Female skateboarders deserve more attention. Proper attention. Same goes for females in the similarly male-oriented world of streetwear who have the drive to make a name for themselves and the ambition to release their work for the world to judge. That being said, someone making a dedicated effort in both of these circles definitely deserves a bit of shine. Enter: Latosha Stone, Owner of Proper Gnar.
As the name implies, Proper Gnar is a women’s skate and streetwear brand dedicated to creating original designs and broadcasting original skateboarding in a way that Stone feels is currently neglected. In her own words, she described the significance of the name by explaining, “It just means being good at what you do. Shredding in your own way. Having the right amount of stoke. A perfect world where you have enough time to do all your responsibilities and still have time to skate.”
To skateboarding’s credit, there is a growing collective of names like Yulin Oliver, Kristin Ebling and Valeria Kechichian who are making it their mission to spearhead efforts that advocate for genuine representation and equality for women in the scene. These movements, along with Proper Gnar, are all admirable strides that have pushed women more towards the forefront of attention in skate culture than ever before. Needless to say, however, there is plenty of room for improvement. With a resounding collective of men in positions of power within the industry and the general number or participants still overwhelmingly male-centric, the odds of a women achieving something close to equal opportunity within skateboarding is, in many ways, still far off.
The parallels for the streetwear game are comparable. In a culture where men dominate top positions at the most revered streetwear companies, the same holds true at the grassroots level. In the case of Proper Gnar, Stone has often felt this dynamic as one of, if not the only woman exhibiting at various local streetwear popups. Add this to the fact that women have been sexualized time and time again in streetwear photography and degraded on the hang tags of even the most respected skateboarding companies and it becomes clear just how much an uphill battle there still is in order to shift this narrative.
In the middle of both these worlds and the middle of the country itself, Proper Gnar exists to try to put a foot down and use it to push forward both literally and figuratively. Based in Ohio, Stone is aware of her distance from the usual cultural epicenters for both skate and streetwear in LA and NYC. Still, with a handful of fashion schools, up and coming brands and stockists for industry leading brands situated in the larger cities including Columbus and Cleveland, there’s still a decent amount of cultural influence that makes it’s way to middle America. Speaking on what the balance between both sides of the United States is like, Stone told us, “It’s different! Ohio, being in the middle of the country, finds a way to take a little bit from everybody and make it their own.”
With a ripping all-girls team of riders, a considerable Instagram following and some well deserved press coverage behind the brand, the originality of Proper Gnar’s lineup seems to be working well and speaking for itself. One look at their packed web store displays not only a range of deck graphics but also an expansive collection of pieces ranging from hoodies to socks to pins and even a few art pieces.
As for the future for Proper Gnar, Stone will be taking her efforts to the streets where she’s recently began offering skate lessons to local girls in Ohio. In addition to getting more rippers on board herself, Stone also has aspirations to support some of the charities that are working to bring skateboarding to positive new heights. Plus, even though she is without definitive plans, Stone admitted, “I know a ton of people that moved to LA and it’s probably in my future too.”
For the time being, we wanted to conclude by asking Stone to leave us with some words of parting advice regarding how best to interact with female skaters whether in the streets or the parks. Speaking on this, Stone advised, “Don’t talk to / come at us unless it’s respectful. Don’t treat us differently because we are women, or assume we can’t skate, or only do it to attract dudes. And stop asking us if we can kickflip! I also wanna say they should give more respect to trans skaters too, the comments they get sometimes are even worse.”
To show some love to Proper Gnar, check out their web store here or follow their latest updates over on Instagram here.
When you think of old school-styled cruiser boards made in Australia, it’s tough not to have the name Penny come to mind. However, the crew behind Victoria-based, Hunt Skateboards has a completely different project on their hands that combines modern versatility with the glory of 50s/60s skate nostalgia.
At first glance, these boards look similar to the Skee Skate by Tresco but with a contemporary, hand crafted finish and a set of trucks and wheels that look like they could handle far more than the metal wheeled contraptions of decades past. Nevertheless, Founder Alex Hunt claims that it was not one specific board that inspired their hallmark shape, but rather a general appreciation of skateboard manufacturers from that era that has given Hunt Skateboards their direction.
Speaking on the creative process, he told us, “The shape we ended up with actually evolved through trial and error when we were developing our concepts back in 2014. We had tried everything; every shape, style, type as a means of being innovative but we were always drawn back to the basics – the hardwood cruiser – I guess it has a nostalgic quality that can’t be tainted.”
With a tried and true model as the base, the allure of Hunt Skateboards stems from the updated maneuverability that these boards bring to the table. Upon first push, these boards are inherently easy to pick up and ride. As such, their style has been described as something in between a longboard and a Penny Skateboard. These things are designed with speed in mind and come with all the carving abilities to make it happen. They also handle with optimal responsiveness and are resistant to speed wobbles. For a casual cruiser, Hunt Skateboards check all the right boxes.
When it comes to those who have put their boards to the test, Hunt claims their customers range from hipsters to hardcore skaters to surfers to casual skaters of all ages. In line with their vision of creating an accessible ride for all – this is exactly the clientele that Hunt was shooting for. “When we were developing Hunt Skateboards, our primary focus was to develop not only a board that felt perfect under the feet, but also one that suited the broad spectrum of skaters, from beginners to advanced,” Hunt added.
As for the minds behind the brand, Alex Hunt and his partner, Caitlin Jostlear, interestingly ran the operation out of their van for the entirety of 2017. Equipped with a batch of blank decks, the pair set off on a 12 month road trip across the country, putting the finishing touches on boards and selling them as they went. Through their travels, they were able to remarkably get their boards under the feet of skaters in every state in Australia.
By the end of the excursion, van life had run it’s course as the Hunt Skateboards operation left the road with a head full of life lessons and a grip of common sense to continue their endeavors with. Now, instead of a lifestyle of long term travel, the team is about to settle into a sizable headquarters of their own. With half of the space dedicated to a workshop and the other half dedicated as a show room/hang out space, the plans for a new working environment sound like they’ll be the perfect place to further foster Hunt’s craftsmanship. Along with the new space, the team is also gearing up for the release of new hardware featuring the brand’s signature branding.
From there, the future of Hunt Skateboards will be driven by the pursuit of finding good times and celebrating the means of reaching them. To sum this vision up, Hunt concluded by telling us, “We are deeply engaged in what has always fueled the overall culture of skating/surfing and that is its creative, laid-back attitude to seeking a good time and release. With respect to the innovative, forward thinking skateboard manufacturers – to us, it is about keeping it simple and staying true to the core values of the industry. That is, as we have said to others before you, to the likes of when the skateboard was fist invented; it wasn’t about designing something new, rather finding an alternative to surfing when there were no waves. This is what we celebrate – a collective that is about enjoying life and appreciating something that allows one to do so.”
So.. You Can Longboard Dance? 2018 Worldcup Longboard Freestyle and Dance (flatland disciplines) 6th edition APRIL 21st and 22nd 2018 Klokgebouw Eindhoven The Netherlands competitions. Entry is free for spectators.
Bianca Kersten heads up Flow Provider and she is in charge of the event. We contacted her from her home in Spain.
For those who are new to the party, what is it about longboard dancing?
Longboard dancing is riding a longboard in your own style, with flow (speed, consistency, combos) and creativity (innovation is important in competitions). It includes dancing that is accompanied by a variety of technical tricks.
How did Flow Provider become part of this movement – and what was the impetus to start the SYCLD
Already since 2003 does Flow Provider organise projects within street culture and street sports. Mainly events and programs in school. We believe in making a circle: pro’s inspiring people to start who are taught bij <retired or not> pro’s who can make a living out of their passion this way. These new inspired people who are taught form the new generation of pro’s and so the story continues. I believe in taking care of the whole circle to maintain a healthy scene. I use to manage a building on the opposite side of the Klokgebouw. Jan, the owner told me that I should just ask whenever I wanted to do something. It was bad weather and we wanted to skate. And so we did.. and the whole world came. Things lined up.. I had the time and knowledge to make an event out of it (which was necessary because of the huge amounts of people that wanted to come), I have the love of longboarding and knew the people in the scene and the owner of the Klokgebouw supports us in an unbelievable way. So.. it became ‘So.. You (think you can <- the first edition this was added) Can Longboard Dance?’ as a joke because the event that was her big sister, in Zwolle NL, was called ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Nobody knew it would lead to this. And I think the secret of the succes and growth is that there is no ulteriar motive. As long as a bunch of people have fun skating and inspire others, SYCLD is a succes.
What are some of the goals of Flow Provider?
The goals of Flow Provider is inspire, connect, educate and spread the stoke. Get people to feel what we all know about. The feeling of motion on a board and the butterflies and joy that gives. What it means if you can live your passion. I guess that is also the strength of organising SYCLD. I love every moment I can spend on the beach and in the ocean, so I only want to spend time behind the computer doing what I love, my time is too precious to me. SYCLD is an event I love to organise because it’s all about positivity. Everyone wants the best for it and each other. Even the sponsoring brands don’t want to dominate each other. Everyone supports it and loves doing so because it’s nice! Teaching longboard is also so nice! I was teaching thousands of kids and the smiles are the best! So inspire and get those who are inspired to inspire others. The pebble in the water..
For SYCLD I would like to have one event on every continent or in every region. The winner wins a trip to Eindhoven to have a shot at the title of World Champion. I think everyone should have the chance to attend and that a plane ticket to Eindhoven should not be the reason that maybe the biggest hidden talent somewhere can’t come. I think Brenno’s story is so inspirational. Did a crowdfunding campaign to get money for a ticket from Brazil to Holland and luckily he made it because he became world champion that year! And this changed his life!
For those who’ve never attended a SYCLD, what should they expect?
A huge venue of 5000m2 where you can skate, watch and enjoy yourself! With the nicest people on the planet doing things on a board that seem impossible. Just enjoy, skate and relax. The event is both days (21st and 22nd of April) from 13.00-22.00 and on Saturday there is a party nearby. Many competitions and much space to skate with obstacles. Eindhoven is also an awesome city. Most innovations and new developments in design are coming from Eindhoven. For those who can’t make it there will be a live broadcast!
This Saturday, in MORRO BAY, California, the world premier of Virgin Blacktop will take place. Thanks to the work of Charlie Samuels, this 23-years-in-the-making film will finally be unleashed formally to
the world. This is not to say that it hasn’t been seen. It has – in Nyack, New York back in fall to a local audience. But this particular moment in Morro Bay is the official world premier. I’ve seen the film TWICE and I can tell you that is absolutely is a masterpiece. It is 100% pure stoke. No skater will be unmoved. In fact, I think once this film works its magic on the skate world, you’ll see change within skateboarding. Positive change.
Virgin Blacktop isn’t just about skateboarding. It’s about community. It’s about how we as a society get a long. It’s about life and it’s about celebrating people’s lives. Unlike the Dogtown and Z Boys film which hit 18 years ago, this movie is in completely different head space. If you’re an old school skater, you won’t know any of the main characters (except if you’re a freestyler and the name Joe Humeres rings a bell).
The film will make you think about the positive energy that the act of skateboarding gives us all. If it doesn’t make you want to leap out of your seat and grab your board, chances are you’re either dead or comatose.
To Charlie Samuels and all of the Wizards who are featured in Virgin Blacktop, thank you for inspiring me to love skateboarding that much more! Your film and story is lesson for us all.
You don’t need to be sponsored by Vans to be a Wizard. Nyack, NY November 2017
I’ve met a number of freestyle skaters from Brazil. These include Per Cangru and Ernani “Tai Tai” Craveiro.
But what I’ve never seen is a combination of freestyle AND tattoos!
Today is March 8th. it’s International Women’s Day.
Did you know that?
The truth is my wife reminded me – but I thought it was on the 11th. Turns out that is the day many folks are gathering this weekend for rallies.
Patti McGee a leading light in skateboarding since the early 1960’s. Five decades later, Patti is still rolling!
By a strange coincidence, March 11 is my mom’s birthday AND the day I met Noel Korman in 2011 at the world’s first longboard trade show in NYC.
In most years, I’d be working on the April issue and waiting for the March Buyer’s Guide to come back from the press.
Ellen O’Neal rode for G&S. An awesome freestyle skater.
Photo: Warren Bolster
That didn’t happen this year. But more on that in a moment.
Peggy Oki made a huge mark on the “Lords of Dogtown.”
Laura Thornhill was featured in the Fall 1976 issue of SkateBoarder. She received over 10 pages of coverage!
I used to put a huge amount of focus getting the magazine out at the specific time. Speaking of time, I spent a huge amount time chasing advertisers to get their ads or listings in for deadline. Speaking of advertisers, happy to report we one new Swiss advertiser – Rocket Longboards.
Thanks to a series of events, I have the time to focus on things that connect all skaters. And that’s why I am writing this column. My first shout is to Candy Dungan, who is our associate editor. Can you spot her in this layout? Candy is right there…on the top left!
Can you spot Candy?
You see, I think now more than ever we need ALL skaters (both FEMALE and MALE) to be part of International Women’s Day. Here’s just one link why.
Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word!
I encourage you to get out there and roll for women today. Think of what is must be a woman in Vatican City, the only place in the world where women can’t vote.
And in Belarus, women can’t become truck drivers. Then again, if you think about it, it was only 1971 when women got the right to vote in Switzerland.
The Longboard Girls Crew
For those male skaters who can’t understand what your role is today, here’s my take:
Get out there and skate. Enjoy everything the act of skateboarding gives you. Freedom and fun springs to my mind. If you run into some female skaters or just females, treat them the way you’d like to be treated. If they are new skateboarding, stoke them out. If they’ve been riding longer than you, take the time to learn from them. If you just do that, you’re rolling for peace – that is your role. If you want to march, or support women
in some other way , that’s also cool too.
So, here’s to women everywhere in skateboarding! Thank you for being here! Girl is NOT a 4 Letter word!
Special shout out to Valeria Kechichian of the Longboard Girls Crew.
Tip of the hat to:
Pink Widow Distribution.
BTW: Our next roll is April 22 – Earth Day.
Come join us in Toronto for this event
Spots are available for your product – it is green
And check out Peggi Oki’s charity that fits perfectly with April 22.
A quick glance over at Amazon USA and you can get into a longboard for $29.99
YIKES! (just kidding about the roll over image part!)
And here’s something else to consider – FREE SHIPPING
How the F**K does this even work? Shipping has to cost something. A big box like this has to be at least $15 to ship.
But don’t take my word for it, have a look at the reviews.
I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t have price point products. We should. But can someone please explain to me after you:
- take a piece of wood – shape it into a deck and add grip
- add trucks and mounting hardware
- add wheels and bearings
- pay someone to put it together, put it in a box and ship it to the USA
- then ship it from a warehouse to a customer somewhere for FREE
HOW THE HELL DOES THIS EVEN MAKE A PROFIT?
We are devaluing skateboarding one not for profit complete at a time.
This newsletter is about what to look for in a woodshop. And we have a hard hitting interview with a manager of an established woodshop.
The truth is that skateboarding is awesome.
The real truth is that starting a skate company and working with a woodshop can be nightmare. Just ask my buddy _____. We can’t give his name because you know…lawyers. But trust me it can be a total nightmare trying to get decks made. We hope this little interview helps you avoid some serious nightmares.
REMEMBER – buyer beware! DO NOT FREAK OUT…read this interview FIRST before you place that order.
What should you be looking for when it comes to choosing a woodshop to make your decks?
History and heritage. This shows credibility and experience right off the bat. The customer should be able to pull plenty of information about the organization on the internet
Their philosophies and core values. Check out their website and see what they are about.
Cleanliness and organization. Visiting the factory not only ensures that they are not brokers themselves, but also allows the customer the ability to check out their organization. We know that all wood shops are dirty or dusty, but not to a point that it looks like stuff is just thrown everywhere
Customer Service. Customer service should be a top priority. Are they taking the time to really meet your needs, or do they just want to take your money?
The desire to work with the customer. A great wood shop would sit you down, ask you questions, and be upfront with you about everything verbally and most importantly, in writing, so there are no discrepancies
Over promises. An experienced wood shop would under promise, and maintain their timeline ( usually between 4 to 6 weeks). Most of the time, they finish the job before then.
The woodshop’s opinion and/or advice. Yes, both parties need to make money. A great wood shop would give their opinion and/ or advice without telling one what to do, hopefully resulting in a production-friendly, quality product. There are no perfect wood shops; they do run into snags and it is to be expected. But make sure that the wood shop communicates this back to you. They should be giving you facts, answers, and solutions…not excuses.
A great wood shop would also let you know that certain processes would be better done by you rather than the wood shop, so you can save money and time. The attitude of the wood shop should be like what’s someone once said , “ We are here to make your life as easy as possible, and help you be successful at the same time.”
How to best handle references?
Great wood shops will not reveal their customers. It’s like a code of ethics to keep their OEM customers at secret. Most likely, a great wood shop will already have a great reputation by simple “word of mouth”. Remember that good references should not only be on the quality of the product, but also on timelines, and especially customer service.
What are some alarm bells that should trigger “RUN AWAY!” ?
This is a tough one, since every wood shop looks great at first even with great references, but do your RESEARCH! If you are caught in the middle of a dilemma, you should look at signs of multiple promises not delivered, and multiple excuses….THIS IS A WARNING SIGN….by the second promise not fulfilled or second excuse….you should start thinking of your exit strategy.
What’s the best way to handle disputes?
Disputes are easy to handle if everything was placed in writing before the start of production. Write everything down, and you as the OEM customer and the wood shop should review the terms. Once agreed to, both parties should sign off on it
Recap e-mails are a must, just in case there were details that needed more attention or were missed. There’s a saying that the customer is always right. That is true most of the time, but if you have everything in writing…there should be no question who made the mistake…it’s either the customer or the manufacturer.
A few things you should know about Bud Stratford. He’s known to have gulped over 10 Cokes a day. He smokes clove cigarettes. And Bud loves skateboarding and has done so for over 30 years. He also is a prolific writer and influential thinker within skateboarding. He’s been part of CW for over a decade and he’s been known to kick my ass on more than one occasion. I am proud to call him a friend always look forward to what unleashes to the world.
This interview features all of Bud’s artwork. It’s also over 3,000 words. God bless digital media!
What motivates you to write about skateboarding and explore things that most wouldn’t touch?
I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I’m not sure that I’m writing about things that people wouldn’t touch. Quite the opposite, I think, is true: I’m writing about things that most people are actually talking about, and talking about a lot, right now. They’re not saying these things publicly… and that’s probably the only real difference between me, and them. But, they are definitely talking about them privately.
So, the real question is probably, “Why are you talking about these things, publicly?” Here’s why: people ultimately need to hear about these things. They need to be brought to the surface sooner or later, and aired out. They need to be discussed. Problems need to be solved, and paradigms need to be put right. For everybody’s benefit. It’s just part of the progress-process at work. If we can’t define, articulate, debate, and propose solutions to pertinent problems, we’ll never get anywhere in life. And nobody in their right mind wants that.
If I can put the conversation on the table, and add a few neat, new, and novel ideas into the mix? Then I’ve done some small part to help move that process forward. Or, maybe it’s just because I’m a dick. There are a lot of industry dudes that would probably agree with that one. They might be right. Maybe I am.
With all the moves to online, what are your visions for the brick and mortar skateshop?
I have a lot of hope for the long-term future of retail, but I can see that the short term is going to be really, really rough road for them. A lot of it is for this simple reason: a lot of them just aren’t doing their damned jobs all that well.
I just came off an extensive summer tour, where I spent a lot of time “mystery shopping” skate shops. I would go in, not as a magazine editor (I was working for Concrete Wave at the time), and not as an “industry guy”… but just as an average, anonymous skater, or an everyday customer. And I would experience those shops in their truest and rawest form
I spent a lot of my summer being shocked and dismayed by what I saw and experienced. It kinda sucked.
Skate shops, by and large, see things like the internet, Amazon, Zumiez, Tilly’s, brands that sell direct-to-consumer, and other core skate shops, as threats. That’s precisely where they’re misguided. They are not threats; they are alternatives. That’s the key distinction that everybody’s missing here.
Thirty years ago, if your local shop sucked… what were you gonna do? You had to shop there anyway, you didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. There weren’t really alternatives… and if there were, they were huge pains in the asses. Sending away a money order for a skateboard, and then waiting a month to get it? That was really, really inconvenient. You know the struggle, Mike. We’ve both lived it.
Nowadays, consumers actually have a whole horde of viable, enjoyable, and convenient alternatives. And they are slowly abandoning the shops that are doing a bad job. It’s not rocket science or anything. It’s just common sense.
But if the shops did their jobs right, and did them well… then why would we need alternatives? Why would the customers abandon a great local shop? The answer is simple: we wouldn’t. We’d all shop at the local shop, and we’d all be really, really happy to do it. That’s the plain truth that most shops, for whatever misguided reasons, simply refuse to accept. They blame everyone else for their woes, but they almost never point the finger at themselves. The alternatives are not to blame; they did not create the problem. They merely offered a solution. The shops, themselves, created the sucky-shop problem. And only the shops, themselves, can fix it.
In my world, shops are supposed to be the front line of skateboard promotion. They’re supposed to be putting on grassroots events, showcasing skateboarding, getting people excited, inviting them into our pastime, and acting as the fun-loving experts and the advocates for their local scenes. Their goal should be to put anybody and everybody on a skateboard, regardless of color, gender, background, ability… whatever, none of that matters. Just enable, inspire, and enlighten the customers- all of them. And then, they’re supposed to be organizing that skating community, and inspiring them to do greater-good sorts of things… like, fighting for public skateparks. That involves a lot of outreach, and a lot of cultivating a cohesive community. But at the end of the day, that’s their job. That’s what they signed up for.
They’re not doing those things anymore… if they ever did them in the first place. And that’s why they’re failing. That’s why customers are seeking out the alternatives. And that’s why the alternatives are winning.
Once they get back to doing those things, I think they’ll survive and thrive. Because nobody else… outside of a local skateboard club… is really in the position to do them. The alternatives are not the perfect paradigm; the local skate shop is. But only when they aren’t sucking at life. Which too many of them are doing right now.
Our industry has every right to be quite concerned about this, and our industry should- in turn- do anything and everything they can to help these shops out. They should be mentoring and advising the shops, to help them build better and more sustainable businesses. We’ve taken a shop under our wing as a pilot program to see how well it can work, and it turns out that it works really, really well. It benefits the shop, it benefits the brands, it benefits the customers… and it’s not too much work, really. It’s surprisingly simple to do, and pretty easy. And it’s fun. But it helps the shop so much to know that somebody has their back, if they need… well, anything, really.
We’re doing it because we recognize that once we lose a critical mass of skate shops… and mark my words on this one, Mike… we’re gonna see a skateboarding Armageddon like you’ve never seen. Skate scenes will die on the vine, everywhere. It’s already well under way, and we all know it. But nobody has made that simple connection just yet. Good shops, good scenes. Great shops, great scenes. No shops? No scenes. No scenes? No grassroots skateboarding excitement and engagement. No excitement and engagement? No skateboarding. It’s that simple. And that’s what I saw over and over again on tour this summer.
That dream of owning and operating an independent skate shop… that’s timeless. I think that the Millennial generation will start opening up shops, and doing it the way it’s supposed to be done. They’ll get it right. And if the industry had any brains in their heads, they’d actively encourage, aid, and abet that. And they will, eventually. It’s just a matter of time.
You travel extensively – what is about the open road and exploring that excites you?
Discovering neat new things. That’s about 99% of the answer. Every day is a great day for a grand adventure, isn’t it…? So, go have an adventure! Learn something. Live life. Love the journey, and savor the experiences. Cherish the memories, and die with a smile on your face. Fuck yeah. That’s pretty much it, right there.
Truly a personal question – you don’t have children – but if you did how would you raise them to love skateboarding?
I’d tell them that I gave them life, and that I could just as easily take it away. Nah, just kidding… kinda. I honestly don’t know. My goddaughter skates; her mom just told me last week that she still has the first skateboard I ever gave her. Hopefully, she rides it from time to time. As long as she loves life, then that’s fine. That’s the important part. Everything else is just everything else. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff. Skateboarding is a means to the ends, not the ends themselves. The ends should be happiness, fun, fulfillment, contentment. If she gets that some other way, with some other pastime, then that’s perfectly a-ok with me.
The decision to reactivate the Everything Skateboarding website is something that I know many people are anticipating. What should people expect? What are your key goals?
I’m not sure how to answer that. They should probably expect to see a lot of words, photos, and art, because that’s what’s in there. A couple videos. Lots of bright, vibrant colors set against a black background. A few neat ideas, and a lot of humor. It’s pretty entertaining. Especially if you enjoy reading. Then, it’s probably solidly awesome. Avid readers that love intellectual challenges and a good laugh will love it.
For me, it’s basically an art-and-empowerment project. It’s an exercise of creating something exemplary… I hope, at least… out of extraordinarily limited means. It’s a creative outlet that has the potential to engage, inspire, and empower others to follow suit, and exercise their own creativity. If that’s all I ever do? Then I’ll be more than happy.
It’s not just me, though. Obviously, this is ultimately a collective effort. Therefore, I could never take all the credit, although I’m more than happy to take all of the blame. Everything Skateboarding is the net result of the combined efforts of the entire staff. They all played a really big role in it, and they did a fantastically good job with everything. I’m just the ringleader of the good vibe tribe. But without the tribe, I’d be nada, zip, zero. So, thanks everybody. I love you all.
What have been some of the most surprising things you’ve learned over the years as it relates to skate drama?
That there is such a thing as “skate drama”…? That continually surprises me. How astronomically huge some egos can be. How incredibly greedy some people can be. How painfully shortsighted and conservative our self-appointed “leaders” can be. Skateboarding is a big, happy, dysfunctional family. It should really be far more loving than it actually is.
I have my fair share of adversaries and enemies in this industry, for sure. I am absolutely not the pinnacle of perfection over here. But anyone who knows me at all… even if it’s just in passing… knows this about me: I am fucking cool. That doesn’t mean that I’m “a cool guy”- far from it. That’s not what I mean.
What I mean is that, even if you are my worst enemy on the whole planet… I’m still that guy that’ll pat you on the back, and buy you a beer when we cross paths. I’ll still give you genuine props if you do something really great that I’m stoked on. If you need a hand, I’ll probably be the guy standing there, ready and willing to give ya a hug and a bit of help. I’m not “cool”, per se… but I am pretty respectful and sincerely fair to my fellow human. Even if I fundamentally disagree with you, I’m still pretty good times.
Sadly, that brand of cool is not particularly popular anymore. Kinda sucks, but whatever. Be the change you seek in the world. Cool is a universal language. If you’re cool to people, they’ll usually be cool to you in return. Truer words have never been spoken, buddy. If everybody embraced that simple philosophy, the world would be in a far better place than it is.
Is the fact that skateboarding still remains accessible one of its greatest strengths, or one of its greatest weaknesses? I mean, if it was as big as the NHL or NBA, would it have the same meaning ? After all, you can pretty much anything you want to be in skateboarding. Whereas out of 30,000 Ontario hockey players, only 15 played more than one season [as a pro].
Oh, it’s a total strength. Look at me, dude! I’m ginormously huge, way too damn fat, painfully uncoordinated, and just dumber than a doorknob. I shouldn’t even be a skater, for pete’s sakes. I should have been a football playing goon or something; I hear that kind of crap all the time. But, what was I doing this morning? Chatting to Jim Goodrich, one of my childhood heroes. Can you believe that shit?! I can’t! I seriously have to pinch myself all the time, like I’m convinced I’m living a daydream or something. The fact that I get to call Jim up, hear him answer the phone, and do some friendly chatting just blows my brains away.
And here’s the best part: any kid in the world can be me. Seriously, I’m not even kidding. Any fat, stuttering, nerdy kid that has a whole bunch of passion, that can write a long-winded essay, tell a funny story, draw a sketchy cartoon, and take a really bad photo with a cheap-ass camera, can do exactly what I do… maybe even do it far better than I could ever do it. And they can live my lifestyle, and be super happy with life. Skateboarding is absolutely amazing like that.
That’s why it sucks in so many amazing people: because amazing people like being in the company of other amazing people, doing really amazing things. No other pastime is so empoweringly democratic, and so uniquely inspiring, encouraging, and enabling. That’s a total credit to skateboarding. We’re really lucky to be a part of it. I know I sure am.
We talk a lot about inclusion and community within skateboarding, and yet there remains some significant divisions. Will we ever see a clear path out of these issues?
Yes. Yes, we will. Once we put our egos, our self-interests, our ignorance, and our misguided perceptions aside, we’ll figure it all out. What’s the point of keeping skateboarding our protected little secret? I’ll say it again: there should be a skateboard for everybody, and everybody should ride a skateboard. Even if it’s just once in your life… can you say that you’ve really lived, until you’ve ridden a skateboard at least once? No, you can’t. And everybody knows it. It’s such an effective conduit of pure joyfulness, why wouldn’t we share that with everybody? Do we really want the rest of the world to live in misery forever? And who would want the rest of the world to be miserable, anyway? That doesn’t make any damned sense to me at all. And I can’t see how that would make any sense to anyone else, either.
What company in your opinion is doing a great job to support the grassroots?
Nothing really springs to mind here. I mean, the advertisers that I work with at Everything Skateboarding should definitely get some props; they’re clearly supporting a grassroots movement in a really big way. The brands that support our events, the brands that send in articles and photos… yeah. In my world, there are brands that are making major contributions to the cause. And a lot of the local brands around Phoenix are very activist; they’re doing a lot for skating here in the valley.
Unfortunately, I can’t speak much about what goes on outside of my world. That wouldn’t be fair to anybody.
Have you found any company that is monumentally hypocritical within skateboarding? Describe the hypocrisy.
The last time I dealt with “monumental hypocrisy” was when IASC did that Blank Initiative. That still stands out as one of the stupidest things they’ve ever done.
I think what we really deal with in this industry is lack of leadership, lack of vision, or lack of initiative. There are a lot of followers in our business, but very few standouts that are willing and able to push the limits, and try new things. Which is so ironic, because skateboarding itself is all about pushing limits and trying new things. But there’s a huge chasm between skateboarding itself, and the industry that supports it. Skateboarding is very libertine by nature, while the industry tends to be rather stoic and conservative. It’s an odd juxtaposition, isn’t it? But that’s money at work. Money wrecks everything, eventually.
Back in the early 80’s skaters railed against Reagan. Are politics acceptable within skateboarding now?
I think so. I don’t think they were ever unacceptable. It’s just super hard to revolt too hard against guys like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They really were super friendly fellows, weren’t they…? Agree or disagree with their policies, they were still pretty likable. At least you had a little bit of respect for their innate coolness. Comrade Cheetoh, on the other hand, is the ultimate poster boy for unrestrained douchebaggery. Even if he did everything right, he’d still be a dick. That fact that he manages to screw damn near everything up just makes it that much worse.
People are still revolting, of course. They’re just a little quieter about it. They’re withdrawing from power paradigms, and creating their own universes. Not unlike Tom Wolfe’s study of statuspheres. They’re dropping out of the two-party political system… it still amazes me that Americans, of all people, still tolerate being forced to choose from two unreasonably awful choices every four years, for our highest elected office… and taking a far more active hand in governing themselves. It’s Henry David Thoreau’s ultimate dream come true: people dropping out of the system en masse, and being the true masters of their own destinies. That’s going to be Trump’s ultimate legacy: he’s going to be the guy that made government look hopelessly laughable and irrevocably irrelevant in our lives, because he was such a f’n boob.
At the end of the day, he has somehow single-handedly managed to forever tarnish the position of the Presidency. And good riddance. Nobody should have ever been endowed with that kind of power over other people in the first damned place.
Thanks for your time, Bud. That’s 3,000+ words.
SECTION A – Welcome To the Truth & Real Truth – Introductions Not Really Necessary, But Here They Are Anyway
I started up the Skategeezer Homepage in 1995.
A few of you reading this were there when the NCSDA started. A few others might recall when Silverfish started. I bet a lot of people reading this were there Skate Slate and Wheelbase started.
Hey…that’s Skate Slate!
I was and continue to be very happy to have a front row seat to it all. The last 22 years of my life in skateboarding were truly incredible. But in truth, things have been difficult. A lot of advertisers have decided to spend money on different marketing initiatives. This is code for “we’re spending most of our advertising money on Facebook, Google, You Tube and Instagram.” Btw, it’s not just skateboarding, many very small independent traditional magazine publishers like me are faced with similar issues.
Hey! That’s… Wheelbase!
The truth is that ever since we started this new website, I’ve wondered, will it help or harm? Are the forums going to resonate? What exactly will the experience be like? Am I complete digital imbecile lost in a time warp who never was able to make the damn website work?
But then, I think about how I came to find Sean. You see, Sean is my web guru and thanks to Steve Meketa we met up last summer and set plans in motion to make this website work.
Sean is working like a demon to make things happen Sean’s vision is on point. He knows how to work within the digital world and more than this, he freakin’ loves skateboarding. That’s a deadly combo.
The Truth? The only way to make these next 21 years go by with same amount of fun and passion as the last 21 is for me to truly find my flow again within skateboarding. I am proud to truthfully say – “all systems go”
The Real Truth? Concrete Wave finally has a website that it should have had almost 20 years ago – about freakin’ time! Now the fun begins!
SECTION B – DEMONS UNDER THE BOARDS – AKA WHO’S WHO?
I got a text from my friend Samson. Samson is unique. Samson is curious and truly loves skateboarding. Samon doesn’t just work like a demon, he’s a speed demon. He loves bombing hills. He’s also demon in the kitchen, whipping up fantastic skate grub every time we meet – thank you for your hospitality. He’s also a mind demon and he wrote something to me yesterday that stopped me in my tracks. Curse you Samson for getting into my brain…again!
He wrote have you seen this Vulture Magazine Quincy Jones interview?
Quincy set the internet on fire!
Many people reading this post probably don’t know of Quincy Jones. One thing is for sure, you’ve heard of all the major artists he’s produced. Read the damn article. It’s a jaw dropper.
Ironically enough, Jonathan Nuss (now living north of 60) was the one who spread this story on social media.
Jonathan Nuss loves Nunavut!
Like I said, it’s got more bombshells than a year’s worth of Maury
This guy makes serious coin from others misfortune.
But here was Samson’s take, and I am paraphrasing here – you gotta make a magazine that is as honest and raw like that interview. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth.
After sleeping on Samson’s words, I realized that I need to get writing. Samson unlodged something in my mind. It is time for a raw and honest assessment of the skate industry through the prism of Concrete Wave. It is truly time to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
The Truth? After 21 years, I know people who know people...who know things. And it’s time for some illumination on all the bullshit that’s out there. Plus, I know where the bodies are buried.
The Real Truth? Our tip hotline is open. You ready to help us point out about some truly outrageous hypocrisy within skateboarding? Operators are standing by. And if you don’t contact us, Samson or karma will find you.
A world without pros…11th anniversary of a gift that keeps on giving.
SECTION C – AKA THE “C” SECTION – WHERE WE CUT TO THE CHASE
God, it’s been a brutal week. The senseless deaths in Florida. This is why the USA needs to have an truthful conversation on making guns a little more difficult to obtain than Kinder Surprises were for the past few decades. If you can regulate printed porn, cigarettes and liquor, you can put the same amount of thought into regulating guns.
My social media feed is filled with “thoughts and prayers” and “parents, raise your kids right” and “2nd Amendment” and “abortion caused this” and more and more statistics.
The Truth? This was the week that I decided to finally stop posting on my personal page. I deleted a number of old posts and set my settings to private. I even removed it from as a shortcut on my phone. Personally, I am over Facebook. I hope a billionaire reads about our gun buy back and we put thousands of skateboards into people’s hands.
The Real Truth? Facebook makes me feel like shit most of the time. I see left/right battling it out. I see my skate heroes posting stuff that makes my headspin. Then I remember, it’s the skateboarding that unites us.
If you want to face our 3 questions…just email me.
Either Samson or I will be happy to put you in the hot seat.
The following song assisted in the production of this newsletter. This song is over 42 years old. Deal with it.
Still great 42 years later!
And if you find that track awesome, check out this cover by Phil Upchurch.
Phil Smage takes flight!
Today’s forecast in Toronto is SNOW…followed by more SNOW. The question what the hell are you going to do about it?
Four years ago I published this magazine.
Published in the winter of 2014, this magazine was ahead of its time. The time to get out there and ride is NOW!
The truth is that sometimes it takes a while for the future to catch up with the present. I am delighted to see that progressive snow resorts like Lakeridge are allowing snowskaters. Tonight a gang from my local skate shop, Longboard Haven are heading out to the hills. As with longboarding back in the day, it’s always rad to hit double digits of riders. This time, I expect dozens of snow skaters to hit the slopes and the stoke level will be at level 5. Kudos to Rob and Chicken for making things happen.
Kouta Asaumi of Hovland Snowskates
There are of course a number of hotspots for snow skating. Lake Tahoe has had a raging scene for quite some time. But for many skaters, the idea of snowskating is still fairly new. The fact is that snowskating turns a molehill into a mountain. Summer is coming soon, but before that time, we’ve got at least another few months of snow. So get out there and ride!
In the Winter of 2016, I fell in love with parking blocks in the depths of an unassuming New Jersey parking garage. Rows and rows of them. Always in pursuit of the best low impact skateboarding I can find, I would spend nearly every night from January through April realizing how much potential these mini concrete flatbars had packed in them. As skateboarders, curbs and parking blocks are up there among the most appealing found pieces of architecture to mash our trucks into and slide our decks across. From those seemingly perfectly polished California red curbs to the crustier east coast hexagons that chip away to exposed rebar, few skaters can say they have gone without hitting a parking block one time or another.
In the midst of this developing love affair, I came across the work of Cory Scroggins, (aka @CoryTheCreative on Instagram) and found another skater out there who seemed to share this affinity for the blocks. In his work, Scroggins has painted blocks of all shapes, sizes and colors, to compose his neon and pastel-heavy aesthetic. Whether busting out his favorites, either lipslides or front/back blunt slides, or having a casual session, Scroggins told us, “to me the parking block is one of the more fun things to skate, especially with your mates. With a fresh waxed block and sesh with your friends, there’s nothing better haha.”
Beyond the blocks though, Scroggins’ art catches the eye through the variety of non-conventional mediums he uses. Random slabs of wood, broken boards, cassette cases and beer cans are all subject to be taken by Scroggins’ brush and reimagined in a colorful second life. Speaking on his choice of canvas, Scroggins says, “I honestly enjoy painting on all different types of objects and items. No real preference as long as it’s not something brand new. There’s just something to an old item or object that tells a story all in itself before I even paint on it.” For example, if you see some of his work on that pint bottle that would have otherwise been trashed, you might see that it’s actually an IPA from that local brewery up the street from his studio called Upland Brewing Co.
As for the other bottles and scraps that Scroggins salvages, you might find them at a pop up art show, of which he has had plenty. When asked about the process and intent behind his shows, he told us, “When I had my first couple of shows years and years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. Some folks where taken back by my style while other loved what I was doing. When I have these shows I try to have a theme or a message I want to say, instead of just making all about me or my name. In the end I just want to inspire others to be creative and to be comfortable as the kooks they are.”
As for some of these other kooks Scroggins has worked with, his work was notably shown at the Quiet Life’s “The Art of Table Tennis” show alongside the likes of Chris Pastras, Henry Jones and one of his best friends, Lucas Beaufort.
The ping pong paddles he designed helped benefit Long Beach’s homeless community. With impactful goals in mind for shows like this one, it is important for Scroggins to dive right into the creative process when an idea arrives. This way, he can avoid, ideas “sitting in your mind floating around [and] not being put to use. Wasting away. When I get an idea that I’m really excited about, I try to draw it right away so I don’t forget it” he asserts.
Not only is Scroggins dedicated to keeping his ideas from going to waste, he is committed to fostering environments where up and coming creatives can let their ideas out as well. To speak more about his vision, he announced, “I’m working a project to give back to skateboarding and the youth. I’m currently planning out 10 stops at skate shops to have shows and bring art supplies and skateboards to create unique experiences and donate all proceeds back directly to each shop I stop at, in hopes to build up creativity and spark positive change. While this announcement leaves us to question whether or not his tour will breed the next generation of parking block painters, there is one thing for certain: with the eclectic collection of work that Cory Scroggins has produced thus far, those participating will have all the inspiration they need to emulate both his creativity and his humanitarian endeavors.
To follow the upcoming events, drop Cory a follow on Instagram here.
Those familiar with the name Lucas Beaufort may remember the piece we ran on his wildly popular artwork earlier this year. Behind the colorful characters he paints on top of magazine covers, ads and other skate photos, Beaufort told CW, “My goal is to bring something special to the world. I don’t want to come out with something that you see everyday.”
In the time since that last piece ran, Beaufort has again caught the attention of the skateboarding world in different way: his documentary on the legacy and future of print media, “Devoted.” In the hour long feature, some of skateboarding’s top professionals, photographers, writers and videographers chronicle their feelings on a variety of different issues currently facing print media today.
Speaking about the how’s and why’s of this project in an interview with Jenkem, Beaufort mentioned that his intent is “more about showing the new generation how important print was before the internet era. But I think it would be interesting to know what they think about the documentary.” With that being said, I logged into Gmail and shot Beaufort an message to venture some questions and share some thoughts I had on “Devoted” based on my “internet era” mindset.
To explain a bit further, I should express the predicament I find myself in regarding the subject. I became immersed the skateboard world well after the explosion of digital media, HD video and internet-based content, yet I write for a print magazine. I very often interact with people who lived through an all-print era and continue to fight to prove the value of print today. I look up to those who pushed skateboarding through the work of printed publications and I’m every bit intrigued by the stories of yesteryear, where the industry’s greatest surprises and announcements warranted sanctity in the pages of a monthly magazine. These are moments that Beaufort recalls by stating “back in the days you could (before Internet) you could surprise people with projects, now it’s almost impossible. You always have somebody to spoil it through Instagram.”
At the same time though, I wake up every morning scrolling through an Instagram feed to see how many dream tricks have come to life over the past couple hours.
This is something that Beaufort dually expressed support of by saying “Social media is also a super good tool to promote whatever you want and if you don’t have the big media to support you.”
However, as I find myself writing for this print publication’s digital website, I remind myself that embracing my overall position of neutrality is probably the best way to continue being able to relate to both sides of the coin. Featuring people dealing with similar iterations of this juxtaposition is, by far, the defining element that makes “Devoted” as special as it is.
In regards to the divisions between print and digital, Beaufort himself told me, “To be honest with you I like both. I like to dream with a print photo in my hands as I like to connect super fast with people around the world through social media.” On one hand, he is supported in the documentary by the likes of Steve Berra and Jaime Owens, who support the potential of print magazines, if executed in a sustainable way. On the other hand, his dreams are perhaps more passionately supported by the likes of Skin Phillips stammering with “I don’t know’s” and Marc Johnson nearly in tears over the possibility of a future without print media.
Former editor of Transworld Skateboarding and the Skateboard Mag – Dave Swift
These are critical firsthand accounts of the future of skateboarding’s media landscape as volunteered by some of the foremost players involved. In the end though, the ultimate question of “Where do we go now?” is left to interpretation and subject to the progression of whatever the future may hold. Speaking on this, Beaufort told me “With Devoted I’m not here to tell skateboard magazines who they have to talk with or how do they have to run it. Being that there is a crucial element of the right mixture of people needed to blend together though, Beaufort continued “It’s a team effort. Print has to do the best to get more readers, it sounds cheezy but it’s true. It’s the same with everything, if you want to survive you have to be extremly good, especially today.”
Pro Marc Johnson is devoted to skate mags.
With that being said, I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who wonders where those magazines that used to come to their door have gone to take a look at Lucas Beaufort’s “Devoted” for a comprehensive look into where they came from, where they have gone and when they’ll be delivered next.
Check out “Devoted” in it’s entirety here.
Calleigh Little is doing something quite incredible in the world of skateboarding. She is going across the USA via longboard solo. We caught up with her in Wyoming. Before we get into the interview, here are some of Calleigh’s impressive contest results:
Adrenalina 2016 – 2nd Place Women’s
215 miles – Miami Ultraskate 2017 (Second Place Women’s)
188 miles – Chief Ladiga Sk8 Challenge (Second Place Women’s)
Central Mass Skate Festival 8 – Women’s First Place
Somewhere in Nebraska
Why do you find long distance and downhill skateboarding so enjoyable?
It’s not so much that I find long distance or downhill enjoyable- I truly feel like both disciplines ask things of me I dont normally do. They enable me to extend myself in ways I never would in any other part of life. Long distance requires a mental focus, extensive planning, and full body commitment. I find that when I am in a situation where my entire being is used, I have an opportunity to see how far I can take it. And then I take it further.
Downhill, on the other hand, is a streamline of panic, fear, focus, and commitment. I absolutely adore the moments where I have no idea whats coming up after a turn. How will I react? Do I fully tuck or do I have to prepare for a predrift? When I’m going fast, no other questions matter. I dont worry about student loan bills. Who cares what that guy said to me last night? All that matters is that I make it down safely. I love that.
What made you decide to go solo across the USA?
When I first came out as a transgender woman, the world hadn’t even begun to bring it into the mainstream news. I didn’t have all kinds of acceptance, and I certainly didn’t have the friends I do now. That was 3 years ago. The world wants to make it seem like it’s being shoved down their throats, but its just a new thing the media is okay with talking about.
Now, three years later, I didn’t want to run away from anything. I had friends all over the globe from competing. I wanted to do it solo for me. I came to a point where I wasnt learning anything anymore from the people I interacted with. I knew there had to be more to learn. If I did it with someone else, the experience could have been about our experience together, and not my experience with the world.
Where do you think your competitive spirit comes from?
After a long life of being beaten down and coming up short, I found that my competitive edge was a product of me wanting to rise above. People tend to think that I have always been on top- its simply not the case. I experienced enough life to a point where I had to fight back, I had to be myself, and I had to win. I have been so sick and tired of sitting in the back of the class. I trained and fought and trained a bit more. And when I sat down at the end of the day, I thought about training again.
What has been your best experience so far within skateboarding?
I think the best experience within skateboarding has been the vast amount of friends I made. Every event I attend has people I look forward to meeting, whether it is downhill or long distance. I learned of a world where people encouraged me and pushed me, and made me work for everything I had.
If I had to narrow it down to just one experience, my absolute favorite was winning the Central Mass 8 women’s division. It was a race I attended for years, and I picked up everything I could to figure out how to win it. It was neck and neck all the way to the end and a true photo finish. My friends dumped champagne on me at the podium and for once in my skate life I had earned my title.
What has been the worst experience and how did you deal with it?
Worst experience…they are few and far between. The world is a good place. The absolute worst, though, was when I had just kicked off for the 24 hour Ultraskate in 2017. My biggest competitor had turned around and said, “If you’re going to race as a woman, you need to pee like a woman.” I could have taken it a million ways. I could have dwelled on it for 24 consecutive hours of skating around in a circle. I could have quit. Instead, I appeased the proposal- given that I only urinated once in 24 hours anyways, I retired to the bathroom and peed. The guys usually just drop their shorts and pee as they skate. I did go on to lose to her by only 10 miles that year, but it burned a fire in me to fight harder.
You mentioned at the Longboard Girls Crew website you are lost between jobs and are questioning the meaning of everything. The fact that some stole your intellectual property must have been devastating. Is this trip helping you deal with that loss?
It totally hurt that the company I was working for used me for my creative work, forced me out, and then didn’t pay me. Legally I have all of the rights to everything I created as an independent contractor without a signed contract. I didnt have the means to hire a lawyer. I was flat broke. I began selling my collection of boards and gear to make end’s meat and often went days without eating. It hurt a lot.
I learned, once again, to fight back. Even if I did sue for my rightful property it could have been years of litigation. I wasnt going to see a dime that could have helped me at that moment. I looked for a new career for two months, struggling along, doing 2 or 3 interviews a day and ended up with a job at a burger place. I knew I was worth more than a job at a burger place, so I formulated my plans to follow my dreams. I could only struggle for so long. I sold my motorcycle, stopped paying rent, threw away everything I couldn’t sell, and fit my life in a backpack. With the help of my friends, the companies who support me, and the money I earned from selling my belongings, my dream didnt seem so far off. So I made it happen. No longer was I going to slave away at a job I hated putting money in someone else’s pocket. I realized this life is mine and it is what I make it.
What do you plan to do once this feat is accomplished?
Honestly, I have no idea. I’d love to expand on my blogs and sell them as a book. I’d also love to turn around and go back the other way. Mostly, I plan to take my experience and use it to be the number 1 female distance skater in the ultraskate. As for where I’ll live or what ill do for money, who knows? I still have a tent and a skateboard- the world is my oyster.
Harsh question to ask – but I would like to ask what do you say to people who feel this whole “transgender thing” is all about seeking attention? Instead of seeing your bravery, they just question your entire reason.
Haha. I get these comments all the time. It’s hard for me to take them seriously. Its not about being transgender, and it certainly isn’t for attention. I planned and left for this ride in a month’s time. I’ve been trans for as long as I can remember. I race with the girls as any other girl would. There was an article written about me on Gay Star News that wanted to highlight my identity as a transgender woman because of the relevance to their audience and people saw it as a big slap in the face, like I purposefully slathered my identity around. Trust me, if I could be seen and accepted as any other girl is, I would kill for the chance.
But I think the use of telling people of my transgender identity is more for other trans people in the world. I want them to know I am trans. I want them to see that we dont have to hide in our bedrooms. We can go to the corner store as ourselves and we can be a part of society. As I skate I see all different kinds of people, and the grand majority have accepted me and spoken of my bravery. I think it gets a little twisted when you read it in an article versus witnessing it in real life.
Imagine seeing someone skateboarding past your house with a 30 lb expedition backpack and saying, “You just want attention!” Its a little ridiculous. At the end of the day, I’m out here making my dreams come true, tethered to nothing, while others somehow find a reason to feel taller than me. I’ve never felt taller for making someone else feel small.
What’s been the reaction from the various articles you’ve had written about you?
I spoke about this in the last question a bit, but its really a mixed bag. I can with 100% certainty say that it has been all straight white men who have a problem with me. I am a woman, I have lived as a woman, I have endured the horrible society women live in every day, and their opinions don’t change that. Whether they want to fall back on some pseudo-scientific argument to denounce my gender or just speak out of bigotry, it doesn’t change anything. I have never sought respect from anyone who didn’t have mine.
You can donate to Calleigh here. Find out more here:Instagram: @supergirls_pantiesFacebook: /supergirlLDPTumblr: trans-america.Tumblr.comSkatecrosscountry.com
Red Rum is based in San Diego, California and was founded by a man who goes by the name of Jerm. He’s got some great perspective on the skate industry. Jerm, why did you start Red Rum Skates?I started Red Rum Skates as an outlet to my art to bring back the old days of doing my own art on blank skateboard decks that I did as a kid . My wife used to do the same as a kid so I had come up with the name as a nod to The Shining and my love of Horror and did a few decks. Then after starting to paint on all surfaces I could find, My wife, Vee says “why dont you just paint skateboard decks instead?” That’s when the idea really came into reality. Jerm’s shirt says it all. I had came up with the concept in 2007 and did just a few until I got real serious a few years later. We had researched enough to be confident in a quality product. We started promoting on social sites in 2012. With over 600 hand painted decks later and a sister company Witch Boards, we are starting to get serious. I see 2018 as the year to break the stigma and division in skateboarding. What is your take on the skate industry?The industry needs the people, but the people don’t need the industry’s politics. I see skateboarding becoming what it has always been: the most fun anyone young or old can have for an affordable investment. Jerm charges the mini-ramp in his backyard. As the money goes to the “professional riders” for their overseas trips and over priced products, the DIY community, smaller family/skater owned companies and the purists will strive even harder to protect a lifestyle that is enjoyed by people worldwide. It has come a long way since I started riding in 1971 and I find it quite repulsive the way that much of the industry is divided. What are your thoughts on the Olympics?I believe that there is plenty of room for the Olympics and corporate skateboarding, but for the rest of us, we need to take it back and we will. Skateboarding doesn’t discriminate. Thats a human behavior and it can be changed, so get your spouse, kids, neighbors, parents and grandparents and get some skateboards and go skate! It doesn’t matter what shape, size or brand, just skate. More skate, less hate . that I see is the future. What’s the best and worst thing about running an independent skate company?I’d say best thing about owning an independent company is the artistic expression. Your vision, your art, your passion, that being said – “How much money do I want to throw down on a dream that is going against big money and an industry that regulates itself and doesn’t take kindly to new innovations or dreamers?” The thing is, in my opinion, skateboarding started with gals and guys cruising around and surfing the asphalt and concrete waves of neighborhoods and schools, shopping malls and parks. There is the natural progression of refining the toys we ride and innovators produce and manufacture and become iconic. The pioneers get stuck in the balance of preserving their brand and their investment and lose contact with the spirit that created their brand. The consumer will follow what is prominent in the media of what is best and human behavior lead us to follow the fastest and easiest path which in turn is the very wall that separates the smaller company from the community that they are so passionate about. When a small company is spending their last dollar on quality rather than mass production, their interest as well as investment becomes a hinderance. I am obsessed with skateboarding and if I wanted to be rich , I’d still ride skateboards but I would NEVER sell out and abuse the lifestyle I have chosen to create and share my art with. I think think the difference between a smaller company and the bigger companies differs between each company but when your passion becomes your main source of income, you have to walk that line very carefully. Some pretty unique shapes from Witch Boards. In which direction would you like to see skateboarding go?I’d like to see skateboarding get back in the hands of the people that can see past the money, politics and get rich opportunity and lets as a community embrace the culture as a whole and make it family friendly. I grew up when you were literally chased down and beat up for riding a skateboard and punk rock met that mentality and frustration and I used skateboarding as an extension to my art and lifestyle choices. It would be great that we as a community can stand up against the hate and embrace the future instead of repeating the past. We can roll up to anyone in the world on a wooden piece of wood with urethane wheels and hardware to hold it together. Without any words needed, we can have something in common and can enjoy a smile together. It shouldn’t matter what size deck you have or what brand , etc etc etc…. as long as you ride a skateboard, I have something in common with you and its time we all embrace the good and set aside the hate . More skate , Less hate. just skate !
Most people who skate nowadays probably have no idea just how close the US government came to shutting it down during the 1970’s. Thanks to Sally Ann Miller, you still have the freedom to roll in the USA. And thanks to Jim Gray of the mighty Powerflex Wheels and Inkjenda, you can learn about this incredible woman through his incredible Facebook Post. A On behalf of skaters everywhere, THANK YOU SALLY ANN MILLER! FROM JIM GRAY
Met another one of my Hero’s of the Skateboarding Culture the other night, and she should be your hero too!
This is Sally Anne Sheridan. I’d always heard about Sally Anne Miller (pre marriage to Don Sheridan) in the 1970’s in her skateboard industry days, but had never met her. She built the world’s first City Owned Municipal/Public Skatepark in Irvine California. Whether you love it or not, they are the future of accessible skateboarding for all and she started it in 1976.
She did much more for and with skateboarding like running the ISA International Skateboard Association out of Costa Mesa no less, but let’s start with the story of the Irvine Run.
It was a very fun snake run leading to a banked semi bowl area at the bottom. I rode this place many times, loved it a lot, and sadly was there the day they came, asked us to stop and started Jackhammering it. That was not a fun day. (Pics of me skating it on two polaroids next to the pic of her and I). She told me she was with the City of Irvine Parks and Recreation department and local skaters and Hobie Teamriders like Steve Shipp said they wanted somewhere to skate, she asked what they want, and the snake run is what they came up with. If only it was that easy today, we’d have even more skateparks than we do.
She said they had no idea what they were getting into and that once the skate world got word of this free public skatepark skaters from a hundred miles around all converged and there were hundreds of skaters there everyday. They had built condos right next door which you can see in my skate pics. They got complaints about noise etc. They first built that big wall to quiet it down but still got too many complaints and eventually promised the residents it would be removed.
David Paul Lacey hits the first ever municipal skatepark in Irvine, California.
Several years later at the typical pace of a city the item came up in the Irvine city’s public works list of things to do, and even though it was now much calmer now and usually 10 people or so would be skating anytime we skated, it was still scheduled to be removed and couldn’t be stopped. One day I believe in 1982, we were asked to stop skating, they pulled the trucks up and started Jackhammering, that was a sad day. I am beyond stoked to have gotten to spend lots of time in the world’s first public skatepark and will forever be grateful to Sally Anne and crew for making that happen.
Sally Anne did so much more for skateboarding, including making sure skateboarding continued to exist, because there was a point when the Consumer Products Safety Commission was considering banning skateboard deeming them too dangerous of an item to be sold.
Here’s a post from Dave McIntyre
Sally was an Ivy League graduate and was asked to help head up what became the ISA. She had to help sell skateboarding as safe, and standards were set to get people wearing safety equipment and sell the sport as safe before it was made illegal to manufacture skateboards, and believe me they can do that.
Luckily that battle was won and we are all here today to tell these stories. It could be a different world today had that happened and it might have been a footnote in history and all the joy we have enjoyed on our boards may not have existed. Such a crazy thought, thanks again for helping us get through that one Sally and crew.
The ISA or International Skateboard Association also ran pro contests, set the standards etc.
After meeting Sally, I called Glenn Miyoda, an old friend who went to the same high school as me and was friends with my sister. I knew he’d have some insights and knowledge. He was a Photographer for Hobie in the early days, and come to find out he also ended up working with Sally Anne for the ISA. He shared story after story from how she sought to find the right people to set standards for contests, like how to measure the height of an air as airs started coming into play in contest, how she collected money, and a good one about her putting Mr. Bennett in his place once during a meeting.
Basically he told me she was kind, smart, hard working and a hell of a bad ass when she needed to be 100% thumbs up from Glenn Miyoda who I have 100% faith in sharing skate history with.
I don’t have all day to keep writing but I will end with the funniest story she told me all night. She said among her jobs was to make the riders wear their safety gear, and one she always got a lot of grief about it from was Tony Alva. She told me a story of walking up to him once, and him thinking he would get a rise out of her, dropped his pants. She told me she just calmly looked down at his exposed private parts, told him on a scale of 1-10 I’ll give it a 2, and then everyone started laughing including Tony.
That cracked me up. Ironically, she is now married to Don Sheridan, who worked with Zephyr back then and asked Tony Alva “who is that cute lady” when they were at some TV filming or something like that. Well that was the start of something and now Don and Sally Anne Sheridan live in Laguna Beach and have been married for 39 years.
Sally is 82 now and I look forward to going and spending some more time with her and Don and learning more of the untold stories of the skateboard world.
I am a very fortunate guy to have gotten to participate in so much in skateboarding for the last 40 years.
Amazing story on Tony Alva from 1978 from People Magazine.
And a post from Mofo (ex Thrasher photographer and CW contributor) about Sally
Over the weekend we hit up the local skatepark in my hometown area. The same old prefab ramps, still standing like a decrepit stonehenge, the ancient ruins of teenage years. Decades of harsh New England white-outs had left the blacktop a cratered moonscape. The blazing summers suns had faded the offensive and misspelled graffiti into nearly unrecognizable spray paint smudges. Overall, the skatepark was in one piece, just as i remembered it, except for one thing…
I love visiting skateparks, at home or abroad, not for the inventive array of obstacles, but for the culture. The petri dish that is the local scene, the faces, the names and the energy of the locals. Appreciating the power of the community that they have constructed. I am always fascinated by the drastically varying subcultures with the subculture. The microcosms contained within 60 square feet of tar and chain link fence.
I was welcomed with nods and smiles from the locals, as me, my brother and my childhood friends entered the park. I inquired of a friendly, smiling local, Jimmy, about the new wooden ramps and DIY ‘crete that speckled and encrusted the park. He happily obliged and told me that he was responsible for the ramps’ construction. I thanked him for provided them.
Within moments, my crew and theirs were skating together, bumping quintessential 90s hip hop anthems, bumping fists and cheering for each other. Everybody was boppin’ and basking in the warm autumn sunlight.
While cruising around in euphoric figure 8s, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, that Jimmy the friendly local, had deserted his skateboard, had turned his back and was excitedly fiddling with something. Figuring Jimmy was frantically rolling a blunt I was bewildered to find that instead of a gutted backwoods wrap, Jimmy was tousling around a wooden ball bound by a string to a wooden dowel.
In his right hand, Jimmy clutched what appeared to be a wooden double-sided hammer, although strangley the face of each hammer head was inverted, concaved, resembling a miniature cup or bowl. Above the dual hammers was a small cone that gently tapered into a blunted tip. A white string, anchored to the base of the handle, flailed wildly in the air attached to a red ball. This red ball, the size of a beer pong ball, had a small hole that tunneled through the entire diameter of the wooden sphere.
A boy on a BMX appeared, and joined Jimmy, and expelling a wooden ball hammer from his pocket. Within moments, the two were fully engaged, shouting and giggling as they spun and casted their balls on a strings, attempting to catch it with either of their hammer cups or to spear it throughout the hole with the tips of their wooden cones.
After observing for a bit, this mutated form of cup-and-ball, I asked Jimmy what the hell was up with that thing. He told me it was called “Kendama” a game originally played by drunken Japanese sailors to pass the time on long sea voyages. Now, according to Jimmy, Kendama-mania has swept the states from coast to coast.
Jimmy elaborated, comparing the cup-ball game to skateboarding. He said that you master certain tricks and then try to do your tricks consecutively in a row, like a line.
This game reminded me much of the hacky sack or even devil sticks sessions of my youth. Flinging an object through the air and trying to catch it, stall it, and then return it to flight. It also reminded me of a string-based perpetual-volley toys like the yo-yo or paddle ball. Even the strange design of the Kendama toy shocked and intrigued me like my first eye witness accounts of fidget spinners.
I’ve seen many fads come and go, toys that were just as fickly picked up as were easily discarded- only to be rediscovered on the dusty shelves of Goodwill. What intrigued me about this new bizarre low-tech gadget was that, it did indeed, remind me of skating. Not only was Kendama a strange looking simple-machine, but to play, you simply needed time and patience. Fine-tuning your motor skills and battling the constraints of gravity were the shared struggle of both Kendama and skateboarding.
Not only was this an light-hearted, nonsensical escape from the mundane pressures of modern living, this game, clearly, had no coach, no team and no opponents. You were free to practice and create maneuvers as you so chose. Not only could you choose how to play but you could also choose to share the play with others, whoever you wanted.
I watched these two young men play for vigorous 20 minute stints, taking breaks to skate and BMX and then returning to their ball string hammers. They practiced their extreme sports in tandem with their string contraption disciple in even increments.
This not only was like skateboarding, it was an intrinsic part of Jimmy’s skateboarding experience.
Kendama was just about enough of a part of Jimmy’s sesh as other peoples’ weed-smoking, shit-talking or dead-eyed staring into their smart phone.
My hometown friends scoffed at the ball string hammer game of the locals, and remarked that they avoided coming to this very park because of the pervasive Kendama culture. I disagreed and said that I enjoyed the locals using the space however they pleased. I felt confident that these young men were outcasts, just as we skaters are, and that they should be cherished just the same.
When I found Jimmy and his BMX counterpart, brought together in Kendama bliss, now filming each other with a GoPro, I was certain that this game, like many other bizarre rituals, are in fact skateboarding. Having fun, expressing yourself and progressing a skill, by means of offbeat physical rhythm, doing what you want, where you want, solitarily or socially, that is what skateboarding means.
The world is a skatepark and you can play whatever you want in it.
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:
Chances are if you hang out on Facebook (which, to be honest, I am doing with less and less frequency these days) you might have run across a man named Ron Barbagallo. Ron is someone who I have known for well over 15 years. In fact, he was even an advertiser in International Longboarder. Ron ran a company called “Longboards By Fatboy.” Ron has always been supportive, friendly and with an understanding that “we’re all in this together.” He understands the grassroots. He also plays a mean guitar! Ron is probably playing something from The Clash. While we’ve only met on a few occasions, each time has been stellar. Ron is hands-down one of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever met in skateboarding. Damn, I wish he lived a little closer to Toronto! Ron not only supported Concrete Wave for years, he’s been very supportive of Longboarding for Peace. His latest donation of 10 helmets helped out a first nations community two hours east of Toronto. I know it seems like I am lavishing an extra-ordinary amount of praise on Ron, but believe me, it is truly earned. His latest post on Facebook has to be seen to be believed. Have a peek Gord Downie, RIP I could show multiple examples of the awesomeness that is Ron Barbagallo. All I will say is that if had more people like him, the world would be a much better place. And I’d probably hang out on Facebook more. So, here’s to you Ron (and New Jersey, your home state). This Canadian knows that Americans like Ron are truly exceptional individuals. Ron and his buddy Joe Iacovelli. You are truly a rockstar.
This year, #skatetofight Team Rider, Candy Dungan, shared her own sexual assault story in the pages of Concrete Wave. With folks like Harvey Weinstein on many people’s minds, this is an important issue to cover. There is ONLY one skate magazine brave enough to run a story about using skateboards (and luge) as a way of therapy in dealing with the crime of sexual assault. That magazine is Concrete Wave and we are proud to stand with people like Candy and the team at #Skatetofight.
You can see the entire story here:
This year, #Skatetofight is joining Candy and boyfriend Aaron Hampshire in Denver to produce a skate video that takes a stand against sexual assault.
In the video, Candy and Aaron will be discussing the importance of bystanders; the people who are not the perpetrator or victim. They’ll talk about how a bystander can support those in their life who may be victims of sexual assault, and they’ll suggest things everyone can do on a daily basis to help stop sexual assault from happening in the first place. Candy will use her own story, and how Aaron helped her heal, as an example.
“We started this campaign for the same reason we’ve done all of our projects: to help provide hope and healing for victims, and to advise bystanders on how to help,” said Jaden Beau Durrant, #skatetofight organizer. “Those who’ve suffered deserve to have a voice, to know where to get professional help, and to have the emotional support and security from the growing community that #skatetofight provides.”
Candy Dungan is ranked #5 in the World for Downhill Skateboarding Women’s Category. Aaron Hampshire is ranked #3 in the World for Downhill Skateboarding Open’s Category. With their help, #skatetofight is hoping to reach a large audience in a male-dominated industry.
Candy Dungan charges at the Verdicchio race in Italy. Photo: Sven von Schlachta
“It’s obvious the skate industry needs this,” said Candy Dungan. “I post something about sexual assault and no one interacts. I post that my bearded dragon did something funny and get hundreds of likes.” She believes that funding for this video will have to come from outside the skate community in order to impact a community that needs to hear this message.
#skatetofight has created a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for production. The goal is to raise
$2,500 by Oct. 27th. This is an all-or-nothing campaign; if #skatetofight does not reach their goal, then they will not receive any of the pledged funds. Please stand with us in the fight against sexual assault by sharing this campaign with your audience and asking them to contribute and share.
Be sure to head over to the #skatetofight kickstarter campaign.
#skatetofight is an organization founded in early 2015 with the goal to use skateboarding to help those who struggle with mental illness, and to create a more positive and friendly community for all skateboarders. Over the years, #skatetofight has branched out to help those who struggle with addictions, sexual assault, and the challenges of daily life. Although #skatetofight is our name, they recognize that the core of why skateboarding helps us is because of the passion behind it.
Passions are one of greatest healing and strengthening powers.
#skatetofight on Facebook
Kevin Banahan is both a skate-boarder and a yogi. (The term “yogi” is yoga’s self-explanatory equivalent to the term “skater” in skateboarding for those unaware.)
In the fall of 2013, his desire to teach others the blissfulness of embracing isolated periods of time and simply being in the moment, which he attained through both skateboarding and yoga, came to fruition when he started SKATEYOGI.
Since then, Banahan has become a the full time teacher and he now operates out of a space called Skate Brooklyn. Moreover, what had once started as an organization for adult skateboarding classes, has undergone a youthful takeover. At the time of this writing, SKATEYOGI thrives on kids attending weekend group classes, after school programs and a six week summer camp.
Concrete Wave caught up to Kevin during Week 1 of camp to discuss what goes into a skateboard summer camp for kids.
The day starts by having a communal meeting in spirit of the way SKATEYOGI embraces the idea that skateboarding is more than just riding. Collaborative engagement shows the children how skateboarding is centered around the sense of community that comes with the ride. At the same time, it provides education for skateboarding’s newcomers on the unspoken rules of the culture. Everything from the proper etiquette of riding in an active zone down to the practice of learning to clap their boards to applaud the tricks of others provides kids the foundations needed to roll with. A lesson on the several different ways to get involved in the skateboarding community, even when they are not physically on the board is always a great start to the day.
Next, the kids pad up and hit the streets where Banahan and a handful of adult facilitators bring the campers to a local spot for a shot at the action. The idea of facilitating rather than coaching shows skateboarding to the young kids as a form of creative expression that traditional American pastimes cannot. As the young skaters learn how to ride their boards while interpreting their environment, they embrace the fact that skateboarding (much like the practice of yoga) is not about winning, losing or reaching an ultimate end goal. While the adults are there to mentor on basic riding techniques, the children are left to discover that there is no right or wrong way to embrace their creative freedoms. In fact, Banahan says the most gratifying part of watching the campers figure this out is when they manage to figure out a trick without being taught in the first place.
A cornerstone feature of the SKATEYOGI camp are the sessions on Skate Brooklyn’s brand new micro mini ramp. Here is where Banahan sees the magic of balance come into play for these young skaters. Each with a different style, the campers embrace the time on the mini ramp to find their rhythm on their own and to cheer on their fellow friends. The grand culmination for their week of camp of course comes when the dedicated shralper finally learns to drop in.
In short, he purpose of the SKATEYOGI summer camp is to build kids up, teach them to engage and support their fellow skateboarding peers and teach them to spread this positivity. It is designed to promote socialization and empathy while at the same time fostering an environment of resilient and practical creative exercise. It provides the fundamental guidance and the perfect setting for campers to learn the skills they need and practice the way they want. After all, Banahan says “once you know the rules, then you can break them.” Thus, in the same way that Banahan was able to find the similar parallels from yoga to skateboarding, campers are better able to draw their own parallels from skateboarding to other areas of their lives after a week of camp with SKATEYOGI.
Five years ago AXS Longboard Retailer Magazine did a story on Facebook. I was puzzled by the power of social media and was quite taken with a book that laid things out in a vastly different perspective (more on that in a minute). You can read it here. Most of you have probably never even HEARD of this magazine, but it was my way of trying to bring another perspective to the market. It was a business to business publication. I think the piece still stands up but right now, I want to focus my thoughts on how Facebook is affecting folks who actually skate. Before I launch into this, I wanted to let you know about a book that I felt was probably way ahead of its time…or absolutely no where near its time. The book is called, wait for it, This book is 5 years old. It will either delight you or drive you crazy. I am not going to get into the nitty gritty details of some of the insanely passionate arguments that rage daily on FB. I am not going to blast those who spend hours defending their point of view or chastising their fellow skaters. The latest post to cause an explosion of heated debate concerns a video that features a skater destroying a helmet – both with a baseball bat and by actually jumping on it. Adding to this, the rider in the video skates down a hill without a helmet. WARNING: I am not going to get into a debate over helmets right now. Concrete Wave publishes photos with people wearing helmets and NOT wearing helmets. We will NEVER turn away a photo if a rider has a helmet on. I will save the helmet debate for another column. What I am most interested in is this: Is Facebook actually killing the stoke of skaters more than it is adding to their stoke? This is a very hard question to answer, but I sense that it’s not limited to longboarding. Have a peek at this column.I am not suggesting that you cut Facebook at of your life. I am merely suggesting that you start to personally examine whether or not Facebook stokes you out as a skater more than it depresses you. If you find yourself not really feeling stoked, then I believe it is time to critically examine why this is happening. I will admit this is something that has happened and continues to happen in my own life. I love Facebook and I hate Facebook. I know that Facebook has been a crucial way for many skate brands to grow their business. I also know that the skate business is cyclical and right now, the feelings of pure stoke often get drowned out by the drama. Don’t get me wrong, drama, debate and skateboarding have been woven together since Dogtown and Down South battled in the pages of SkateBoarder and beyond. The difference now of course is that it is 24-7 drama and debate, should you wish. And that really is the key. It’s what YOU wish. If you find that the most recent Facebook debate is not warming the cockles of your heart, perhaps it’s time for a temporary detox? Here’s a challenge to anyone reading this column: can you go 12 hours without posting anything on Facebook? Can you go 24? But beyond this, if Facebook destokes you and yet you continue to spend hours on it, could going for a skate solve the problem?
If you were looking to find a Skatebird in their natural habitat, allow me to direct you to some things to keep an eye out for. First and foremost, you gotta keep watch for big yellow beaks on an otherwise human-looking face and body. Looking out for handrails and hubbas is also no brainer. These things practically fly down them. You’ll usually find them sporting Emerica tee shirts and riding Baker decks. These are other telltale signs of a Skatebird. Last but not least, and if you have no idea what the hell I’m even talking about, you have to visit Wales-based illustrator and nose-slider Lewis Taylor’s Instagram page to find them.
On this page, you’ll find dozens of these Skatebirds that have been carving up different terrains over the past couple of years. Since the beginning, Taylor told us, “Skatebird was pretty much my main character when I first started posting on Instagram, he was really basic to start with and then over time developed into more of a real person with just a beak as the only resemblance of a bird.”
If you think this article has all the earmarks of an Artist Profile we did a couple weeks back on fellow skate illustrator, Dustin Ammons, you’re not far off. From one artist to another, Taylor recalls, “After coming across Dustins page and seeing that there was another character similar to mine I got in touch with him and from there we did a collab which I think came out pretty cool!”
Where Taylor’s profile differs and shines, though, is in it’s ever sprawling assortment of subjects and scenes. Some weeks there will be scenes recreated from The Office or The Simpsons. Other weeks feature some nods to the pros like Bryan Herman and Axel Cruysberghs. Then you’ve got silhouette-style works, works where everything is drawn with rubber bands and a bounty of works centered around original characters. When asked if he had a favorite character the artist told us, “I’d say I most enjoy creating my own characters and playing around with swapping body parts for different things or enlarging certain body parts etc.. I also like using scenes from my favourite films as the basis for a lot of my drawings. Basically the less serious it is the more fun I have doing it and that’s what keeps me picking my pens up.”
As for the man behind this all, Taylor cleared up once and for all that his @taygord handle stems from a nickname given to a drunken alter-ego of his. Before that, however, Taylor’s roots begin on a farm in the UK, as a son of an artistically-inclined family. Though his earliest strides in illustration began at primary school-age, Taylor asserts, “Surprisingly I was never really a huge fan of art classes in school though, I just wanted to draw stupid cartoons and skate related stuff. I didn’t take well to choosing themes and using different materials etc.. I’ve always preferred the traditional pencil, pen and paper approach. It’s just clean and simple.” As far as that skate-related aspect goes, Taylor says that an obsession he learned from a couple kids at school took shape on the farm where he build boxes, rails and even a mini ramp to skate endlessly.
Nowadays, he finds a happy medium between of working, keeping up with the illustrations and, of course, skateboarding. When asked whether he preferred putting the cap back on a marker after a long night of illustrating or getting into a noseslide without sticking, he told us “Having a solid skate where I’m landing everything cleanly and avoiding painful falls is always nice but, similarly, finishing an illustration that i’m really happy with is super satisfying. I guess you could say I prefer which ever one I’m performing best at on the day!”
We have been combing over a number of videos and I am delighted to share with you two new rarely seen videos from our first edition of Evolutions DVD. Evolutions hit in 2005 at a time when You Tube was still a concept. Getting a FREE DVD that went for over 2 hours was a pretty unusual thing back then. Here are two cool pieces from that DVD. Be sure to subscribe to our channel…more videos are coming!The first is Escate by Jay Edry. It’s a 2 1/2 minute animated masterpiece.The short still stands the test of time – hard to believe it was created 12 years ago!Jay Edry was a animation student at Seneca College in Toronto. He went on to be come a hugely successful game designer for mobile devices. Another video that we know you will enjoy is from the film “Downhill Motion.” It captures the 60’s and 70’s scene in a truly remarkable way. This video is presented by ZFBC. Huge thanks to them! You’ll see footage from 1960’s slalom contests and folks bombing the legendary Signal Hill. BONUS!have a peek here – this video will make you laugh – it is seriously well done!