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
We are super stoked to announce the first known Longboard/Skateboard push race in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Oct. 29th! After a pair of stoke-filled-downhill-longboard races (the Pioneer Premiere and Pioneer Smear), the Midwest is answering the call and hosting a push race, The Rock Island Rip. The best part, besides a trail that offers a bit of downhill and plenty of terrain to pump, is free registration and $200.00 in cash prizes up for grabs! The event will be held at 10 a.m. on the Rock Island Trail behind Arbys on south 27th street. The open division will race up and back on the trail for a grand total of 8 miles. Our grom division (ages 15 and under) will push four miles. Cash will be divided amongst podium winners. While it will be a competitive race in both divisions, the host Eric Rineer emphasizes that the primary goal of the event is to “form a community and bring awareness of a new type of boarding to this part of the country.” And Lincoln is doing just that with riders flocking from surrounding areas like Missouri and Kansas to compete in prior events. More information can be found by searching for the event “Rock Island Rip” on Facebook. Ages 18 and under are asked to bring a parental-consent form before participating. Come out, bring your board, bring a friend, and have some fun while competing in a free-entry-cash-prize game.
Tomorrow is the 15th Annual Board Meeting. Hard to believe it’s been that many years…but it has. For a number of Board Meetings, I wasn’t able to attend. I was down at either the Action Sports Retailer show or Surf Expo. I feel badly that I couldn’t have been at those Board Meetings. The fact is the Toronto skate community created a ridiculously great event. It’s not a race, it’s a gathering and I couldn’t be prouder of my hometown. If you’re not able to make it, don’t worry, we’ll be live streaming via Facebook. Here’s the link on Facebook.
Toronto Girls Longboarding’s FUBU (For Us By Us) is in its 6th year this August 26th and 27th! This annual skate event involves two days full of different skating activities and competitions, in which the only participants are female (or identify with being women). The weekend revolves around building community for women in the sport, and allows ladies to test their skills in a supportive, low-pressure environment. Activities for the event include a cruise, dinner and a party, a downhill race, slalom, a dance contest and a push race, so riders of all styles can get their kicks in. Participants come from all over Ontario and the States to join in on the fun, and there are usually about forty women in attendance. Guys are, of course, more than welcome to join us at the party and to watch the competitions and show their support! If you or someone you know is interested in coming out to this event contact me directly. This event is the largest all-women skate event in North America. Vaclav
The event that almost didn’t happen was a huge success this past weekend with over 50 riders racing down the long scenic Kings Gap Road. Heats of 6 riders charged downhill while negotiating slippery road
conditions early in the morning which took out many competitors. The top 3 riders from each race would move onto the next round. Juniors DH
The open division was led by Pennsylvania’s own Scott Hurdleston who finished first in nearly all of his heats, including the finals. Stim Trucks rider/owner, Gary Enright was tough to beat as he made his way to the finals and placed 2nd overall. Leunam Segure fought his way into the finals and made it onto the Podium in 3rd place.
1st- Scott Hurdleston
2nd- Gary Enright
3rd- Leunam Segure Open Finals
The junior division(17 and under) had 6 registered riders so we did a 3 race point system, all 6 riders raced together in 3 runs, 1st place got 5 points, 2nd place got 4 points and so on. Ohio rider Troy Dycus dominated the Juniors, winning each of the 3 races. PA local, Hayden Knott placed 3rd in his first race and then fought back to take 2nd in the last 2 races, clinching 2nd overall. Rian Ciano just made 3rd place with 8 points, Ben Brown was close behind with 7 points.
1st- Troy Dycus
2nd- Hayden Knott
3rd- Rian Ciano There were some spills.
The grueling uphill Push Race presented by Carve 4 Cancer Foundation ended the competition Saturday. 2014 winner “Charles” yet again took 1st place with a strong pace that no one could match. Close on his heels was 1st place downhill rider Scott Hurdleston. Finishing off the podium was event
host, Rob Wheeler. We raised $150 for the carve for cancer foundation!
2nd- Scott Hurdleston
3rd- Rob Wheeler
All photos from Dave Gammon (Photography)
We are only 6 weeks or so away from September 1st and we wanted to plant this seed with you. Concrete Wave in association with Longboarding for Peace is proud to be part of Buskerfest.We are working with Gibbon Slacklines and will be participating in the Global Slackline Challenge. You’ve probably seen slacklines emerge a pretty popular pastime over the past decade. Often Slacklining is still perceived as an activity for gifted people who have exceptional balance. The Global City Balance Challenge is an initiative with as simple plan: To prove that balance can be achieved by anyone! Besides balance boards, skateboards and longboards, visitors to our “magic of balance” booth will get the chance to experiment on the Slack Rack. This unique product that is fully portable is made by Gibbon. Once folks feel they are ready to take the challenge, they will be required to balance on the Slackline for a minimum of 10 seconds.
Next month Kona Skatepark is celebrating 40 years. If you live anywhere near Kona or the east coast, plan for a massive road trip. We will be featuring more on Kona, but for now, pencil in these dates. Take a look at the amazing schedule. Banked Slalom with the legendary Steve Olson and David Hacket?! Done deal!
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.
It was almost 20 years ago when I received a call from a young Bricin Lyons. He called to tell me about some of the goings on in a magical place called the Sunshine Coast. Bricin has been organizing things for years now and stoking out skate communities around the world. As someone who was born and raised in Pender Harbor, Bricin has been an incredible ambassador for the Sunshine Coast. If you have never been to this part of the world, I urge to consider a trip out there.
Bricin is fond of capital letters, so I’ll let him take it from here:
PRE-REGISTRATION NOW!!! Click here.
**REGULAR REGISTRATION** APRIL 1ST NOON!!!!! @ WWW.LANDYACHTZ.COM
FUNNEST!! BIGGEST RACE IN THE WORLD!!
HUGE EXCITEMENT THIS YEARS DANGER BAY BUSINESS CLASS!!! WERE ON OUR WAY TO 20 YEARS!!!!!
$8000.00 TO THE RACERS!!!
Thanks for your support everyone!!!
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.
TEXAS COLD FUSION SIZZLER
The 14th annual Texas Sizzler Skateboard Slalom and Down Hill Speed trap is being held in Hockley, TX. Racers are traveling from around the world and this race is sanction by the International Slalom Skateboard Association and International Gravity Sports Association.
For more info visit their Facebook page.
ITHICA SKATE JAM, New YorkMay 6-7
Real Action Sports and Comet Skateboards would like to invite the entire community to the 6th Annual Ithaca Skate Jam. After 5 years of Shredding the Hills of Ithaca they have decided to add a second day with a new element, a regional Amateur Skateboard Contest at the Ithaca Skate Park.
Day One Saturday:
Last year 300 skaters from all over the western hemisphere took over Buffalo Street. With fresh pavement at a consistent 15% grade and skate park terrain on Quarry Street (running perpendicular to Buffalo street) is sure to draw even more skaters. 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 we’ll give out prizes however the Comet team sees fit. There are no specific contests or divisions. There will be a session for younger and beginner adult skaters from 1-2PM. Comet 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:
The fun moves to the Ithaca Skate Park. 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.
Time: Registration 9am, Skating 10 – 5pm Skaters Registration Fee:
Day One Online Pre-Reg: $30, Onsite Reg $40 Day Two Online Pre-Reg: $15, Onsite Reg $20 Spectators: This is a free event
Register at www.ithacaskatejam.com
Annual Ditch Slap, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Now in its 11th year, skaters get to explore some of ABQ`s most famous ditches and session spots and navigate up to 60 miles of shuttled ditch skating. “Quiver Counts” so bring some board options for multiple terrains or be prepared to sit and watch.
May 9th: Timed Bank Slalom:
May 10th: Chinese Ditch Race: This unique race has been held in a few different ditches of varying lengths since 2007. Expect unpredictable terrain, unforgiving competitors and unruly spectators.
May 11th-12th: Shuttles are provided for Registered Riders only. A shuttle pass will allow you to get on any Shuttle, into any Game, Session, Food Line, Video Party, Troll Bridge or Safety Meeting. Riders may leave personal items like extra boards and backpacks on the shuttles if they want to.
This event has a cap of 70 riders and sells out every year. Riders will be assigned numbers that correspond to the order in which they signed up, and will be rewarded with sponsorship swag and goodies proportionately.
Priority Registration is now open at www.ditchslap.com. Use the PayPal button to choose which options you prefer. After registering you will be e-mailed detailed information with lodging info, schedule of events and where to check in for your riders packet and shuttle pass. Paying your entry fee is the ONLY way to confirm your spot in any event.
As things start to percolate into the new season, a number of events are starting to appear on the horizon. In order to promote events and ensure they get on your radar, Scott Lembach of Muir Skate has come up with the idea of Your Skate Events. You can find it on facebook and instagram . It even has a snazzy logo that was created by Marcus Bandy of Wheelbase Mag.I think spreading the word on events plays a key role in fostering skateboarding and we are proud to help promote any and all skate events. Just email me at email@example.com In the spirit of getting info out there, we are happy to present three upcoming events. First up, something happening during Valentines Day in Washougal, Washington. Where is Washougal? It’s less than 1/2 hour drive from Portland, Oregon!Next up, New Zealand and the Bowlzilla in Wellington. If you happen to live in Auckland or Australia or are heading to the Pacific, it looks things are shaping out nicely. Visit bowzilla.net for more info. Finally, Ridersfly is presenting their first event in Spain (Xert). Xert is a little village filled with olive trees and is about 2 1/2 hours south of Barcelona. The track is located in “Les moles de Xert” and consists of 2.5 km of distance with a lot of curves. It has fast hairpins and fast sections up to 45 mph. It is a technical circuit but at the same time a great deal of fun. You can see a short intro video here:Registration opens up on February 15 and it will cost 70 euros for you to join in the fun. Included in the fee are 2 days of freeriding, insurance, lunch, showers, bbq area and even an ambulance with a doctor! Schedule:Saturday, March 259:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Freeride13:00 – 14:00 lunch stop14:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Freeride Sunday, March 269:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Freeride13:00 – 14:00 lunch stop14:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Freeride For more info, click here.
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.
5th annual Skate the Cape Shred Festival was our best yet! The weather was perfect, the stoke was high and the riders were pushing their progression in every event. We had an awesome lineup of vendors Stark Energy, Spacey Cloud, WhaDaFunk, Category Collections, Blendlife and of course Faceplant that made this event feel like a shred festival. There were no shortage of prizes to give away thanks to our sponsors Bethesda Boards, Liquid Boardshop, Shred Threads, HogWash, Shady Tree, Sector 9, Original, Bustin, Muirskate, Otang, Loaded, WheelRZ and Faceplant Boardriders. Open DownhillWe started off Saturday with our most popular event, the Downhill Race with heats of 3 riders, top 2 advanced. In the Junior division, Ohio native and WheelRZ team rider Troy Dycus led the pack all day and finished 1st in the finals followed by PA rider Nathan Yagar and MD rider William Macleod. The Open division was stacked with talented riders. Local Delaware riders Jeremy Woolsey and Aaron Gordy used there Cape knowledge to navigate their way through the difficult heats to the podium. Virginia Beach powerhouse Jarrid Lopez snuck right between the locals to take 2nd place in the Open DH Finals. 1st Jeremy Woolsey2nd Jarrid Lopez3rd Aaron Gordy Junior Downhill1st Troy Dycus2nd Nathan Yager3rd William Macleod
Small Wheelbase RaceNext was the Small Wheelbase Downhill Race where riders had to use smaller skateboards with a wheelbase of 22″ or less. This smaller board and wheelbase makes it more difficult at high speeds and made racing more intense. The final race was super tight going into the turn with Jarrid Lopez leading the pack. As they rounded the corner Jarrid could not hang on to the high speed line and allowed DE Local Jesse Wipf to take the win with myself and NC rider Josh Fuentes right behind him for a photo finish. 1st Jesse Wipf2nd Rob Wheeler3rd Josh Fuentes Slalom RaceAfter that we set up the two lines of cones for some old school slalom racing. Local OG rider Scott Thompson took the gnarliest Faceplant of the day right on the finish line as his board loss traction and slipped out from underneath of him. Luckily he was all smiles after that and still competed! Dave Bangson wowed the crowd on his weird no binding roller blades called freelines. The top 3 riders were all from Delaware! 1st Jesse Wipf2nd Jeremy Woolsey3rd Dave Bangson Enduro Push RaceThe last event of the day was the 2.9 mile Enduro Push Race which has downhill sections, pine needles, sand traps, cracks, 90 degree turns and an uphill finish. This was one of the craziest push races we had with a huge pile up right from the start as everyone mobbed into the narrow path. Animal and Jarrid Lopez were leading for the first half until the tricky 90 degree right turn took them both out and allowed myself and Matt McCoy to push our way to the front. Jarrid Lopez training paid off as he quickly made his way back to the front of the pack. I was drafting behind Jarrid for the last half mile of the race thinking I could push past him on the final uphill but his determination and slight lead took him to a well deserved 1st place. 1st Jarrid Lopez2nd Rob Wheeler3rd Matt McCoy Saturday evening we couldn’t stop our competitive drive and played a big game of kickball before sundown. Right at dark we opened up Blendlife Food Truck for dinner, ran some lights out to the picnic tables and started a community fire to set the mood for the rest of the night. Everyone enjoyed having our own Skate the Cape campsite this year with plenty of room to spread out and camp next to your friends. Boarder Cross Time Trial RaceDay two at Skate the Cape started with our Boardercross Time Trial Race where riders had to navigate through a challenging coned course making hard turns they had to slide to check speed, air over the ramp and zig-zag through the slalom section. Each rider had 3 runs to clock in there best time to make it to podium. Zach Longacre was charging the course every run and came so close to the best time of the day. I was stoked to win 1st at this event against some of my favorite riders and good friends.1st Rob Wheeler 23.562nd Zach Longacre 23.823rd Jarrid Lopez 24.89 Hippie JumpAfter that we took a lunch break thanks to Blendlife, opened up the hill for slide jam practice and setup for the Hippie Jump contest. Many riders tried the high jump but yet again Aaron Gordy dominated this event with style and maxed out our hippie jump at 52″Aaron Gordy – 4 feet 4 inchesJunior Slide JamThe Skate the Cape finale was the Junior and Open Slide Jam which would decide who our Faceplant Freestyle Cup (longboard series) winners would be. The Juniors division was led by new-comer Sam Crandall from Virginia Beach who was laying down solid runs all day. The entire Junior division was a tight matchup every heat. In the finals, Faceplant Freestyle Cup leaders Troy Dycus and Benny Clark laid down there brand of slide style to make there way to the podium.1st Sam Crandall2nd Troy Dycus3rd Benny Clark Juniors Faceplant Freestyle Cup Series1st – Troy Dycus 37.5 points2nd – Benny Clark 33 points3rd – Rian Singleton & Nathan Yager 20 pointsAll eyes were on Faceplant Freestye Cup leaders Zach Longacre and Mark Nicolaus in the Open Slide Jam. Zach dominated the opening heat but could not put it together in the semi final heat to make it to the finals. Aaron Gordy fought his way into the finals and landed an incredible technical run to bump him into 3rd place for some very valuable Faceplant Freestyle Cup points. NY rider Cody Baker was the standout of the jam putting together laser sharp runs all day long. Mark Nicolaus continued to heat up as he made his way to the finals and landed a 9.5 and 9 on his final runs to win his first Faceplant Slide Jam of the year and win of the First Faceplant Freestyle Cup! Open Slide Jam1st Mark Nicolaus2nd Cody Baker3rd Aaron Gordy Open Faceplant Freestyle Cup Series1st – Mark Nicolaus 33 points2nd – Zach Longacre 25.5 points3rd – Kardon Allard & Aaron Gordy 23 points Big Air We always end Skate the Cape with the competition where riders launch off the kicker to see who can travel the farthest distance. Kardon Allard broke a board going for the big air. Josh Fuentes was the record holder last year and pushed it to try to beat that. He took some gnarly falls but continued to walk back up the hill and try again. Cody Baker had his technique down as he soared 15 feet! Animal wowed the crowd with his longboard binding setup getting the highest out of all the riders and tied Cody at 15 feet for an epic closing to this awesome weekend. Cody Baker & Brandon “Animal” Cassel – 15 feetThank you so much for coming out to this event! Mark your calendars now for 6th annual Skate the Cape on November 4th & 5th 2017.
With the International Downhill Federation (IDF) having its blockbuster world cups like Kozakov in July the usual time for freerides and open road sessions is August. Team AOB’s (Ry Swanton, Bodhi Keen, Aaron Skippings Ben Stainer along with myself ) plan included Insul World cup, Giaosteka Freeride and Bela Joyride leaving as much free time as possible to skate the Alps. We set off from the UK for the second time this summer on August the 9th and proceeded to drive onto Insul World cup via Cologne.
Cologne proved to be especially beautiful with a historic cathedral and river. For AOB Cologne is our birthplace. Our boards are 100 percent made from veneer to finished product by the On the Grind crew for skaters in a workshop in downtown Cologne. The On the Grind crew are a bunch of hardworking skaters making top of the line boards for a few brands supported by Fun4u. We spent a day exploring the city centre on our Dancers and then helped out in the Workshop. Its pretty awesome to race someone at Insul on the weekend and then see them laying up a board in the factory on Monday.
Although some of the World cup races in Europe have been plagued by rain Insul ,nestled in North Western Germany, happened to be blessed with eternal sunshine. The track looked like a simple 5 hairpins and one 90 degree right but turned out to include 3 kinks. The advantage of Kinked corners is that everyone can choose their strongest breaking method but this in turn makes racing interesting and hectic. With the rise of Swiss foot breaking Insul made for an interesting race. Notably Pete Connolly (of the UK crew) ended up taking 7th place in the Open’s and winning the masters yet again. Pete looks like he could end up winning the Masters world tour and being crowned Champion and we are all excited to see him make it. Insul as a skate festival has a super relaxed vibe.
Berry Plasman and Olivier Gires from the IDF were absolutely on form and made sure the race ran smoothly while Stephan Kolpatzik oversaw the whole show. An impromptu football game was organized by a group of keen German skaters (who happened to be both skilled and armed with football boots and shin pads) and we all left with more scars from football than skating. Free food came with event entry; a Dinner and 2 breakfasts were included which made sure unprepared skaters managed to stay alive. Quin Boards (a core German brand also from Cologne) built a mini-ramp for the event with a whole load of comfy barrel seating for a super strong Lurk game. It turns out that when they are not designing top quality boards they spend their time making lurk equipment from board benches to the Quin table and chair set.
After Insul we then continued along on our skate adventure down to Switzerland. We had a few days free so we decided to head to a few of the classic swiss descents. There are only a few roads in Switzerland you can skate without trouble from the police and the locals who want only to protect the few spots that are still not blown. Skating is thus limited to a handful of quiet spots which the locals are happy to share.
The Entire Swiss scene meets for Giaosteka Freeride just outside of San Bernadino. Organized by a small professional crew and with camping beside a beautiful lake Giaosteka proved to be a laid back 4 days riding with friends. The course was relaxed which enabled us to ride in tight packs on our Fussion’s. The Wheel of choice for all of us was the 78a Mommentum. With just enough grip to keep up with any wheel the team spent the long weekend charging down the hill and playing drafting games on the straight. With the event starting at 1pm every day mornings were relaxed featuring games of Tennis and Mini Golf. Unfortunately Tom and Bodhi managed to end up getting injured on the penultimate run at Giaosteka. They were forced to stop by another crash in front and tumbled leaving them both with a load of road rash making the drive to Bela Joyride pretty uncomfortable.
Once we had left Giaosteka Freeride we drove north to one of Switzerlands best spots hidden amongst Boulders and Dairy Cows. Endless Freeride runs were taken on the Slide Perfect Supremacy with all three editions in use on different setup’s. We camped at the top by a small lake which Ben quickly swam in and found it to be around 12 degrees. Switzerland in general was stunningly beautiful and would be a downhill skate paradise if it were not for the police issues.
We set off from Switzerland on Tuesday beginning a long drive to the Austrian-Slovenian Border for Bela Joyride once again run by Bigmountain skate. Setup down a 10 minute long run from the border the track featured 18 corners and steep gradients. The bottom section consisted of endless hairpins you can rally around on freeride wheels while the top section had 4 interesting corners including a chicace you could go through at around 70kph.
A huge UK crew joined us there as well as friends from as far as New Zealand and Australia. Pack runs were plenty with as many as 8 runs a day efficiently achieved by Big Mountain Skate. Bodhi got out his luge and filmed for a whole day as the team just had fun. With Aaron’s ongoing knee injury from Kozakov World Cup he was limited to a little bit of skating and then a heavy icepack session. The Fussion was a perfect match for Bela Joyride and the team excelled on their boards. With locked in concave and a little drop the board made easy work of the kinks and challenging pavement Bela Joyride presented us. Evenings at Bela Featured Mini Ramp sessions and (as usual) Someone’s homemade local schnapps which proved to be blindingly strong. After a short war between Team AOB and the Dutch GUCCISQUAD we set off for Innsbruck in Western Austria to stay with Quirin Illmer.
Quirin Illmer (or Qui to his friends) is the 2015 IDF European Champion. His style features a mix of perfect technical ability and clever race decisions which have always made him one of the most heavy hitting European Skaters. After Bela Joyride Qui offered to have us stay and explore the roads around him. One of the first roads we hit was a Glacier access road which turned out to feature 25 minute long runs and have 29 corners. Straights featured speeds close to 100 KPH and on our first full descent we were all pretty shaken but excited about the run. Personally I don’t think I have skated a road as enjoyable as that. With such crazy corners and views from 3000 metres up I look forward to returning in the future. After a few full runs of what was a dream hill bad weather rolled onto the mountain and we were forced to drive onwards to an Alpine Coaster.
Alpine Coasters are gravity powered rollercoasters which have starred in many viral videos in the last few years. We were all desperate to try one and decided to go to the biggest in Austria. With Go-Pro’s attached to our helmets we flew down the track in a pack bumping each other down the mountain.
Although we were only allowed one run I would encourage anyone doing a Eurotour to check out an Alpine Coaster as the thrill is pretty close to skating downhill on a longboard. Thanks to Qui for showing us around his local downhill paradise for a few days and putting us up in Hotel Illmer.
With a short amount of time left we set off on our long drive back to Calais with a stop on the way to rest for a night. By this point in the trip we were all pretty sleep deprived and looked forward to resting in our own beds at last. However with a National UK race planned for the weekend by Brianne Collective we would only get 3 days away from each other before we were re-united to race.
Special thanks to AOB Longboards.