We're off to the Continent. When We Get Back, the Site WILL Not Look Like It Does Now. Trust me on this.

We're off to the Continent. When We Get Back, the Site WILL Not Look Like It Does Now. Trust me on this.

As some of you may know, there is a GIGANTIC sports trade show in Germany coming up very soon. It’s called ISPO. How big is it? Well, it’s 14 buildings. To put that into perspective, the Agenda Show is ONE building. It is a worldwide show and because it’s based on the continent, there is a lot potential for connections. Over the course of 6 years, I have begun to develop friendships with these Europeans. We only see each other once a year and the fact is that what goes on in Munich, generally is forgotten by the time the next ISPO hits. And sometimes forgiven! This is my tribute to what I know will be an inspiring series of days.
ISPO & The Longboard Embassy
Thanks to ISPO, I have had the honour to meet folks who I normally never meet. These are folks who have a deep love for skateboarding. They know how much joy it represents. I sense an immense connection with these people and I am going to tell you about them.

There’s Alex Lenz. the creator and driving force behind the Longboard Embassy. Alex has done an incredible job of putting together the Longboard Embassy. Alex is supremely focused and he just gets shit done. His efforts and determination to keep the stoke alive are from the heart.

He’s a contrarian (like me) and also like me, he will ride for life.
A big shout out to Natasha, Alex’s partner and mother of their 2 children. She is an absolutely amazing person. Warm, kind and always supportive.
Alex and his team have put together a really solid floorplan. This time, ISPO is going into the history books. My gut feeling that the ISPO Longboard Embassy will spark some great ideas.
(Heiko and Ritchie – you can read the fine print)
THE SWISS
Of course, before we go any further, we have to talk about the Swiss contingent. I dig Switzerland. I will vacation there one day. But only in the winter when I can fully enjoy the seniors discount at the slopes.
So, yes, the Swiss in skateboarding are a fascinating bunch. Those Swiss born in Los Angeles and were transplanted at a young age to Switzerland might even more so. Paging a Jeremy…Jeremy Sochin… We were introduced I think at ISPO #1 thanks to Don Tashman of Loaded Boards. We immediately hit it off.

Jeremy is the owner and operator of Number 1 Skate Shop in Luzern. If I ever come back to life, I’d run my skate shop like Jeremy. He’s dedicated, he’s passionate and most of all, he’s got the knowledge and experience to back it up.
I’ve stayed with Jeremy and his family at their home in Luzern.Their kindness and hospitality is astounding. Some great memories were also formed with Chris and Alex who are part of the Swiss Posse. Alex works at a large company and is about to get married. Chis works at Jeremy’s shop. He’s done some great work with Longboarding for Peace too. Shout out to Rocket,

and Fibretec!

At my first ISPO, I ran across a magazine that was something like Surfers Journal on steroids. I was stunned at the quality and enthralled by the focus on giving back. I met the publisher – Coco Tache and connected immediately with her vision. I am happy and proud to promote her website 7sky.life
Coco ran the first Women in Boardsports meetup at ISPO. The seeds she helped plant are bearing fruit. Thanks to efforts of a number of extremely talented people, the luncheon has expanded and is one of the key networking events of ISPO.

SHRED EXPO – A TIME TO MEET UP WITH THE SHREDDERI
There are number of unique German board manufacturers that display at ISPO. One of the most hospitable is Sebastian Mühlbauer. Each year, he’d bring caseloads of epic Leipzig brew. Each year we’d talk about the industry and he always struck me as a “doer” just like Alex gets shit done.

He invited me to Leipzig and through a series of stars aligning, Shred Expo is hitting on Thursday. Special mention to Andy Ngo, the show manager who has been working his butt off making the magic happen. Like ISPO, I sense the show will be a catalyst for other great things.
I will most likely wind up spending my remaining days getting to know the Netherlands better. Lisa and Martijn run Sick Boardsand like all those I’ve previously mentioned, their stoke is truly infectious. The Dutch are a nation of traders and I know that Lisa, Martijn andI will have much to discuss.

There are a lot more folks I wish I could have included. Rest assured, we’ll try and capture as much as we can over the next two weeks. Be sure to come back to the site on February 1st. A lot of changes…


Source: CW from MyStyle

El Padrino: Sergio Sebastiá, on Ridersfly and growing the scene.

El Padrino: Sergio Sebastiá, on Ridersfly and growing the scene.

Sergio, known as “El Padrino” by the Spanish, can be found hand-making Ridersfly and Crema products at his home in Castellon, hosting freerides in Espana through RidersflyEvents, or traveling in the Ridersfly van to satisfy his own need-for-speed.
I had the pleasure of meeting and skating with Sergio during the 2017 Eurotour, and I was beyond impressed by his passion for skateboarding, Ridersfly and Crema products, and safely growing the skate scene. But don’t take my word for it, see what “The Godfather” has to say for himself.

How long have you been skating?
I’m a disaster for the dates, but I started small with aggressive inline skating until I was 20 years old. In 2005, I bought a longboard from an American friend (at that time, there wasn’t a store in Spain that sold longboards). I tried it, and I liked the sensations so much that I haven’t stopped skating since. I became more serious with longboarding and downhill in 2007, which was when we created Ridersfly.
What is it about skating that keeps you coming back?
Downhill gives me a feeling of freedom. It’s you, your board, the sensations, and the bond you create with others while you’re skating. Even if you do not know the other person, it’s very special and usually relaxes me. I consider myself addicted to this feeling! After everything that happened (with my injury), I tried to stop skating. However, the sensations, and what I feel about skating, would not let me stop.

When did Ridersfly start and why?
The idea to create Ridersfly was born one morning when we were skating. In one of the rides up the hill, my partner, Alex D’Elia, said “We could make a website.” That same night, I sketched what would soon become the Ridersfly logo. Together with Alex, we finished creating the logo and Ridersfly website: a dynamic portal in which to show everyone our passion, experiences, videos, and share knowledge with other skaters at an international level.
What differentiates Ridersfly from other brands?
Mainly, the quality of the products and the R&D. It’s by skaters, for skaters. It’s important to us that we create and manufacture functional products. We were born by a need, unlike many commercial brands that were born with the sole intention of profiting during the most glorious time for the skate industry. I had to search for compounds and formulas to find a special rubber for braking, which was both durable and precise. It should be noted that an important difference in the manufacturing of Ridersfly products is they are all made in Spain; prepared and packaged by us and with a lot of love.

How did you meet Maria Giner?
A friend introduced us one night, but I had already seen her at a skate demo. One day, I used the excuse of teaching her to skate. This is when I realized she was my life partner, and I haven’t left her side since.
When did Maria get involved with Ridersfly?
Unconsciously, she was involved from the beginning. However, it wasn’t until 2012/2013 that she got more fully involved with Ridersfly. Today, we manage Ridersfly and RidersflyEvents together.

Tell me more about Ridersfly Events and what you do for the scene:
Ridersfly Events, like the products, are born from the need to be able to skate in safe spaces, closed to traffic. After having the most serious accident of my life, I saw that we had to organize events to help the scene grow as safely as possible. Furthermore, as a brand, we believe it’s our duty to encourage growth
of downhill skateboarding by providing these safe environments.

What would you like to see in the future for Ridersfly?
I want to see the brand expanded internationally, create more products, have a broader calendar of
events… In short, I want to keep seeing Ridersfly grow.


Source: CW from MyStyle

Skateboarding in Palestine

Skateboarding in Palestine

 

My name is Sirus Gahan and I’m a skateboarder, filmmaker and cinematographer.
For one of my birthdays I was gifted with a small MiniDV video camera, a perfectly sized handycam that I kept in my bag. As most of my summer days were spent skateboarding, this became my main focus, with many sessions being captured on tape. Behind the camera quickly became where I felt most comfortable, and through my passion for filming skateboarding I became interested in other areas of filmmaking.

I arrived in Tel Aviv as the summer war of 2014 was coming to an end. Newly formed charity SkatePAL were looking for skate volunteers to fly to Palestine to help with the project they had set up there. SkatePAL had established a youth project in the West Bank to help teach kids to skateboard and they needed volunteers to run sessions with the kids, assist in the building of skateparks and to bring in skateboarding equipment for the use of the children. There are no skate shops in the country and unfortunately, few citizens have the privilege of being able to cross the border to Israel. I saw the early potential SkatePAL had and realised that there was the chance to tell an incredible story, from a lesser-seen region of the world. I immediately booked my ticket.
Before crossing the checkpoints into Ramallah, the explosions from not-so-distant missiles could be heard and a siren warning us of such dangers emanated abruptly through the warm air. Having travelled pretty extensively, I thought I was ready for anything. However, this introduction was a shock to the system, and my first taste of what everyday life was like here. My mornings in Palestine were spent exploring the streets and markets, absorbing the smells of fresh falafel and sage tea that seemed to trail through the air, enticing me around every corner. When the afternoon came around and the kids finished school, the other volunteers and I would run skate sessions at the local youth club. Here we had built a wooden mini-ramp and a multitude of other obstacles for the participants to use as they learned. Teaching skateboarding in late summer in the Middle East was something my body was not ready for. In addition to the climate, trying to teach children who only spoke Arabic (of which I know about 3 words) meant a lot of instructions were misunderstood. Thankfully, skateboarding is a language in itself, and being able to physically demonstrate how to do something is often the easiest way to teach techniques that are so reliant on body and movement, particularly when your students are so intrigued and energetic.
Skateboarding was entirely new to Palestine and the excitement it created among the kids we encountered was almost palpable. A task that should have been simple, like fetching the pads from the lock-up at the youth centre, was a marathon effort, as 30 grasping hands would fly up into the air around you, trying desperately to snatch at the limited equipment, and thus securing their turn on one of the boards we had brought into the country. In the evenings, after our sessions teaching the children had ended, the other volunteers and I would wander into the centre of whichever town we were situated in and find ourselves a shawarma to re-energise. From here, we’d scour the dusty streets, hunting for smooth surfaces and skateable, marble obstacles. The heat of the day was debilitating and although we’d try to skate, we would end up dehydrated and sunburnt which in turn would leave us too fried to complete the rest of the days’ tasks. As a result, we generally stuck to skating in the evenings.

Skateboarding was so new to the country, that going out to film tricks in the streets was often a surreal experience. In the West, skateboarding is often shunned and seen as a nuisance, but in the West Bank we would often draw crowds of 30 to 40 wide-eyed civilians, cheering and showing their support. Locals were happy to perform for the camera and would often show me a magic trick or a dance move, all of which feature in the films made during my travels. Of all the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit, Palestine is certainly the most memorable. During my time there, the nation was politically volatile, the atmosphere on the streets was tense. Yet, the experience I had was nothing but open arms and pure good will. Seeing these kids experience the thrill of rolling just a few feet allowed me to relive the same excitement of first discovering skateboarding. What I witnessed gave me a great sense of hope for the future of the Palestinian youth.

Skateboarding is so significant to me. It has taken me to destinations all over the globe and provided me with a physical, mental and creative outlet. Being part of something that’s allowed me to work all over the world is very special. Traveling is something that I’d always longed to do, I felt like it was an inherent part of me. Skateboarding is my vessel to new worlds where I’m able to experience different places, people and cultures. I believe that it’s vital to have a wide and varied experience of the world. Collect stories and learn about global differences. Develop your understanding of the world you live in, and those that inhabit it. I believe that doing these things today are more important than ever before.
See more online here
Sirus Gahan is a skateboarder, filmmaker and cinematographer.
http://sirusfgahan.com
http://www.skatepal.co.uk
https://www.instagram.com/sirusf/

Source: CW from MyStyle

To All those Who Attended Agenda (original post Jan 5th)

To All those Who Attended Agenda (original post Jan 5th)

Hi there,
This post is being written on the morning of what was to have been the final day of Agenda. But sometimes things don’t always work out. A lot of people who booked space at Agenda booked it because there were three days originally. But, that plan was cancelled and vendors were told there would be no refunds or discounts based on skipping out on that last day.
Just a quick update…If you have come to this link via my friend Jeff Harbrough, we welcome you. Perhaps this is your first time at the CW site. Feel free to poke around.
I am not sure where your head is at with Agenda. Maybe you had a great show. But a lot of folks I talked to did not find it a positive experience. It is definitely time for something new within skateboarding. I was there 22 years ago screaming to everyone that it was about to change. It’s about to change again
Cancelling the third day might have been the correct decision financially, but it wasn’t a kind decision. In a time of so many independent brands and retailers having so many challenges, every marketing dollar counts. Let’s say this was a two million dollar hit for Agenda. This amount, while significant, is not a huge number compared to the revenues of Agendas corporate owners.
A few million keeps dozens of small companies a float for quite some time.
How many fucking times do I have to keep repeating it:
When it comes to surf/skate/snow business, not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted, counts.
Money is important. Making a profit is important. But the bottom line isn’t always the bottom line. You have to reinvest in the roots while cultivating the crop.
You can ask my friend Corpo Man about the nuances of this business transaction. If you don’t know who Corpo Man is, just ask Tal over at Sector 9. He’s the last soldier left.
I could go on and on…but I won’t. Suffice to say if you regulate a show to the point where some of the hard goods folks have to fight to get into a show it’s a recipe for disaster. Some skate companies I know found themselves not CORE ENOUGH to get into a high priced show. I sense skateboarding will have the last laugh…it always does.
Time for a NEW Agenda?
More like time for a new AGE, but I won’t make you sign an NDA!
See you at Shred Expo and ISPO or the next skate session.
Post script – we’ve got a contest running…email me at mbrooke@interlog.com
We are giving away Vol. #1 No. #1
NOTE: this contest is only open to 150 people!


Source: CW from MyStyle

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Today is a day of new beginnings. For me it is both a new year and a time to reflect. The past year has been rather turbulent for many in the skate industry (myself included). And yet, it has also been a tremendous year for many as well (myself included).
I wanted to take a moment to highlight ONCE AGAIN that Concrete Wave is there to take you back and move you forward. We are in transition from a magazine to something else. I am confident that the power of community and connection will benefit everyone. The magazine will continue, but it is morphing and changing with the times, just like the independent skate shop.
Our philosophy of inclusion and reflection stems from our belief that you can learn from the past. For the past 6 decades, skateboarding has gone in and out of fashion. Despite these waves of interest and disinterest, it has always attracted creative people willing to add their take and move the needle forward.
One of these people is Mike Moore. A gifted artist, Mike was the very first person I collaborated with on the web. He came up with the original Skategeezer Homepage Logo. That was 23 years ago.

And in that same spirit, I would like to point your attention to something called Gentleman’s Agreementfrom one of the world’s first skateboarding websites

The ideas, debates and concerns featured in this piece still resonate almost a quarter century later. To those who wonder what happens next, look to what happened. A year AFTER this meeting, the Extreme Games hit, and skateboarding rebounded something fierce. May I remind everyone involved that the Olympics are two years away and for the first time, they will feature skateboarding.
Read it and don’t weep – because the future is just around the corner. Happy new year to you all.

INTRODUCTION
This meeting took place in Poway, California on the trade show weekend in San Diego Saturday 29th Jan 1994. It was prompted by a discussion about the increasing sales of blank boards and blanks wheels. A group of us met to consider the long term effects on skateboarding and the health of the skateboarding industry.
Attendance was limited to a handful of people for one simple reason- nobody was sure how this first meeting would unfold. Would it be a big yelling and finger pointing session, or would some serious discussion take place?
As it turned out after a few minutes at the beginning things calmed down and the items covered in this report were discussed.Let’s stress again; it was not an intentional move to restrict this meeting, or exclude any parties. It was just a starting point of what we hope will be more Cooperation between companies to help the sport grow and tackle some of the problems that are keeping skateboarding from moving forward.
The Problem
In 1980 there were 175 pros at the Gold Cup series. Six months later there were only 15 left. Think back to the early eighties and remember how small skating can get. Our whole aim is to avoid that happening again.Everyone present at the meeting supports pro skateboarding. Many have been professional skateboarders themselves. But the relationships between pro skateboarding and their companies is supposed to be a 2 way street, and in today’s industry environment things have gone astray. We have gone from the Mid eighties when everything was so strict as in having to do well in am contests to turn pro, having to wear this shirt at a contest, having to go on tour etc etc to today when being a professional skateboarder you don’t have to travel, enter contests, do demos, take photos wear company or ride company products. We have to find the happy medium. Something has to change for everyone to succeed. There is presently an abundance of pro’s and models, but not enough buyers.The way the industry is going looks bleak and things could get a lot worse before they get any better. If the blank war progresses any further we could find the industry regressing back to a handful of pro’s. The intention of this meeting was to avoid such a collapse.
Present at this meeting in alphabetical order: Chris Carter- Alien Workshop, Bob Denike- NHS, Steve Douglas- Giant/411, Jeff Klindt- Deluxe/Real, Steve Rocco- W.I./Big Brother, Paul Schmitt- PS Stix/Giant, Todd Swank- Foundation, Mike Ternasky- Plan B, Jim Thiebaud- Deluxe/Real.Notes on the ProceedingsPlease read the items which follow.
All the people listed made a gentleman’s agreement to keep to these points. We hope that other company owners who read this will support what we are trying to do. Many conclusions can be drawn from these notes, and if you need more clarification, please call someone who was there. Don’t just read between the lines. We’d all be pleased to discuss this with anyone.
Overall it was a very positive meeting.
1) The need to rebuild Confidence
The overall theme of the meeting was to strive toward more stability in the industry. More Consistency among companies, riders, teams and products will help rebuild confidence among distributors and retailers.
2) The state of the Industry
Everyone present agreed (to varying degrees) that the industry was shaky and that we had a lot to blame on ourselves for creating some of these problems. It has gotten to the point where sales are weak and the companies have less money to use for promotion and in turn less money to take care of the riders.
ACTION: We need to cooperate together to turn this trend around and head back in a positive direction.
3) Skateboarding doesn’t seem like fun anymore
Media and companies tend to concentrate on the negative side of skateboarding. At present skateboarding is not fun: Videos portray the impossible, product is not designed for fun- this all targets the hardcore market, and is not accessible to the “fun only” skater or the new skater.
ACTION: We as an industry, must concentrate on a more positive future. We have narrowed down skateboarding to a very small market. Bring the fun back and get the negative out. Target beyond the hardcore market: new buyers, cruisers, recreational skaters. New kids who are not aware of all this vibing crap. We want the media to show more variety of types of skating out there. The companies will promote more accessible skating and more positive images, produce products that are more fun to ride. We need to make a wider board, bigger softer wheels etc as well as the hardcore products. Tours, demo contests have to portray skateboarding in a better light. Emphasize consistency, positive attitudes, company support and promotion of the sport. Don’t send out riders who do not agree with this, otherwise we risk doing more harm than good.
4) Blank Boards
We have been promoting sales of blank boards by allowing our riders to ride them. It was agreed that companies will only hand out with graphics or logos. We will encourage the media not to show boards without graphics and photographers will not shoot photos of team riders unless they are supporting their sponsor by riding a board with company graphics and wearing company T’s, hats etc. No more blank boards, blank T’s, Gap jeans etc etc. As one distributor said, “How can we sell the products if the pro’s don’t ride them?”.
ACTION: This will require a process of education. We need to demonstrate to the riders how supporting their companies will help the companies support the riders. The riders who help their companies in this way are the ones who should benefit themselves through increased sales, trips to contests, tours, etc.If this takes place we hope to see increased sales, increased payment to riders and more funds to promote skateboarding. Blank products only supports an industry which is doing nothing for skateboarding’s future.
ACTION: Everyone agreed to talk to the vendors and suppliers who are selling the blank products. In the long term, sales of blank product will destroy the market by eliminating the funds available for promotion. It’s a case of a small short term profit versus the long term health of the Industry. We will also put more logo boards on the market and stabilize product changes to re-establish the strong company identification that has been lost through blank board sales.
5) The new Graphic problem
Slowing down graphic changes was discussed briefly. It was accepted that this was killing deck sales. A distributor will only take 10 of a board, a shop will only take one, both then expect a new graphic next time. Reducing the rate of change across the whole industry was brought up but no final solution was agreed. Some in the room said that they have been slowing down already or are about to do so, others said that it was impossible to slow now.
ACTION: We all agreed it was a serious situation which needs further discussion.
6) Rider Guarantees
It was agreed that rider’s deck guarantees no longer reflected the reality of the size of the market.
ACTION: $500-1000 (for 1994) is more realistic for new pro’s or under fresh agreements and when a pro moves to a new company $2 per deck was fine. (If a company has an existing agreement with a pro at $2000 for example, obviously it is up to that company to keep that agreement.)
7) Team Jumping
We need to protect the retailers, distributors and manufactures, and to stabilize the market by reducing the harm caused by team jumping.
ACTION: If a rider leaves a company, the most that anyone can expect from a new company is $1000 a month. Also communication will take place between the 2 companies and the old company will have 90 days to clear the rider’s inventory. During this period the new company can pay the rider but they can’t release a model for him. The media will take an active role in not covering the team jumping, riders quitting or other info that will make inventory on a shelf or company or distributor warehouse obsolete.
8) Too many Identical Models
There are too many pro models available on the market. Distributors and shops dare not order every different one in quantity.
ACTION: Don’t turn riders pro so easily. It means nothing to be a pro today and the credibility and status of the pros suffer as a result. Have a rider know what is expected of him and what he can expect in return. Make sure they appreciate that is a two way deal. This is not a new concept, think what sponsorship and being professional means. If the two way deal isn’t working out, companies should discuss the problem with the riders, but if it doesn’t work, they should let them go.
9) New Companies
We discussed how easy it is to enter the skateboard Industry. That it shouldn’t be a problem if someone wants to start a company. But when a company is started to destroy another company, or make the stock on everyone’s floor obsolete, it only contributes to the instability of the industry and erodes customer confidence in buying product.
ACTION: We should stop shooting ourselves in the foot by helping a company get set up and running, especially companies who are coming in for a quick buck, or do not support the industry and magazines, or do not have long term plans.
Conclusion
This is a recap of what was discussed; it is no way complete, but it covers the main points. Another meeting is loosely planned for the beginning of May which other will be invited to. This was a positive move toward a more unified and stable industry. So far all the points that were discussed have been put into action, and the “we can trust these guys” thinking has been shown to be an unnecessary fear. Some remarkable cooperation has already taken place among people you would not have expected it from.
Other Ideas and Topics discussed
Skateboarding Promo Video- Maybe by Stacy Peralta. A video aimed at the general market, suitable for sale in every video store in the world. NOT made for the hardcore market. Showing skateboarding as a positive and fun thing to do. ESPN “Max Out” is interested in footage if you have anything to send in to her. Her is her name and number: Karin Jacoby 212-586-6104.
Drug Abuse and Paying Ams
Make Skateboarding more accessible to potential skaters- Right now the general public can’t understand skating. It’s too technical and too inconsistent. Name another sport in which the pro’s are so inconsistent. Everyone must have heard non-skaters at pro contests ask when the pro’s skate. We must make them go “Wow! Look at that” if we want them to get their attention.
Right now skating does not look fun. The kid could quite possibly pass by the skateshop and go buy a mountain bike or a basketball instead.We must encourage some changes. Modern street skating is rad but we must add to it. Just think if we could have the street scene of today PLUS the mini ramp scene from 89 PLUS the vert scene from 86 PLUS the street scene from 85 PLUS the freestyle scene of 81 PLUS the pools and park scene from the 70’s etc etc .
With skateboarding ten times a big, pros could earn ten times as much money and companies make money. If we want those days back we need to open our minds and not limit skateboarding. That’s what skateboarding was all about when we started. There were no rules, it just mattered that you were doing it and having fun.


Source: CW from MyStyle