overall, the skatepark was in one piece, just as i remembered it, except for one thing… 

 

I love visiting skateparks, at home or abroad, not for the inventive array of obstacles, but for the culture.  The petri dish that is the local scene, the faces, the names and the energy of the locals.  Appreciating the power of the community that they have constructed.  I am always fascinated by the drastically varying subcultures with the subculture.  The microcosms contained within 60 square feet of tar and chain link fence. 

 

I was welcomed with nods and smiles from the locals, as me, my brother and my childhood friends entered the park.  I inquired of a friendly, smiling local, Jimmy, about the new wooden ramps and DIY ‘crete that speckled and encrusted the park.  He happily obliged and told me that he was responsible for the ramps’ construction.  I thanked him for provided them.  

 

Within moments, my crew and theirs were skating together, bumping quintessential 90s hip hop anthems, bumping fists and cheering for each other.  Everybody was boppin’ and basking in the warm autumn sunlight.  

 

While cruising around in euphoric figure 8s, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, that Jimmy the friendly local, had deserted his skateboard, had turned his back and was excitedly fiddling with something.  Figuring Jimmy was frantically rolling a blunt I was bewildered to find that instead of a gutted backwoods wrap, Jimmy was tousling around a wooden ball bound by a string to a wooden dowel.

 

In his right hand, Jimmy clutched what appeared to be a wooden double-sided hammer, although strangley the face of each hammer head was inverted, concaved, resembling a miniature cup or bowl. Above the dual hammers was a small cone that gently tapered into a blunted tip. A white string, anchored to the base of the handle, flailed wildly in the air attached to a red ball.  This red ball, the size of a beer pong ball, had a small hole that tunneled through the entire diameter of the wooden sphere.  

 

A boy on a BMX appeared, and joined Jimmy, and expelling a wooden ball hammer from his pocket.  Within moments, the two were fully engaged, shouting and giggling as they spun and casted their balls on a strings, attempting to catch it with either of their hammer cups or to spear it throughout the hole with the tips of their wooden cones.   

 

After observing for a bit, this mutated form of cup-and-ball, I asked Jimmy what the hell was up with that thing.  He told me it was called “Kendama” a game originally played by drunken Japanese sailors to pass the time on long sea voyages.  Now, according to Jimmy, Kendama-mania has swept the states from coast to coast. 

 

Jimmy elaborated, comparing the cup-ball game to skateboarding.  He said that you master certain tricks and then try to do your tricks consecutively in a row, like a line.  

 

This game reminded me much of the hacky sack or even devil sticks sessions of my youth.  Flinging an object through the air and trying to catch it, stall it, and then return it to flight.  It also reminded me of a string-based perpetual-volley toys like the yo-yo or paddle ball.  Even the strange design of the Kendama toy shocked and intrigued me like my first eye witness accounts of fidget spinners.  

I’ve seen many fads come and go, toys that were just as fickly picked up as were easily discarded- only to be rediscovered on the dusty shelves of Goodwill.  What intrigued me about this new bizarre low-tech gadget was that, it did indeed, remind me of skating.  Not only was Kendama a strange looking simple-machine, but to play, you simply needed time and patience. Fine-tuning your motor skills and battling the constraints of gravity were the shared struggle of both Kendama and skateboarding.

 

Not only was this an light-hearted, nonsensical escape from the mundane pressures of modern living, this game, clearly, had no coach, no team and no opponents.  You were free to practice and create maneuvers as you so chose.  Not only could you choose how to play but you could also choose to share the play with others, whoever you wanted.  

 

I watched these two young men play for vigorous 20 minute stints, taking breaks to skate and BMX and then returning to their ball string hammers.  They practiced their extreme sports in tandem with their string contraption disciple in even increments.  

 

This not only was like skateboarding, it was an intrinsic part of Jimmy’s skateboarding experience. 

Kendama was just about enough of a part of Jimmy’s sesh as other peoples’ weed-smoking, shit-talking or dead-eyed staring into their smart phone.  

 

My hometown friends scoffed at the ball string hammer game of the locals, and remarked that they avoided coming to this very park because of the pervasive Kendama culture.  I disagreed and said that I enjoyed the locals using the space however they pleased.  I felt confident that these young men were outcasts, just as we skaters are, and that they should be cherished just the same. 

 

When I found Jimmy and his BMX counterpart, brought together in Kendama bliss, now filming each other with a GoPro, I was certain that this game, like many other bizarre rituals, are in fact skateboarding.  Having fun, expressing yourself and progressing a skill, by means of offbeat physical rhythm, doing what you want, where you want, solitarily or socially, that is what skateboarding means.  

 

The world is a skatepark and you can play whatever you want in it. 

  

Loaded

Loaded

 

The Loaded Tarab is designed to push the boundaries of modern longboard dancing. Rocker, concave, symmetrical shape, kicktails, grab rails, and purposeful griptape and cork top combine to form an elegantly ergonomic platform for flowy footwork and the most frenetic freestyle dancing. Bamboo and basalt construction keeps the Tarab lightweight, lively, and durable. A cork top layer complements the griptape design, providing secure yet non-abrasive traction across the standing platform while also damping vibration. Urethane-reinforced kicktails and unique UHMWPE rails enhance durability, protecting against a wide array of freestyle-inflicted damage. Two truck-mounting options accommodate a variety of riding preferences. loadedboards.com

Stranger Things

Stranger Things

Madrid has come up with a line skateboards based on the hit Netflix show Stranger Things. The graphics are perfect for Halloween. If you’ve never seen the series, at least you can own some awesome looking decks! Buy directly from here:      ! 

Skateboarding and Politics Part One

Skateboarding and Politics Part One

Oh, this is going to be a touchy post. Somehow, someway, somebody is going to feel slighted. But I am not here to talk about political issues. I am here to talk what happens when politics and skateboarding collide. As this such a difficult subject, I want to hear from you. Email me your thoughts – if you dare. Believe it or not, chances are, if you are a skateboarder, you’re involved in some sort of politics. Let’s break it down like this: 1.  POLITICS WITH SKATEBOARDING PART 1There are SOME self-proclaimed “skate arbiters of cool” that have some extremely harsh words for those who don’t ride “the right type of skateboard.” Here’s a taste. A skate troll that shamefully hides his name, this guy (or gal, but I sense it’s a guy) wants to make skateboarding political. Or maybe it’s “satire.” For those of you who just want a brief glimpse, here are a few screen shots.                      Obviously, who ever wrote this is in severe need of an education on the history of skateboarding.   2. POLITICS AMONG SKATERS PART DEUX – SOCIAL MEDIAForget the extreme games…we’re talking extreme opinions. Without getting into who said what, take a meander over to Facebook and within just a few brief moments, you’ll be taken to the land of “extreme.” So much for skateboarding being a grounding force.  There are gun lovers on one side and those who want most guns banned. There are Trump supporters on one side and those who want him impeached. Then there are a whole bunch of people in the middle who are just trying to enjoy themselves without too much drama. This is why I cut my personal time spent with FB to 15 minutes per week. LIBERATING!  If you have racist friend…Thank you Special AKA   3. POLITICS FROM PEOPLE WHO YOU THINK WOULD KNOW BETTER Gee, thanks Vice Magazine For those of you who think Vice is coolest f**king place in the world and it’d be AWESOME to work there, head over to Glassdoor.  Of course, your experience might be different. But then again, if I read stuff like this, I’d question everything about what I thought Vice is/was/could be. Actual screen shots:                                 4. GEOGRAPHICAL/ECONOMIC POLITICSOh, this is a touchy one. Distribution can play a significant role in how skate products are perceived. If you find one of your favorite brands at a big box retailer, it can feel a little disconcerting. That’s because some people actually CARE where products are sold. And some skaters feel very protective of the mom and pop skate shops. Then again, shop or die. Adding to this is the internet which has allowed a marketers/manufacturers to communicate DIRECTLY with consumers. That’s you. For those skate shops who spend hours, weeks and years building their local scene and shop by providing excellent service and selection, the rewards can be deeply satisfying. The rewards can also include having your livelihood put at risk by companies wishing to cut out the middleman (ie: the retailer). Don’t even get me started about the LOCAL politics between some shops.  That’s enough politics for one post. Ready to read your political rants…email me.      

New Tom Sims Documentary – Pure Juice

New Tom Sims Documentary – Pure Juice

 

There’s a new Sims documentary coming out soon and we had a chance to chat with Scott Clum who has been working on it for some time. For more info on Tom, see this issue: 

 

 

 

 

Concrete Wave: You worked with Tom – what was your role and what was it like working for him?

Scott Clum: My role working with Tom was two things:, 
As design director I worked on Milpas St in Santa Barbara at the SIMS offices with Tom on a daily basis. We talked a lot about skateboarding and snowboarding and how we could engage with the current audience. This was in 1985. Tom was really concerned with keeping up with the times, as he didnt want to have people look at SIMS as not being involved in the scene. Tom never ran out of ideas, he was super creative. 

 

As a team rider, I was always skating ramps and banks with local guys and the team. You had to stay current on your style and tricks for the pipe and racing. SIMS was all about this progression and it was a priority for Tom.

SNOW VALLEY – VERMONT 1983{Left to right}  Keith Kimmel, Unknown, Unknown, Eric Moynier, Tom Sims, Scott Clum, Allen Arnbruster. Photo: George Potter

 

Of all the stories you have about Tom, what specific tale really shows what he was like?
Well, thats a hard one. This one has to be my fave for many reasons…

We were outside the SIMS offices in Santa Barbara and Tom said to me one afternoon, “Hey do you want to go skate? I was like yeah sure, where do you want to go…? He was all ” I know a place, We get into his BMW 2112 and drove up to the TEA BOWLS. We walked up to the edge and got our gear ready. I had never been, It was unbelievable. huge place. The initial roll down was crazy, a commitment for sure. Tom got set up and never even hesitated, not a second. I was blown away as he hauled ass down the huge wall and made these killer carves and turns in the other side. Tom had his longboard of course and I had my pool board. It was killer, I still remember the feeling and how big this place was and how fast you went. We skated for about an hour and then went back to the office.. It was unreal.

 

I have a lot of memories with Tom but for everything Tom stood for that session was straight to the core of who he was both in skateboarding and snowboarding. No hesitation, attacked with style. That was what Tom is all about. A great day for sure and a fond memory.
 

Tom at Tahoe in 1982. Photo: Jim Cassimus 

Describe some of the surprises you encountered in making the documentary?
I don’t know about surprises, but I will say our initial hurdle was to come together on the vision. My partners Eric Jeffcoat and Erich Lyttle had different views than I did. We all wanted the same thing, just different approaches. Its always tough creatively to create a team direction. We all put egos aside and came together on strategy and a common vision. Both of these guys are super talented so together we have a solid direction and a strong commitment to the film.

 

Most young snowboarders and skaters might not know about Sims contribution to action sports. Why do you feel his name is not as well known as other pioneers?
Right. The new riders link up with what  they know and what’s current. I dont think its intentional at all. It is really easy to distance yourself from initial history mainly because you focus on now. Its not until someone turns you on to new thing that you become aware of it. Everything is association and your personal circles. My circle grew up with the initial pioneers because it was actually happening in real time! I think there are riders who educate themselves and want to know about the history of snowboarding and skateboarding so they know from a certain distance. This story will be amazing both inspirationally and educationally, people will see where things started and why snowboarding and skateboarding are the way they are. Tom played a major part in where we all came from.

Scott Clum at Dreamland’s Donlad Bowl, Donlad, Oregon. Photo: Bud Fawcett

What do you want viewers to come away with after viewing this documentary?
I want viewers to appreciate Tom. Tom was super dedicated to all riders. He was dedicated to his company more than anyone could know. He loved skating and snowboarding so he would do whatever he could to help you either directly or with the equipment. If you ride, you have a responsibility to yourself to know what he did for you and what he did for the evolution of all riding. I guarantee,  after seeing this movie you will dig Tom and youll want to work on your riding.. [ ha ha.. ] really, after watching, youll want to watch it again. You will definitely have a better appropriation for your own riding and boarding overall. Thanks Tom…

What has been the one key challenge (other than financial) with respect to this project?
A key challenge is, as a group to get the story right and to give the viewer the best experience we can. For me directly, its memory [ and time, ha ha.. ]. There is so much to tell and so many people to involve to do it right. I really want to pay respects to as many people in the story as we can. A lot of these guys are legends both in snowboarding and skateboarding. Tom was an amazing pioneer and innovator, we want to show all that in the film so we can educate the perspective as well as honor the guys on this journey.
 

What would your life been like had you not worked for Tom?
I met Tom in 1981. I called him about the yellow skiboard deck and it took off from there. I was making my own boards at the time and I also had a yellow roundtail Winterstick. Tom was interested in my riding and immediately tried to convince me to ride a SIMS snowboard. He was super nice about it though. That was the beginning of it all. I still remember the call like it was yesterday.

If I hadn’t worked for Tom, I would probably be in Manhattan at an agency doing the creative thing. Id still be skating and snowboarding but on a different level I guess. I am an artist and designer at heart. I have had my own design studio since 1987. I have worked in agencies all over the world in design, graphics, directing and editing. Being creative is like riding. Its expression.

 

Skateboarding and snowboarding have always been a priority so I have worked in the industry from day one. I am grateful for having the opportunity to have worked together with Tom. We battled, we created and we rode together. I loved his competitiveness, It reminds me to go for it, to be prepared and do your best. I miss our conversations and our ideas for new projects. He’s there, whether its a backyarder or lines down the mountain, his spirit is always with me.

 

 

Check out their Kickstarter campaign here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe In the Future Everyone Will Use Facebook for 15 Minutes…Per Day, Week, Month or Year

Maybe In the Future Everyone Will Use Facebook for 15 Minutes…Per Day, Week, Month or Year

 It seems like there’s more skate drama on Facebook this week. How utterly NOT surprising.  Last week I started an experiment with Facebook. I wanted to see if I could limit the amount of time I spent on the site to about 15 minutes for the entire week. I also wanted to limit my personal page to one post per week. Of course, if someone directs me to something that I absolutely MUST see, then I won’t rule that out. I will continue to use the site for research – but I will limit that time as well. This decision grew out of a post on Facebook I wrote last week. I am beginning to feel that while the site definitely is a great communications tool (and I love the instant messenger and Facebook Live), sometimes Facebook just completely de-stokes me.  I’ll admit I love the fact that I can put a post on my Concrete Wave FB page and try and drive folks to my site. But the reality is that the algorithms on FB seem to have the upper hand. Posts about Tony Hawk or dogs that skate seem to suck all the oxygen out of the algorithms. FB could give two shits about Concrete Wave. On Facebook, I am the product.  Without going into too much detail, we have skate folks de-friending each other over politics – something that you are passionate about combined with politics is always a tricky combo. Facebook just makes it a combustible mix, leaving total carnage. And oh yeah, it can warp election results. Then again, that last item could just be fake news. You see where this goes? Brutal. How ironic. The vast majority of time spent with social media is making us anti-social. Then we have folks who post FB screeds that some might feel are justified and some utterly loathe. The only thing I can add to this is that much of the beefs on FB nowadays would have in a previous era been dealt with  off line and dealt with in a vastly different manner. I realize that there is no turning back. Make no mistake, FB is a great way to publicly shame a malicious and uncaring company but I am not convinced it’s the best way to deal with individuals who have issues with someone they feel has wronged them.  Here’s a prediction you can run with immediately. I bet if you ditch this column and go on FB right now, you will find at least one rather odd rant, outrageous comment or link. Now that you’ve returned, are you impressed as how telepathic I am! You know there are trolls out there. You know there is clickbait, and like me, you are feeding your addiction with every minute you spend flipping your screen.  I began to ask myself several questions after last weeks column. Is social media making me feel like going out and skate? Is it adding to my enjoyment of life? The answer, in most cases is no. I dearly love finding out about my 150 or so friends that are truly a part of my life at any given moment. We talk on the phone, write emails and see each other at events. I also have to run a magazine, work on Longboarding for Peace, plan the next skate event and oh yeah, spend time with my family. Moving from 1 or 2 hours a day (yes, I confess to TWO HOURS a day writing pithy comments on FB) to 15 minutes per week is an incredibly liberating experience. Recently, I decluttered and got rid of a whole bunch of stuff. Collecting things for 5 decades and then either throwing it out or giving most of it away was all about finding a freedom through the idea of minimalism. It may not work for everyone and clearly, it depends on your stage in life, but I am here to tell you that when you minimize your time on social media, it feels just as liberating as disposing of an old pair of shoes you will never use. I am NOT saying don’t go on FB. I am merely suggesting that if you want to contact me I am now more available than I was last week. I challenge you to build real relationships, not just Facebook Friends. I furthermore challenge you to go on FB for 15 minutes per week. See where it takes you.  More on Dunbar’s Number:  

Ron Barbagallo, Rock Star

Ron Barbagallo, Rock Star

Chances are if you hang out on Facebook (which, to be honest, I am doing with less and less frequency these days) you might have run across a man named Ron Barbagallo. Ron is someone who I have known for well over 15 years. In fact, he was even an advertiser in International Longboarder.  Ron ran a company called “Longboards By Fatboy.” Ron has always been supportive, friendly and with an understanding that “we’re all in this together.” He understands the grassroots. He also plays a mean guitar! Ron is probably playing something from The Clash. While we’ve only met on a few occasions, each time has been stellar. Ron is hands-down one of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever met in skateboarding. Damn, I wish he lived a little closer to Toronto! Ron not only supported Concrete Wave for years, he’s been very supportive of Longboarding for Peace. His latest donation of 10 helmets helped out a first nations community two hours east of Toronto. I know it seems like I am lavishing an extra-ordinary amount of praise on Ron, but believe me, it is truly earned. His latest post on Facebook has to be seen to be believed. Have a peek Gord Downie, RIP I could show multiple examples of the awesomeness that is Ron Barbagallo. All I will say is that if had more people like him, the world would be a much better place.  And I’d probably hang out on Facebook more. So, here’s to you Ron (and New Jersey, your home state). This Canadian knows that Americans like Ron are truly exceptional individuals.   Ron and his buddy Joe Iacovelli.  You are truly a rockstar.

SKATE YOGI

SKATE YOGI

Kevin Banahan is both a skate-boarder and a yogi. (The term “yogi” is yoga’s self-explanatory equivalent to the term “skater” in skateboarding for those unaware.) 

 

 

In the fall of 2013, his desire to teach others the blissfulness of embracing isolated periods of time and simply being in the moment, which he attained through both skateboarding and yoga, came to fruition when he started SKATEYOGI.

Since then, Banahan has become a the full time teacher and he now operates out of a space called Skate Brooklyn. Moreover, what had once started as an organization for adult skateboarding classes, has undergone a youthful takeover. At the time of this writing, SKATEYOGI thrives on kids attending weekend group classes, after school programs and a six week summer camp. 

Concrete Wave caught up to Kevin during Week 1 of camp to discuss what goes into a skateboard summer camp for kids.

 

The day starts by having a communal meeting in spirit of the way SKATEYOGI embraces the idea that skateboarding is more than just riding. Collaborative engagement shows the children how skateboarding is centered around the sense of community that comes with the ride. At the same time, it provides education for skateboarding’s newcomers on the unspoken rules of the culture. Everything from the proper etiquette of riding in an active zone down to the practice of learning to clap their boards to applaud the tricks of others provides kids the foundations needed to roll with. A lesson on the several different ways to get involved in the skateboarding community, even when they are not physically on the board is always a great start to the day. 

Next, the kids pad up and hit the streets where Banahan and a handful of adult facilitators bring the campers to a local spot for a shot at the action. The idea of facilitating rather than coaching shows skateboarding to the young kids as a form of creative expression that traditional American pastimes cannot. As the young skaters learn how to ride their boards while interpreting their environment, they embrace the fact that skateboarding (much like the practice of yoga) is not about winning, losing or reaching an ultimate end goal. While the adults are there to mentor on basic riding techniques, the children are left to discover that there is no right or wrong way to embrace their creative freedoms. In fact, Banahan says the most gratifying part of watching the campers figure this out is when they manage to figure out a trick without being taught in the first place.

 

A cornerstone feature of the SKATEYOGI camp are the sessions on Skate Brooklyn’s brand new micro mini ramp. Here is where Banahan sees the magic of balance come into play for these young skaters. Each with a different style, the campers embrace the time on the mini ramp to find their rhythm on their own and to cheer on their fellow friends. The grand culmination for their week of camp of course comes when the dedicated shralper finally learns to drop in.

 

In short, he purpose of the SKATEYOGI summer camp is to build kids up, teach them to engage and support their fellow skateboarding peers and teach them to spread this positivity. It is designed to promote socialization and empathy while at the same time fostering an environment of resilient and practical creative exercise. It provides the fundamental guidance and the perfect setting for campers to learn the skills they need and practice the way they want. After all, Banahan says “once you know the rules, then you can break them.” Thus, in the same way that Banahan was able to find the similar parallels from yoga to skateboarding, campers are better able to draw their own parallels from skateboarding to other areas of their lives after a week of camp with SKATEYOGI.

 

 

 

#Skatetofight

#Skatetofight

This year, #skatetofight Team Rider, Candy Dungan, shared her own sexual assault story in the pages of Concrete Wave. With folks like Harvey Weinstein on many people’s minds, this is an important issue to cover. There is ONLY one skate magazine brave enough to run a story about using skateboards (and luge) as a way of therapy in dealing with the crime of sexual assault. That magazine is Concrete Wave and we are proud to stand with people like Candy and the team at #Skatetofight.

 

 

You can see the entire story here:

 

This year, #Skatetofight is joining Candy and boyfriend Aaron Hampshire in Denver to produce a skate video that takes a stand against sexual assault.

 

In the video, Candy and Aaron will be discussing the importance of bystanders; the people who are not the perpetrator or victim. They’ll talk about how a bystander can support those in their life who may be victims of sexual assault, and they’ll suggest things everyone can do on a daily basis to help stop sexual assault from happening in the first place. Candy will use her own story, and how Aaron helped her heal, as an example.

 

“We started this campaign for the same reason we’ve done all of our projects: to help provide hope and healing for victims, and to advise bystanders on how to help,” said Jaden Beau Durrant, #skatetofight organizer. “Those who’ve suffered deserve to have a voice, to know where to get professional help, and to have the emotional support and security from the growing community that #skatetofight provides.”

 

Candy Dungan is ranked #5 in the World for Downhill Skateboarding Women’s Category. Aaron Hampshire is ranked #3 in the World for Downhill Skateboarding Open’s Category. With their help, #skatetofight is hoping to reach a large audience in a male-dominated industry.

Candy Dungan charges at the Verdicchio race in Italy. Photo: Sven von Schlachta

 

“It’s obvious the skate industry needs this,” said Candy Dungan. “I post something about sexual assault and no one interacts. I post that my bearded dragon did something funny and get hundreds of likes.” She believes that funding for this video will have to come from outside the skate community in order to impact a community that needs to hear this message.

 

#skatetofight has created a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for production. The goal is to raise

$2,500 by Oct. 27th. This is an all-or-nothing campaign; if #skatetofight does not reach their goal, then they will not receive any of the pledged funds. Please stand with us in the fight against sexual assault by sharing this campaign with your audience and asking them to contribute and share.

Be sure to head over to the #skatetofight kickstarter campaign. 

 

#skatetofight is an organization founded in early 2015 with the goal to use skateboarding to help those who struggle with mental illness, and to create a more positive and friendly community for all skateboarders. Over the years, #skatetofight has branched out to help those who struggle with addictions, sexual assault, and the challenges of daily life. Although #skatetofight is our name, they recognize that the core of why skateboarding helps us is because of the passion behind it.

 

Passions are one of greatest healing and strengthening powers.

 

#skatetofight on Facebook

If 1967 was the Summer of Love, then 2017 is the Start of the Winter of Collaboration

If 1967 was the Summer of Love, then 2017 is the Start of the Winter of Collaboration

I was turning three years old in 1967 during the Summer Love. They tell me it was a great experience. They also say if you remember the 1960’s you weren’t really there. The Summer of Love brought us The Beatles “Sgt Pepper” Hippies and Hunter S. Thompson. And in case you wondered, skateboarding was absolutely dead.

  If 1967 was about peace and love, 1968 would usher in a year of hatred and violence. In Chicago, cops beat anti-war protestors mercilessly.  Race riots erupted after the assassination of Martin Luther King.  In Vietnam the war raged on and the My Lai massacre took out hundreds of civilians. Bobby Kennedy was also assassinated. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Skateboarding was also dead in 1968. The good news is that Tony Hawk was born in May of that year!

 

Tony Hawk as a pre-teen It would take almost 5 years for things to start percolating with skateboarding.  If truth be told, things didn’t really start exploding world-wide until 1974/75.

Fast-forward and we have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love. Not sure how else to say this, but it’s pretty crazy out there. Check out these headlines from yesterday and today. If it’s not neo-Nazi’s it’s freaking North Korea. And oh yeah, it’s pretty challenging these days to run a skateboard company. Did you know there are over 2,000 skateparks in the USA and yet we have the same amount of skaters as we did in 1988. And what about the Olympics? How are small companies going to compete? And what the heck is up with longboarding?  It turns out that when the going get’s tough…Time to watch John Belushi from “Animal House.” I think this scene pretty much encapsulates where things are at. The only way forward through some of the turbulence we are faced with in our industry is through collaboration and some truly inspiring approaches. Collectively, the skate industry is made up some of the most intriguing and creative folks you’d ever want to work with. My decision is to vote with my time and ensure that the next 20 years are spent building hives of high fives and positive vibes. Stand by readers, advertisers and former advertisers, Concrete Wave has got its mojo back and as the late great Tom Petty said:  By the way, just in case you wondered about what I feel about Richard Spencer:

Hey Skaters! Is Facebook Stoking You or De-Stoking You?

Hey Skaters! Is Facebook Stoking You or De-Stoking You?

Five years ago AXS Longboard Retailer Magazine did a story on Facebook. I was puzzled by the power of social media and was quite taken with a book that laid things out in a vastly different perspective (more on that in a minute). You can read it here. Most of you have probably never even HEARD of this magazine, but it was my way of trying to bring another perspective to the market. It was a business to business publication. I think the piece still stands up but right now, I want to focus my thoughts on how Facebook is affecting folks who actually skate. Before I launch into this, I wanted to let you know about a book that I felt was probably way ahead of its time…or absolutely no where near its time. The book is called, wait for it,  This book is 5 years old. It will either delight you or drive you crazy. I am not going to get into the nitty gritty details of some of the insanely passionate arguments that rage daily on FB. I am not going to blast those who spend hours defending their point of view or chastising their fellow skaters. The latest post to cause an explosion of heated debate concerns a video that features a skater destroying a helmet – both with a baseball bat and by actually jumping on it. Adding to this, the rider in the video skates down a hill without a helmet. WARNING: I am not going to get into a debate over helmets right now. Concrete Wave publishes photos with people wearing helmets and NOT wearing helmets. We will NEVER turn away a photo if a rider has a helmet on. I will save the helmet debate for another column.  What I am most interested in is this: Is Facebook actually killing the stoke of skaters more than it is adding to their stoke?  This is a very hard question to answer, but I sense that it’s not limited to longboarding. Have a peek at this column.I am not suggesting that you cut Facebook at of your life. I am merely suggesting that you start to personally examine whether or not Facebook stokes you out as a skater more than it depresses you. If you find yourself not really feeling stoked, then I believe it is time to critically examine why this is happening.  I will admit this is something that has happened and continues to happen in my own life. I love Facebook and I hate Facebook. I know that Facebook has been a crucial way for many skate brands to grow their business. I also know that the skate business is cyclical and right now, the feelings of pure stoke often get drowned out by the drama.  Don’t get me wrong, drama, debate and skateboarding have been woven together since Dogtown and Down South battled in the pages of SkateBoarder and beyond. The difference now of course is that it is 24-7 drama and debate, should you wish.  And that really is the key. It’s what YOU wish. If you find that the most recent Facebook debate is not warming the cockles of your heart, perhaps it’s time for a temporary detox?  Here’s a challenge to anyone reading this column: can you go 12 hours without posting anything on Facebook? Can you go 24? But beyond this, if Facebook destokes you and yet you continue to spend hours on it, could going for a skate solve the problem?      

Skateboarding, Space and the City

Skateboarding, Space and the City

    Iain Borden – writer extraordinaire There is so much to appreciate about skateboarding, it’s almost overwhelming. From the entertainment it yields to the lessons it teaches us to the way it connects us to our surroundings to the culture it has spawned from a few decades of riding. But, if you strip all of those factors away and consider what makes skateboarding as sensational as it is, it comes down to feeling. It’s that feeling where the front trucks hit the ground halfway through a backside 180 and you pivot the rest of the way through. Or it could be that feeling when your eyes open back up after a slam and you realize your body is still resilient enough to have another go. And while it’s impossible to articulate those moments of bliss on the pages of a book, Iain Borden’s Skateboarding, Space and the City, makes the most comprehensive attempt at it that I have ever read. By nature, this book is actually a study about architecture and the ways that skateboarders have begun a unique interaction with the urban and suburban cities around the world, more-so than it is a book merely describing what skateboarding feels like. However, the relationship here is driven, of course, by the skateboard itself and how the skateboarder takes a device first seen as separate to their natural existence and turns it into a part of themselves. In his own words, Borden explains how, “within the act of these skateboarding moves, the skateboard is less a piece of equipment and takes on more the character of a prosthetic device, an extension of the body as a kind of fifth limb, absorbed into and diffused inside the body-terrain encounter.” For example, let’s say you have never carved a wall of transition but still wanted to know exactly what it feels like. For that, you can flip to the third chapter. Here, you will find a description of every millisecond involved in a the physics of a kick turn, in an effort to describe the ways that the rippers of the early 70’s interacted with their newfound spaces of backyard pools, drainage ditches and full pipes. Beyond these spaces, the text tells the tale of how the bowl-oriented parks of the time were adapted from these previous forms of societal architecture. It then touches on the culture of DIY parks, the placement of mini ramps versus vert ramps, the use of wooden ramps versus concrete features and pretty much any other detail about the expansion of spaces that became designed specifically for skateboarding. From one location to the next, the text becomes a riveting history lesson on how the skaters of the world ended up riding in the different places we do without thinking twice about it. From there, the book goes far beyond talking about skateparks and maneuvers. It takes a look into skateboarding subculture and everything that constitutes it. It observes the clothing, the artwork, the roles of masculinity, the participation of women, race and other qualities that forms the subcultural identity of skateboarders. This particular section is important because it perhaps links yesterday’s skateboarding history to the present day skateboarder’s mindset better than anywhere else in the book. In referencing the pride skateboarders take in their subculture, Borden writes “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’” About a day after I read that quote, I was actually out in California visiting the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum and I asked Co-Founder Eric Terhorst what he thought of it. Simply put, he said people want to make things their own because they want to feel entitled to them. When asked if he agreed with this statement, Borden told us “Definitely. Skateboarding – or at least the act of skateboarding – is about doing things for yourself in the ways you want to do so. But I would also add to this that nobody – or no set of people – therefore owns or defines skateboarding, and no single form of ‘core’ skateboarding is ‘superior’ to or dominates over any other. Just as every human has, within the confines of law, the right to believe and act as they will, so skaters should express themselves through whatever skateboarding variant they might prefer.  Indeed, if there is any hierarchy of the most ‘authentic’ or ‘core’ attributes of skateboarding, then I rate the qualities of openness, inclusivity, accessibility and freedom of interpretation over those of exclusivity, dogmatism or macho aggression. Skateboarding is best when it openly questions, challenges, explores, surprises and welcomes rather than when it is narrowly comfortable, judgmental, predictable, stable or exclusionary.” The simple fact is though, skateboarding’s subculture has become exclusionary throughout the timeline covered in this book and has become even more narrow minded in the time since this book was published. In one of the book’s most shining examples, the frequently contested controversy over skateboarding clothing is brought up. Here, Borden observes how the allure of wearing skate clothing is often rendered useless when it is, essentially, hijacked by non-skateboarders. He goes on to note how this process makes skateboarders realize that their identity is rooted in skateboarding itself, not it’s clothing. To a 21 year old skateboard writer surrounded by non-skateboarders who find that wearing a Thrasher hoodie is more of a fashion trend, rather than a means to pay homage to a premier skateboarding media outlet, this is a no brainer. However, in following up with Borden after my read, he went on to justify this notion in greater detail. After acknowledging both potential generalizations and exceptions, he explained that “The Generation X skaters of the 1990s are far more suspicious of brands, companies, clothing, fashion and style than are many of the more recent and younger skaters. So these older Generation X riders will still buy into certain brands – Vans, Antihero, Independent and the like – but require these brands to have a certain authenticity. The more recent Generation Y skaters are much more relaxed, more open to being hooked-up with different brands and companies. For them, heavily-branded and fashion-oriented outfits like Supreme and Palace  can readily sit alongside ‘non-skate’ brands like Nike, just as skateboarding itself may well for them sit alongside and within other interests and activities. Skateboarding is of course very important to many new skaters, but it doesn’t perhaps quite as often wholly define these skaters as it did for their 1990s predecessors, and nor do these Generation Y skaters feel that they in turn own or define skateboarding in the same way that Generation X skaters can often get very territorial over who is or can claim to be a skater, or can ‘rightfully’ wear skate apparel.” On top of all the different avenues that this book covers, it’s most fascinating aspect is the emphasis that Borden puts on using authentic primary sources. With few scholarly sources to cite, he relied on “30 years now of looking at magazines, books, articles, DVDs, videos etc.” to compile the book. Even more thought-provoking is the fact that Borden not only pulled a massive amount of quotes from these sources but also gave them critical analysis throughout. In one specific example. Borden starts the fifth chapter by embedding a poem from a 1986 issue Thrasher that sounds like something a middle-schooler might have haphazardly strung together. Despite the noticeably amateur work, Borden treats the text just the same as he treats the words of philosopher Henri Lefebvre, who is featured throughout the work. Ignoring the poem’s lack of prowess, Borden draws parallels to legitimate commentary on spacial studies from the writings of a skateboarder whose thoughts made it into the magazine one day. It is this consideration and validation that Borden gives to the writers of the skateboarding world that makes this book so important to me. This is something that is acknowledged from the very get-go. In disclosing the lack of scholarly logic behind many of the works he cites, Borden states, “Although often highly intelligent in their articles and reports, particularly through their self-deprecating demeanour, these magazines are not highly theorized. Nor are they the products of professional journalists, but the products of skateboarders themselves who have become journalists through working on such publications.” This reliance on referencing “whatever they saw fit to say and publish at the time” gives purpose not only to all of the skateboarding writers out there but to those reading their work. From the product of a skateboarder themselves, I wholeheartedly encourage those reading this piece to get their hands on a copy of Iain Borden’s Skateboarding, Space and the City before next spring. By that time, in May of 2018, Borden will be releasing “a massively revised/expanded/updated version of the book” that will be sure to live up to the original. I trust that neither read will soon be forgotten. 

Artist Profile: Lewis Taylor

Artist Profile: Lewis Taylor

 

If you were looking to find a Skatebird in their natural habitat, allow me to direct you to some things to keep an eye out for. First and foremost, you gotta keep watch for big yellow beaks on an otherwise human-looking face and body. Looking out for handrails and hubbas is also no brainer. These things practically fly down them. You’ll usually find them sporting Emerica tee shirts and riding Baker decks. These are other telltale signs of a Skatebird. Last but not least, and if you have no idea what the hell I’m even talking about, you have to visit Wales-based illustrator and nose-slider Lewis Taylor’s Instagram page to find them.

 

On this page, you’ll find dozens of these Skatebirds that have been carving up different terrains over the past couple of years. Since the beginning, Taylor told us, “Skatebird was pretty much my main character when I first started posting on Instagram, he was really basic to start with and then over time developed into more of a real person with just a beak as the only resemblance of a bird.”

 

If you think this article has all the earmarks of an Artist Profile we did a couple weeks back on fellow skate illustrator, Dustin Ammons, you’re not far off. From one artist to another, Taylor recalls, “After coming across Dustins page and seeing that there was another character similar to mine I got in touch with him and from there we did a collab which I think came out pretty cool!”

 

Where Taylor’s profile differs and shines, though, is in it’s ever sprawling assortment of subjects and scenes. Some weeks there will be scenes recreated from The Office or The Simpsons. Other weeks feature some nods to the pros like Bryan Herman and Axel Cruysberghs. Then you’ve got silhouette-style works, works where everything is drawn with rubber bands and a bounty of works centered around original characters. When asked if he had a favorite character the artist told us, “I’d say I most enjoy creating my own characters and playing around with swapping body parts for different things or enlarging certain body parts etc.. I also like using scenes from my favourite films as the basis for a lot of my drawings. Basically the less serious it is the more fun I have doing it and that’s what keeps me picking my pens up.”

 

As for the man behind this all, Taylor cleared up once and for all that his @taygord handle stems from a nickname given to a drunken alter-ego of his. Before that, however, Taylor’s roots begin on a farm in the UK, as a son of an artistically-inclined family. Though his earliest strides in illustration began at primary school-age, Taylor asserts, “Surprisingly I was never really a huge fan of art classes in school though, I just wanted to draw stupid cartoons and skate related stuff. I didn’t take well to choosing themes and using different materials etc.. I’ve always preferred the traditional pencil, pen and paper approach. It’s just clean and simple.” As far as that skate-related aspect goes, Taylor says that an obsession he learned from a couple kids at school took shape on the farm where he build boxes, rails and even a mini ramp to skate endlessly.

 

Nowadays, he finds a happy medium between of working, keeping up with the illustrations and, of course, skateboarding. When asked whether he preferred putting the cap back on a marker after a long night of illustrating or getting into a noseslide without sticking, he told us “Having a solid skate where I’m landing everything cleanly and avoiding painful falls is always nice but, similarly, finishing an illustration that i’m really happy with is super satisfying. I guess you could say I prefer which ever one I’m performing best at on the day!”

                    

Kannibal Skateboards Rises From the Crypt

Kannibal Skateboards Rises From the Crypt

The roots of this article go way back to the 1990’s. We’ll explain more in a moment. But if for some reason you think that longboarding is only about bombing hills or cruising – prepare to have your brain eaten by cannibals. Actually, make that Kannibal Skateboards. This company, hailing from some remote Florida swamp (a notorious breeding ground for Kannibals) has put together an insane team of rippers who destroy street spots on longboards. WARNING: This is not about throwing shakas and cruising. It’s about mayhem on four wheels.  The roots of Kannibal go back to a skate company called TVS. Terminal Velocity Streetboards were doing things in the early 2000’s that many skaters to this day can’t seem to get their heads around. Some of those legendary skaters have joined up with Kannibal to unleash their vision of skateboarding on a new crop of riders. To get a taste of what TVS was about have a peek below: Founder Jon Milstadio is originally from Virginia and as we mentioned, he has very different take on skateboarding.  “I tried the t-ball thing – tried the soccer thing. It lasted maybe a week” he says wryly. “I was interested in skating – I got my first board from my grandma. It was a Tony Hawk.” Jon moved down to Florida when he was eight.   “We didn’t have much to skate. There were no hills and maybe one backyard ramp.” Jon recalls seeing a new company called Zion Longboards. Jon tried out a board and found it addictive. “I always felt he needed a bigger board and the longboard fulfilled this need.Kannibal founder – Jon Milstadio Over the next few years, Jon would modify longboards and attempt kickflips on pintails. “There was a set of stairs nearby and we’d take our 46″ boards and ride. It was fun and no one else was doing this in our area.”Jon Milstadio launches on his Envy Longboard in 1999. Keith was interested in starting his own company. He created a shape very reminiscent of snowboards – they were flat and they’d break pretty quickly. Eventually they went back to Zion to get some boards made. “We called it the Scooby Snack” recalls Jon.  Jon recalls that Keith spotted a local on a Bareback board with the same shape as the Scooby Snack. It was from a company called Bareback. They were amazed that the kid could do 180 backside ollies with it. “We wound up getting boards from Grant at Bareback” recalls Jon.Teamrider Jarpy  “I went down to Surf Expo in the late 90’s and went up to the folks from Envy Longboards. I thought it was a cool board. They were stunned that I wanted to drop in the on the ramp.” Jon dropped in and the crowd was amazed. He wound up skating for Envy and eventually he made his way to the Kona Nationals in 2000. “That event blew my mind” recalls Jon. “I broke three toes but to be there and see so many longboarders was amazing.” He had his toes iced the night before the contest and wound up getting third place in the AM division. Tibs Parise strikes a pose. Jon would eventually wind up riding with a number of longboard rippers including Jeff Budro, Brad Edwards (RIP), Jimmy Riha, Yancey Meyer and Jesse Parker. “I thought I was on one level and I thought I’d dominate as a pro at the next Kona contest” says Jon. “But these guys were just so far advanced. It was still amazing to be with all these guys.” When TVS released their video Unleashed in the Middle East, featuring Yancey and Jesse it took longboarding to a whole new level. “The video was so inspiring and I tried to duplicate the tricks I saw in it.” Jon eventually realized that riding on larger boards was all that he wanted to do within skateboarding. He wound up getting sponsored by Flexdex but things didn’t really mushroom the way he thought they would.  Jon witnessed firsthand how TVS just completely blew up. The story of TVS is one that very few folks know about but one day I am sure they’ll do a movie. To keep this article within digestible size, let’s just say that TVS was way ahead of its time and it definitely inspired a totally different way to view longboarding. That spirit is infused within Kannibal. I can feel it.  Jesse Parker with his pro model. Over the last decade or so, Jon’s path in skateboarding took some twists and turns. He never lost touch with Jesse and over time, he began plotting a way to return to the roots of a more hardcore approach to boards over 36″. “I never lost touch with Jesse and he thought my idea about starting up a new company would be cool.” This is how Kannibal Skateboards was unleashed. Joining Jon are Yancey, Jesse and Tibs Parise. It is truly an unbelievable talented team. Yancey Meyer with appropriate attire for the season. “It is not just about downhill” explains Jon. “There’s a whole f**king side to this that no one knows about. This thing can be way bigger than any of us.” Jon sees the fusion of longboarding and street skating as the future. “Nobody wants to take that chance – but we’ve already proven that it works – it was sick!” Vert, bowl, street, park – Kannibal aims to destroy it all on longboards.    MINI INTERVIEW with Jon Milstadio CW Mag: What would you say to the current crop of street skaters who still have prejudice towards longboarding?Jon: Hate all you want, but longboarding isn’t going away. It is only going to get bigger. You guys are doing things that are radically different. Has any other media picked up on this?Nobody. Where would you like to be in a year from now?We would like to be touring the east and west coast, having our boards in most core skateboard shops across the globe. We would also like to have a rad AM team. Shout outs to:Shout out to the Kannibal Skateboards team, Brian at Barefoot Designs for the art and printing, Brian Davis and Jeff King for taking killer shots, and my grandma for buying me my first Powell skateboard deck!  For more info visit: kannibalskateboards.com

Saturday Morning Video Free For All

Saturday Morning Video Free For All

We have been combing over a number of videos and I am delighted to share with you two new rarely seen videos from our first edition of Evolutions DVD. Evolutions hit in 2005 at a time when You Tube was still a concept. Getting a FREE DVD that went for over 2 hours was a pretty unusual thing back then. Here are two cool pieces from that DVD. Be sure to subscribe to our channel…more videos are coming!The first is Escate by Jay Edry. It’s a 2 1/2 minute animated masterpiece.The short still stands the test of time – hard to believe it was created 12 years ago!Jay Edry was a animation student at Seneca College in Toronto. He went on to be come a hugely successful game designer for mobile devices. Another video that we know you will enjoy is from the film “Downhill Motion.” It captures the 60’s and 70’s scene in a truly remarkable way. This video is presented by ZFBC. Huge thanks to them!  You’ll see footage from 1960’s slalom contests and folks bombing the legendary Signal Hill. BONUS!have a peek here – this video will make you laugh – it is seriously well done!  

Fuertaventura – An Island Paradise

Fuertaventura – An Island Paradise

After the most stress-free journey from Bristol airport, this young stoke searcher found herself away from society’s claws, away from a busy, crowded, grey, dull and very rainy lifestyle back in the UK. Fuertaventura is like a small slice of paradise.

 Somewhere near Morocco lies Fuertaventura

 

Here’s what the island looks like:

 

My board was securely packaged with ‘FRAGILE’ stickers all over the packaging and on board the plane along with its proud owner. Why on earth I decided to state my piece of retro smashed up wood as fragile, I don’t know. I mean, man, it’s had more knocks and slams than a 45 year old singer on X-Factor! However. My old and faithful pintail made it safely to its destination. Whereby it was to revive a ‘good and proper’ endurance.

 

 

Corralejo in Fuerta has proved to be one of the lushest and safest places to skate in my eyes. Endless paths with slight declines and pathways to cruise to your heart’s content. What more would you want? However. There has appeared to be a lack of hills to bomb. The first two days of being here, I found immediately the best paths to cruise and carve, but after a week of simply carving, I was craving adrenalin.

 

Asking the locals will forever and always be, the best and most sensible thing to do and for anyone who suffers with finding the confidence to do so – really, go for it. Ask away! And trust me ladies, there’s nothing more impressive than a women asking where the best hills are to skate. So, a very kind young man directed me to a hill in Corralejo that is best for blasting.

 

I headed up to the volcano, whereby you can see the entire of Corralejo and even over sea to Lanzarote in the distance. The hill was literally, a hill. That was it. So sadly, there is a slight anti-climax to this hill blasting business. No pun intended. After a few wazzes down the small, yet steep slope. I soon realised, that unless your board is fully slidable – the hill wasn’t for you.

 

However, a couple of cheeky shut downs and the hills are your oyster! So the secret volcano proved to be a nice surprise.

 

As for the culture over here, well In the space of two weeks, I could already picture myself entering their annual downhill event – a day of speeding through the town of Corralejo like bats from hell! The locals really are awesome people. They have this ‘laid back, free vibe’ with hints of extreme adventure frequently surfacing.

What I also found here in Fuerte was the acceptance and variation to their skate families. Unlike testosterone filled Cornwall, or the UK for that matter, there appears to be no ‘beef ‘ like there is at most of our skate park.

There’s no gangs with their ‘lead skaters’! Or ‘kids to be scared off’ – because let’s face it, every town has its skater jock who makes skate park and life on the hills, a total nightmare.

 

 

In fact there’s a warm welcoming feel to the entire place. Corralejo’s skate park was definitely needing a revamp, but the spirit of the locals made it 10 x brighter! And the nicest part? The ages. The ‘big kids’ help the ‘little kids’ and share experiences and knowledge. The older guys seemed to embrace the young children and almost nurtured them into the world of skateboarding.

 

Also, not forgetting to add, the pure reasoning behind the skate culture here. Transport. It seems that Longboarding is the most popular type of boarding here, and why not own a board to get around, when the Tarmac really is amazing.

 

And a little note for any adrenaline aspiring, stoke searching long boarders; when skating Fuerteventura, or any Canary Island for that matter, always carry a sweeping brush to sweep away those pesky little lumps of volcano rock that make your sesh hell, and also, skate near aloe vera plants so when you fall – you can apply some free lotion straight from the plant, straight onto your cuts and burns. Man it’s good.

 

And before I get carried away with frothing about how amazing it is here, I’ll add some knowledge for you.
Fuertaventura is given its name as Fuerte means strong and Ventura means adventure in Spanish. Strong adventure – pretty cool huh. And an adventure it really was.

 

 

 

 

Rock Island Rip – Lincoln, Nebraska

Rock Island Rip – Lincoln, Nebraska

We are super stoked to announce the first known Longboard/Skateboard push race in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Oct. 29th! After a pair of stoke-filled-downhill-longboard races (the Pioneer Premiere and Pioneer Smear), the Midwest is answering the call and hosting a push race, The Rock Island Rip. The best part, besides a trail that offers a bit of downhill and plenty of terrain to pump, is free registration and $200.00 in cash prizes up for grabs! The event will be held at 10 a.m. on the Rock Island Trail behind Arbys on south 27th street. The open division will race up and back on the trail for a grand total of 8 miles. Our grom division (ages 15 and under) will push four miles. Cash will be divided amongst podium winners.  While it will be a competitive race in both divisions, the host Eric Rineer emphasizes that the primary goal of the event is to “form a community and bring awareness of a new type of boarding to this part of the country.”  And Lincoln is doing just that with riders flocking from surrounding areas like Missouri and Kansas to compete in prior events. More information can be found by searching for the event “Rock Island Rip” on Facebook. Ages 18 and under are asked to bring a parental-consent form before participating.  Come out, bring your board, bring a friend, and have some fun while competing in a free-entry-cash-prize game.   

Guns and Skateboards

Guns and Skateboards

Like all of you, I am deeply shocked and saddened by the events that unfolded on Sunday night in Las Vegas. I was actually in Las Vegas on August 11th with my family and of course, we were right on the strip.  After the Sandy Hook massacre (2012), Neil Carver of Carver Skateboards was called to take action. His idea was simple. Let’s trade guns in that no one wants in their house for skateboards. He worked with the San Pedro police department and spawned four additional gun buy backs in San Diego. Collectively, the “Guns for Skateboards” initiative has traded hundreds of guns. In case you are wondering, the guns are taken with no questions asked and are promptly destroyed by law enforcement. We get fully automatic weapons like Uzi’s and M16’s. We also get an assortment of guns from the 1800’s, mini guns and hollow point bullets.Gun buy back in San Pedro – 2013 Please note that NO ONE is forcing these folks to trade in their guns. In fact, we even have gun shops stand outside with signs saying they’ll offer more than what a skateboard is worth. I know what you’re thinking. A few thousand guns is nothing compared to the 300+ million guns that are in the USA. My answer is this: replacing a skateboard with an unwanted gun does more than what you think it does. You see, in San Diego (according to the Police Chief I spoke with) a number of guns are stolen from homes and used to commit violent crimes. Unfortunately, these guns are not under lock and key. They are not fully secured and they get taken in home robberies/invasions. These guns are then used in armed robbery or other gun related crimes.   All sensible gun owners will tell you that it is imperative that guns are stored safely. When guns are not stored safely, you can run into some big trouble.  Rather than argue about gun rights or gun bans, this gun buyback program does one thing – it removes an unwanted gun and replaces it with something else entirely. Right now, the USA is reeling and both sides – those who want to ban guns and those who say it is their right to have firearms are screaming at at each other. You either go in circles, or you step up and take a different approach. The gun buy back can be supported by both sides. You can read more about it here (thank you Huck Magazine) I firmly believe you need to build bridges on the issue of gun violence. The only way to do this to address the millions of gun owners who believe a safely secured firearm is of paramount concern. Anything else is recklessness. But for those folks who for whatever reason are not able to secure their gun safely, a gun buy back is a start. From here, you can begin a dialogue about what to do next. If you are interested in getting involved in our next gun buy back in San Diego, please email me. It’s happening in December.    

A Bittersweet September

A Bittersweet September

September has been a rough month for a lot of folks. We lost the entire Silverfish site, including all the archives. The plug has been pulled and for many skaters, the loss of this site, strikes them at their core. There were MILLIONs of posts and a lot of great info. There were also trolls, hackers and other folks that for whatever reason, helped to create a path for the final demise of the site.  Of all the thoughts that folks had about Silverfish, I think this post from Toronto local Chris Barrett resonates with me the most:  Then, just last week, Brad Edwards was untimely taken from the skate world. Brad had a such a great personality. A big heart and love for skateboarding that was endless. He will be missed.  Then, this morning I learned that Dennis Dragon passed away a few days ago. Here is the info from Skate and Annoy – click image to be taken to the site.To add to this, today marks the 3rd anniversary of my father passing away. I seriously can’t believe three full years have gone. I wrote about the experience of skating in the halls of the hospice. As surreal an experience as you can hope for. Again, click the image to read the full articleDespite all this discussion of death and loss, I am writing to let you know that there is something coming down the pike that will absolutely blow your mind. It’s a new documentary on skateboarding that literally took over 2 decades to put together. The film is called Virgin Blacktop and it is truly pure stoke. 
Back in 1976, Charlie Samuels began filming his friends skateboarding. Forty years later, this is his love letter to skateboarding. I got the same feeling watching this film as I did with my experience with the documentary about the Z Boys. I happened to be in the audience in September of 2001 when Stacy Peralta unleashed his documentary – you know the one that was actually inspired by Spin Magazine.
 Here’s a little section from the piece you might not know about – and yes, I was the one (along with Paul Schmitt who told Spin about the book Concrete Wave that led to editor Dave Moodie asking to see the proofs – which eventually led to Greg Beato writing the article! If you skated, or know someone who skated during this time, be prepared to have a flood of memories hit you like a tsunami. The documentary Dogtown and Z Boys was able to give people a glimpse into a culture that was primarily only known by skaters. It resonated with lots of other folks too. The Dogtown skaters were legends back in the day and the film was an amazing tribute to their efforts.  The vast majority of skaters like me who were really into the scene back then will see so many similarities with the skaters who appear in this film. They weren’t really featured in the mags – and if they were, it was minimal coverage. Only one (Joe Humeres) really became a well known skater (in the area of freestyle). Virgin Blacktop is literally dripping with emotion and goes along way to explain the camaraderie that is found with skateboarding. I am not going to give too much away in this mini-review. But I will say this, with all the deeply unsettling things that have been part of this month, Virgin Blacktop was a tonic for my soul. This film cuts deep and it will have skaters and non-skaters absolutely spellbound. Just last week there was a sneak preview of the film in France. It took the Best Documentary Award at the Paris Surf & Skateboard Festival. My sense is that this film will turn Sundance on its head! Charlie Samuels poured blood, sweat and a tremendous amount of tears into this incredible film. Our plan is to ensure that skaters everywhere get a chance to see it and experience the way it really should be seen: with friends in a theater. I cannot stress how profound this film is – it is an absolute masterpiece that will make you want to get out there and skate.