Living in Toronto, housing space is limited. My friend Jack had a small corridor leading out of his bedroom. He’s a crafty guy with a degree in electrical engineering. He had plans of utilizing the space, and shortly after he told me he was going to get to work building something, he surprised me with this.
This edit was filmed almost a year after the ramp was build. We had tried to make something before, but never actually made anything happen. This was shot over an hour and a half before heading to a friends house downtown.
Mountains from California to Ontario are still getting snow. Mammoth Mountain in California just had a foot of snow in late May, and says it will be open at least July 4th. We don’t know if it’s climate change, probably is, but even though it’s Bad for Skateboarding, it’s great for Snowskating!
Check out this video of our homies poaching some runs at Blue Mountain, Ontario’s largest “mountain” resort who still hasn’t opened up their lifts to snowskaters. Hopefully soon all resorts will turn to the dark side like Lakeridge our original home. Scroll down for a list of mountains that DO allow snowskating.
Here is a list of where to snowskate in Ontario so far. (At least where you can get on the lifts;)
Batawa (surface lifts)
Boler (with a strap)
Dagmar Ski Resort (with a strap)
Mt Evergreen Ski Area Kamiskotia (with a strap)
Mansfield Pembroke Sir Sam’s Ski and Bike Ski
Hope to see more folks on the hills next season be sure to pick up all your snowskate gear at Longboard Haven, who has been voted Toronto’s #1 skate shop 5 years in a row by Now Magazine.
This past March the Concrete Wave Magazine crew went out to Sutton Fyre Snowskate Festival. It was everything we wanted it to be, and nothing like we expected it to be. The Concrete Wave team and a bunch of Ontario legends went on a crazy adventure to the land of Bagels and Poutine! The three day Trip was filled with friends, food, some let downs, and fun times. #suttonfyrefestival
Don’t forget to Like, Comment and Subscribe so you don’t miss any of our upcoming videos we have a lot more stoke coming in the near future! Make sure to hit the Bell Icon on so you are notified when we upload a new video and don’t forget to check us out on the Links below:
Who ollied first? How did it happen? Watch along and find out, homies.
The ollie was invented in the late 1970s by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand, the ollie since has become the basis for many other more complicated tricks. The ollie air is a jumping technique that allows skaters to pop over obstacles.
Kent Lingevelt, a skateboard and longboard shaper from Cape Town, South Africa is a super chill guy that is in touch with skateboarding and longboarding as part of his life. Kent clearly has has some awesome roads he’s riding out there in Cape Town, which he calls a Longboarder’s Paradise. He has created for himself what many would call a dream job, creating boards and skating his own creations.
A quote from the video:
I know for me, like if the world gets too much I’ll grab a board and I’ll go up Signal Hill and I’ll just cruise down and look over the city and I’m just like… cool the world is good.” – Kent Lingevelt (@1:55)
In the world of sponsored skateboarding, the path to the top has been generally accepted for decades: from flow to amateur to full-fledged professional. For the Enjoi Skateboards crew however, the announcement of Enzo Cautela as an official member of their pro team has completely shaken this order up. In this case, Enzo skipped the amateur level altogether to become one of the few skaters in recent years to go #flowtopro.
Though Cautela circumvented the amateur level, this doesn’t mean he hasn’t paid his dues to enter the big leagues. Over the course of his seven years as a part of Enjoi’s flow program, Enzo started to make a name for himself in more recent years by popping up at events like Thrasher’s 2016 Bust or Bail contest and throwing his signature hardflip down a colossal triple set. That same year, he earned his big break after being invited to join the Enjoi team as the lone flow rider on Thrasher’s King of the Road.
Airing on VICELAND for the second time, the skateboarding world was formally introduced to Enzo as the underclassman brought along to see if he could prove his worth both on and off the board. From getting handcuffed to Enjoi bossman, Louie Barletta, to destroying his heels on a massive stairset, it was clear that Cautela paid his dues along the way. In the end, the trip was a big step in the right direction for him though, with Enjoi taking the trophy and Cautela taking the award for Best Rail Trick.
Since the road trip of a lifetime, Cautela remained committed and spent his days filming what would become his debut pro part, which recently debuted at the grand opening of the new Pharmacy Boardshop in Long Beach. Between hammers like 360 lipslides and varial heelflip 5-0 grinds, the part would have been a standout even without the final banger. Leaving it all on the line though, Cautela went on to stomp a massive 20 stair hardflip to shut the video down. As if the ending wasn’t sweet enough, the clip concludes with his unshackled partner in crime, Louie Barletta, proudly unveiling his debut pro model board for Enjoi and affirming the ultimate rite of passage.
For someone who has made the ultimate jump from 0 to 100, Enzo has remained cool and collected as his name circulates the skate world’s headlines. Describing his celebration after the trick as casual trip to Whole Foods and his plans to use his first pro check to continue eating healthy, Cautela appears to be staying on his grind and maintaining the lifestyle that got him to where he’s at today. In fact, speaking on what the nod to the pro-level meant for him, Cautela nonchalantly told us,
“I’m just a skateboarder but that’s cool everyone thinks I’m pro now.”
Remaining humble to the team that enabled him, Enzo was also quick to add, “Thanks to Enjoi for this opportunity and thanks to everyone showing support! Gang gang!”
Those looking to take Enzo’s first pro board to the streets for themselves can do so exclusively at Pharmacy Boardshop locations or via Thank You Supply. Those looking for a wall piece can even pick up a signed edition of his deck online at as well.
Everyday, people put their lives on the line for skateboarding and pay heavy prices for doing so. However, few people that have ever set foot on a board can say that they’ve sent it and gotten broken off the same way that frontman of Skull Fist, Zach Slaughter can.
Aside from being a badass singer/guitarist from Canada, Slaughter is a ripping street head who broke his neck attempting a kinked rail back in 2013. Despite this and a collection of other gnarly slams, Slaughter has graduated from small scale skate sponsorships to living the heavy metal dream, releasing albums and touring with his Skull Fist bandmates. In preparation of the drop for their third album, Way of the Road, released through Napalm Records, we shot Slaughter over a few questions regarding time on the board and the influence that it’s grown to have on his music.
Who are you and how did you get involved in skateboarding?
I am Zach, singer and guitar guy of Skull Fist. I’ve been skating since I was real little in Northern Canada. I remember the cops, the punks (Being one of them) and the baggy pants. I stepped in near the end of the ‘little wheel’ phase – when those ‘Skateboarding Is Not a Crime’ stickers boards mattered.
Skating was for the outcast shitheads that had no other interests. I’ve been skating ever since. I sent sponsor-me tapes when I was 16 and got sponsored by a few small companies when I was a kid but then got into music as a “career” instead.
Let’s get straight to it, what’s the story behind breaking your neck?
Man, it was the end of a session. We had just seen this 6 flat 6 with a wooden rail and thought it would be funny to try and boardslide it. There was grass beside so I thought I’d just roll into the grass. Nope.
It was dark, I went to catch myself with my hands as I was about to faceplant but I swiped at the ground and missed apparently. Broken neck – lucky no spinal cord damage. I also broke my cheek bone, cracked my forehead and got a gnarly head scar from it. That’s not even the worst. I always get the weirdest skate bails, I cut my sack open with a jagged board once and got 12 stitches.
Are you able to focus more on music during your recoveries?
Yeah, music has always been the main attraction for me. Skating is like a meditation/zen thing now – I do it to chill and think about nothing else. I try to skate a few times a week, although I tweaked my knee last month and am currently on a break. Honestly man, breaking the neck was real calm. I just laid around for a month and relaxed. I had a real long concussion that made Super Mario really hard to beat though (laughs).
How does your style of music correlate to your style of skateboarding?
I grew up with street skating. Tons of skull fist songs are about skating or have plenty of references to skating. I skate recklessly, I think – always trying to push my abilities, which I suppose is why I always hurt myself. I just think [about] pushing it and always feeling the mad rush from rolling away from something.
Crushing obstacles, you know? Spending hours trying a trick and shitting your pants with hype after you land it. I think heavy metal/punk is a lot like that. I listen to tons of different music and if it’s Neil Young I usually just end up rolling around the skatepark doing half-assed ollies looking at the clouds.
What’s something about Way of the Road that people don’t know, but should?
It was recorded in a week, minus the vocals. It’s the first album we’ve done without all the 80’s sounding reverbs and shit. It’s the first album we’ve done without our little skull dude on the cover too.
Any particular skater-fronted or skate-oriented bands that you’re backing these days?
The Shrine. They are from California – really good band. There’s a band here in Toronto called HEAD too. The drummer/singer shreds on the board.
Those looking to get a listen to Way Of The Road will have to wait until it drops on October 26th. Stay tuned to the latest from the band on their Facebook here or from their Instagram here.
When it comes to innovation in longboard development, there are endless possibilities for those who make it their mission to experiment with the combination of available building materials in unique ways. For the ones that succeed in creating a functionally distinct solution, the result is a ride unlike anything the community has ever experienced.
Between their adventurous blend of bamboo/maple/birch/fiberglass decks and their 3D printed foot stops and wheel cores, Voxel Boards is a prime example of an up and coming innovator in the Southern California longboarding scene. As the brainchild of Ventura County-based skater, Shawn Jones, Voxel Boards was born out of a desire to experiment beyond traditional street skateboards. Over the past three years, the operation has continued to develop and remains fueled by curiosity.
More recently, I ran into Jones sometime after midnight at one of The Gel Lab’s Downtown LA Sessions. Besides standing out as one of the most approachable people at the session, he also stood out as the only one who had personally hand crafted the board they were riding. To learn a bit more about the story and the mindset behind Voxel Boards, the two of us connected afterwards and chopped it up:
Let’s start from the top: where did your respective interests in longboarding and product development begin?
My interest in longboarding specifically came in 2015. I’ve always been a hands-on, creative sort of person and have a background in engineering and design. I had been into street skating when I was around 13 and spent that Summer by refurbishing and repainting decks that were donated to a skate club that I started at our local Boys and Girls Club. You could say there was a natural marriage of my curiosity to do more with my hands and the love of the sport that got me where I am today.
Between foot stops, wheel cores and decks, how do you separate/break down your efforts?
In a sense, everything is developed as it is required. A deck will design itself over time, so not quite as much attention is required after a design has some age behind it. Our footstop took an afternoon to design, and our wheel cores are being worked on tentatively. My greatest strength is my ability to cross-discipline, and I hope that one day my work will be looked at as a positive contribution to the community.
What was the response like when you gave out your foot stops at one of the following Gel Lab sessions?
That was actually one of my favorite Gel Lab sessions! I had arrived a little later than I usually do and missed a chunk of the session that night. But Ari “Shark” gave me a chance to show off what I had been cooking up and to give back to the community. People were stoked about the different colors and I got a lot of verbal encouragement and support that night. It’s honestly the most accepted I have felt in a given community. People roll up to sessions with my foot stops of their setups, and I’m happy to get so much positive feedback about them!
How do you think 3D printing technology can be adapted to the skateboarding world?
I’m not really the first one to bring this technology to the industry thankfully, so there’s been some things tried and groundwork laid. Landyachtz actually mentioned using 3D printed nose guards during the conception of their Triple Beam deck. I think for 3D printing to be integrated into our community, there has to be more well fit demonstrations of the technology. There seems to be an impression that 3D printed objects are “weak” and other usually negative misconceptions about their potential. I kind of saw potential within that natural skepticism. I realize my foot stop could be a person’s first experience with a 3D printed object, so I wanted to take that opportunity to show that not only could this technology be used for prototyping but for a full fledged products as well.
You mentioned getting into shops in the near future. Are we talking brick and mortar or online shops or some combination of the two?
I want to answer this one in a fun way. (See the image below. A man can dream!)
Definitely a combination of the two. We’re in a unique spot with our direct sales compared to Amazon, since they don’t typically cater to customers who want custom graphics.
What does 2019 hold for yourself and for Voxel Boards?
2018 marked roughly three years since I began. The biggest challenge in my fledgling career is making the transition between garage and shop quality. We’ve expanded into our own workshop, and I am currently in a golden age with our line up of artistic talent! I really want our artists to be a highlight of our brand. I’m currently working on getting new moulds CNC’d and have plans for an Alchemy 808 rework to start off our Spring. I have also been approached by way too many people who want me to make a dancer, so maybe that can be a summer release? I would need a lot of dedicated rider feedback to make something like that work. I want to invest in a laser cutter. Maybe by the end of next year? It would dramatically increase the sophistication of our manufacturing process.
I didn’t get to finish my wheel project this year’s, because I 100% didn’t expect to get a new workspace, and that definitely put a dent in our budget for the year as well as brought me back to square one in terms of setting up to build comfortably.
To keep up with the latest from Voxel Boards, drop them a follow on their Instagram here or keep an eye on their website here for the latest releases.
Though skateboarding has made it into Hollywood on screen and in the streets on plenty of occasions in it’s 60 year lifespan, it’s presence in the music and media capital of Los Angeles this past week was unlike any other depiction of skateboarding this area has ever seen. This can be credited to the Finding a Line event, hosted at the Ford Theatre. Billed as a celebration of the intersection between skateboarding, music and media, the county owned space provided the grounds for one of the most progressive events that skateboarding has seen in recent years.
Beginning this past Tuesday, the process was kicked off by a gallery exhibition, panel discussion and film screening, curated by the likes of Collegiate Skateboarding Educational Foundation Board Member, Neftalie Williams, former pro skater, Laban and filmmaker, Diana Wyenn. Featuring visuals from around the world, the issues of race and diversity in skateboarding culture served as an underlying narrative carried by some of the most iconic people of color in the skateboarding community, including Paul Rodriguez and Stevie Williams. Drawing solid reception at the beginning of the week, this event set the tone for the days that followed.
The resounding capstone to this weeklong celebration was a performance by jazz pianist, Jason Moran with backing instrumentalists, The Bandwagon, fused with a live skate demo. Thanks to some help from the OC Ramps wood shop, the stage for such an unconventional event directed a group of skateboarders front and center as a crowd of hundreds gazed on. Unlike other skate-centric events in the area, this crowd was not intrinsically filled with messy haired teenagers but rather with patrons of all ages whose banter indicated that they hadn’t a clue of who these skaters were or what tricks they were throwing down. At the same time, the mix of pro and am skaters taking the stage seemed undeniably unfazed by the fact that they were skating in front of hundreds, rather than in the privacy of their local park.
However, the interplay between the different occupants of the space was something that Executive Director, Olga Garay-English, noted in her opening address. Speaking on the ownership of physical space that skateboarders take in their communities, Garay-English noted that the evening was a way for a recognized institutions to better embrace skate culture. At the same time, she noted how the weeklong event was a means of skateboarders being able to celebrate their culture alongside the culture of their neighbors in one of the most multicultural places in the world. Though these opening remarks praised skaters as “philosophers” pursuing a “counter culture art form,” the crew of rider sat idly by, seeming less interested in the compliments as they were about sizing up the ramp for the shredding that was set to commence.
With no further ado, the likes of Greg Lutzka, Brad McClain and a host of other rippers began to drop in as the performance commenced. Coming out firing, Lutzka stomped out a series of 360 flips and backside flips that evoked greater ovation from the crowd with each consistent land. Then, after a period of somewhat standard runs for the jam, the cast of skaters began attacking the ramp from all angles. What originally started with casual manuals on the deck led a pair of skaters to take over the entire area, ollieing a gap from the band stage into the half pipe before promptly launching a kickflip indy grab and a massive 360 grab (respectively) out to the other end of the stage. At the same time, there were nose manuals across the deck, 360 spins from Jim Gray on the flat of the ramp and even a drop off the stage and into the crowd.
With all of this was going on in the forefront, Jason Moran and the Bandwagon remained equally unfazed by the crowd and the skaters as they powered through their performance for well over an hour. With instrumental improvisations that matched the off-the-cuff skateboarding, the sounds and the visuals complimented one another perfectly. Plus, Ron Allen tapped into both his skate and MC side by switching from freestyling on the ramp to freestyling on the microphone throughout.
All things considered, the evening and the week of programming represented much more than a couple nights out in Hollywood. Instead, it was a visual testament of skateboarding’s ascension into mainstream culture as we know it. Whether through jazz musicians tailoring their notes around the actions of skateboarders or skateboarders dropping in and skating to the tune of music they had probably never skated to before, it was as much a learning experience on the stage as it was for those in the surrounding crowd. With a positive example of the benefits that sharing skateboarding with other cultures can have on the community, we sincerely hope that efforts like this one are replicated in the future.
Buying a new deck is one of the greatest feelings a skateboarder can experience. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most guilty. Especially in those moments just after walking out of the skateshop with a shining new deck that displays a thoughtful graphic with full knowledge that some artist poured their blood, sweat and tears into curating it. Without further ado, you head straight to the nearest flatbar and smear their work across a cold steel beam without even a second thought. For anyone that’s ever done this to a Flip Skateboard, odds are that the tragedy might have come at the expense of one of Swedish illustrator, Martin Ander’s graphics.
Luckily for guilty parties, the folks at Dokument Press have you covered as they proudly release their latest title, ‘Ouff! Mander Selected Works.’ Now, skaters, fans and art connoisseurs can keep a testament to the work of Ander’s 25+ year illustration career in the form of a hardcover publication without worrying about chipping any paint. Clocking in at just under a hundred pages, Ander has managed to cram over 200 original illustrations into the pages of this work and has supplemented text throughout to help carry the narrative. While we could take a stab at trying to articulate the allure of his thought-provoking work, it’s clearly better to let Ander’s illustrations speak for themselves. For that, the snapshots of this book provide a glimpse into what we’re talking about here.
In addition, we posed Ander with a few questions just before the title’s European release party. Ranging from his beginnings in the skateboarding world to eventual developments in the creative process, have a look at what Ander has to say about his efforts to make viewers go Ouff!
I thought one of the most important points from your press release was that the skateboard industry found your work. How exactly did your professional relationship with skateboarding industry begin?
Well, it came quite naturally, I’ve been skating since 1985 and know most of the skaters in my generation of skaters in Sweden, and everybody knows that I like skateboard graphics and draw a lot.
I did skate zines and did some illustrations for a skate mag here in Sweden long before I got to do graphics. My first paid job in the skateboard industry was drawing posters and illustrations for eighties pro freestyler, Per Holknekt’s, skate shop in Stockholm back in 1990.
In 2007, when my friend Martin Karlsson started a company called Bellows Skateboards, he asked me to do some graphics for them, they had the same distribution as Sweet Skateboards, which was one of the big skate companies in Sweden at the time. They saw my work for Bellows and asked me to do graphics for them too. After that came Seven Inch Skateboards from Finland and Polygon from Sweden which I was part owner of for a while.
Then I got the contact with Flip Skateboards via Ali Boulala, I contacted them and got to do lots of graphics for them too. That was about five or six years ago I think. I’ve always been freelance – I want to work with everybody. The past year I’ve done graphics for Sweet again, and both Sunrise and Scumfuc skateboards from Chile, Chrononaut from Sweden and RVCA.
Between huge names like Flip to smaller names like Polygon, are there any differences in your creative process when designing graphics for larger brands versus smaller brands?
All clients are different. The biggest difference is that I’m friends with most of the Swedish clients and their teams and they totally trust me to do something cool. In a small market, it doesn’t have to be as commercial. The decks will sell anyway and the team is stoked that I do their graphics. Working with a bigger company means more people involved, more opinions, more decks per series and of course, the need to follow the brand’s aesthetic idea more and to keep the team riders happy.
What’s the craziest part of seeing a wall full of boards displaying your work on them?
The coolest part is to see a kid picking down a board and looking at the graphic, just like i did when i was a kid with the VCJ and Jim Phillips graphics.
Can you explain any of the reasoning behind fusing what’s been referred to as “melancholia and darkness” with bright colors?
I don’t really put too much thought in to that. I’m not really a melancholic dude, but my work tends to be a little bit dark sometimes. Maybe its me just trying to make the images look a little bit more fun, or it’s the fact that I love old blacklight posters. My work is quite detailed – lots of things happening at the same time. By adding bright colors to it, I can make the important stuff ”pop” and tone down some of the not so important details.
Frida Talik’s account of your book describes how it provides an “insider view” to your work. How do you think it does that?
I myself buy a lot of books about artists, cartoonists and illustrators. And usually they don’t contain that much: one image per page, mostly stuff you have already seen and hardly any text. I wanted to give the audience what they pay for so in Ouff!, there’s one long interview, two shorter texts and over 300 images, camped in to 96 pages. I have not tried to just put the absolute best stuff for the coolest clients in the book, there’s a little bit of everything. Just like the life of an illustrator.
What was it like to take art that you would usually have endless canvas space for and consolidate/reformat it for the purposes of the book?
At first it was hard. Most of my images is drawn to be pretty big and I had to scale them down to fit in the book. I had to think of every spread as an art piece in itself and [think of] the images in it [as] parts of a bigger picture, not art pieces themselves. It was the opposite from showing in a galley, where every piece hangs by itself on a white wall. I was afraid that I would lose the details in some of the images, but I think it worked out great. You don’t read a book the same way you read a poster or a skate graphic.
Any parting words about the book/your artistic career that you’d like to share?
The book is called Ouff! Mander Selected Works. It dropped in Europe on Sept. 20, and drops in the USA/rest of the world on Oct 25. Follow me on Instagram for new work: @manderoid
All photos provided and authorized and provided by Dokument Press and Martin Ander. Portrait photo shot by Petter Danielsson.
Female skateboarders deserve more attention. Proper attention. Same goes for females in the similarly male-oriented world of streetwear who have the drive to make a name for themselves and the ambition to release their work for the world to judge. That being said, someone making a dedicated effort in both of these circles definitely deserves a bit of shine. Enter: Latosha Stone, Owner of Proper Gnar.
As the name implies, Proper Gnar is a women’s skate and streetwear brand dedicated to creating original designs and broadcasting original skateboarding in a way that Stone feels is currently neglected. In her own words, she described the significance of the name by explaining, “It just means being good at what you do. Shredding in your own way. Having the right amount of stoke. A perfect world where you have enough time to do all your responsibilities and still have time to skate.”
To skateboarding’s credit, there is a growing collective of names like Yulin Oliver, Kristin Ebling and Valeria Kechichian who are making it their mission to spearhead efforts that advocate for genuine representation and equality for women in the scene. These movements, along with Proper Gnar, are all admirable strides that have pushed women more towards the forefront of attention in skate culture than ever before. Needless to say, however, there is plenty of room for improvement. With a resounding collective of men in positions of power within the industry and the general number or participants still overwhelmingly male-centric, the odds of a women achieving something close to equal opportunity within skateboarding is, in many ways, still far off.
The parallels for the streetwear game are comparable. In a culture where men dominate top positions at the most revered streetwear companies, the same holds true at the grassroots level. In the case of Proper Gnar, Stone has often felt this dynamic as one of, if not the only woman exhibiting at various local streetwear popups. Add this to the fact that women have been sexualized time and time again in streetwear photography and degraded on the hang tags of even the most respected skateboarding companies and it becomes clear just how much an uphill battle there still is in order to shift this narrative.
In the middle of both these worlds and the middle of the country itself, Proper Gnar exists to try to put a foot down and use it to push forward both literally and figuratively. Based in Ohio, Stone is aware of her distance from the usual cultural epicenters for both skate and streetwear in LA and NYC. Still, with a handful of fashion schools, up and coming brands and stockists for industry leading brands situated in the larger cities including Columbus and Cleveland, there’s still a decent amount of cultural influence that makes it’s way to middle America. Speaking on what the balance between both sides of the United States is like, Stone told us, “It’s different! Ohio, being in the middle of the country, finds a way to take a little bit from everybody and make it their own.”
With a ripping all-girls team of riders, a considerable Instagram following and some well deserved press coverage behind the brand, the originality of Proper Gnar’s lineup seems to be working well and speaking for itself. One look at their packed web store displays not only a range of deck graphics but also an expansive collection of pieces ranging from hoodies to socks to pins and even a few art pieces.
As for the future for Proper Gnar, Stone will be taking her efforts to the streets where she’s recently began offering skate lessons to local girls in Ohio. In addition to getting more rippers on board herself, Stone also has aspirations to support some of the charities that are working to bring skateboarding to positive new heights. Plus, even though she is without definitive plans, Stone admitted, “I know a ton of people that moved to LA and it’s probably in my future too.”
For the time being, we wanted to conclude by asking Stone to leave us with some words of parting advice regarding how best to interact with female skaters whether in the streets or the parks. Speaking on this, Stone advised, “Don’t talk to / come at us unless it’s respectful. Don’t treat us differently because we are women, or assume we can’t skate, or only do it to attract dudes. And stop asking us if we can kickflip! I also wanna say they should give more respect to trans skaters too, the comments they get sometimes are even worse.”
To show some love to Proper Gnar, check out their web store here or follow their latest updates over on Instagram here.
When you think of old school-styled cruiser boards made in Australia, it’s tough not to have the name Penny come to mind. However, the crew behind Victoria-based, Hunt Skateboards has a completely different project on their hands that combines modern versatility with the glory of 50s/60s skate nostalgia.
At first glance, these boards look similar to the Skee Skate by Tresco but with a contemporary, hand crafted finish and a set of trucks and wheels that look like they could handle far more than the metal wheeled contraptions of decades past. Nevertheless, Founder Alex Hunt claims that it was not one specific board that inspired their hallmark shape, but rather a general appreciation of skateboard manufacturers from that era that has given Hunt Skateboards their direction.
Speaking on the creative process, he told us, “The shape we ended up with actually evolved through trial and error when we were developing our concepts back in 2014. We had tried everything; every shape, style, type as a means of being innovative but we were always drawn back to the basics – the hardwood cruiser – I guess it has a nostalgic quality that can’t be tainted.”
With a tried and true model as the base, the allure of Hunt Skateboards stems from the updated maneuverability that these boards bring to the table. Upon first push, these boards are inherently easy to pick up and ride. As such, their style has been described as something in between a longboard and a Penny Skateboard. These things are designed with speed in mind and come with all the carving abilities to make it happen. They also handle with optimal responsiveness and are resistant to speed wobbles. For a casual cruiser, Hunt Skateboards check all the right boxes.
When it comes to those who have put their boards to the test, Hunt claims their customers range from hipsters to hardcore skaters to surfers to casual skaters of all ages. In line with their vision of creating an accessible ride for all – this is exactly the clientele that Hunt was shooting for. “When we were developing Hunt Skateboards, our primary focus was to develop not only a board that felt perfect under the feet, but also one that suited the broad spectrum of skaters, from beginners to advanced,” Hunt added.
As for the minds behind the brand, Alex Hunt and his partner, Caitlin Jostlear, interestingly ran the operation out of their van for the entirety of 2017. Equipped with a batch of blank decks, the pair set off on a 12 month road trip across the country, putting the finishing touches on boards and selling them as they went. Through their travels, they were able to remarkably get their boards under the feet of skaters in every state in Australia.
By the end of the excursion, van life had run it’s course as the Hunt Skateboards operation left the road with a head full of life lessons and a grip of common sense to continue their endeavors with. Now, instead of a lifestyle of long term travel, the team is about to settle into a sizable headquarters of their own. With half of the space dedicated to a workshop and the other half dedicated as a show room/hang out space, the plans for a new working environment sound like they’ll be the perfect place to further foster Hunt’s craftsmanship. Along with the new space, the team is also gearing up for the release of new hardware featuring the brand’s signature branding.
From there, the future of Hunt Skateboards will be driven by the pursuit of finding good times and celebrating the means of reaching them. To sum this vision up, Hunt concluded by telling us, “We are deeply engaged in what has always fueled the overall culture of skating/surfing and that is its creative, laid-back attitude to seeking a good time and release. With respect to the innovative, forward thinking skateboard manufacturers – to us, it is about keeping it simple and staying true to the core values of the industry. That is, as we have said to others before you, to the likes of when the skateboard was fist invented; it wasn’t about designing something new, rather finding an alternative to surfing when there were no waves. This is what we celebrate – a collective that is about enjoying life and appreciating something that allows one to do so.”
As a contributor to the skateboarding world still attempting to grow within the industry, I reach out to a number of riders, company owners and brand associates on a daily basis. In the myriad of replies and declines I tend to sift through, rarely have I been approached about the release of a new product in the same way. That being said, when Michael Fransko, Owner and Developer of the Houkie Skateboard Shoe Protector, reached out to tell me about his gear and intentions to revolutionize the skate footwear protection game, I was all ears.
What Fransko went on to tell be about was an effort rooted in a George Powell-esque effort to create an innovation solution for his skateboarding son. In this case, however, the focus was turned to the wear and tear of skate shoes. To explain, Fransko told me, “The project started between me and my currently 23 year old son. He has been a skater since he was 12. Of course, I would have to buy him new skate shoes every couple of months because he destroyed them. I said that someone should come up with a way to save these shoes from getting shredded… Years passed and when he was 20, he came to visit me and I saw that his shoes were still shredded. I said, ‘Well, it’s time we made something to save these skaters and their parents money.’ ” Thus, one of the most comprehensive attempts at conquering skate shoe protection was born.
In essence, the Houkies, sold in pairs of two, are rubber sleeves that slip over skate shoes as a durable, all-over layer of protection against wear down from grip tape, foot stopping or any other abuse on any side of the shoes. The protectors feature a smooth layer of flexible rubber on all sides including the bottom, where a base layer mimics the tread pattern of the sole of the skate shoe. For a snug fit, the material is vented on the tops and sides while the bottom features a break in the material to help slip them over your shoes. Though Fransko and I originally had plans to give them a shot somewhere in between our homes in North and Central New Jersey, a delay in the manufacturing process and my recent move to the West Coast meant that I would be taking them out for a spin in the Southern California sunshine instead.
Luckily for me, The Houkies arrived at a point where my Nike SB’s had just about worn though the last layer of the Shoe Goo I applied to them. Admittedly, I tore the packaging open, slipped the shoe protectors on and burst outside to take them around the block and see how they felt. Expecting a bit of discomfort due to my unfamiliarity with them, I only realized after I got back in and read the directions that to properly fit them to your shoes, they had to be boiled and quickly adorned to take a more form-fitting shape. Once I went through this properly, they fit like a charm.
Perhaps the most enticing thing about the latest iteration Houkies is the look. In a world where skaters are more prideful of their shoes than the participants of any other sport, the clear material used for the protectors is a crucial piece to keeping the aesthetic of the form on point with the function of the product. When you look down at them, it is an unfamiliar sight to get used to. However, the functional durability that they provide soon alleviates any doubt over their appearance. This is something that Fransko noted by acknowledging, “My son and I collaborated and came up with many designs until we ended up with what the Houkie is now. Gotta trade some looks for productivity.” Nevertheless, they can hardly be noticed on the riders feet from far away, unless specifically looking for them.
As for putting these things to the test, I was clearly in the presence of quality company in the review department with names including Sam Tabor already giving glowing reviews on their functionality. After a number of rips, I can attest to a similarly positive experience with the Houkies.
When you first slip them on, it takes a moment to feel them out, just the same as it does to get used to looking down at them. When you take the first push though, the inherent difficulty of skateboarding seems to take over as the feeling of the shoe protectors take a back seat. What this goes to show is the care that Fransko and his son took to develop a covering that molds to the shoe like a second skin, so as not to pose as an obstruction.
Moving forward, these things stayed in place perfectly after the cycle of ollies, varial flips and beyond that I put them through. Serving to mimic the same sense of board feel provided by skate shoes on their own, the Houkies gripped the pavement perfectly with each push and maintained the proper hold when digging my back foot in the pockets and tail for popping and scooping tricks. As for the front foot, the top of the material remained flexible enough for the necessary feeling of a smooth flick. The best part? As I ended my session and slipped them back off, there were no signs of any sort of wear on the protectors – only the presence of a mostly thrashed left Janoski that probably could have used a solution like the Houkies a long time ago.
If you’d like to cop a pair for yourself, you can scoop them from their website here. Otherwise, you can stay tuned to their site for a future that Fransko claims will be filled with new colorways, potential designs, sponsorship opportunities and above all, savings for parents and skaters everywhere.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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:
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 Venicewebsite.
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.
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.