I’ve known Dan MacFarlane for a number of years and frankly, he’s one of the most gifted skaters I’ve ever encountered.
Besides having an incredible style and creativity, Dan’s “gift” to skateboarding is his extra-ordinary ability to teach others how to skate. His instructional videos have been seen by hundreds of thousands of skaters and have had a tremendous impact.
Using video to teach skaters is a powerful way to engage people.
Behold, Dan’s latest masterpiece.
Source: CW from MyStyle
We are on official holidays starting today and coming soon you will encounter a whole new website. Meanwhile, I wanted to give you an update on things. I have just returned from the United Kingdom. It was an epic trip. More on that later.
Oddballs – a great little skateshop (and more) in the heart of Camden Town, UK
For over 2 decades I’ve written about skateboarding from a different perspective. I am not sure why I was compelled to do this, I just to it. Some of this resonates with people, some of it doesn’t.
The shop is well-stocked!
All I know is that my stated goal in life is to create more skateboarders and to keep them riding forever. Why? Because of all the things that I’ve encountered, nothing comes close to blending immediate freedom, with glorious speed and soulful carving. Sure, I can to technical tricks, but for me, the flow of skateboarding is what keeps me passionate. The two things I really dig are James Bond movies and ska music.
The cover of our latest issue.
As I mentioned, last week I found myself in Great Britain – the land of my birth. I left when I was 8. I was 10 when I spotted someone skateboarding for the first time. It was 1974 on a return trip to the UK and my family and I were walking around the Brighton pier.
Amy Winehouse art located in Camden Town.
Going back to your roots is something that I find deeply satisfying. How funny is that I see skateboarding for the first time in the country of my birth, I love James Bond an English fictional character and the skat music coming from Coventry (thank you, The Specials) and Birmingham (thank you English Beat). I could probably throw in Bruce Lee there too. When I went to Camden Town, I ran into a shop filled to the brim with ska/rude boy/skin head/punk nostalgia. It’s called the Oi Oi Shop. They even had original copies of Sniffin Glue fanzine.
The English Beat logo.
Our roots shape who we are or were but they don’t always define us. People change over time.
Why the hell am I telling you all this? Because like people, magazines also change.
And some of you will notice a difference to CW magazine. CWis moving towards being a program combined with memento rather than a straightforward magazine. It is keepsake from a time and a place.
The wave of buttons at the Oi Oi Store.
This current issue, scheduled to hit at three tradeshows is precisely what I mean by this. The stories from the 3 trade shows (Shred Expo, Agenda and ISPO) will be amazing. It’s always great when our industry gathers. CW becomes a memento of this experience.
James Bond underwater car from “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
The next few years of Concrete Wave and Longboarding for Peace are going to be remarkable. How do I know this? Because, I am fired up, ready for the next piece of the puzzle to slowly take shape. The power of knowing the good, bad and ugly about your roots ensures that your future is different. Your roots have the power to guide you and that’s precisely why I am so excited. So that’s it. 2018 is a pivotal year for myself and I sense many others.
Bond, James Bond – a huge Part of my roots.
On behalf of everyone involved with CW Mag, we wish you all happy holidays. And if they aren’t so happy, believe me when I say, start to get to the root of what’s causing you the unhappiness. If you determine the pain is coming from specific family members, you need to start to ask questions. The only way to get to the root of a problem is to probe deeply. Then, go out and skate (or snowboard or put on some music…or a James Bond film).
Walt Jabsko – the official mascot of The Specials. I think James Bond would approve.
Source: CW from MyStyle
As you may recall, we ran a piece on our website earlier this year featuring the crew over at American Ramp Co. and their latest project to hit the skateparks of the world: the “Pro Ops.” signature ramp series. This collection of ramps, rails and boxes appear noticeably different from any of their other prefabricated park obstacles and were designed in part by an illustrious team of pro skaters. The series of ramps notably includes a colorful spine ramp with a parking block sitting atop bearing Willy Santos’ name, a Y-shaped round rail bearing Shaun Hover’s name and a wavy recliner shaped quarter pipe bearing Jud Heald’s name among others.
Granted, American Ramp Co. has received their fair share of hate for their prefabricated parks on the grounds of durability issues over the years. However, for their efforts to create something innovate and different for people to skate, I commend them. To those familiar with my neck of the woods, the North Jersey skateboarding scene has been grateful to see new parks opening in up in towns like Maplewood, Fanwood and Roselle in recent years. However, these three parks are nearly nothing more than carbon copies of each other. With same-sized ledges, euro gaps and quarter pipes, I found myself indifferent to the announcements of these parks because of how repetitive all of their designs were. Thus, when I heard that a couple of the Pro Ops pieces were headed to a newly constructed park in West Orange, NJ I was immediately intrigued by the allure of being able to skate something different for a change. With this in mind, I was happy to see the variety of tricks being thrown down in my visit to the grand opening of the park, thanks to American Ramp Co.
At the park, Dan MacFarlane’s signature “Snap!” ramp is the first feature that skaters were struck by when they entered. With several different levels to skate, the ramp provided a stage for kick turns, 180s and frontside no complys for skaters looking to flow back into the park. In doing so, many went on to hit Sierra Fellers’ signature “Crete Planter” ledge. This piece challenged skaters to pop out of their boardslides and ollie over the ends of it to grind the inside angles of the ledge. In the background, Joe Moore’s striped “Kick Tail” box led some skaters to grind up the angle and back down again while others hopped onto the box from the low end and launched off the other side.
Seeing the level of stoke that these new obstacles brought to the grand opening, I reached out to Fellers, Moore and MacFarlane to get their take on seeing their ramps go from ideas in the warehouse to physical creations being skated:
First off, Sierra Fellers described the feeling of having a ramp with his name on it by saying “It’s so awesome to have a signature obstacle. The idea didn’t start in my own head though. ARC came to me with a few different options to choose from and I got to help adjust and modify the ones I chose. As a skateboarder, being a part of creating something you’re gonna be skating and seeing the changes made to make a dream spot is a dream come true.” To truly make this dream scenario complete though, Fellers told us “I’d be hyped to see a board slide around the whole thing!”
Next up, Joe Moore, summed up his satisfaction by stating “Having a signature obstacle based on a style of skating I’m known for and being one of the first people to be part of a skatepark project like this is truly an honour. To see them now being put into public skateparks around the world is so cool and quite funny as well; my name on skate ramp, somewhere in the world I’ve never been. Each of my obstacles in each skatepark will have its own story and each one will be experienced differently by many skaters. It’s interesting to think how they will adapt their trick selection, lines and how their creativity may evolve from skating these unique skatepark pieces.” When asked what sort of a dream trick he would like to see go down on “The KickTail” Moore replied, “I would like to see an ollie over the back of the obstacle to bluntslide down the bank to fakie manual the rest of the manny pad.
Finally, in Dan MacFarlane’s mind, “It is a great feeling anytime you have an idea that you haven’t seen done before, and for it to come to fruition in physical world. Nathan Bemo, the owner of ARC, and I developed the Pro Ops line together in February 2017. Our minds and our lifetime of skateboarding experience combined and it was an amazing experience. Later, the other pros were signed on then assigned obstacles based on their unique skills. We were all flown out to the ARC headquarters in April and skated the prototypes then gave feedback so they could be fine tuned. The final products look amazing and I’m glad to see both beginner and advanced skateboarders enjoying them at skateparks.” As far as what tricks he would dream of seeing go down he told us “I wouldn’t say there is one dream trick: my dream is to see every part of them skated really well, and for many people to invent new tricks and combos on them. I’ve already seen so many NBD’s done on the Pro Ops during our prototype session in April and I just want to see that continue. If you’re reading this and invent any new tricks or combos on the Pro Ops, tag us with #ProOps and our names.
You may have heard of a new documentary called “Made In Venice.” Jesse Martinez is the man behind this project. Jesse has been a be driving force within skateboarding for decades. Through his actions, along with a number of extraordinarily passionate people, the Venice skatepark came into reality. It has not been an easy journey. This films shows the power of focus and perseverance. I had a chance to catch up with Jesse a little while back. If you’re wondering what to get yourself (or someone else) for the holidays, this is a great gift. It’s an important piece of history. We’ve known each other for a number years. We talked the day after the Venice skatepark marked its 8th year anniversary. Jesse says the day was a double-edge sword for him. “For the last three years I’ve been fighting for a contract with the City of Los Angeles. Sadly, it’s been a complete failure. On one hand I’m skating with Eric Dressen, Christian Hosoi and Pat Ngoho. We’re all together young and old skaters – it’s generational.” But, as Jesse explains, “I’ve spent thousands of dollars to keep the park clean and safe for children.”A number of key players in the saga of Venice. I wondered what the City’s problem was. What was so contentious about a public skatepark that had already been built? “Honestly, it’s gotten way too personal” says Jesse. “It goes all the way back to the 1980’s until now. They wanted to put an ice skating rink there. We stopped it. They have tried to work with me, but there is so much resentment.” As example of just how seemingly out of touch the City of Los Angeles is, the sanitation department showed up on 8th anniversary of the park right in the middle of the day when there dozens of skaters having fun. What was so urgent? Power washing the park. Jesse explains that the fault is not with the front line workers. “They have told me to my face they appreciate everything I do.” The problems seem to rest with management. We’ll have more on Jesse and this film in our next issue.
Skateboarding and socks. Ever since Stance hit, it’s been a skate sock world.
So, here are two stories on skateboarding and socks.
Pride Socks, an apparel brand empowering individuals to take pride in who they are, has teamed up with the youngest pro skateboarder, Sky Brown, to release a limited edition sock. Part of the proceeds of the sock go to help kids in Cambodia. We had a chance to interview Sky and find out what the deal was.
Sky – what originally brought you to Cambodia?
It’s a big dream of mine to use my skateboarding to help children in poor or tough places. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world. So the chance to go there and to play, and skate with the kids over there was really special.
What does skateboarding mean to you?
My Skateboard has always been a way for me to express myself I like singing but I’m not very good but skateboarding is a dance for me also it’s is my favorite Toy, I love it. I think people sometimes forget this is one of the funnest toys in the world. And it’s taught me a lot. I can be anywhere and have a good time if I have my Skateboard, that’s why I think it’s really awesome to let young people try this.
The video is very sweet…what are some of your favorite memories of creating it?
Playing in the Sock factory, we had too much fun. The whole journey has been super special and super real, it feels like we can do something amazing. Playing and hanging out with Rachel was super awesome especially because we have a mission. A mission to save the world.
What do you say to people (especially kids) who feel they can’t make a difference?
You can always make a difference, and any difference however small you think it is, is worth it because lots of smalls make something big.
What has been the best part of working with Pride Socks?
Pride socks is just a small company but Rachel the CEO has put so much into this it’s amazing and selfless. I couldn’t be more proud than to call Rachel my friend. She’s my best friend.
SOCK STORY PART #2
MERGE4 is pleased to announce the addition of Spidey De Montrond to its growing stable of artist-athlete collaborators.
Rick De Montrond – better know as “Spidey” – started out as a sponsored amateur skateboarder and turned pro at The Capitola Street Style contest in 1985. He’s been a contributing writer for Thrasher Magazine and Freestylin BMX; Spidey studied music formally; while he was in college he was signed to Capitol Records to a record deal as a singer/songwriter.
Spidey has always been fashion-forward – leaning toward eccentric preferences in everything he does from head to toe: “I am a sucker for a good looking sock. I LOVE SOCKS!!”
MERGE4 founder Cindi Ferreira Busenhart loves that Spidey loves socks: “Spidey cares about the planet and wanted something that was a soft eco yarn. Luckily we were already developing the Bamboo Blend which is 80% mechanical bamboo.”
On November 29th, Enjoi Skateboards officially announced that Samarria Brevard would be joining their ranks as a professional team rider. Generally speaking, a skateboard team taking on a new rider is hardly newsworthy, or at most it’s noteworthy enough to warrant a sentence or two in Thrasher or Transworld, and some obligatory social media posts. This announcement was far from generic, however, by the ironic virtue of the fact that women have been making a lot of news in skateboarding this year.Samarria Brevard joins Enjoi Brevard becoming the first female rider on Enjoi is but the latest in what has been a banner year for women’s skateboarding that saw Lizzie Armanto, Nora Vasconcellos, and Leticia Bufoni rise into the professional ranks for Birdhouse, Welcome, and Plan B skateboards, respectively. Prior to 2017, only two women in the history of skateboarding were given pro models while riding for companies whose teams were predominantly male: Elissa Steamer (Zero Skateboards, 1998), and Vanessa Torres (Element Skateboards, 2004). In the span of less than a single year, mainstream skateboarding has doubled the number of female professionals present over the course of the last two decades. One has a hard time not taking notice.Leticia Bufoni pro announcement Photo: Paulo Macedo So, what happened? Why now? Historically women in skating have been treated as novelties at best, and second-class citizens at worst. Peggy Oki recounted being criticized for “skating like a guy” in the seminal documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys. Diane Desiderio, despite being a talented competitive freestyler in her own right, is best known for the novelty freestyle routines she and her husband Primo would perform at Sea World. Several girl-centric brands, from Hoopla to Meow to Silly Girl and more have cultivated quiet followings over the years, existing out of a sheer necessity to offer girls and women gear not directly marketed toward men or boys. “Because of social media women’s skateboarding has become more mainstream.” Alishia Stevens explains. The Toronto native, who rides for Volcom flow and 970co Headwear, made the move to Southern California two years ago to immerse herself in the ever-growing women’s skate scene. “I didn’t even know about so many girls before social media…just Vanessa Torres and Elissa Steamer. YouTube channels like Girls Skate Network were basically an introduction to women’s skateboarding.” The YouTube channel, currently with just under 59,000 subscribed viewers, has been featuring Brevard, Vasconcellos, Armanto, Bufoni, and dozens of other professional and amateur female skaters for nearly six years now, uploading their first video in February of 2012. As for the mainstream taking notice, Stevens points to footwear as the gateway, specifically Nike. “They were the first ones to have a skateboarding shoe geared [toward] and designed for women skateboarders.” The iconic shoe company gave Bufoni her own signature model in 2014, three years before she was signed to Plan B skateboards as their first female rider, and soon after their first female pro. Alishia Stevens 50-50 Photo: Erik Sandoval While we certainly have come a long way from the borderline misogynistic days when the majority of women presented in skate media were the scantly-clad models in Hubba Wheels ads, there is still miles yet to go before we see real equality. In an April 5th article for Vice, Trina Calderón offered up some hard numbers: “While the X Games have been hip to equal pay since 2008, it’s not standard everywhere. This year, [pro skater Poppy] Olsen won $500 at the Australian Bowl Riding Championships… The men’s winner, by contrast, pocketed $5,000. The Bowl-a-Rama this year had a $15,000 prize for men and $2,000 for women.” (Calderón, sports.vice.com) Stevens agrees that public opinion still needs to change. “I just saw a comment about Samarria being on Enjoi yesterday…[the commenter] thought it was sexist that she got on, that there’s other skaters that work harder than her. Women have to work ten times harder just to get noticed!” Still, she remains optimistic. “I think the skate industry is finally beginning to change…there’s women out there that work just as hard as [men] do, and they deserve to be riding for [mainstream] companies.” It would appear as though this year has been evidence to that fact, and one can hope that the trend only continues into 2018 and beyond.
TRIGGER WARNING – this article is about SCOOTERS. If you’re a skater and can’t handle this subject matter, stop reading immediately. If however, you have an open mind,continue reading. And, if you’re a skateshop who seems to be on the decline and can’t figure out how to turn it around – then you definitely want to read this.
As you can see, there is another skater who helped me develop this blog post. This skater has spent over 30 years in the skate business and has worked with a number of brands, including Powell Peralta, Sector 9 and World Industries. But before he made skateboarding part of his business life, he first made skateboarding part of his life. His name is Kevin Harris. Back in the 80’s, Kevin went from amateur to pro on the biggest skateboard team on the planet. Kevin has invested millions into skateboarding over the years. He’s run magazines (Concrete Powder), skateparks (Richmond Skate Ranch), funded and supported skateboarders, books and countless events. His insights on the current state of things with skateboarding resonate with me on a very high level. We know things are in a weird state. So rather than complain, Kevin gets pro-active. Kevin went on a mission to understand where a lot of the money has flown from skateboarding. It wasn’t difficult to trace. Scooters are taking huge swaths of money from the skate world. Kevin sat down with pro scooter rider Carson Schiefner to find out more. The truth is that scooters are not skateboarding’s enemies. A ton of scooter kids are intrigued by skateboarding or would love to try it. There is so much potential and yet we’ve gotten to a point where lashing out a scooter kids is just a regular occurrence from skaters. Except, this lashing out and making other riders feel like crap hasn’t stopped or slowed the rise of scooters. In fact, the scooter kids outnumber the skater kids. And some scooter kids are skaters – or former skaters. With so much dissent in our society, maybe it’s time to reconsider things from a different perspective. This post aims to give you a different perspective. Should you wish NOT to read it, that’s your prerogative. However, in my experience, opening your mind to alternative ideas is not always a bad thing. You have been warned: “Skateboarders may not like the little scooter kids at the skatepark, but if you are nice to them, they could potentially be great skateboarders one day. Those little kids look up to older skaters. Skateboarders have to understand that scooters are not going anywhere – deal with it and accept it.”– KEVIN HARRIS Some thoughts from Carson Schiefner – Pro Scooter Rider BACKGROUND“I originally started out skateboarding. I was 10 years old. I grew up with skateparks. I started scootering when I was around 13. I went to the skatepark and started messing around trying to land tricks. I didn’t think it would turn into anything. But it did and now I compete.
THE STATISTIC THAT FEELS TRUE There are probably twice as many scooter participants in North America as there are skateboarders. But even if there aren’t, it sure feels like it! MAKING A LIVINGI ride for Lucky Pro Scooters and the Scooter Farm. My sponsors fly me out to competitions. I can alsoget money for videos. WHERE SOME OF THE HATE MIGHT COME FROMI know that it’s a lot easier to pick up scootering than skateboarding. Maybe this is where skateboarders pick up some of their hate from. I learned a lot more tricks on a scooter and it was much easier to learn these tricks than skateboard tricks. I think a big factor in the hate is the young kids riding around who don’t know park etiquette and happen to get in everyones way. THE CULTUREIt’s getting there. It started out with some small companies – like a family thing. There are companies that make clothing specifically for this market. Scooter brands for helmets. But just wait – in a few more years there will be a lot more available. THE BUSINESSWorldwide there are a few very big scooter shops. The best stuff can be hard to find locally. most people, including myself get it through the online shops. It would be amazing to have a high end local shop here in Vancouver I DON’T OWN A SKATEBOARDCurrently I don’t own a skateboard but I will pick one up and ride if there is one around. WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE RIDICULED BY SKATEBOARDERS AT A SKATEPARKMost of the time I didn’t give a shit. I’d just ignore them. If I was with a group of scooter kids it would be easier. Then again, there would always be more scooters than skateboarders. Hearing skaters remarks didn’t change anything for me.COMPANIES HAVE TRIED TO MAKE A PROPER SCOOTER SHOE At one time I rode for a company trying to market to the scooter demographic. Honestly, it wasn’t anything special – pretty much like a regular skate shoe. But down the road, I am sure they’ll be someone creating something. SKATEBOARDING HAS A HAWK AND SCOOTERING HAS A FOX – TANNER FOXTanner Fox’s video’s on YouTube. He’s got over 6.3 MILLION subscribers on YouTube. INJURIESI’ve seen some pretty horrific injuries in scootering. When you hit your shin on a tail whip it f**king hurts! I think scooters are more dangerous – it’s mostly metal and there are parts than can cut you. GROMS ON SCOOTERSI can’t stand them either and I ride a scooter! They get in the way. But at the same time, if you’re a skater and you’re nice to that kid, you never know – he might eventually turn into the next Tony Hawk. IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS…As much as skateboarders don’t like the little scooter kids, they are not going anywhere. You’ll have to deal with it and accept. Scootering is growing. Some other insights from Kevin: WHAT’S IN A NAME?If scooter kids, BMX’ers and skateboarders are all using the park, is it still reasonable to call it a skatepark? Maybe the better term is “all wheel park.” THE LEARNING CURVEIt’s way easy to learn how to scooter when compared to skateboarding. It’s easy to pick up some basic tricks. This is why young kids gravitate to scooters. Skateboarding is much harder and generally requires way more dedication and practice. FIVE YEAR GRAVITATIONAL PULLIn the next five years, scooter kids who are supporting skate brands like Vans will gravitate towards their own brands – those scooter brands that support scootering. PRO RIDERSThere is now an established pro circuit within scooters. Young kids look up to these pros. The kids that start now at age 8 will probably still do it at age 25 to 30. MARKET TRENDS FOR SHOPSLongboarding is about 60% down. The regular street skate business is anywhere from 30 to 40% down. We have close to 400 skateshops in Canada that we sell to. Most of them are struggling. The one’s that aren’t struggling are bringing in scooters. THE REALITY FOR SOME SKATE SHOPS The shops that don’t want anything to do with scooters, it’s hard for them to bridge the gap. We worked with a skate shop on Vancouver Island. A decision was made to bring in scooters. Sales tripled. The only reason why the shop (and the adjacent skate park) are still around is due to scooters. THE REALITY FOR SOME SKATEPARKSWhere I live in British Columbia, a retailer opened up a skatepark at the local mall. It costs quite a bit of money to operate this park. There were signs stating “no scooters.” The pressure came down from parents to allow scooters, so they changed the rules. They allow scooters in two days a week – which I was in full agreement with. One time I was there, there was no one at the park. Five scooter kids came in. They turned those kids away just because it wasn’t scooter day. It was insane. THE EXPERIMENTI did an experiment at a number of skateparks that I visited. I’d ride and a lot of kids would start to stare. When I finished, both skate kids and scooter kids gathered around. The skaters would ask me about skateboarding and then I’d go to the scooter kids and ask them about scootering. I’d ask them how much they paid, what kind of bearings – those kinds of things. Some kids paid $500, others paid $800. I noticed the higher the price, the cooler the kid. I find the opposite is true in skateboarding. LET’S HEAR FROM YOU!I think scooters are: More controversy here: and here:
Ever heard of Sammy Jackson? Well, if you’re involved with longboarding, you should be. He is, without a shadow of any doubt, THE BEST PASSIONATE PERSON OF LONGBOARDING ON EARTH! Don’t believe me? It says so right at his site: The funny thing is, I can’t find anything about this guy. I’ve never heard of him. My friend Scott Lembach over at Muir Skate wondered about him too: Sammy runs a website that promises to give consumers great insight into their purchasing of a longboard. They are an Amazon affiliate which means they make money on all the sales they generate through their reviews and promotion of various brands at their site. On the surface, this seems quite ordinary. But there’s something not 100% cool here. The boards Sammy reviews are generally for big box stores. I’ve seen the Atom and Quest boards in Costco. There’s nothing wrong with that – but claiming somehow these boards are the best of 2017 seems to be a little hyperbolic. For those of you unaccustomed to reading between the lines, I’ll go out on a limb here and say there is something rather odd about the whole site. There are grammar errors and a sense that nothing on the site really feels legitimate. In my opinion, the majority of these decks are basic, beginner decks that may or may not be awesome for someone. But claiming these decks are the best of 2017 seems to be way off base. Of course, I could be completely mistaken. Maybe Sammy is the kind of guy I can go out for a ride with. Maybe have a beer with…Who knows? But one thing is for sure – I’ve sent some questions over to Sammy and we’ll see what he delivers. Meanwhile, Orwell spins in his grave. And for those of you still reading- go visit MuirSkate.com, and drop a few bucks. And if you’d prefer to spend money at your local skate shop, well, that’s cool too. Trust me when I say they need the money more than Amazon. PS – I’ll just call this exhibit B – lawn mowers and longboards…who’d have thought?