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.
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!
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
Every time the skateboarding world sees a new video clip of Aaron “Jaws” Homoki plummeting off another mind-numbingly high roof or of Shane O’Neill effortlessly throwing down a video game-like NBD, the generally accepted boundary for human possibility on a skateboard is notched ever upward. As such, those who look on from below are forced to try to make sense of their place in a community where the accolades for “biggest” and “most technical” seem to already be taken. While some take it upon themselves to challenge the giants and capture the biggest drops, most technical combinations and highest amounts of prize money, there exists another important end of the spectrum.
On this end, through the guise of Instagram usernames and minute-long video clips, we have come to know a growing collective of skateboarders that are making fantastic strides in the way of creativity and are furthering their own sets of boundaries for innovation and technicality. Although their unique skills may not lead them to the bright lights of the next stop on the Street League tour, they have led many of today’s most talented skateboarders to a garbage-filled loading dock somewhere in Los Angeles for the inaugural season of Xtreme Videos’ popular new web series, Trashin. Debuting in late 2017, Trashin saw overnight success as it’s first season received over one and a half million collective views on Facebook. To catch up with some of the folks behind the madness, we got a hold of Director & Editor, Sean Marin along with viral sensations William Spencer and Eric Cummins for their take on how it all went down.
When asked of the show’s beginnings, Marin explained how “The concept of the show was really a brain child of the team work from XTreme Video, a reputable leader in the action sports industry, and Richie Jackson. It came together when Facebook was on the hunt for Action Sports content to air on their Facebook Watch pages and they saw Xtreme Video’s production slate, which had Trashin, and Facebook jumped on it. After that, it was Richie and XTreme’s amazing in house producers Heather Garrow and Nathalie D’Haucourt, who really helped dial in the Trashin series concept.” After this, Marin was recruited to use his background in sports films and skateboarding to put the concept into action and add some design flare along the way. “We really wanted the whole series not only to be focused on the skater’s, giving them the best chance to create and land stuff, but we wanted the feel of everything to be “retro” 80’s and an homage to the 1986 film Thrashin. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that I was deeply influenced by the Stranger Things series I had just binged watched on Netflix” Marin added.
From there, the people’s champ, Richie Jackson, took over as the show’s host and explained to viewers the method behind the madness they were about to see unfold. His concept was simple: skate the Trash on set in the most creative way possible in two round contest, consisting of Best Trick and Best Line. This way, Jackson’s voice as the modern day godfather of creative skateboarding could be exercised to name the winner of Best Line while the Facebook audience was able to stay engaged through choosing the winner of Best Trick each week. To the tune of $800, a hand-picked cast of some of the world’s best underground skaters were invited to rearrange the elements of their surrounds in any way they thought would compliment their unique styles of skating best. After a few parting words of inspiration, “the skateboarder’s skate competition” as it was dubbed, was underway.
Over the course of five episodes, each thoroughly filled with hammers, the Facebook audience got to witness nonconventional skateboarding performed by those who know the terrain best. Though Concrete Wave will not drop the names of the big winners here, we assure you that the shredding that went down is a sight to me marveled at firsthand. You can check out the first season on Facebook here
Amongst the notable standouts selected to partake, William Spencer and Eric Cummins were both selected to the finale episode and both had great things to say about the experience. First and foremost, the pair each claimed that the freedom of the contest was one of the defining aspects that made the experience more enjoyable than any other contest that had been a part of in the past. To Cummins, he noted how “Other contests I’ve skated have the obstacles already set and in place. You can’t move anything around, they all have had time limits and you only get a few chances or runs and that’s it. During Trashin you could move and build stuff and try as many times as you like!”
At the same time, Williams told us “I think Trashin, from it’s very inception by Mr. Jackson, has been a cry for something different, something new, and most of all, something as creative at it could possibly be, for being a contest that is. Competing as it were in this “contest” has been nothing like what you might expect when people throw the word around. It is in fact best case scenario in my opinion.” As Williams went on, he praised the way that the Trashin crew placed little constraint on the time and space needed for him to work his magic. In the process of building his features, he delighted in getting the choice to select what type of obstacles he would be judged on and the crew’s leniency on how exactly his entries for Best Trick and Best Line were considered. As such, Williams also hailed the filmers’ realistic approach to operating the cameras just as if they were filming a video in the streets and the ensuing collaboration with backup filmers to get the right mix of action and storytelling shots.
Another standout component that both mentioned was the inspiring, yet laid-back atmosphere of skating amongst some of the most creative minds in skateboarding today. They agreed that time granted to figure their approaches out combined with the hype that came with skating amongst new friends led to a happy medium of both comfort and high energy. To comment on skating in the presence of his competitors, Williams claimed, “I was so happy to meet those guys and to put personalities to such skillful skating and remarkable drive to create newness in skating. They rule. I was beside myself in awe of how many fantastic tricks they came up with and got done in so short a time.”
In the end, both Cummins and Spencer both thanked “The Featch” himself for selecting them to take part in the first season. In Cummins’ own words he said, “I really am just so grateful to have been a part of Trashin, met Richie Jackson, and skated alongside so many amazing skateboarders.” As for Williams he said, “I am so flattered and grateful to Richie for asking me to be a part of it. I can’t thank the filmer’s enough for their patience, time, energy and just generalized encouraging words they always gave along the way in the filming process. You know who you are Mike, Holden, Garrett, Troy and Hunter.”
As for the future of the series, Sean Marin chimed back in to tell us that he is unable to confirm nor deny the possibility for a reboot. However, he was quick to add that with the continued watching and sharing of Trashin, the possibility of another season of one of the most engaging contests in skateboarding today is open.
Pardon the dust. We hope you like the new website and enjoy it! But, it’s far from done. In fact, it will never be done, because we will always be working on improving it to keep up with it’s own natural purpose to be an extension of the skateboarding world that has shaped us. The site will continue to improve in this regard with a mission to evolve forever with skateboarding rather than focus on resisting change or why things aren’t “the same” anymore. How can we ensure supporting and keeping up with the evolution of skateboarding? Simple. By being by skateboarders, for skateboarders, always, and never losing touch with the real world of skateboarding. That’s exactly where you come in. We want to see your images and clips and read your stories. Please, FILL this site with the real world of skateboarding and help us make it about the roots while we at the same time find new and cool ways to connect and evolve with the people that make skateboarding awesome. With this mission in mind, to connect real skaters everywhere of all styles and skill levels, this site isn’t just for you as a skater:
This time, it’s by you.
What do we mean? How can you help build our community and the skateboard industry? Well, it’s not just about reading awesome editorials by Michael and Bud & and others (they have done a fantastic job over the years so hats off to them). We will always have that side of the mag and we hope to support it in new ways through the new site. But, this time when we do it’s about the community, about the skaters creating content and getting out there on the web with us, to share in the stoke. So, we want to read YOUR posts and articles. We want to let YOU be the publishers, too, right along with us. We will be in forums with you and we hope to generate an actual two way dialogue within the industry and skate community that helps us do our best to craft the site’s evolution according to what YOU want out of it and what the skateboarding world really wants. No corporate agendas. Real skaters. How can you specifically get involved?
Well, so many easy ways:
Sign up and show your support by completing your profile and putting a face to the name. Put a cover photo and profile photo up and you’ll show up in our community page. Feel free to use your real name or a pseudonym, it’s up to you!
Post in the forums. Share your skate pics, your skate instagram posts, your skate clips, your stories, your skateboards, your designs, your opinions, and your passions. But, most of all, share the stoke and spread high fives and positive vibes. Haters and negatrons will be banned! Try to have fun.
Read our past issues and watch our vids! They’re up on the site and we’ll be adding more and more media to enjoy.
Design custom finger boards and skateboards in the shop. This feature is being rolled out to certain members only in the first week, and it will go public to everyone. So, sign up soon to be part of the early release! If you don’t see it yet, just check back in a day or two.
Share us on social media. Read a cool article or see a cool post? Share it on FB, IG, Pinterest, or wherever you like to share!
Check Back Often! We’re posting frequently now that we’re up and running, and we’re releasing more really awesome sections soon so don’t be a stranger!
Go Skate! Don’t forget why we do this! Skateboarding isn’t broken and never was. It’s still is and always was one of the purest forms of freedom and self expression by just having fun. You just have to do it to find out. Get out there. Get on your board. And, go sk8. Do it your way! Don’t conform. Do what you want! And, if you do document it, then when you get back…. post and share your stoke here with us and forever be immortalized in our new forums that will one day be considered the new archives by the skaters, for the skaters. We, for starters, are eagerly waiting to read all of your stories and comments see all of your awesome clips and pics just like you’ve been reading ours over the years.
We’re excited to see what the skateboard community can be here on the new wave. But, don’t worry, the old wave will always live on as well as we also pay tribute with awesome throwbacks and past issues. Hopefully both can come together in one space, and we can share the stoke old and new, as we transition into the next wave here in 2018.
Thanks for reading and being a part of this movement. We have a LOT more than this coming thru the site and all of the great sponsors and groups we’re working with right now to connect networks all over the world through skateboarding. Stay tuned, we’re just getting going!
In the Winter of 2016, I fell in love with parking blocks in the depths of an unassuming New Jersey parking garage. Rows and rows of them. Always in pursuit of the best low impact skateboarding I can find, I would spend nearly every night from January through April realizing how much potential these mini concrete flatbars had packed in them. As skateboarders, curbs and parking blocks are up there among the most appealing found pieces of architecture to mash our trucks into and slide our decks across. From those seemingly perfectly polished California red curbs to the crustier east coast hexagons that chip away to exposed rebar, few skaters can say they have gone without hitting a parking block one time or another.
In the midst of this developing love affair, I came across the work of Cory Scroggins, (aka @CoryTheCreative on Instagram) and found another skater out there who seemed to share this affinity for the blocks. In his work, Scroggins has painted blocks of all shapes, sizes and colors, to compose his neon and pastel-heavy aesthetic. Whether busting out his favorites, either lipslides or front/back blunt slides, or having a casual session, Scroggins told us, “to me the parking block is one of the more fun things to skate, especially with your mates. With a fresh waxed block and sesh with your friends, there’s nothing better haha.”
Beyond the blocks though, Scroggins’ art catches the eye through the variety of non-conventional mediums he uses. Random slabs of wood, broken boards, cassette cases and beer cans are all subject to be taken by Scroggins’ brush and reimagined in a colorful second life. Speaking on his choice of canvas, Scroggins says, “I honestly enjoy painting on all different types of objects and items. No real preference as long as it’s not something brand new. There’s just something to an old item or object that tells a story all in itself before I even paint on it.” For example, if you see some of his work on that pint bottle that would have otherwise been trashed, you might see that it’s actually an IPA from that local brewery up the street from his studio called Upland Brewing Co.
As for the other bottles and scraps that Scroggins salvages, you might find them at a pop up art show, of which he has had plenty. When asked about the process and intent behind his shows, he told us, “When I had my first couple of shows years and years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. Some folks where taken back by my style while other loved what I was doing. When I have these shows I try to have a theme or a message I want to say, instead of just making all about me or my name. In the end I just want to inspire others to be creative and to be comfortable as the kooks they are.”
As for some of these other kooks Scroggins has worked with, his work was notably shown at the Quiet Life’s “The Art of Table Tennis” show alongside the likes of Chris Pastras,Henry Jones and one of his best friends, Lucas Beaufort.
The ping pong paddles he designed helped benefit Long Beach’s homeless community. With impactful goals in mind for shows like this one, it is important for Scroggins to dive right into the creative process when an idea arrives. This way, he can avoid, ideas “sitting in your mind floating around [and] not being put to use. Wasting away. When I get an idea that I’m really excited about, I try to draw it right away so I don’t forget it” he asserts.
Not only is Scroggins dedicated to keeping his ideas from going to waste, he is committed to fostering environments where up and coming creatives can let their ideas out as well. To speak more about his vision, he announced, “I’m working a project to give back to skateboarding and the youth. I’m currently planning out 10 stops at skate shops to have shows and bring art supplies and skateboards to create unique experiences and donate all proceeds back directly to each shop I stop at, in hopes to build up creativity and spark positive change. While this announcement leaves us to question whether or not his tour will breed the next generation of parking block painters, there is one thing for certain: with the eclectic collection of work that Cory Scroggins has produced thus far, those participating will have all the inspiration they need to emulate both his creativity and his humanitarian endeavors.
To follow the upcoming events, drop Cory a follow on Instagram here.
Those familiar with the name Lucas Beaufort may remember the piece we ran on his wildly popular artwork earlier this year. Behind the colorful characters he paints on top of magazine covers, ads and other skate photos, Beaufort told CW, “My goal is to bring something special to the world. I don’t want to come out with something that you see everyday.”
In the time since that last piece ran, Beaufort has again caught the attention of the skateboarding world in different way: his documentary on the legacy and future of print media, “Devoted.” In the hour long feature, some of skateboarding’s top professionals, photographers, writers and videographers chronicle their feelings on a variety of different issues currently facing print media today.
Speaking about the how’s and why’s of this project in an interview with Jenkem, Beaufort mentioned that his intent is “more about showing the new generation how important print was before the internet era. But I think it would be interesting to know what they think about the documentary.” With that being said, I logged into Gmail and shot Beaufort an message to venture some questions and share some thoughts I had on “Devoted” based on my “internet era” mindset.
To explain a bit further, I should express the predicament I find myself in regarding the subject. I became immersed the skateboard world well after the explosion of digital media, HD video and internet-based content, yet I write for a print magazine. I very often interact with people who lived through an all-print era and continue to fight to prove the value of print today. I look up to those who pushed skateboarding through the work of printed publications and I’m every bit intrigued by the stories of yesteryear, where the industry’s greatest surprises and announcements warranted sanctity in the pages of a monthly magazine. These are moments that Beaufort recalls by stating “back in the days you could (before Internet) you could surprise people with projects, now it’s almost impossible. You always have somebody to spoil it through Instagram.”
At the same time though, I wake up every morning scrolling through an Instagram feed to see how many dream tricks have come to life over the past couple hours.
This is something that Beaufort dually expressed support of by saying “Social media is also a super good tool to promote whatever you want and if you don’t have the big media to support you.”
However, as I find myself writing for this print publication’s digital website, I remind myself that embracing my overall position of neutrality is probably the best way to continue being able to relate to both sides of the coin. Featuring people dealing with similar iterations of this juxtaposition is, by far, the defining element that makes “Devoted” as special as it is.
In regards to the divisions between print and digital, Beaufort himself told me, “To be honest with you I like both. I like to dream with a print photo in my hands as I like to connect super fast with people around the world through social media.” On one hand, he is supported in the documentary by the likes of Steve Berra and Jaime Owens, who support the potential of print magazines, if executed in a sustainable way. On the other hand, his dreams are perhaps more passionately supported by the likes of Skin Phillips stammering with “I don’t know’s” and Marc Johnson nearly in tears over the possibility of a future without print media.
Former editor of Transworld Skateboarding and the Skateboard Mag – Dave Swift
These are critical firsthand accounts of the future of skateboarding’s media landscape as volunteered by some of the foremost players involved. In the end though, the ultimate question of “Where do we go now?” is left to interpretation and subject to the progression of whatever the future may hold. Speaking on this, Beaufort told me “With Devoted I’m not here to tell skateboard magazines who they have to talk with or how do they have to run it. Being that there is a crucial element of the right mixture of people needed to blend together though, Beaufort continued “It’s a team effort. Print has to do the best to get more readers, it sounds cheezy but it’s true. It’s the same with everything, if you want to survive you have to be extremly good, especially today.”
Pro Marc Johnson is devoted to skate mags.
With that being said, I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who wonders where those magazines that used to come to their door have gone to take a look at Lucas Beaufort’s “Devoted” for a comprehensive look into where they came from, where they have gone and when they’ll be delivered next.
Calleigh Little is doing something quite incredible in the world of skateboarding. She is going across the USA via longboard solo. We caught up with her in Wyoming. Before we get into the interview, here are some of Calleigh’s impressive contest results:
Adrenalina 2016 – 2nd Place Women’s
215 miles – Miami Ultraskate 2017 (Second Place Women’s)
188 miles – Chief Ladiga Sk8 Challenge (Second Place Women’s)
Central Mass Skate Festival 8 – Women’s First Place
Somewhere in Nebraska
Why do you find long distance and downhill skateboarding so enjoyable?
It’s not so much that I find long distance or downhill enjoyable- I truly feel like both disciplines ask things of me I dont normally do. They enable me to extend myself in ways I never would in any other part of life. Long distance requires a mental focus, extensive planning, and full body commitment. I find that when I am in a situation where my entire being is used, I have an opportunity to see how far I can take it. And then I take it further.
Downhill, on the other hand, is a streamline of panic, fear, focus, and commitment. I absolutely adore the moments where I have no idea whats coming up after a turn. How will I react? Do I fully tuck or do I have to prepare for a predrift? When I’m going fast, no other questions matter. I dont worry about student loan bills. Who cares what that guy said to me last night? All that matters is that I make it down safely. I love that.
What made you decide to go solo across the USA?
When I first came out as a transgender woman, the world hadn’t even begun to bring it into the mainstream news. I didn’t have all kinds of acceptance, and I certainly didn’t have the friends I do now. That was 3 years ago. The world wants to make it seem like it’s being shoved down their throats, but its just a new thing the media is okay with talking about.
Now, three years later, I didn’t want to run away from anything. I had friends all over the globe from competing. I wanted to do it solo for me. I came to a point where I wasnt learning anything anymore from the people I interacted with. I knew there had to be more to learn. If I did it with someone else, the experience could have been about our experience together, and not my experience with the world.
Where do you think your competitive spirit comes from?
After a long life of being beaten down and coming up short, I found that my competitive edge was a product of me wanting to rise above. People tend to think that I have always been on top- its simply not the case. I experienced enough life to a point where I had to fight back, I had to be myself, and I had to win. I have been so sick and tired of sitting in the back of the class. I trained and fought and trained a bit more. And when I sat down at the end of the day, I thought about training again.
What has been your best experience so far within skateboarding?
I think the best experience within skateboarding has been the vast amount of friends I made. Every event I attend has people I look forward to meeting, whether it is downhill or long distance. I learned of a world where people encouraged me and pushed me, and made me work for everything I had.
If I had to narrow it down to just one experience, my absolute favorite was winning the Central Mass 8 women’s division. It was a race I attended for years, and I picked up everything I could to figure out how to win it. It was neck and neck all the way to the end and a true photo finish. My friends dumped champagne on me at the podium and for once in my skate life I had earned my title.
What has been the worst experience and how did you deal with it?
Worst experience…they are few and far between. The world is a good place. The absolute worst, though, was when I had just kicked off for the 24 hour Ultraskate in 2017. My biggest competitor had turned around and said, “If you’re going to race as a woman, you need to pee like a woman.” I could have taken it a million ways. I could have dwelled on it for 24 consecutive hours of skating around in a circle. I could have quit. Instead, I appeased the proposal- given that I only urinated once in 24 hours anyways, I retired to the bathroom and peed. The guys usually just drop their shorts and pee as they skate. I did go on to lose to her by only 10 miles that year, but it burned a fire in me to fight harder.
You mentioned at the Longboard Girls Crew website you are lost between jobs and are questioning the meaning of everything. The fact that some stole your intellectual property must have been devastating. Is this trip helping you deal with that loss?
It totally hurt that the company I was working for used me for my creative work, forced me out, and then didn’t pay me. Legally I have all of the rights to everything I created as an independent contractor without a signed contract. I didnt have the means to hire a lawyer. I was flat broke. I began selling my collection of boards and gear to make end’s meat and often went days without eating. It hurt a lot.
I learned, once again, to fight back. Even if I did sue for my rightful property it could have been years of litigation. I wasnt going to see a dime that could have helped me at that moment. I looked for a new career for two months, struggling along, doing 2 or 3 interviews a day and ended up with a job at a burger place. I knew I was worth more than a job at a burger place, so I formulated my plans to follow my dreams. I could only struggle for so long. I sold my motorcycle, stopped paying rent, threw away everything I couldn’t sell, and fit my life in a backpack. With the help of my friends, the companies who support me, and the money I earned from selling my belongings, my dream didnt seem so far off. So I made it happen. No longer was I going to slave away at a job I hated putting money in someone else’s pocket. I realized this life is mine and it is what I make it.
What do you plan to do once this feat is accomplished?
Honestly, I have no idea. I’d love to expand on my blogs and sell them as a book. I’d also love to turn around and go back the other way. Mostly, I plan to take my experience and use it to be the number 1 female distance skater in the ultraskate. As for where I’ll live or what ill do for money, who knows? I still have a tent and a skateboard- the world is my oyster.
Harsh question to ask – but I would like to ask what do you say to people who feel this whole “transgender thing” is all about seeking attention? Instead of seeing your bravery, they just question your entire reason.
Haha. I get these comments all the time. It’s hard for me to take them seriously. Its not about being transgender, and it certainly isn’t for attention. I planned and left for this ride in a month’s time. I’ve been trans for as long as I can remember. I race with the girls as any other girl would. There was an article written about me on Gay Star News that wanted to highlight my identity as a transgender woman because of the relevance to their audience and people saw it as a big slap in the face, like I purposefully slathered my identity around. Trust me, if I could be seen and accepted as any other girl is, I would kill for the chance.
But I think the use of telling people of my transgender identity is more for other trans people in the world. I want them to know I am trans. I want them to see that we dont have to hide in our bedrooms. We can go to the corner store as ourselves and we can be a part of society. As I skate I see all different kinds of people, and the grand majority have accepted me and spoken of my bravery. I think it gets a little twisted when you read it in an article versus witnessing it in real life.
Imagine seeing someone skateboarding past your house with a 30 lb expedition backpack and saying, “You just want attention!” Its a little ridiculous. At the end of the day, I’m out here making my dreams come true, tethered to nothing, while others somehow find a reason to feel taller than me. I’ve never felt taller for making someone else feel small.
What’s been the reaction from the various articles you’ve had written about you?
I spoke about this in the last question a bit, but its really a mixed bag. I can with 100% certainty say that it has been all straight white men who have a problem with me. I am a woman, I have lived as a woman, I have endured the horrible society women live in every day, and their opinions don’t change that. Whether they want to fall back on some pseudo-scientific argument to denounce my gender or just speak out of bigotry, it doesn’t change anything. I have never sought respect from anyone who didn’t have mine.