2019 downhill is really heating up in Brazil. Here’s some footy from Askavata 2019 Downhill Pro comp at TEUTÔNIA, Brazil and a recap.
* Gui Chiele w/ Footy by: Rodrigo Driemeyer
* Vinicius Castagna
Words by Mark Odyssey
Floripa, Brazil native and top Teutonia qualifier Bernardo Brambilla captured the 1st Place podium at Teutonia the weekend of 17 and 18 defeating Murilo Araujo in a closely contested final. While many racers outside of Brazil may consider Teutonia a beloved yet forgotten remnant from the IGSA days of a decade ago, the 2019 Teutonia version organized by Askavata Teutônia PRO 2019 hosted more than 4,000 spectators in the Brazilian countryside state of Rio Grande do Sol to see riders from Brazil, Argentina,, Peru, and Holland ‘unleash their demons’ at more than 120KM per hour.
Brambila was the number 1 qualifier at the IDF La Violenta race last year and won the juniors race at Teutonia in 2012 so he is no stranger to the sketchy pavement and fast narrow asphalt. Brambila credits Darrly Freeman and old time Coasties and former Teutonia champions Micho Erban and Kevin Reimer as major influences in his style and technique as he dominated the 70 MPH hill.
Ceschini Gerson, Brazilian Downhill Photographer took amazing photographs during the weekend and was gracious enough to share his beautiful photographic work and says “Countless smiles, hugs and brotherhood that only Teutonia is capable of. There were strong falls and the ambulance worked but everyone is fine. Prayer, goosebumps, and tears before deciding were seen in the athletes.”
Brambila lives in nearby Floripa and claims they have a nice downhill scene, ” Like 30 riders go skate all weekends and Ian Freire and Arthur Job are my homies. Brambilla adds that ” We have a lot of skateparks in Floripa, Colinas Hill for Downhill is always closed to traffic and 1 hour driving more than ten hills you can get over 100 kmh on”.
Brambila in his best English says when asked about Teutonia, “No words to describe how is race at this mountain. I know maybe have another hills faster than Teutonia but adrenaline and racing is not the same thing”. Brambila said that his semifinal 2 man heat was with two time IDF World Champion and fast rider Thiago Lessa. ” After I won I was motivated to run finals”.
Brambila plans to run all the Brazil races, and says that ” last year I won the national championship and this year I want to do it again and have a plan to run La Violenta but not concrete.” Bernardo’s sponsors include Rogers Bros., Love on Wheels,, Skape Bearings, Madz ( SKate Shop, and Face Skate Wheels. His winning Teutonia set up is Prototype Face Wheels, (74mm 78a), Dont Trip Trucks, 155 mm , 50 degree 30 degree, Fullbag TM 37, Skape Ceramic bearings and and Rodgers Brothers footstop.
A big shout out to Ceschini Gerson who helped with this article and said, “In particular, it was an honor to have been invited to photograph the Teutonic Event. There’s a lot to learn and thank you for the affection I have been receiving in the years that I follow this. Thank you from heart.”
Congratulations riders, spectators, volunteers, course workers, medical staff and Askavata Teutonia for the grand event organization. These are the new Titans of Teutonia!
1 Bernardo Brambila
2 Murilo Araujo
3 Thiago Lessa
4 Wiliam Rubin
5 Daniel Lara
6 Bruno Spengler
7 Tiago Mohr
8 Silon Garcia
9 Nico Waiman
10 Evandro Dorneles
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.
All photos shot and authorized to use by Lindsey Best.
Sure, the press release was written in German, but the photos are understood in ANY language. The Swiss love their pumptracks and the Pump King Challenge is coming up fast!
Here’s a great video they’ve put together to announce this year’s tour.
Have a look at some of the great memories from 2017.
Tour winners 2017
The 11th annual Swap Meet held at Roarockit
is coming up fast. #SWAP11 happens on Sunday April 8, same place, same time as always. For those who don’t know the exact address, it’s 880 Millwood Avenue in Toronto. Temperatures are slowly warming up here Hogtown. The fun begins at noon! After 4pm, there will be a slide session at the Poop Chute.
Roarockit is also presenting an additional event that benefits the amazing work of the Oasis Skateboard Factory
. It is taking place on April 12 is the Boards of Education Art Show and Auction at the Gladstone Hote
l. This This year, there many artists, from music to street and everything in between. The students are teamed up with an artist, who then creates a board with the student’s input on the topic, this year it is Mis-Education. Boards are auctioned off by Jay Mandarino – owner of CJ’s skatepark
. It’s all good fun and raises some badly needed funds to support the school.
by Daniel Fedkenheuer
In the midst of a Winter Olympics where half of NBC’s viewership delight in the ways in which they have painted gold-medal winner, Shaun White, as an American hero and the other half scold the “lone wolf” for selfishly abandoning the snowboarding’s core culture, many of us in the skateboarding community sit passively by.
For better or worse, White’s name in headlines surrounding the upcoming games is simply adds another mystery to the sporadic collection of media describing how the process to skateboarding’s eventual Olympic fate is shaping up. As some anxiously wait to see how this process unfolds, others are actively working with Olympic committees and national governing bodies of sport in their home countries to keep the wheels in motion. Allow us to explain.
Home to some of the most talented up-and-coming urban scenes, devoted independent publishers and exceptionally desirable spots, there are few greater examples of a country with potential to capitalize on the potential social and economic benefits of the Olympics than across the pond, in England. As such, we got a chance to interview James Hope-Gill, CEO of Skateboard England, in an effort to demystify some of the reservations and hesitations surrounding skateboarding’s inclusion in the Olympics.
This non-profit that Hope-Gill and his cast of industry veterans are behind aims to, in their own words, “manage, support, develop and promote skateboarding in England & Wales, increase participation, develop a coaching and judging pathway, create and support a sustainable and robust competition structure at all levels in conjunction with existing competitions and stimulate international interest in English & Welsh skateboarding through the development of world-class facilities and skaters.” Without further ado, we encourage you to keep an open mind and have a look at what Hope-Gill had to say:
From my understanding, the way an English skateboarder can hope to compete in the Olympics is to be invited to the National Championships, win in the disciplines of either street or park, move on to and win the European Championships and then go on to the Olympics from there. Is that the case or am I missing something?
JAMES: There is still some uncertainty regarding qualification due to skateboarding being a new sport without an established series of “open” competitions at the elite level sanctioned by the World Governing Body. However, we do know that the Qualification system will be based on World Skateboarding Ranking. Skaters will be ranked for competing in World Skate sanctioned events in the Olympic qualifying period between 1st January 2019 and 30 June 2020.
Details on ranking and the qualification system will be disclosed in March 2018 but our understanding is that skateboarders will be able to qualify through their National Championships in order to be invited to enter the Continental Championships and then go onto World Championships.
Ranking points will be obtained through a mixture of the existing commercial events, such as Vans Pro-Series and Street League, in addition to events that are to be created, such as National Championships and Continental & World Championships. That said, its hypothetical at the moment, until we get clarification from World Skate later this year.
Are there any specifics you could give us on how skateboarding will be structured in the Olympics? (ex. Are street and park the only two disciplines? How many representatives can be expected from each country? etc.)
It has been confirmed that there will be two skateboarding disciplines contested in TOKYO 2020: Street and Park.
A total of 80 skaters will compete in 4 skateboarding events as follows:
- 20 athletes female Street
- 20 athletes male Street
- 20 athletes female Park
- 20 athletes male Park
We do know that there will be a minimum of one skateboarder per continent who will be guaranteed a spot for each event in the Olympics and a minimum of one spot each event will be guaranteed for the host nation, Japan. There is also an understanding that in each event, each country will be restricted to a maximum number of skateboarders. That figure is likely to be 2 or 3 per country per discipline. Again, we need to wait until March 2018 for clarification.
Sam-Pulley and Alex Halford front rock under backside-air. Photo CJ
Can you explain the concept of membership a bit more clearly? Do skaters who want to compete have to sign on to be members of Skateboard England in order to do so?
Membership is vital in ensuring that Skateboard England can continue to help and support the skateboarding community and also positively contribute to the growth of the sport. Interest in skateboarding has never been stronger and we are fully committed to helping everyone achieve their full potential whilst ensuring that decisions made about skateboarding are skateboarder led. At the moment Skateboard England is pretty much a voluntary organisation which means that things take a lot longer than we would want them to and we can’t do as much as we want to. A lot of what we have been doing is behind the scenes, such as lobbying government and other organisations regarding funding, strategy and politics.
We are in the process of creating a number of membership categories for skateboarders, coaches, skate parks, etc. We are putting together a package of benefits for members, but that’s a long process and will take time; but there are some significant things we have put together already.
Membership is also part of a much bigger picture. If we want to receive public funding (for better and more facilities, growing skateboarding, etc) from Sport England (the central government sport funding agency) we need to have a series of membership categories. Membership demonstrates that the sport is supporting the governing body and is actively saying “we want to grow, get better facilities and be more sustainable”, it is also part of the democratic process and status of the governing body. We are a membership organisation and all decisions made for the good of skateboarding need to be representative of skateboarders. The Board of Directors are elected from the membership and so we need a diverse and thriving membership in order to have really good people with the right skills making the strategic decisions that will affect the direction and growth of the sport.
Lucy Adams – chair of Skateboard England
By joining Skateboard England as members, people & organisations will be actively supporting all the work we do, helping us to invest in the development of skateboarding across England & Wales, basically supporting the future of skateboarding from grassroots to elite level.
There has only been a governing body in England and Wales for the last couple of years. This isn’t the case for many other countries, especially in Europe. We are about 20 years behind a lot of European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, etc, etc. They have thriving memberships, and are taken much more seriously by their governments and local authorities. Those countries mentioned are already receiving government funding for facilities and their Olympic teams. They have been having conversations with funders for a number of years, whereas we are very new to the negotiating table. Membership in those countries is accepted by skateboarders as the norm. We hope that we will get to that position in due course, but understand that it is a new concept in the UK.
There will be no compulsion to become a member of Skateboard England. However, in order to take part in our events, we would expect skateboarders to be a member. We would also hope that skateboarders would want to become members in order to support the work we are doing in creating opportunities, getting better facilities and making sure that decisions about the sport are being made by skateboarders.
Based off the memo on sponsorship that you posted to LinkedIn, what sorts of companies are you anticipating to support the National Championship events?
We’re really keen to engage with companies who are from the skateboarding industry and those from outside. Let me explain. There are a limited number of skateboarding companies and many at the moment already sponsor events and jams around the country. What we don’t want to do is to dilute that money so that the wider skateboarding community sees a reduction in the sponsorship its receiving at the moment. That’s the reason we are looking outside the industry. That said, we hope there will be skateboarding companies who increase their sponsorship budget in order to get involved in the National Championships which will give them some fantastic profile across the wider community due to the events being covered across BBC Sport digital platforms.
In terms of the types of companies; we need to see who is interested. However, we very much want to retain the look and feel of skateboarding events and ensure that a company who gets involved absolutely agrees with the ethos and aims of what we are trying to achieve.
One of the most pressing issues that skateboarders considered to be in the industry’s “core” demographic are concerned about with regard to the Olympics is representation. Many think the Olympics will water down the rawness and the outlaw mentality that they have come to pride themselves on. How will organizations like Skateboard England try to maintain some of the authenticity that makes skateboarding what it is, while still attempting to take skateboarding to a new level?
Well, we certainly can’t speak on behalf of other organisations, but the main thing Skateboard England is here to do is facilitate. We are not here to try and change what is already happening and what is already great about skateboarding. We just exist to provide guidance and a bit of structure where needed….and to help increase the participation of what we do and love and give us a voice.
We want to help promote grassroots events that are already happening and support the community to keep doing what they’re doing. In a world where red tape is growing, if a local authority insists groups need to have insurance to run events & jams, we can support the skateboarders with this. Likewise, with parents now seeking out skate lessons and coaches. We can help support our skateboarders with qualifications & training and therefore help provide employment opportunities.
Skateboard England is also there to work with and lobby against any Councils that try to ban / limit skateboarding in City Centre areas. Street skating is most important to us and preserving it is a huge priority. We hope to support the development of shared space like other European nations have done so well. We are working with Local Authorities like Nottingham, Sheffield and Hull for Skateboarding to create new skateable spaces and events.
What sort of potential do you see skateboarding’s inclusion in the Olympics having for the skateboarding culture as a whole?
The Olympics seems to have certainly divided the skateboarding community. However, I would hope that we can all agree that the Olympics brings an opportunity to increase the profile of skateboarding. If we take advantage of that, we should see more funding into the sport which will create more opportunities for skaters, more skaters and more & better facilities. However, we need to be setting the foundations and preparing for that growth right now.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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 Wikipedia: With 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!
Concrete Wave is heading down to the 40th anniversary party of the world-famous Kona Skatepark.We will have a full report in our September issue. Meanwhile, be sure to follow what we post on Instagram and Facebook. Jacksonville, here we come! Some awesome footage here:
Dan Bourqui has put together a great video of the highlights of the competition.
2017 VANS POOL PARTY
1st Tom Schaar
2nd Cory Juneau
3rd Clay Kreiner
1st Steve Caballero & Lance Mountain (Tie)
3rd Tony Magnusson
1st Andy Macdonald
2nd Chad Shetler
3rd Lincoln Ueda
Dave Duncan announced and again pretty much lost his voice. The level of skating was pretty much like it always is – completely off the charts! Steve CaballeroThis gentleman is from Tribo skate mag. (Brazil)
Faceplant Boardriders will be hosting four longboarding events this year with competitions like downhill racing, freestyle aka slide jam, slalom racing, push racing, boardercross racing, highest hippy jump and big air. Event organizer Rob Wheeler has been hosting longboarding competitions in the Mid-Atlantic States since 2012. “Going to Slide Jams got me into the sport and community” says Rob, “I try to mimic that laid back but competitive vibe I felt at those events.” All of Faceplant’s events are in there 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th generation! Ricky Wheeler, co-owner of Faceplant Boardrider’s says “Our events are safe, fun and organized so that we get invited back to each venue every year and continue to grow our longboarding community in size and skill.” The first event of the year is the 4th annual Bethlehem Jam on Saturday, July 8th. This event is held in Faceplant’s hometown headquarters so they go all out. This event starts out with the intense Boardercross time trial race where riders charge down the coned course going off ramps, on and off sidewalks, slalom sections and technical high speed turns. The rest of the day is dedicated to a classic slide jam where some of the best longboarding tricks and slides of the year go down here! Each year we have to ask permission from the residents on the hill and they are stoked to have us back again this year in the middle of Summer! King of Kings Gap on Saturday, August 12th is the next Faceplant event and is fairly new. Rob helped organize the very first event here in 2014 and he has stepped up to be main event organizer this year. The event grew in 2015 but last year they could not secure enough pre-registered riders to have permission from the venue so it will be in its 3rd generation. This event features a 5-6 minute downhill race where riders in heats of six reach speeds of 30-35mph as they navigate down the long smooth scenic course. After downhill racing finishes, riders start at the bottom and see who can endure the 2+ mile uphill push race! All proceeds from the push race are going towards Carve 4 Cancer foundation!Next is the 5th Annual Rip the Elwood on Saturday, September 9th. Held at the beautiful Elwood L. Crossan State Park which looks like it was made for longboarders. They start the day with the technical Downhill Time Trial Race on the skinny path that weaves down the face of an open field hill. Right next to it is the long, straight Slide Jam hill that gets loaded with features. This event also features Boardercross Racing, Hippy Jump Contest and Longest Slide competition.The grand finale is the 6th annual Skate the Cape Shred Festival on November 4-5th. This event takes place in a picturesque and historic state park in Southern Delaware that has miles of paved bike paths. Riders come from all over the East Coast to have a skate getaway where they meet other riders, have a great time camping out around the bonfires, and having some fun competition among each other for 2 days full of events. Day one features Downhill Racing, Small Wheelbase Racing, Slalom Racing and an Enduro Push Race. Day two starts with the Boardercross Race, Hippy Jump Contest and ends with the Slide Jam. This is also the last stop of the Faceplant Freestyle CupLongboarding Series where the top riders in Open and Junior division take home cash! For more info visit their website.
Real Action Sports and Comet Skateboards would like to invite the entire community to the 6th Annual Ithaca Skate Jam on May 6th and 7th, 2017. There is now a second day with a new element – a regional Amateur Skateboard Contest at the Ithaca Skate Park.
Day One Saturday – Buffalo Street:
For the past five years Buffalo Street has been the downhill playground everyone has enjoyed. Last year, over 300 skaters from all over the western hemisphere showed off their skills. This year they are doing it again at the same spot – the top of East Buffalo Street between Eddy and Stewart Ave. With fresh pavement at a consistent 15% grade and skate park terrain on Quarry Street (running perpendicular to Buffalo street). The hill starts at Eddy Street and is a 15% downhill to Stewart Ave. There will be some ramps on Buffalo Street to hit as you go down or you can just bomb away. Quarry Street will have several skatepark features and the vendor and food truck area.
The format is a “nontest” style jam. Skate hard all day and the Comet team will be handing out prizes as they see fit. There are no specific contests or divisions. There will be a session for younger and beginner adult skaters from 1-2PM. They are sponsoring 20 young people ages 14 and under to skate at this time with the generous support of a local foundation -TBJ.
Day Two Sunday – Ithica Skatepark:
All Ages are welcome to compete. Divisions will be broken down as follows. 8 and under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-15 and 16 & over unsponsored, Sponsored Team Riders, Womens and Masters 30 and over. The park contest will be run with a Jam format, skate till you bail with a first trick rebate. Heats will run in groups of 15 with a 20 minute practice heat and then a 20 minute judged jam session. Judges will be looking for style, use of park, consistency and difficulty of tricks.
Title Sponsors this year are Comet Skateboards, Vans Shoes, Element Skateboards, Klean Kanteen, Clif Bar, Guayaki Beverages, Greenstar Co-op and Media Sponsor Wheelbase Magazine.
Date: May 6th and 7th, 2017
Time: Registration 9am, Skating 10-5pm
Registration Fee includes an Event T-shirt, Sponsor Swag Bag, a Healthy Lunch, and Beverages.
Day One Online Pre-Reg: $30 (discounted fee expires 4/3), Onsite Reg $40
Day Two Online Pre-Reg: $15 (discounted fee expires 4/3), Onsite Reg $25
Ithaca Skate Jam and The Philadelphia Skateboard Academy bring you Pro/Am Freestyle Demo and Clinics . A select group of Professional and Amateur Freestyle skaters will be on the scene. Ithaca Skate Jam is creating a place for them to have a Warm-Up for the World Freestyle Round Up Championships taking place in BC Canada 2 weeks after Ithaca Skate Jam.
The Good Truck and NYS Fair’s Best Food Truck Winner The SIlo Truck will be on the scene serving up the goodness.Crucial Reggae Social Club featuring members of John Brown’s Body, Roadman, Mosaic Foundation, Sim Redmond Band, Big Mean Sound Machine, Fall Creek Brass Band, Jimkata , and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad are finishing off the day with a Sunset Set.
Register at ithacaskatejam.com
Comet Skateboards, Vans Shoes, Vans Warped Tour, Element Skateboards, Powerflex Skateboards, Bones Swiss Bearings, Powell Peralta, Original Skateboards, Levi’s Skateboarding, Dickies Skateboarding, Volante Wheels, Salt Rags Skateboarding, Clif Bar, Guayaki Beverages, Gimme! Coffee, Greenstar Co-op, Emmy’s Organics, Viva Taqueria, Silky Jones, Luna inspired Street Food, and Media Sponsor WVBR, Wheelbase Magazine.
Tomorrow (March 11) marks the 6th anniversary of the world’s first longboard tradeshow. Chances are if you were there, you have not forgotten it. And if you weren’t there, you wish you had been. The atmosphere from the very start was pure electricity. You could FEEL the power of the movement. The memories are too numerous to list. It was hilarious watching the guy from Nersh Wheels pull up in a freaking Lamborghini! The show was held it at the now closed Longboard Loft. This was a shop that Bustin Boards was about to open and the timing was perfect. We crammed this shop with vendors and you could barely move. I am surprised the fire department didn’t show up. We were able to jam 32 skateboard brands into the room and for 8 hours, the longboard industry rejoiced in a movement that had truly arrived. Push Culture News did a story about the preparation. Theseus Williams worked his ass off getting the room ready. That’s Theseus Williams – master builder! Hell, even Transworld Business covered it. The show is particularly memorable for me because it was the first time I met Noel Korman. I will never forget Noel and when he cruised into the shop, he put out it his hand and said, “I’m Noel Korman with the Shralper’s Union. If you need anything, just let me know.” I had not heard about the Union before, but from the moment I met Noel, I knew that the show would be in good hands. I also want to give a shout out to Luke Ayata who I also met at the event. With Noel’s passing, we’ve become very close. I will be back in NYC on April 22 to Roll for Noel at Central Park.That’s Noel with the bald head. There was a bar next door called Lucky Jacks. I think there was as much business conducted there as there was at the shop! You can get a sense of the action here. Warning: my voice is haggard. But it was truly a great time.We covered the show in the April 2011 issue. Take a peek here.
Longboarding for Peace is setting off early next month for a weeklong expedition to Jamaica. I have been wanting to visit the island for many years. However, I always wanted to go with a local. I felt that if I was going to visit, I would teach skateboarding and really give something back. I am delighted to be traveling with Brady Brown (who now lives in Toronto and has deep family ties to Jamaica) and Luis Bustamante who originally hails from the Philippines. Together we will be creating a mini-documentary of our exploits. We have reached out to several Jamaican organizations and plans are underway to really engage with local skaters and schools. We’ll have a few announcements as things get firmed up. The bottom line, we are truly excited to spread the high fives and positive vibes. If you have any contacts in Jamaica that you think would benefit from Longboarding for Peace, just email. Artist: Chris Dyer
TORONTO BOARD MEETING – SEPT 10th
The 14th Annual Toronto Board Meeting took place last Saturday.
Rain had threatened the event, but by late afternoon, things were in full swing.
Over 800 skaters took to the streets and the mood, as always, was indeed festive.
The photos don’t fully capture the experience – but they give you a taste. The range of participants is from 1 year up to 50-something.
The initial rush starts with a quick push to the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair.
A ten minute sit-down in the intersection boggles most on-lookers minds and allows everyone to gather.
Cries of “BOOARRRDDD MEETING” can be heard every few moments.
The second part of Board Meeting is a quick skate down a moderate hill on Canada’s most well known street – Yonge Street.
Despite the fact that the meeting has been going on for almost a decade and a half, most spectators don’t really know what they are seeing.
Many stand there in disbelief while others, enjoying the spirit of the moment, take photos or give high fives.
A number of taxi cab drivers are stunned and regular motorists generally go with the flow.
A quick fifteen to twenty minute skate to Queen’s Park marks roughly the half way point and allows the group to enjoy the moment.
It’s then on to City Hall for an impromptu slide jam.
This year Board Meeting happened to have the good fortune of coinciding with a walk to raise money for cancer.
The music blaring from the speakers blended perfectly with the day. Towards the end of the event, thirsty skaters were generously given free soft drinks courtesy of the sponsors of the walk.
As the first part of Board Meeting ended, the rain started to come. The timing was almost too perfect!
Huge thanks to all the sponsors who make this event such a blast.
Great times at the gathering.
Photo: Miguel Cervantes
Just before thanksgiving, I was viewing some of the longboard meet up sites and came upon a longboard rental request from a German longboarder visiting NYC for the week. I’ve been there before; visiting a foreign place and wishing I had my board, so I couldn’t just scroll by and forget it. Not much later that night I reached out to Armin Beck from Stuttgart Germany who was looking to do what we all love and do: skate. After some exchange I offered him one of my boards, no charge, no problem. Simultaneously, Kenzo Shimzu (Japanese/American), was corresponding with Miguel Cervantes (Mexican/American) on where to tear up some local hills. I reached out to them as well and realized this was quickly becoming something like a United Nations longboard summit but it was missing something or someone. After some thought, I reached out to Gustavo Santiago, a world traveler from Brazil currently visiting NYC.
So here we were, five guys from five countries spanning four continents, messaging one another to unite and spend the day on one hill, was this really happening? Little did i know that this would set into motion one of the most rewarding days of longboarding for all of us. After some more IM we decided on a meeting place and chose the Manhattan side of the George Washington Bridge at 11:00 AM… IT WAS ON!
As I got off the 175th st exit over the GWB and approached Broadway, there they were. After some introductions to new faces and brief exchanges, we were on our way about an hour and a half northwest where New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania converge. There was a certain symmetry to the choice of this location that joined three different states. It just seemed to fit given the variety of our backgrounds. Our journey there was fraught with non-stop laughter, comedy, some seriousness, one pit stop and, of course, more laughter. When we arrived we were all awestruck with the majestic and panoramic view. The mountain was perfect and offered up two switchbacks and a 12 degree variable grade… So nice!
It was truly an international group: an American, a German, a Brazilian, a Mexican/American and a Japanese/American atop a mile and a half, rarely travelled, double lane road with those two amazing switchbacks… The longboard gods are definitely good.
We all took to that hill like ducks to water and took each run with more vigor than the last. Each one of us was heelsiding, toesiding, occasionally bricking but most importantly, living life to the fullest.
The sun would prove to be our nemesis eventually declaring an end to the day. After some final runs we all packed our gear and began our trek home which proved more fun than the ride up.
It wasn’t until later in the night when I got home that the gravity of the events of the day began to settle in. It was really something spectacular… Perhaps the United Nations could take a page from the book of our gathering, “Through our mutual love for longboarding we embraced our diversity”… Five guys from five countries spanning four continents spending the day longboarding on one hill… YEAH, the longboard Gods smiled on all of us that day. I will NEVER forget it. The laughter, the sharing, the progression and the friendships forged. These are the memories that will stay with us forever. It was incredible.
When Michael asked me to come back and write for the magazine, he did so with three overriding mandates: to think (and execute) well outside the box; to shake things up a bit; and to instigate change. And he gave me virtual carte blanche to do all three of those things, however I saw fit to do so, with the full support of the magazine behind me. One of the first things on my personal shit list to tackle was the status quo of “skateboard events”.
“Skateboard events”, as we know them today, generally take two popular forms: contests and demos. Neither of which float my boat very much. Contests, I despise for fairly obvious and straightforward reasons. To me, skateboarding is (fundamentally speaking) a form of artistic self-expression; I’m almost positive that very few skaters will disagree with this assessment. As a form of artistic self-expression, I still can’t figure out how it can ever be “judged” to discern which style of artistic self-expression should be deemed “better” or “more valid” than another style of artistic self-expression. So just based on the philosophical grounds, I abhor any and all attempts at having skateboarders “compete” against one another. It seems to go completely against the spirit of the whole thing.
Demos are a bit better… but not much. When I go to a skateboard event, I want to go skateboarding; I don’t really want to sit on my ass (or stand around idly) watching other dudes go skateboarding. Skateboarding, to me, is a participation pastime, not a sporting spectacle. Some skaters may disagree with this one, but I really don’t give a toss. It’s my article, bubbo. If you have a differing point of view… well, throw your own event and write your own damn article then.
In any rate, what I really wanted to do here was to organize and execute a very different sort of event. “The Weekend At The Wedge” was almost exactly what I had in mind.
The event itself was a brainwave between myself, and Stuart Anglin. I met Stewart a couple months back, while I was on tour; we crossed paths at The Wedge Skatepark at Eldorado Park in Scottsdale, Arizona. We struck up a conversation based on the common ground of being old, lifer skaters. At some point in our friendly chat, I asked Stuart why The Wedge Skatepark wasn’t named after the park it sat in (like so many Phoenix area skateparks are), and thus called “Eldorado Skatepark”. He explained that the skatepark was named after “The Wedge”, and old skate spot that was heavily sessioned way back in the ’70s and early’80s.
Thinking that the original spot must have been dozed and buried eons ago, I remarked that it’s really too bad that it’s not around anymore. To which Stuart replied, “Oh, it’s still there! It’s right down the hill beside the bike path!” Being a bit surprised by this, I asked if he’d like to escort me down there, point it out, and maybe join me for a quick session? Stuart, being the supercool chap that he is, was more than happy to oblige.
As we skated The Wedge… which is a long, mellow embankment by the way, ideal for surf-skating (because it’s basically a huge, stationary wave)… I asked how long it had been since anybody had seen a mass session there…?
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe twenty, thirty years?”
“Stuart….! We have to have an old-school session here. For old time’s sakes, at the very least. Let’s get a hold of Adam, and make that happen.” Stuart was in, Adam was in, and the event was a total go.
Here in Phoenix, we’re blessed to have a very well-organized and active old-guy skateboard club known as The Gray Beard Crew (found on Facebook under “Prevent This Tragedy”); Adam is our ringleader, so his support and promotion was an integral part of the plan. I made a digitized flyer for the event, posted it up all over our Facebook page, and started planning the details of the festivities.
Putting together an event like this is really pretty easy. Anyone can do it, although having an already-existing skateboard club does help immensely. If your town doesn’t have a skateboard club, well, go right ahead, be like Adam, and organize one; all it takes is a desire to meet (and skate with) new people; a little bit of outreach, networking, and promotion; and a Facebook page. Club tee shirts help a bunch, too, because they’re so boss. Just sayin’.
There were some simple logistics to sort out. The Wedge has a nasty habit of collecting dirt and dust at the base of the bank; that would have to be swept out, so people were encouraged to bring brooms (two ended up being enough, and those were personally manned by Stuart and I). I printed flyers, and left them at the area skateshops. We picked a day and a time that worked for almost everybody and their schedules. That was the bulk of “the planning”, right there.
And then, there were the “prize packs”… a little idea that I put together, so that nobody would leave the event empty-handed. I wanted to show my appreciation to everyone for showing up and participating… so, everybody got a prize pack that included a free copy of Concrete Wave Magazine (thanks, Michael); a color version of the event flyer, printed on some spiffy paper; and a handful of stickers because, really, what kind of skater wouldn’t appreciate a handful of stickers…? Nobody I know…! Those were provided by Michael (again); Jim Gray at Powerflex; Jack Smith at the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum; Mike Horelick at Tunnel Products; the fine folks at Speedlab Wheels; and the fellas at Sidewalk Surfer Skate Shop, right up the street. I’d like to thank them all, too, for helping out.
As far as the time-and-money costs go, they really weren’t particularly significant. I spent maybe forty bucks on the whole deal at the very most… I actually ran most of the flyers off for free at work… and I spent maybe ten to fifteen hours on the whole project, total. This really is something that almost anybody could put together, by and for themselves. I cannot emphasize that enough.
My biggest worry was over how many people would (or wouldn’t) turn out for the shindig. I feared the worst, as I usually do; I had visions of another private session for just Stuart and I, and nobody else but the sound of crickets. But the turnout blew me away…! There were about fifty folks there, of all ages and abilities… that was the best part, I thought… and they, in turn, brought out many of their kids, wives, and girlfriends. My sweetie Renee even tagged along to spectate, and had quite a good time doing so. But really, the best part was seeing such a diverse cross-section of skaters, young and old, newbie to experienced, skating together and having fun. That’s the best reward you could ever ask for, right there. That made it all worthwhile.
The most surprising part of the day was watching everybody skate the “wrong” side of the bank. The back side of The Wedge is another embankment that leads down to a grassy flatbottom… not something that I would have ever imagined skating. But somebody… I think it might have been Adam… started trying to pump the whole bank, from the paved sidewalk to the opposite end. Within minutes, everybody was trying it (including me)… and surprisingly, making it. You learn something new every day, I guess. Sometimes, even something completely unforseen and utterly surprising.
After a couple of hours of skating The Wedge, we all migrated up to the skatepark to keep the fun times rolling. The skatepark has a bunch of quarterpipes, grindable islands, and a bank/bowl complex that’s short, mellow, but still a significant challenge. The whole event lasted three solid hours, and everybody seemed to go home happy and content.
If the event itself wasn’t surprising enough, then that Facebook love that I found in my inbox when I got home definitely sealed the surprise deal; I wasn’t really expecting that, either. Of course, I tried to deflect much of the credit back to the participants… an event, of course, isn’t really “an event” without a whole bunch of participants… but it was nice to see such tangible confirmation of a job well done, and times well spent.
I’m sure that we’ll put something together again really soon. Adam and I have already discussed what, where, and when the next event might be. Sidewalk Surfer is already down to support it, wherever and whatever it might be. But really, what I’d like to see are more homegrown events like this, all over the country and/or the world. That would be amazing.
So put ’em together, have your own fun, shoot a few photos along the way, and send your stories in to the mag. Make Mike and I proud, and make ’em happen.
Menlo Skate Jam 2016 was an event to remember! There were gnarly pack runs, huge airs off tiny kickers, and lots of shredding all day long. The sunny Northern California hillside provided for fast runs and long slides.
Mellow turns made it easy to hit goofy and regular. The hill was littered with ramps and obstacles, a key feature of the Menlo Skate Jam. Some of the gnarlier dudes were hitting the ramps all day long. Jasper Ohlson landed a benihana off of a 4 foot kicker to flat.
Towards the end of the day Quentin Gachot and Jakob Santos were hitting the kicker gap for longest jump. They both wound up hitting 15 feet before they each called it quits.
Menlo Skate Jam was a killer time this year. The judges said it was one of the most organized freeride events they have ever been to. Make sure to be there next year as Menlo is sure not to disappoint.
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Black Diamond Sports