Noteworthy: Alternative Longboards

Noteworthy: Alternative Longboards

Words and Photos by Daniel Fedkenheuer

Working at a skate shop in Southern California is an experience that truly makes a person realize how much of an epicenter the area is for skateboarding and longboarding. The amount of figures in the industry that flock to Los Angeles and the surrounding counties is only surpassed in number by the thousands of skateboarders and longboarders that take over the streets, parks and garages. Immersed in this land, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole world of skateboarding and longboarding that exists far beyond the bounds of blue skies and palm tree-lined streets.  However, when my co-worker, Christian Teplitzsky, returned from a Euro trip with a fresh dancer longboard dubbed the ‘Ostrich’ in hand, I was reminded of just how expansive the skate world actually is.

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After gawking over one of the most elaborate sets of top and bottom ply graphics I’ve ever seen and running my hands along a set of colorful urethane-infused tips, I reached out to Szymon Śmiałek, owner of Alternative Longboards, and posed him with a few questions on how he was able to craft such a beautiful board. Between the historical ruins and the mountains surrounding the southern city of Nowy Sącz, Poland, Śmiałek gave me the inside scoop.

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The story behind the growth of Alternative Longboards is one rooted in a daunting trial and error process, whereby Śmiałek and his team exhausted countless resources to find the right combination. Initially plagued by the frustration of not being able to forecast problems the team was further beset with the challenge of finding efficient ways to solve and circumvent future conflicts from arising.

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While their initial run alone required figures upwards of 100 decks and 4,000 sheets of graphics, the numbers go up from there. In fact, since their inception, they’ve spent over 1,200 hours creating the right molds for their diverse lineup of shapes. In they end, they devised a system that requires a cutting mold and a pair of press molds to get their wood ready for a refined, four-step grinding process. Nevertheless, the team still claims they go through up to 40 prototypes of each new board before it is released.

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What this extensive research and development process goes to show is the emphasis that the Alternative crew puts into their craftsmanship, despite releasing ten distinctly unique boards in each series. To Śmiałek, the immersive approach of crafting these boards in a small-scale manufacturing environment is important because as he says,

“Making the boards with your hands gives you the opportunity to create something new; to learn how to work with different materials and introduce new ideas.”

However, the name of the game for Alternative Longboards has been and continues to be providing a strong point of differentiation at a modest price. Figuring out the optimal levels of weight and durability for these boards is also factored into this search for a justified price point. Nevertheless, Alternative faces these challenges in a more aggressive manner than many other board manufacturers currently do. Learning from their past but keeping their eyes on the future, Śmiałek asserted, “When you look at the past and check our previous collection, you’ll find a lot of differences, but we aren’t afraid to try a new solution! Next season we are going to release new collection, so expect something dope.”

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Though the back end of the operation is enough of a story on its own, the graphics on these decks add the final layer to a board that’s as visually appealing as it is technically sound. For each new series of boards that Alternative releases, they take a unique approach to curate a meaningful aesthetic in a interconnected way. As Śmiałek commented on the brand’s art direction he said,

“Graphics are one of the most important things, because it creates the soul of board, and helps owner to express oneself. Each year we are looking for the artist who will create something special. We spend a lot of time on Behance/Instagram to find that person who has their own style which fits our taste. We create one big graphic and split it to each board to connect the whole collection. All boards are different, but something must connect it. For us, this thing is a graphic.”

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With artistic and manufacturing-related ends of the operation thoroughly covered, the only piece left in the puzzle for Alternative Longboards is scaling and distributing their product globally. Understandably, they’re making quick work of figuring this out too. The team already has an established following across Europe and Asia while team riders like recent RedBull ‘No Paws Down’ winner, Patrick Lombardi, have been holding them down in the streets. This makes the earlier-mentioned skateboarding mecca of America one of the next places for Alternative Longboards to cross off their list in an effort to get their boards out to every continent. “It makes us proud, when somebody from another country asks for our boards, because it shows that we’ve done a good job,” Śmiałek added.

If you want to give Szymon and the Alternative crew the pat on the back they deserve, go out and hound your local longboard shop to start stocking their decks or take matters into your own hands by scooping up something from their 2018 lineup online here.

FTC: Zombie Hawgs Wheel Review (Video)

FTC: Zombie Hawgs Wheel Review (Video)

From The [cw] Community:

Thanks to Nate Braks for submitting an awesome review of the Clear Zombie Hawgs wheels with some buttery slides from Boardworks Tech Shop team rider Ben Bartlett. Check it out:

Boardworks Tech Shop
Website: https://boardworkstechshop.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/boardworkste...
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/boardworks_...

Rider: Ben Bartlett

Filmed by:
Kyle Martin

Edit By:
Nate Braks

Music:
“Rocket Luv”
Ben Bada Boom

New! Submit Your Posts to Be Featured!

New! Submit Your Posts to Be Featured!

Well, we’re back from Hiatus!  We’ve been in the lab, not so much with a pen and a pad, but with some good things cooking, and some major changes coming up (stay tuned for an upcoming post).  But, until then we have an awesome new addition to the website where you can submit your content for us to feature!

Featuring Real Skaters, Sponsored or Not!
This is our way of connecting with the real skate world, sponsored or not, to feature real skaters from the real skate world – downhill, street, freestyle, longboarding, even art – anything goes!

Feature What?
Mainly we’re looking for Instagram posts or YouTube videos since they have easy links that you can submit.

Feature Where?
Once you submit your clips or pics, our editors will review them.  If they’re approved, we will insert your Clip, Pic, or Article into an awesome new post in our Blog or re-post on our Instagram page.  Some lucky contestants may even be contacted to be featured in upcoming editions of our submit-skate-print magazine!

Submit to Get Featured!
If you’re interested in submitting content to CW to feature, simply hit up our new Skate Content Submissions page here:

Submit Skate Content Here
Made in Venice DVD

Made in Venice DVD

For those lucky skaters who visit Venice, your journey there would not be complete without stopping by the City’s incredible skatepark. It was skate legend Jesse Martinez who led the charge to get the park built. His tenacity and pure stoke for skateboarding accomplished something truly remarkable.

The story of how the Venice skatepark came together is told in the documentary Made in Venice. Click here to view the trailer.

Drone overview of the Venice Skatepark

We are pleased to let you know that the film has been released in the U.S. on the following platforms: iTunes, Amazon, Microsoft Store, Google Play, VUDU; and On Demand at Xfinity, and Dish. In Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland, and Sweden you can see it on iTunes. Later this year, Made In Venice movie will be on VHX-Vimeo for WORLDWIDE viewing.

Note: The DVD ($14.99 + shipping) plays in ALL Regions and can be ordered worldwide through the
Made In Venice website.

Swiss Pumptrack Challenge

Swiss Pumptrack Challenge

Sure, the press release was written in German, but the photos are understood in ANY language. The Swiss love their pumptracks and the Pump King Challenge is coming up fast!

Here’s a great video they’ve put together to announce this year’s tour.

Have a look at some of the great memories from 2017.

Felix Meier

Patrick Switzer

Simon Sticker

Caroline Weibel

Tour winners 2017

Heal Fast, Candy!

Heal Fast, Candy!

Last week I received one of the most distressing texts ever. It was sent by Dan Gesmer, founder of Seismic and he gave me the tragic news that Candy Dungan, our associate editor had hit the guardrail during a run in Colorado Springs. I called Dan immediately and found out Candy had pretty much severed her spine. It was a total shock as I’d only been talking with her the day or two before. We were discussing her upcoming trips to the Philippines and South Korea.

Aaron Hampshire with his fiancee Candy Dungan

It’s incredible to think how fast our lives can change in a blink of an eye. It’s also amazing to see miracles happen.

Aaron Hampshire has dutifully posted updates on FB and Instagram. According to Aaron, Candy was scheduled for a 10 hour surgery but miraculously, she only need 3 hours. The doctors changed their prognosis and collectively everyone who knows Candy is breathing a sigh of relief. It turns out things could have been MUCH worse.

Some of Candy’s friends from the Longboard Girls Crew.

The skate community has rallied behind Candy and a Go Fund Me Campaign has been set up.

Funding as of April 2, 2018
10 AM

Candy Dungan is one tough cookie. Not even 30, she has faced some pretty difficult challenges in her life. But her strength and fierce determination has seen her through. I know that Candy’s perseverance will see her through this next phase of her life. Concrete Wave encourages you to donate to the fund and help out in any way you can. On behalf of the staff, advertisers and readers worldwide Candy, we wish you a speedy recovery.

The REAL Wonder Woman, Candy Dungan

More on Woodshops

More on Woodshops

A few weeks ago we did a story on what to look for (and to avoid) when it comes to choosing a woodshop. We know there are many folks out there who are very interested in starting up their own deck company. We heard from Mike Mahoney of Savvy Cycles and founder of Honey Skateboards.

Mike Mahoney in his shop.
Photo: Jeff Nass

 

Mike is an expert when it comes to wood and we are delighted to share his insights. Here is just a partial list of things Mike suggest you look for when it comes to choosing the right shop for you.

Does the shop control the environment?
Almost every shop will control temperature but many do not consider humidity. Since wood will shrink or swell as it drys out or takes on moisture, a shop should keep the humidity level within a certain range to reduce the movement of the wood (veneers). They should monitor the moisture content of the wood as well. Veneers should be stored in an controlled environment. Pressed decks should be given the proper time to cure and return to an equilibrium state before they are cut and shaped and stored in a controlled environment until they receive the finish.
Pressed decks should not be stacked to cure, this promotes unequal drying that can cause warping, air need to circulate around all side evenly. A deck that is too dry shipped to Florida will take on a lot of moisture do to humidity and can warp easily, and a deck with a high moisture content shipped to Arizona will dry out considerably and potentially warp and/or crack. Shops may not give you the specifics but they should indicate that they the decks are maintained in an humidity controlled environment for storage of veneers to finished deck. If not, look elsewhere.

Photo: Jeff Nass

 

What materials does the shop use?
Wood (veneers):
Maple, bamboo, birch, fiberglass, carbon fiber, other or a combination of. I caution the use of bamboo, it cracks easy and best used in a composite construction. I have seen many brand new, never ridden, big name longboards on racks in shops that were cracked. Shops should advise the proper wood species to suit your needs.
Adhesives:
Epoxy, PVA or other. Both epoxy and PVA have specific applications. A lot of people think epoxy is best, but are they using the right epoxy for the application. Epoxy should not be press under as much pressure as PVA because it requires some space between veneers to be effective, otherwise you run the risk of a week bond. There are several PVA glues that were specifically design for skateboards. They are water resistant, and designed to work with the characteristics of maple to flex with the wood (AKA “POP”). PVA’s can be pressed with a tighter glue line than epoxy. Epoxy is better suited for composite constuction. If the shop is using consumer PVA or expoy, look elsewhere. These are industrial products used in industry and not available at Home Depot or Lowes.

Photo: Jeff Nass

Finishes:
For years the standard finish used on skateboards was lacquer. Lacquer in not he best finish for outdoor use. The reason it was used so much is that it is required if your graphic is a heat
transfer and it’s easier to apply. Polyurethane with UV protection is better if possible, it is more water resistant.
Carbon Footprint:
Water based adhesives and finishes win here. PVA is water based and most finishes are available in water based these days. Epxoy, carbon fiber, fiber glass and bamboo are the losers. Yes, bamboo! It has been marketed as a “green material” due to it incredible ability to regenerate, however, the process required to get the round bamboo into a flat veneer come with a huge carbon footprint, outweighing the green benefits, but no one wants you to know this.

Photo: Jeff Nass

 

What type of press do you use?
Cold press vs hot press, manual, hydraulic, pneumatic operated, vacuum bag or clamps?
Cold vs hot depends on the materials and the adhesives used. Press time can also play into the equation here. Hydraulic and pneumatic are more production oriented, then manual, vacuum bag and clamps.
Does the press have a pressure gauge?
Adhesive manufactures have a recommended psi. Without a pressure gauge, how do you know if you meet the recommendations or that every board is pressed consistently? Again, epoxy requires less pressure that PVA.
Molds – Do you have stock molds? Can you make custom molds? Who owns the custom mold? If we part ways, can I take “my” custom mold with me?
The type of mold used is directly related to the type of press used. Do you need a one sided or male/female mold? Woodshops often will have a choice of stock molds to choose from. This is a good way to get started because a custom mold can cost upwards of $1000. Molds are often laminated with baltic birch, maple or even aluminum=($$$$$$). Stay away from a shop that recommends using 2×6’s or other framing material to save money. Just like your veneers, the molds should be kept in a controlled environment. A warped mold will only press a warped deck. Molds need to be precise to get consistent and secure glue joints. A CNC cut mold if far superior to a hand shaped mold. A mold can last for 10’s of thousands of decks if taken care of. A mold also needs to be designed to press a given number of boards. This leads to the next question.
There is a large variation in the industry with this. Some will press up to 5 decks in one mold to save time. This creates 5 different decks with respect to the contours, concave, kicktails, and wheel wells. As you stack decks, each decks’ contours get progressively smaller up the stack. Some don’t care, and some do. Pressing 2 decks at a time minimizes the differential range but takes longer to press decks in a production setting. This is a decision you have to make. Consistency or quantity, where is the happy medium?
Swap Meet Toronto – No. 11

Swap Meet Toronto – No. 11

The 11th annual Swap Meet held at Roarockit is coming up fast. #SWAP11 happens on Sunday April 8, same place, same time as always. For those who don’t know the exact address, it’s 880 Millwood Avenue in Toronto. Temperatures are slowly warming up here Hogtown. The fun begins at noon! After 4pm, there will be a slide session at the Poop Chute.
Roarockit is also presenting an additional event that benefits the amazing work of the Oasis Skateboard Factory. It is taking place on April 12 is the Boards of Education Art Show and Auction at the Gladstone Hotel. This This year, there many artists, from music to street and everything in between. The students are teamed up with an artist, who then creates a board with the student’s input on the topic, this year it is Mis-Education. Boards are auctioned off by Jay Mandarino – owner of CJ’s skatepark. It’s all good fun and raises some badly needed funds to support the school.

So.. You Think You Can Longboard Dance?

So.. You Think You Can Longboard Dance?

So.. You Can Longboard Dance? 2018 Worldcup Longboard Freestyle and Dance (flatland disciplines) 6th edition APRIL 21st and 22nd 2018 Klokgebouw Eindhoven The Netherlands competitions. Entry is free for spectators. 
Bianca Kersten heads up Flow Provider and she is in charge of the event. We contacted her from her home in Spain.
For those who are new to the party, what is it about longboard dancing?
Longboard dancing is riding a longboard in your own style, with flow (speed, consistency, combos) and creativity (innovation is important in competitions). It includes dancing that is accompanied by a variety of technical tricks.
How did Flow Provider become part of this movement – and what was the impetus to start the SYCLD
Already since 2003 does Flow Provider organise projects within street culture and street sports. Mainly events and programs in school. We believe in making a circle: pro’s inspiring people to start who are taught bij <retired or not> pro’s who can make a living out of their passion this way. These new inspired people who are taught form the new generation of pro’s and so the story continues. I believe in taking care of the whole circle to maintain a healthy scene. I use to manage a building on the opposite side of the Klokgebouw. Jan, the owner told me that I should just ask whenever I wanted to do something. It was bad weather and we wanted to skate. And so we did.. and the whole world came. Things lined up.. I had the time and knowledge to make an event out of it (which was necessary because of the huge amounts of people that wanted to come), I have the love of longboarding and knew the people in the scene and the owner of the Klokgebouw supports us in an unbelievable way. So.. it became ‘So.. You (think you can <- the first edition this was added) Can Longboard Dance?’ as a joke because the event that was her big sister, in Zwolle NL, was called ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Nobody knew it would lead to this. And I think the secret of the succes and growth is that there is no ulteriar motive. As long as a bunch of people have fun skating and inspire others, SYCLD is a succes.
What are some of the goals of Flow Provider?
The goals of Flow Provider is inspire, connect, educate and spread the stoke. Get people to feel what we all know about. The feeling of motion on a board and the butterflies and joy that gives. What it means if you can live your passion. I guess that is also the strength of organising SYCLD. I love every moment I can spend on the beach and in the ocean, so I only want to spend time behind the computer doing what I love, my time is too precious to me. SYCLD is an event I love to organise because it’s all about positivity. Everyone wants the best for it and each other. Even the sponsoring brands don’t want to dominate each other. Everyone supports it and loves doing so because it’s nice! Teaching longboard is also so nice! I was teaching thousands of kids and the smiles are the best! So inspire and get those who are inspired to inspire others. The pebble in the water..
For SYCLD I would like to have one event on every continent or in every region. The winner wins a trip to Eindhoven to have a shot at the title of World Champion. I think everyone should have the chance to attend and that a plane ticket to Eindhoven should not be the reason that maybe the biggest hidden talent somewhere can’t come. I think Brenno’s story is so inspirational. Did a crowdfunding campaign to get money for a ticket from Brazil to Holland and luckily he made it because he became world champion that year! And this changed his life!
For those who’ve never attended a SYCLD, what should they expect?
A huge venue of 5000m2 where you can skate, watch and enjoy yourself! With the nicest people on the planet doing things on a board that seem impossible. Just enjoy, skate and relax. The event is both days (21st and 22nd of April) from 13.00-22.00 and on Saturday there is a party nearby. Many competitions and much space to skate with obstacles. Eindhoven is also an awesome city. Most innovations and new developments in design are coming from Eindhoven. For those who can’t make it there will be a live broadcast!
Need more info? Visit sycld.nl
Virgin Blacktop World Premier

Virgin Blacktop World Premier

This Saturday, in MORRO BAY, California, the world premier of Virgin Blacktop will take place. Thanks to the work of Charlie Samuels, this 23-years-in-the-making film will finally be unleashed formally to

the world. This is not to say that it hasn’t been seen. It has – in Nyack, New York back in fall to a local audience. But this particular moment in Morro Bay is the official world premier. I’ve seen the film TWICE and I can tell you that is absolutely is a masterpiece. It is 100% pure stoke. No skater will be unmoved. In fact, I think once this film works its magic on the skate world, you’ll see change within skateboarding. Positive change.

Virgin Blacktop isn’t just about skateboarding. It’s about community. It’s about how we as a society get a long. It’s about life and it’s about celebrating people’s lives. Unlike the Dogtown and Z Boys film which hit 18 years ago, this movie is in completely different head space. If you’re an old school skater, you won’t know any of the main characters (except if you’re a freestyler and the name Joe Humeres rings a bell).

The film will make you think about the positive energy that the act of skateboarding gives us all. If it doesn’t make you want to leap out of your seat and grab your board, chances are you’re either dead or comatose.

To Charlie Samuels and all of the Wizards who are featured in Virgin Blacktop, thank you for inspiring me to love skateboarding that much more! Your film and story is lesson for us all.

You don’t need to be sponsored by Vans to be a Wizard. Nyack, NY November 2017

 

 

 

Today is International Women’s Day. Get Out There and Roll!

Today is International Women’s Day. Get Out There and Roll!

Today is March 8th. it’s International Women’s Day.

Did you know that?

The truth is my wife reminded me – but I thought it was on the 11th. Turns out that is the day many folks are gathering this weekend for rallies.

Patti McGee a leading light in skateboarding since the early 1960’s. Five decades later, Patti is still rolling!

By a strange coincidence, March 11 is my mom’s birthday AND the day I met Noel Korman in 2011 at the world’s first longboard trade show in NYC.

In most years, I’d be working on the April issue and waiting for the March Buyer’s Guide to come back from the press.

Ellen O’Neal rode for G&S. An awesome freestyle skater.
Photo: Warren Bolster

That didn’t happen this year. But more on that in a moment.

Peggy Oki made a huge mark on the “Lords of Dogtown.”

 

Laura Thornhill was featured in the Fall 1976 issue of SkateBoarder. She received over 10 pages of coverage!

 

I used to put a huge amount of focus getting the magazine out at the specific time. Speaking of time, I spent a huge amount time chasing advertisers to get their ads or listings in for deadline. Speaking of advertisers, happy to report we one new Swiss advertiser – Rocket Longboards.

Thanks to a series of events, I have the time to focus on things that connect all skaters. And that’s why I am writing this column. My first shout is to Candy Dungan, who is our associate editor. Can you spot her in this layout? Candy is right there…on the top left!

Can you spot Candy?

 

You see, I think now more than ever we need ALL skaters (both FEMALE and MALE) to be part of International Women’s Day. Here’s just one link why.

Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word!

I encourage you to get out there and roll for women today. Think of what is must be a woman in Vatican City, the only place in the world where women can’t vote.

And in Belarus, women can’t become truck drivers. Then again, if you think about it, it was only 1971 when women got the right to vote in Switzerland.

The Longboard Girls Crew

For those male skaters who can’t understand what your role is today, here’s my take:

Get out there and skate. Enjoy everything the act of skateboarding gives you. Freedom and fun springs to my mind. If you run into some female skaters or just females, treat them the way you’d like to be treated. If they are new skateboarding, stoke them out. If they’ve been riding longer than you, take the time to learn from them. If you just do that, you’re rolling for peace – that is your role. If you want to march, or support women

in some other way , that’s also cool too.

So, here’s to women everywhere in skateboarding! Thank you for being here! Girl is NOT a 4 Letter word!

Special shout out to Valeria Kechichian of the Longboard Girls Crew.

Tip of the hat to:

Pink Widow Distribution.

 

 

BTW: Our next roll is April 22 – Earth Day.

Come join us in Toronto for this event

Spots are available for your product – it is green

 

 

 

 

 

 

And check out Peggi Oki’s charity that fits perfectly with April 22.

Not for Profit

Not for Profit

A quick glance over at Amazon USA and you can get into a longboard for $29.99

YIKES! (just kidding about the roll over image part!)

And here’s something else to consider – FREE SHIPPING

How the F**K does this even work? Shipping has to cost something. A big box like this has to be at least $15 to ship.

But don’t take my word for it, have a look at the reviews.

I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t have price point products. We should. But can someone please explain to me after you:

  1. take a piece of wood – shape it into a deck and add grip
  2. add trucks and mounting hardware
  3. add wheels and bearings
  4. pay someone to put it together, put it in a box and ship it to the USA
  5. then ship it from a warehouse to a customer somewhere for FREE

HOW THE HELL DOES THIS EVEN MAKE A PROFIT?

We are devaluing skateboarding one not for profit complete at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Truth Newsletter #2

The Real Truth Newsletter #2

Greetings all,
This newsletter is about what to look for in a woodshop. And we have a hard hitting interview with a manager of an established woodshop.
The truth is that skateboarding is awesome.
The real truth is that starting a skate company and working with a woodshop can be nightmare. Just ask my buddy _____. We can’t give his name because you know…lawyers. But trust me it can be a total nightmare trying to get decks made. We hope this little interview helps you avoid some serious nightmares.
REMEMBER – buyer beware! DO NOT FREAK OUT…read this interview FIRST before you place that order.
What should you be looking for when it comes to choosing a woodshop to make your decks?

History and heritage. This shows credibility and experience right off the bat. The  customer should be able to pull plenty of information about the organization on the internet

Their philosophies and core values.  Check out their website and  see what they are about.

Cleanliness and organization. Visiting the factory not only ensures that  they are not brokers themselves, but also allows the customer the ability to check out their organization. We know that all wood shops are dirty or dusty, but not to a point that it looks like stuff is just thrown everywhere

Customer Service.   Customer service should be a top priority. Are they taking the time to really meet your needs, or do they just want to take your money?

The desire to work with the customer. A great wood shop would sit you down, ask you questions, and be upfront with you about everything verbally and most importantly, in writing, so there are no discrepancies

Over promises. An experienced wood shop would under promise, and maintain their timeline ( usually between 4 to 6 weeks). Most of the time, they finish the job before then.

The woodshop’s opinion and/or advice.  Yes, both parties need to make money. A great wood shop would give their opinion and/ or advice without telling one what to do, hopefully resulting in a production-friendly, quality product. There are no perfect wood shops; they do run into snags and it is to be expected. But make sure that the wood shop communicates this back to you. They should be giving you facts, answers, and solutions…not excuses.

A great wood shop would also let you know that certain processes would be better done by you rather than the wood shop, so you can save money and time. The attitude of the wood shop should be like what’s someone once said , “ We are here to make your life as easy as possible, and help you be successful at the same time.”

How to best handle references?

Great wood shops will not reveal their customers. It’s like a code of ethics to keep their OEM customers at secret. Most likely, a great wood shop will already have a great reputation by simple “word of mouth”. Remember that good references should not only be on the quality of the product, but also on timelines, and especially customer service.

What are some alarm bells that should trigger “RUN AWAY!” ?

This is a tough one, since every wood shop looks great at first even with great references, but  do your RESEARCH! If you are caught in the middle of a dilemma, you should look at signs of multiple promises not delivered, and multiple excuses….THIS IS A WARNING SIGN….by the second promise not fulfilled or second excuse….you should start thinking of your exit strategy.

What’s the best way to handle disputes?

Disputes are easy to handle if everything was placed in writing before the start of production. Write everything down, and you as the OEM customer and the wood shop should review the terms.  Once agreed to, both parties should sign off on it

Recap e-mails are a must, just in case there were details that needed more attention or were missed. There’s a saying that the customer is always right.   That is true most of the time, but if you have everything in writing…there should be no question who made the mistake…it’s either the customer or the manufacturer.

An Interview with a Pusher… A Long Distance Pusher!

An Interview with a Pusher… A Long Distance Pusher!

Saskia Tromp – one of the world’s best long distance pushers.

I had an opportunity to meet up with Saskia at Shred Expo in February. At 21, she’s on her way to making a serious name in long distance. We wanted to share her insights.

What is your skate background?

My skating started when I was about 5 years old. I was always on rollerskates and got into ice skating when I was 7. I participated in marathons and the normal speed-skating distances like 500, 1000, 1500 and 3000 meters. I also did a lot of in-line skating, cycling, swimming and running.

When I stopped ice skating in 2012, I got into longboarding. My first board was a pretty cheap one from a local store, but a week later I knew I loved it and got a better board. I started pushing around town, commuting a bit and then I bought a downhill deck after meeting the Dutch Downhill Division community. Done that for two seasons, but due to some injuries on my ankle I couldn’t skate so much.

Then I thought to strengthen my ankle by doing long distance training. I got my first LDP setup and then I fell in love with long distance skating itself. A video of the 24- hour Ultraskate made me want to try and I trained hard to get there. The first time I skated more than 10 kilometers I was truly done. But by increasing mileage gradually I could skate much farther than I ever imagined

Where have you competed and what races have you won?

I have competed in races in the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. My first race was the Dutch Pyramid Uphill Push Race (DPUPC) in 2016. It’s a short sprint around a lake and then up a pyramid shaped hill. That was the first competition I ever did on a board and I loved it. After that I went to the quarter ultraskate (6 hours) in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It was my first bigger race and I was super nervous, but it was also the first time I met skaters from another country and I ended up second! I was training to do my first 24- hour Ultraskate in Miami.

Getting the money together to go to Florida was a thing, but it worked out eventually. It was my first time out of Europe and it felt super awesome. The race started quite well and I held a high pace. Unfortunately I had two bad crashed at night. So I accidentally stood on my front wheel, crashed and hit my knee and shin. I was almost on the point to give up, but seeing everyone passing by inspired me to keep going and I hit my goal of at least 150 miles and I got 5th in the ranking there.

I was super stoked after that one and trained hard for the next race, a quarter Ultraskate in Kienbaum, Germany. I won that one and beat my own personal best. After that race I was in good shape and there were a few weeks between the Dutch Ultraskate, so I was just maintaining form. The Dutch Ultra is super special to me, since I skated my world record there at 422.10 km/ 262 miles. It was a tough race, especially at night when the track seems like it’s just you and your board on a road. I know the track really well because I used to cycle there in my childhood. I never thought hitting a WR and going to 262 miles would be possible, but due to some luck and an awesome support team it happened. After the ultra in 2017 there was a marathon organized by the Misfits skatecrew, and another quarter Ultra in the Netherlands in November. Now we’re in off season, but spring 2018 is coming!

What is is that makes LDP so interesting for you?

To me LDP means exploration, love, family and freedom. On a board you can go wherever you want and see the world. It has brought me so much and I can’t imagine a life without it anymore. The whole scene is supportive and it’s easy to reach everyone.

LDP is also my general way of getting around to nearly all my appointments. It’s pretty much glued to me and people are already asking what happened if I don’t have my board with me.

What are some of the physical and mental challenges of pushing for 24 hours straight?

On the physical side: It is important to listen to your body, it’s easy to overuse something. Of course you have to be very strong in general, and you need to have a good technique while pushing or pumping to save energy. The challenge is to keep going and not take too many (long) rests, since that cools you down and then you’ll have a hard time to get into the rhythm again. The longer you’re into the race, the more often you’ll see others get into their chairs or tents to have a break. The track gets less crowded and you might end up on your own.

This is where the mental part comes in: if you think about giving up, you will. Keep your thoughts on the positive side and you can break any limit. I think the mental side is equally – if not more – important than the physical side, since you can be super strong, but if you give up you’re not going to hit your goal!

What is the future for LDP?

To me, the future of LDP lies in organizing more events and getting new people into the scene. Races, clubs, gatherings, fun days, touring, there’s so much to think about. I feel like a lot of people are seriously interested in it, but just never got in contact with it. I hope to gather some more people by doing projects with (young) students about longboarding, as they are the future for the scene.

Hitting the finish line!

How do you feel about the Olympics… could LDP be a part of it?

I my opinion LDP can be a part of the Olympics, and I’m hoping that we could get an Olympic marathon for distance longboarding. There’s not that much needed (just a closed track or the course for the Olympic runner’s marathon) and everyone knows what a marathon is. I think a lot of people will love it and would want to try skating when they see it on the tv.

However the Ultraskate should remain the same in my opinion, and the community shouldn’t be divided in “I’m from this country and you’re from that country so we can’t work together”. The family is more important than the racing, but I think the Olympics are a cool way to gather more people and spread the stoke.

Tell us about your set up!

My current setup consists of:

  • Rocket Exodus platform
  • G|Bomb S-fork proto
  • G|Bomb TT-s
  • G|Bomb Infinity bolts
  • G|Bomb Ceramic bearings
  • Don’t Trip Poppy SP
  • Riptide 80a fatcone/ 80a barrel
  • Riptide 80a cone/ 80a cube
  • Riptide In-Side Footstop
  • MOB Griptape
  • Orangatang Kegels 80 mm 80a
  • Proto rear wheels

What’s life like for you in the Netherlands? What do you study and why?

Life in the Netherlands as a student is pretty busy, haha! I study Landscape and Environment Management in Delft. I learn a lot about water management, climate adaptation, ecology, laws, doing research, nature management and computer programs like GIS. Also we have a lot of excursions. I commute a lot by board, bus and train due to the fact that I moved to the east side of the country for my internships. I like this study because it’s future-oriented and we’re outside a lot. I’m in my last year and will finish this summer. So this year I will (hopefully) graduate and the plan is to do a premaster next year, followed by a double master at the University of Wageningen.

Any final comments?

If you don’t have a decent LDP board yet, get one and enjoy the ride!

PS Saskia rides for Rocket Longboards and G Bomb

Rocket Longboard’s EXODUS Model

 

Torsion Tail Bracket from G Bomb

 

Skateboard England – An Interview with James Hope Gill

Skateboard England – An Interview with James Hope Gill

by Daniel Fedkenheuer

In the midst of a Winter Olympics where half of NBC’s viewership delight in the ways in which they have painted gold-medal winner, Shaun White, as an American hero and the other half scold the “lone wolf” for selfishly abandoning the snowboarding’s core culture, many of us in the skateboarding community sit passively by.

For better or worse, White’s name in headlines surrounding the upcoming games is simply adds another mystery to the sporadic collection of media describing how the process to skateboarding’s eventual Olympic fate is shaping up. As some anxiously wait to see how this process unfolds, others are actively working with Olympic committees and national governing bodies of sport in their home countries to keep the wheels in motion. Allow us to explain.

Home to some of the most talented up-and-coming urban scenes, devoted independent publishers and exceptionally desirable spots, there are few greater examples of a country with potential to capitalize on the potential social and economic benefits of the Olympics than across the pond, in England. As such, we got a chance to interview James Hope-Gill, CEO of Skateboard England, in an effort to demystify some of the reservations and hesitations surrounding skateboarding’s inclusion in the Olympics.

This non-profit that Hope-Gill and his cast of industry veterans are behind aims to, in their own words, “manage, support, develop and promote skateboarding in England & Wales, increase participation, develop a coaching and judging pathway, create and support a sustainable and robust competition structure at all levels in conjunction with existing competitions and stimulate international interest in English & Welsh skateboarding through the development of world-class facilities and skaters.” Without further ado, we encourage you to keep an open mind and have a look at what Hope-Gill had to say:

From my understanding, the way an English skateboarder can hope to compete in the Olympics is to be invited to the National Championships, win in the disciplines of either street or park, move on to and win the European Championships and then go on to the Olympics from there. Is that the case or am I missing something?

JAMES: There is still some uncertainty regarding qualification due to skateboarding being a new sport without an established series of “open” competitions at the elite level sanctioned by the World Governing Body. However, we do know that the Qualification system will be based on World Skateboarding Ranking. Skaters will be ranked for competing in World Skate sanctioned events in the Olympic qualifying period between 1st January 2019 and 30 June 2020.

Details on ranking and the qualification system will be disclosed in March 2018 but our understanding is that skateboarders will be able to qualify through their National Championships in order to be invited to enter the Continental Championships and then go onto World Championships.

Ranking points will be obtained through a mixture of the existing commercial events, such as Vans Pro-Series and Street League, in addition to events that are to be created, such as National Championships and Continental & World Championships. That said, its hypothetical at the moment, until we get clarification from World Skate later this year.

Are there any specifics you could give us on how skateboarding will be structured in the Olympics? (ex. Are street and park the only two disciplines? How many representatives can be expected from each country? etc.)

It has been confirmed that there will be two skateboarding disciplines contested in TOKYO 2020: Street and Park.

A total of 80 skaters will compete in 4 skateboarding events as follows:

  • 20 athletes female Street
  • 20 athletes male Street
  • 20 athletes female Park
  • 20 athletes male Park

 

We do know that there will be a minimum of one skateboarder per continent who will be guaranteed a spot for each event in the Olympics and a minimum of one spot each event will be guaranteed for the host nation, Japan. There is also an understanding that in each event, each country will be restricted to a maximum number of skateboarders. That figure is likely to be 2 or 3 per country per discipline. Again, we need to wait until March 2018 for clarification.

Sam-Pulley and Alex Halford front rock under backside-air. Photo CJ

 

Can you explain the concept of membership a bit more clearly? Do skaters who want to compete have to sign on to be members of Skateboard England in order to do so?

Membership is vital in ensuring that Skateboard England can continue to help and support the skateboarding community and also positively contribute to the growth of the sport. Interest in skateboarding has never been stronger and we are fully committed to helping everyone achieve their full potential whilst ensuring that decisions made about skateboarding are skateboarder led. At the moment Skateboard England is pretty much a voluntary organisation which means that things take a lot longer than we would want them to and we can’t do as much as we want to. A lot of what we have been doing is behind the scenes, such as lobbying government and other organisations regarding funding, strategy and politics.

We are in the process of creating a number of membership categories for skateboarders, coaches, skate parks, etc. We are putting together a package of benefits for members, but that’s a long process and will take time; but there are some significant things we have put together already.

Membership is also part of a much bigger picture. If we want to receive public funding (for better and more facilities, growing skateboarding, etc) from Sport England (the central government sport funding agency) we need to have a series of membership categories. Membership demonstrates that the sport is supporting the governing body and is actively saying “we want to grow, get better facilities and be more sustainable”, it is also part of the democratic process and status of the governing body. We are a membership organisation and all decisions made for the good of skateboarding need to be representative of skateboarders. The Board of Directors are elected from the membership and so we need a diverse and thriving membership in order to have really good people with the right skills making the strategic decisions that will affect the direction and growth of the sport.

Lucy Adams – chair of Skateboard England

 

By joining Skateboard England as members, people & organisations will be actively supporting all the work we do, helping us to invest in the development of skateboarding across England & Wales, basically supporting the future of skateboarding from grassroots to elite level.

There has only been a governing body in England and Wales for the last couple of years. This isn’t the case for many other countries, especially in Europe. We are about 20 years behind a lot of European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, etc, etc. They have thriving memberships, and are taken much more seriously by their governments and local authorities. Those countries mentioned are already receiving government funding for facilities and their Olympic teams. They have been having conversations with funders for a number of years, whereas we are very new to the negotiating table. Membership in those countries is accepted by skateboarders as the norm. We hope that we will get to that position in due course, but understand that it is a new concept in the UK.

There will be no compulsion to become a member of Skateboard England. However, in order to take part in our events, we would expect skateboarders to be a member. We would also hope that skateboarders would want to become members in order to support the work we are doing in creating opportunities, getting better facilities and making sure that decisions about the sport are being made by skateboarders.

Based off the memo on sponsorship that you posted to LinkedIn, what sorts of companies are you anticipating to support the National Championship events?

We’re really keen to engage with companies who are from the skateboarding industry and those from outside. Let me explain. There are a limited number of skateboarding companies and many at the moment already sponsor events and jams around the country. What we don’t want to do is to dilute that money so that the wider skateboarding community sees a reduction in the sponsorship its receiving at the moment. That’s the reason we are looking outside the industry. That said, we hope there will be skateboarding companies who increase their sponsorship budget in order to get involved in the National Championships which will give them some fantastic profile across the wider community due to the events being covered across BBC Sport digital platforms.

In terms of the types of companies; we need to see who is interested. However, we very much want to retain the look and feel of skateboarding events and ensure that a company who gets involved absolutely agrees with the ethos and aims of what we are trying to achieve.

One of the most pressing issues that skateboarders considered to be in the industry’s “core” demographic are concerned about with regard to the Olympics is representation. Many think the Olympics will water down the rawness and the outlaw mentality that they have come to pride themselves on. How will organizations like Skateboard England try to maintain some of the authenticity that makes skateboarding what it is, while still attempting to take skateboarding to a new level?

Well, we certainly can’t speak on behalf of other organisations, but the main thing Skateboard England is here to do is facilitate. We are not here to try and change what is already happening and what is already great about skateboarding. We just exist to provide guidance and a bit of structure where needed….and to help increase the participation of what we do and love and give us a voice.

We want to help promote grassroots events that are already happening and support the community to keep doing what they’re doing. In a world where red tape is growing, if a local authority insists groups need to have insurance to run events & jams, we can support the skateboarders with this. Likewise, with parents now seeking out skate lessons and coaches. We can help support our skateboarders with qualifications & training and therefore help provide employment opportunities.

Skateboard England is also there to work with and lobby against any Councils that try to ban / limit skateboarding in City Centre areas. Street skating is most important to us and preserving it is a huge priority. We hope to support the development of shared space like other European nations have done so well. We are working with Local Authorities like Nottingham, Sheffield and Hull for Skateboarding to create new skateable spaces and events.

What sort of potential do you see skateboarding’s inclusion in the Olympics having for the skateboarding culture as a whole?

The Olympics seems to have certainly divided the skateboarding community. However, I would hope that we can all agree that the Olympics brings an opportunity to increase the profile of skateboarding. If we take advantage of that, we should see more funding into the sport which will create more opportunities for skaters, more skaters and more & better facilities. However, we need to be setting the foundations and preparing for that growth right now.

The Amazing Chris Koch – If I Can.ca

The Amazing Chris Koch – If I Can.ca

Yesterday I received a call from my friend Chris Koch. He lives in Alberta and works on his farm. Chris loves skateboarding in a big way. We met a few years ago on Facebook. He enters marathons on his skateboard. Below is his logo for his motivational company If I Can.

If anyone tells me that they’re no longer interested in skateboarding or they feel somewhat incapable of receiving any joy from the magic rolling board, I often think of Chris.

The amount of pure energy this guy generates is at a level not seen since Nicky Tesla. He spoke to over a 1,000 students yesterday in Calgary. I am sure they  were blown away by his message of getting out there and making things happens. As you can plainly see, Chris is not going to let anything like the absence of limbs to stop him from rolling.

I am pleased to announce that Chris will once again be our “poster man” (as opposed to poster child) for this year’s Roll for Peace.

It’s happening on April 22 around the world. It’s the same day as Earth Day.

See how that all lines up? Nice and easy – you can celebrate peace AND the earth.

It’s Friday and I’m up early typing away on this blog and thinking about the future

It’s been about 3 weeks since we launched and frankly, being a magazine publisher these days is not exactly filled with an abundance of easy peasy lemon squeezy experiences. It’s tough out there. And yet, today is free of snow and rain and I am going skating. Sure, it’s probably 38 degrees out there (-1 celcius or so) but I don’t care. As my good friend Sean says “did you actually skate TODAY?”

So get out there and roll!

An Interview with Bud Stratford

An Interview with Bud Stratford

A few things you should know about Bud Stratford. He’s known to have gulped over 10 Cokes a day. He smokes clove cigarettes. And Bud loves skateboarding and has done so for over 30 years. He also is a prolific writer and influential thinker within skateboarding. He’s been part of CW for over a decade and he’s been known to kick my ass on more than one occasion. I am proud to call him a friend always look forward to what unleashes to the world.
 
This interview features all of Bud’s artwork. It’s also over 3,000 words. God bless digital media! 
 
For more of Bud’s work, spend a few hours over at Everything Skateboarding. You’ll be glad you did.
What motivates you to write about skateboarding and explore things that most wouldn’t touch?
I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I’m not sure that I’m writing about things that people wouldn’t touch. Quite the opposite, I think, is true: I’m writing about things that most people are actually talking about, and talking about a lot, right now. They’re not saying these things publicly… and that’s probably the only real difference between me, and them. But, they are definitely talking about them privately.

So, the real question is probably, “Why are you talking about these things, publicly?” Here’s why: people ultimately need to hear about these things. They need to be brought to the surface sooner or later, and aired out. They need to be discussed. Problems need to be solved, and paradigms need to be put right. For everybody’s benefit. It’s just part of the progress-process at work. If we can’t define, articulate, debate, and propose solutions to pertinent problems, we’ll never get anywhere in life. And nobody in their right mind wants that.
 
If I can put the conversation on the table, and add a few neat, new, and novel ideas into the mix? Then I’ve done some small part to help move that process forward. Or, maybe it’s just because I’m a dick. There are a lot of industry dudes that would probably agree with that one. They might be right. Maybe I am.
With all the moves to online, what are your visions for the brick and mortar skateshop? 
I have a lot of hope for the long-term future of retail, but I can see that the short term is going to be really, really rough road for them. A lot of it is for this simple reason: a lot of them just aren’t doing their damned jobs all that well. 
 
I just came off an extensive summer tour, where I spent a lot of time “mystery shopping” skate shops. I would go in, not as a magazine editor (I was working for Concrete Wave at the time), and not as an “industry guy”…  but just as an average, anonymous skater, or an everyday customer. And I would experience those shops in their truest and rawest form
I spent a lot of my summer being shocked and dismayed by what I saw and experienced. It kinda sucked.
Skate shops, by and large, see things like the internet, Amazon, Zumiez, Tilly’s, brands that sell direct-to-consumer, and other core skate shops, as threats. That’s precisely where they’re misguided. They are not threats; they are alternatives. That’s the key distinction that everybody’s missing here. 
 
Thirty years ago, if your local shop sucked… what were you gonna do? You had to shop there anyway, you didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. There weren’t really alternatives… and if there were, they were huge pains in the asses. Sending away a money order for a skateboard, and then waiting a month to get it? That was really, really inconvenient. You know the struggle, Mike. We’ve both lived it.
 
Nowadays, consumers actually have a whole horde of viable, enjoyable, and convenient alternatives. And they are slowly abandoning the shops that are doing a bad job. It’s not rocket science or anything. It’s just common sense.
 
But if the shops did their jobs right, and did them well… then why would we need alternatives? Why would the customers abandon a great local shop? The answer is simple: we wouldn’t. We’d all shop at the local shop, and we’d all be really, really happy to do it. That’s the plain truth that most shops, for whatever misguided reasons, simply refuse to accept. They blame everyone else for their woes, but they almost never point the finger at themselves. The alternatives are not to blame; they did not create the problem. They merely offered a solution. The shops, themselves, created the sucky-shop problem. And only the shops, themselves, can fix it.
 
In my world, shops are supposed to be the front line of skateboard promotion. They’re supposed to be putting on grassroots events, showcasing skateboarding, getting people excited, inviting them into our pastime, and acting as the fun-loving experts and the advocates for their local scenes. Their goal should be to put anybody and everybody on a skateboard, regardless of color, gender, background, ability… whatever, none of that matters. Just enable, inspire, and enlighten the customers- all of them. And then, they’re supposed to be organizing that skating community, and inspiring them to do greater-good sorts of things… like, fighting for public skateparks. That involves a lot of outreach, and a lot of cultivating a cohesive community. But at the end of the day, that’s their job. That’s what they signed up for.
They’re not doing those things anymore… if they ever did them in the first place. And that’s why they’re failing. That’s why customers are seeking out the alternatives. And that’s why the alternatives are winning.
 
Once they get back to doing those things, I think they’ll survive and thrive. Because nobody else… outside of a local skateboard club… is really in the position to do them. The alternatives are not the perfect paradigm; the local skate shop is. But only when they aren’t sucking at life. Which too many of them are doing right now. 
 
Our industry has every right to be quite concerned about this, and our industry should- in turn- do anything and everything they can to help these shops out. They should be mentoring and advising the shops, to help them build better and more sustainable businesses. We’ve taken a shop under our wing as a pilot program to see how well it can work, and it turns out that it works really, really well. It benefits the shop, it benefits the brands, it benefits the customers… and it’s not too much work, really. It’s surprisingly simple to do, and pretty easy. And it’s fun. But it helps the shop so much to know that somebody has their back, if they need… well, anything, really. 
 
We’re doing it because we recognize that once we lose a critical mass of skate shops… and mark my words on this one, Mike… we’re gonna see a skateboarding Armageddon like you’ve never seen. Skate scenes will die on the vine, everywhere. It’s already well under way, and we all know it. But nobody has made that simple connection just yet. Good shops, good scenes. Great shops, great scenes. No shops? No scenes. No scenes? No grassroots skateboarding excitement and engagement. No excitement and engagement? No skateboarding. It’s that simple. And that’s what I saw over and over again on tour this summer.
 
That dream of owning and operating an independent skate shop… that’s timeless. I think that the Millennial generation will start opening up shops, and doing it the way it’s supposed to be done. They’ll get it right. And if the industry had any brains in their heads, they’d actively encourage, aid, and abet that. And they will, eventually. It’s just a matter of time.
You travel extensively – what is about the open road and exploring that excites you?
Discovering neat new things. That’s about 99% of the answer. Every day is a great day for a grand adventure, isn’t it…? So, go have an adventure! Learn something. Live life. Love the journey, and savor the experiences. Cherish the memories, and die with a smile on your face. Fuck yeah. That’s pretty much it, right there.
 
Truly a personal question – you don’t have children – but if you did how would you raise them to love skateboarding?
I’d tell them that I gave them life, and that I could just as easily take it away. Nah, just kidding… kinda. I honestly don’t know. My goddaughter skates; her mom just told me last week that she still has the first skateboard I ever gave her. Hopefully, she rides it from time to time. As long as she loves life, then that’s fine. That’s the important part. Everything else is just everything else. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff. Skateboarding is a means to the ends, not the ends themselves. The ends should be happiness, fun, fulfillment, contentment. If she gets that some other way, with some other pastime, then that’s perfectly a-ok with me.
The decision to reactivate the Everything Skateboarding website is something that I know many people are anticipating. What should people expect? What are your key goals?
I’m not sure how to answer that. They should probably expect to see a lot of words, photos, and art, because that’s what’s in there. A couple videos. Lots of bright, vibrant colors set against a black background. A few neat ideas, and a lot of humor. It’s pretty entertaining. Especially if you enjoy reading. Then, it’s probably solidly awesome. Avid readers that love intellectual challenges and a good laugh will love it. 
 
For me, it’s basically an art-and-empowerment project. It’s an exercise of creating something exemplary… I hope, at least… out of extraordinarily limited means. It’s a creative outlet that has the potential to engage, inspire, and empower others to follow suit, and exercise their own creativity. If that’s all I ever do? Then I’ll be more than happy. 
 
It’s not just me, though. Obviously, this is ultimately a collective effort. Therefore, I could never take all the credit, although I’m more than happy to take all of the blame. Everything Skateboarding is the net result of the combined efforts of the entire staff. They all played a really big role in it, and they did a fantastically good job with everything. I’m just the ringleader of the good vibe tribe. But without the tribe, I’d be nada, zip, zero. So, thanks everybody. I love you all.
What have been some of the most surprising things you’ve learned over the years as it relates to skate drama?
 
That there is such a thing as “skate drama”…? That continually surprises me. How astronomically huge some egos can be. How incredibly greedy some people can be. How painfully shortsighted and conservative our self-appointed “leaders” can be. Skateboarding is a big, happy, dysfunctional family. It should really be far more loving than it actually is.
 
I have my fair share of adversaries and enemies in this industry, for sure. I am absolutely not the pinnacle of perfection over here. But anyone who knows me at all… even if it’s just in passing… knows this about me: I am fucking cool. That doesn’t mean that I’m “a cool guy”- far from it. That’s not what I mean. 
 
What I mean is that, even if you are my worst enemy on the whole planet… I’m still that guy that’ll pat you on the back, and buy you a beer when we cross paths. I’ll still give you genuine props if you do something really great that I’m stoked on. If you need a hand, I’ll probably be the guy standing there, ready and willing to give ya a hug and a bit of help. I’m not “cool”, per se… but I am pretty respectful and sincerely fair to my fellow human. Even if I fundamentally disagree with you, I’m still pretty good times.
 
Sadly, that brand of cool is not particularly popular anymore. Kinda sucks, but whatever. Be the change you seek in the world. Cool is a universal language. If you’re cool to people, they’ll usually be cool to you in return. Truer words have never been spoken, buddy. If everybody embraced that simple philosophy, the world would be in a far better place than it is.
Is the fact that skateboarding still remains accessible one of its greatest strengths, or one of its greatest weaknesses? I mean, if it was as big as the NHL or NBA, would it have the same meaning ? After all, you can pretty much anything you want to be in skateboarding. Whereas out of 30,000 Ontario hockey players, only 15 played more than one season [as a pro].
Oh, it’s a total strength. Look at me, dude! I’m ginormously huge, way too damn fat, painfully uncoordinated, and just dumber than a doorknob. I shouldn’t even be a skater, for pete’s sakes. I should have been a football playing goon or something; I hear that kind of crap all the time. But, what was I doing this morning? Chatting to Jim Goodrich, one of my childhood heroes. Can you believe that shit?! I can’t! I seriously have to pinch myself all the time, like I’m convinced I’m living a daydream or something. The fact that I get to call Jim up, hear him answer the phone, and do some friendly chatting just blows my brains away. 
 
And here’s the best part: any kid in the world can be me. Seriously, I’m not even kidding. Any fat, stuttering, nerdy kid that has a whole bunch of passion, that can write a long-winded essay, tell a funny story, draw a sketchy cartoon, and take a really bad photo with a cheap-ass camera, can do exactly what I do… maybe even do it far better than I could ever do it. And they can live my lifestyle, and be super happy with life. Skateboarding is absolutely amazing like that. 
 
That’s why it sucks in so many amazing people: because amazing people like being in the company of other amazing people, doing really amazing things. No other pastime is so empoweringly democratic, and so uniquely inspiring, encouraging, and enabling. That’s a total credit to skateboarding. We’re really lucky to be a part of it. I know I sure am.
We talk a lot about inclusion and community within skateboarding, and yet there remains some significant divisions. Will we ever see a clear path out of these issues? 
 
Yes. Yes, we will. Once we put our egos, our self-interests, our ignorance, and our misguided perceptions aside, we’ll figure it all out. What’s the point of keeping skateboarding our protected little secret? I’ll say it again: there should be a skateboard for everybody, and everybody should ride a skateboard. Even if it’s just once in your life… can you say that you’ve really lived, until you’ve ridden a skateboard at least once? No, you can’t. And everybody knows it. It’s such an effective conduit of pure joyfulness, why wouldn’t we share that with everybody? Do we really want the rest of the world to live in misery forever? And who would want the rest of the world to be miserable, anyway? That doesn’t make any damned sense to me at all. And I can’t see how that would make any sense to anyone else, either.
What company in your opinion is doing a great job to support the grassroots?
Nothing really springs to mind here. I mean, the advertisers that I work with at Everything Skateboarding should definitely get some props; they’re clearly supporting a grassroots movement in a really big way. The brands that support our events, the brands that send in articles and photos… yeah. In my world, there are brands that are making major contributions to the cause. And a lot of the local brands around Phoenix are very activist; they’re doing a lot for skating here in the valley. 
 
Unfortunately, I can’t speak much about what goes on outside of my world. That wouldn’t be fair to anybody. 
Have you found any company that is monumentally hypocritical within skateboarding? Describe the hypocrisy.
 
The last time I dealt with “monumental hypocrisy” was when IASC did that Blank Initiative. That still stands out as one of the stupidest things they’ve ever done.
 
I think what we really deal with in this industry is lack of leadership, lack of vision, or lack of initiative. There are a lot of followers in our business, but very few standouts that are willing and able to push the limits, and try new things. Which is so ironic, because skateboarding itself is all about pushing limits and trying new things. But there’s a huge chasm between skateboarding itself, and the industry that supports it. Skateboarding is very libertine by nature, while the industry tends to be rather stoic and conservative. It’s an odd juxtaposition, isn’t it? But that’s money at work. Money wrecks everything, eventually.
Back in the early 80’s skaters railed against Reagan. Are politics acceptable within skateboarding now?
I think so. I don’t think they were ever unacceptable. It’s just super hard to revolt too hard against guys like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They really were super friendly fellows, weren’t they…? Agree or disagree with their policies, they were still pretty likable. At least you had a little bit of respect for their innate coolness. Comrade Cheetoh, on the other hand, is the ultimate poster boy for unrestrained douchebaggery. Even if he did everything right, he’d still be a dick. That fact that he manages to screw damn near everything up just makes it that much worse.
 
People are still revolting, of course. They’re just a little quieter about it. They’re withdrawing from power paradigms, and creating their own universes. Not unlike Tom Wolfe’s study of statuspheres. They’re dropping out of the two-party political system… it still amazes me that Americans, of all people, still tolerate being forced to choose from two unreasonably awful choices every four years, for our highest elected office… and taking a far more active hand in governing themselves. It’s Henry David Thoreau’s ultimate dream come true: people dropping out of the system en masse, and being the true masters of their own destinies. That’s going to be Trump’s ultimate legacy: he’s going to be the guy that made government look hopelessly laughable and irrevocably irrelevant in our lives, because he was such a f’n boob. 
 
At the end of the day, he has somehow single-handedly managed to forever tarnish the position of the Presidency. And good riddance. Nobody should have ever been endowed with that kind of power over other people in the first damned place. 
Thanks for your time, Bud. That’s 3,000+ words.
Letter from a Thrasher Reader that is Mostly Full of Crap

Letter from a Thrasher Reader that is Mostly Full of Crap

Spotted this yesterday inside the letters section of Thrasher. George Orwell is probably rolling in his grave.

If you don’t want to read the entire letter, here are two wildly off base points:

“There wasn’t a real following for longboarding until about five years ago. It stemmed from the “hipster” approach to skate.”

Tell that to Alva, Sims, Economy, Stradlund and Edwards.

“Aside from a good sense of balance and hand/eye coordination there is really no talent needed to ride a longboard”

Really? Have a peek at this

“The passion and dedication is deeper, stronger and a lot more durable than the guy who mongo pushes to his Keva Juice part time job. It seems to me that the longboarders of today are doing it to look cool.”

This is seriously so fucking judgemental that I am not even going to dignify it with a response. Actually I will…just keep scrolling to the end. You’ll see a model of a response, Jeremiah.

I’ll put it this way. You are probably passionate skater Jeremiah, but you don’t know your roots.

As Donald would say “sad.” This is from 1995…and that bright yellow cover? That’s from 1981

It’s all skateboarding Jeremiah. You’re 11 years deep into this. Let’s see where you’re at in 2048.

And for the record…this: