No Skateboarders/No Sex Offenders Part #1

No Skateboarders/No Sex Offenders Part #1

Douglas, Georgia is about 3 1/2 hours south of Atlanta. For the past 54 years, the town has put on a Christmas Parade. Nothing odd about that – many cities across North America do this. What I found most unusual about the City of Douglas was their rules and regulations with respect to this parade. Have a peek here. If you are not inclined to take a look at their rules, here’s a screen shot:  And here it is blown up: Yes, you read that correctly – NO SKATEBOARDERS & NO SEX OFFENDERS. I was puzzled by these rules and so I decided to email the City and get their take. Here’s what I asked: Question #1If skateboarders are banned, are scooters, roller bladers and bicyclists also banned? Question #2Given that it is easy to spot a skateboarder with a skateboard, how do you intend to enforce sex offenders not being at the parade – who might be a bit more difficult to spot? Question #3Have you had calls from skateboarders or sex offenders to be in the parade?  It will be interesting to see if the town gets back to me.  Meanwhile, if you wish to contact the Mayor, Tony Paulk, you can email him directly here.     

Collegiate Skate Tour – Astoria, Queens 2017 Recap

Collegiate Skate Tour – Astoria, Queens 2017 Recap

PHOTOS: AMY TORRES In my previous ventures out to cover some of the events that the Collegiate Skate Tour puts on, I have been lucky to cover them from ground level to get up close and personal to the shredding. This time however, sidelined by injury, I was fortunate enough to have watched this contest go down from a completely different vantage point: behind the judge’s table. Alongside a couple Astoria locals, we got to experience this stop of the tour from a unparalled point of view that overlooked the sprawling water-side park. From this spot, we got the experience of watching guys like Helaman “Hela” Campos go from signing up, to throwing crook nollie flips and absolutely ripping the course to retuning back to the podium to collect their hook ups. In my first experience judging a skateboarding contest, I might argue to say I had the toughest job out there in trying to make sure my papers would not fly away with the intense wind that descended on the course that day. Just kidding. All credit on this day goes to the student and non-student crops of skaters that came out and threw down regardless of the blustery conditions. This year’s stop of the Collegiate Skate Tour saw a bunch of new faces, along with a handful of familiar rippers who braved the rainy conditions last year. Bryant HS student, Brian Pascuaal seemed to use the wind to his advantage, flying around the course in his iconic durag. Meanwhile, internet-famous Humzea Deas showed up pulling clean front tailslide 270s to the tune of his name being called for the start of Heat 3. DC rider Derek Holmes also returned this year, making easy work of throwing back tailslides off the park’s shootout ledge. Lastly, coming back for more after his first place run last year, Andrew Valencia showed how familiar he was with the Astoria park by linking effortless lines together left and right. Perhaps most notably, Valencia even managed to hop to another board that got in his way, mid-grind. As if that weren’t enough, Valencia finished by shutting down the the best trick contest with a massive ghetto bird on the centerpiece gap. In the end, however, Heat 5’s Nico Ramos stepped up and put down an amazing set of runs to not only advance from his heat but to make it through to the semifinal and final heats. From what we saw behind the judge’s table, we had to give the win in the non-student division to him. From his blunt backside flips to his kickflip 50-50 body varials to his back 360 grabs off the platform gap, Ramos’ tech showing had it all. Unfortunately, the only hiccup on an otherwise easygoing contest was Joel Jones’ unfortunate injury in the middle of Heat 4. After an absent-minded bicyclist wandered onto the course, Jones hit the concrete and was rushed to the hospital to receive a handful of staples in his head. Though the contest resumed to close out an incredible afternoon of skateboarding, we would be remiss not to have kept Joel, who has come out to each and every stop of the tour since Fall 2013, in our thoughts. Since the event, a GoFundMe has been started to help cover some of the unexpected ambulance and hospital costs for Joel and his young family.  We welcome and encourage any donations to be made here.  After Saturday’s event wrapped up, Keegan Guizard led another installment of a College Readiness Workshop with the folks at the Harold Hunter Foundation which was actually the first to take place during the same week as the contest.Speaking on the experience, Guizard said, “The Harold Hunter Foundation is always helpful in making that happen and really brings the skateboarding community together for good.This workshop was a great opportunity to connect with young New York City skateboarders off the board after a great event in Queens.” Check out the action that went down here:    

Maybe In the Future Everyone Will Use Facebook for 15 Minutes…Per Day, Week, Month or Year

Maybe In the Future Everyone Will Use Facebook for 15 Minutes…Per Day, Week, Month or Year

 It seems like there’s more skate drama on Facebook this week. How utterly NOT surprising.  Last week I started an experiment with Facebook. I wanted to see if I could limit the amount of time I spent on the site to about 15 minutes for the entire week. I also wanted to limit my personal page to one post per week. Of course, if someone directs me to something that I absolutely MUST see, then I won’t rule that out. I will continue to use the site for research – but I will limit that time as well. This decision grew out of a post on Facebook I wrote last week. I am beginning to feel that while the site definitely is a great communications tool (and I love the instant messenger and Facebook Live), sometimes Facebook just completely de-stokes me.  I’ll admit I love the fact that I can put a post on my Concrete Wave FB page and try and drive folks to my site. But the reality is that the algorithms on FB seem to have the upper hand. Posts about Tony Hawk or dogs that skate seem to suck all the oxygen out of the algorithms. FB could give two shits about Concrete Wave. On Facebook, I am the product.  Without going into too much detail, we have skate folks de-friending each other over politics – something that you are passionate about combined with politics is always a tricky combo. Facebook just makes it a combustible mix, leaving total carnage. And oh yeah, it can warp election results. Then again, that last item could just be fake news. You see where this goes? Brutal. How ironic. The vast majority of time spent with social media is making us anti-social. Then we have folks who post FB screeds that some might feel are justified and some utterly loathe. The only thing I can add to this is that much of the beefs on FB nowadays would have in a previous era been dealt with  off line and dealt with in a vastly different manner. I realize that there is no turning back. Make no mistake, FB is a great way to publicly shame a malicious and uncaring company but I am not convinced it’s the best way to deal with individuals who have issues with someone they feel has wronged them.  Here’s a prediction you can run with immediately. I bet if you ditch this column and go on FB right now, you will find at least one rather odd rant, outrageous comment or link. Now that you’ve returned, are you impressed as how telepathic I am! You know there are trolls out there. You know there is clickbait, and like me, you are feeding your addiction with every minute you spend flipping your screen.  I began to ask myself several questions after last weeks column. Is social media making me feel like going out and skate? Is it adding to my enjoyment of life? The answer, in most cases is no. I dearly love finding out about my 150 or so friends that are truly a part of my life at any given moment. We talk on the phone, write emails and see each other at events. I also have to run a magazine, work on Longboarding for Peace, plan the next skate event and oh yeah, spend time with my family. Moving from 1 or 2 hours a day (yes, I confess to TWO HOURS a day writing pithy comments on FB) to 15 minutes per week is an incredibly liberating experience. Recently, I decluttered and got rid of a whole bunch of stuff. Collecting things for 5 decades and then either throwing it out or giving most of it away was all about finding a freedom through the idea of minimalism. It may not work for everyone and clearly, it depends on your stage in life, but I am here to tell you that when you minimize your time on social media, it feels just as liberating as disposing of an old pair of shoes you will never use. I am NOT saying don’t go on FB. I am merely suggesting that if you want to contact me I am now more available than I was last week. I challenge you to build real relationships, not just Facebook Friends. I furthermore challenge you to go on FB for 15 minutes per week. See where it takes you.  More on Dunbar’s Number:  

Forth Union

Forth Union

 

The oceanside community of Asbury Park, New Jersey has endured a roller coaster of ups and downs in terms of development and prominence for the town’s economic and cultural livelihood over the past couple of centuries. Most strongly effected throughout this period has been the town’s skateboarding scene.

At its peak, the 90’s are remembered as a time of international recognition from the skateboarding world, centered around Asbury Park’s Casino Skatepark. The park’s vert ramp, bowl and street section, in addition to the local Deal Lake Motel Pool, drew skateboarders and publicity from all over the world. Despite a decent run after Casino Skatepark closed down, the Deal Lake Pool eventually went under as well. Though the 2010 opening of Woodshop Skateshop tried to breathe new life into a waning scene, its demise led to another blackout for Asbury Park’s culture.

 

As of late, however, a complete resurgence has overtaken the town’s skateboarding scene at the hands of Forth Union. The collective formed as a testament to the town’s longstanding skateboarding heritage and seeks to rejuvenate the related artistic, musical and communal components that once made the boardwalk thrive. In devising the proper title for this fusion, artist Tim Ziegler explained “Generally speaking, the arts, be it music, photography, or fine arts, are constantly trying to push the envelope of expression, and build off of the foundation of the previous generation. Skaters work in much the same way, pushing each other to go bigger, and constantly come up with more inventive tricks and runs. So I chose “Forth” to convey their shared sense of movement and boundary pushing and “Union” to reinforce their coming together in one space.”

Forth Union’s efforts took root last year as they worked in conjunction with Redbull to renovate the famed Carousel into an interim space for the thrashing to resume. Now, a collection of banks, quarterpipes, stairs and, of course, Jersey Barriers surround a perfectly placed mini bowl that is attracting industry attention to Asbury Park, once again. This support will culminate in a grand opening set for Spring 2017 that will unite food trucks, retailers and skateboarders alike.

In the mean time, Forth Union will continue their work with some of skateboarding’s most noble nonprofits, including A.Skate and Boards for Bros, and will continue pushing for a free public skatepark in Asbury Park. Forth Union is also hosting a rad competition at the park next month which you can check out below: 

  

Longboarding for Peace Hits Cornwall

Longboarding for Peace Hits Cornwall

What started as an idea between two friends became a very significant part of my life. It all started while I was at I <3 Downhill in Windham, NY and experienced the longboarding community in all it had to offer. People were friendly, supporting, and caring but still there to compete. In other words it was my first introduction to the new family. Shortly after I returned I was talking to my friend about a post I saw on Facebook from Concrete Wave Magazine, about getting involved and spreading the stoke. Quickly I emailed Michael Brooke and after talking for a bit, Michael agreed to hook me up with some wheels and some boards. Soon after I approached Boys and Girls club of Cornwall/SDG and bought some trucks and we started a longboarding program began. I worked with 1 kid at each site for the first while but it allowed me to sit and talk with them about what they want to do and experience. What I could not appreciate more is the one on one time I got with these kids, because they taught me so much more about myself than I could ever have hoped to learn. The stoke was real and there were a lot of kids who really enjoyed the program and the opportunity to try out skating for the first time in their lives and some kids who couldn’t really afford it. With this group of caring youth I was motivated to put everything I had in to this and continued to teach the program for 3 years. Three of the best years of my life I might add. I have watched them grow from barely being able to push to going on cruises around town, using it for transportation and bombing some hills when it interests them.    

A Roll for Peace vs A Role for Peace

A Roll for Peace vs A Role for Peace

In one week, exactly on September 21st, the world will celebrate the International Day of Peace. I’d bet dollars to donuts that if you’re reading this, you probably didn’t know this fact. But I’d also bet that if you’ve been following our work with Roll for Peace, you might well indeed know the significance of September 21st. JJ Husley did this awesome artwork. Our decision to launch Roll for Peace was based on the reality that peace begins with us – our skate community. Within the skate community, there is much that binds us together. We take great joy spreading the stoke of skateboarding. Videos of the latest tricks and raw runs make our heads explode. We marvel at those legends still riding hard and with passion well into their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond. The amount of incredible product means we are literally dizzy with choice. Skateparks in every conceivable form are in numerous parts of the world. If you want instant freedom and joy, a skateboard is pretty much the best bang you can get for your buck. And yet, despite all these incredible things that skateboarding gives us, there are some who are not at peace. Social media elevates and amplifies our ideas. There is both good and bad consequences to this. If you find yourself getting depressed and de-stoked by the negativity, you might want to rethink where you are positioned. I know where I am positioned along with hundreds of others on September 16th. On that date I am pledging to Roll for Peace. You can register here. We don’t care how long you roll or what you roll. We don’t care where you roll or who you roll with. We don’t care how long or how fast or slow you roll. We don’t care how many people join you when you roll. All we care about is that if you’re reading this message you get out there and roll. Once you’ve finished rolling for peace, we’d like you take the five days before the International Day of Peace and think about your role in peace. Are you fostering peace? Are you creating balance in your life and the lives of others? Are your actions and ideas compassionate? Are you striving to shine a light on injustice, no matter where you find it? Is harmony part of your life? Are you establishing trust with all those you come into contact with? These are tough questions to ask, but they are necessary.   When you pursue peace, you have to first build trust. When you foster balance, the bi-product is harmony and when you pursue justice, you must be compassionate.  We ALL have a role for peace. My sincere thanks to all those who are participating. High fives and positive vibes to the Shralpers Union. Special thanks to Sean Powell of Whatever Skateboards Visit the Day of Peace. Chris Koch is one AWESOME human being! Visit ifican.ca  

Longboarding for Peace Goes to Jail in Mexico

Longboarding for Peace Goes to Jail in Mexico

Have you ever wonder what happens to kids that are too young to go to jail? 

 

Located in the Mexican Caribe, near to the border of Belize theres a small city called Chetumal where The System for Integral Family Development (DIF for their spanish acronym) offers an option for Quintana Roo’s underage law infractors to avoid facing a serious sentences in youth jail. 

 

The place is pretty much like a school that they can’t leave, with unarmed guards and scheduled activities. Parents of many of these kids choose to leave them in this facility for up to one year, often as a punishment for their actions that can go from stealing, gangs, drugs and fights.

 

 

We met up with 11 kids and 3 girls from 10 to 17 years old. They were super friendly and excited to have skateboards in their basketball court. Some of them had skated before so it was easy for them to learn tricks, for the rest that didn’t know how to ride a skateboard it was a challenge, but after some fear overcoming and a few falls they started flowing comfortably through lines.

 

 

After the session we shared snacks while we watched Get In The Van 2 full length video by Landyachtz Longboards and had a conversation about how passions and interests can uplift you from any situation. This opportunity of exchanging stories allowed the kids and skaters to learn from each other by generating an environment of empathy and freedom of being imperfect and that is okay to make mistakes, since it is one of the best way to learn something. The constant involvement of activities that foment understanding, listening and sharing are one of the main actions that might bring us closer to a real and sustainable peace.

 

I would like to thank Pauilna and David Andrade from Jóvenes del Siglo XXI, Ruben Martínez from Backside Skate Shop, Marisa Smith from Barracuda Board Co and Lea Philibert our first french volunteer for all the help in this workshop. I’d also like to thank Correctional Director Yamili Gómez for the Invite and the opportunity to skate with the kids. 

 

Bethlehem Longboard Jam 4

Bethlehem Longboard Jam 4

 The event was a success, everyone that attended had a great time and we expect to see them at future events this year.  Below is the recap for the event with video links and pictures attached… BoarderX Race:This year’s BoarderX Race was one of the most challenging courses we have ever built with only 7 out of 15 completed runs by the competitors.  Riders were stoked on starting inside the moving truck and using the loading ramp to gain speed early in their run.  To make it to the finish, they had to navigate over 3 kickers, a hip ramp, 2 sidewalk transitions and a tricky slalom section.  NJ rider Tim Brookes was the only rider to complete all 3 runs (32.88/33.58/32.18 seconds).  Aaron Gordy charged the course and set the tone on his first run the fastest time of the day.1st- Aaron Grody 31.7 sec2nd- Tim Brookes 32.18 sec3rd- Cam Roundtree 32.75 secPhoto: Austin Bouthillet  Slide Jam Open/Pro:The Open/Pro Slide Jam was a small but talented group of skaters from CO, VA, MD, NJ, PA & DE.  Local shredder Steve Fitz stole the show with 3 killer final runs mixing up technical lines, big airs and smooth slides.  New to the scene, Tim Brookes wowed the crowd with his blunt slides, technical freestyle riding and tricks off the ramps.  Neena Schuller from Original Skateboards held her own with the boys and showed them her silky smooth slides which earned her a 5th place finish.  Our oldest competitor, Bob Kistiner battled it out in the Semi-Finals and impressed the judges enough to make it into the Finals.1st- Steve Fitz2nd- Tim Brookes3rd- Aaron Grody4th- Zach Longacre5th- Neena Schueller & Ventus KisariPhoto: Heather Hilse Slide Jam Juniors:Our Junior division was even smaller than the Open division but that did not stop them from putting on a good show of freestyle & freeride longboarding.  Nate Yager stood out in the finals with high risk freestyle maneuvers and high speed slides.  Last year’s Faceplant Freestle Cup Winner Benny Clark looked laser sharp with his seamless frontside 360 slides and combination of tricks.1st- Nate Yager2nd- Benny Clark3rd- Luke Landis4th- Will MacLeod Hippy Jump:Aaron Gordy stole the show with his WORLD RECORD Hippy Jump of 58”!  It was such an amazing feat, everyone at the event was going crazy as he landed the 4’ 10” high jump three times. Photo: Heather Hilse Longest Slide:Austin Bouthillet – Longest HeelsideZach Longacre – Longest Toeside Honorable Shredders of the Day(thanks to Muirskate):Bob Kistiner for being the oldest competitior and still laying down slides & tricks rad enough to make into a Slide Jam FinalPhoto: Patricia Martin Aaron Gordy for being MVP of the event, 1st in BoarderX, World Record Hippy Jump 58” and 3rd in the Slide Jam. 

Burlington, Hamilton and The Real Gold in the Golden Horseshoe

Burlington, Hamilton and The Real Gold in the Golden Horseshoe

  Just spent a fantastic 24 hours in a very special place. You’ve probably heard about the epic skate scene here in Toronto and the world-renowned Board Meeting. What you might be a little less familiar with is the incredible scene that is growing just a few miles west in the cities that make up the western part of the “Golden Horseshoe.” According to WikipediaWith a population of 9.24 million people in 2016, the Golden Horseshoe makes up over 26% of the population of Canada and contains more than 68% of Ontario’s population, making it one of the largest population concentrations in North America.  This guy is a local named Tyler. The Hamilton Bayfront Cruise incorporates all skills, all ages and is all inclusive. I cannot say enough great things about the people of this scene. Rob Defreitas has been doing some very cool things with Bombora Boards. Meghan Guevarra (HBFC founder) and Rob (Longboard Haven) two architects of stoke here in the Golden Horseshoe. A huge thanks to Kyle who runs the legendary Farm for hosting this event. Meghan Guevarra, founder of the Hamilton Bayfront Cruise has done a phenomenal job of really creating an all inclusive scene. (and merci beaucoupe to Alex her partner!) Lots of great people in the Golden Horseshoe!Luis checks out the seating near the mini-ramp.  From gentle cruises, to hitting some pretty challenging hills of the Niagara Escarpment, this part of the Golden Horseshoe has a platinum level of stoke! A special shout out to Quarter in the Bag. This band was the perfect way to ring in our 16th year. Thank you guys!Quarter in the Bag definitely are a band to be on the look out for. Check out what they sound like: I’d like to write more but, we’ll save this story for our September issue. Meantime it is definitely Hammer Time for Hamilton and area!PS: In the spirit of 100% skate everything, we were fortunate to have Mike T. a representative of SBC Skateboard Mag unleash the latest issue. It’s been a few years in the making, but SBC is back. Congrats guys!