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.