Today is International Women’s Day. Get Out There and Roll!

Today is International Women’s Day. Get Out There and Roll!

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.

Not for Profit

Not for Profit

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:

  1. take a piece of wood – shape it into a deck and add grip
  2. add trucks and mounting hardware
  3. add wheels and bearings
  4. pay someone to put it together, put it in a box and ship it to the USA
  5. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Truth Newsletter #2

The Real Truth Newsletter #2

Greetings all,
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.

The Amazing Chris Koch – If I Can.ca

The Amazing Chris Koch – If I Can.ca

Yesterday I received a call from my friend Chris Koch. He lives in Alberta and works on his farm. Chris loves skateboarding in a big way. We met a few years ago on Facebook. He enters marathons on his skateboard. Below is his logo for his motivational company If I Can.

If anyone tells me that they’re no longer interested in skateboarding or they feel somewhat incapable of receiving any joy from the magic rolling board, I often think of Chris.

The amount of pure energy this guy generates is at a level not seen since Nicky Tesla. He spoke to over a 1,000 students yesterday in Calgary. I am sure they  were blown away by his message of getting out there and making things happens. As you can plainly see, Chris is not going to let anything like the absence of limbs to stop him from rolling.

I am pleased to announce that Chris will once again be our “poster man” (as opposed to poster child) for this year’s Roll for Peace.

It’s happening on April 22 around the world. It’s the same day as Earth Day.

See how that all lines up? Nice and easy – you can celebrate peace AND the earth.

It’s Friday and I’m up early typing away on this blog and thinking about the future

It’s been about 3 weeks since we launched and frankly, being a magazine publisher these days is not exactly filled with an abundance of easy peasy lemon squeezy experiences. It’s tough out there. And yet, today is free of snow and rain and I am going skating. Sure, it’s probably 38 degrees out there (-1 celcius or so) but I don’t care. As my good friend Sean says “did you actually skate TODAY?”

So get out there and roll!

An Interview with Bud Stratford

An Interview with Bud Stratford

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! 
 
For more of Bud’s work, spend a few hours over at Everything Skateboarding. You’ll be glad you did.
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.
Letter from a Thrasher Reader that is Mostly Full of Crap

Letter from a Thrasher Reader that is Mostly Full of Crap

Spotted this yesterday inside the letters section of Thrasher. George Orwell is probably rolling in his grave.

If you don’t want to read the entire letter, here are two wildly off base points:

“There wasn’t a real following for longboarding until about five years ago. It stemmed from the “hipster” approach to skate.”

Tell that to Alva, Sims, Economy, Stradlund and Edwards.

“Aside from a good sense of balance and hand/eye coordination there is really no talent needed to ride a longboard”

Really? Have a peek at this

“The passion and dedication is deeper, stronger and a lot more durable than the guy who mongo pushes to his Keva Juice part time job. It seems to me that the longboarders of today are doing it to look cool.”

This is seriously so fucking judgemental that I am not even going to dignify it with a response. Actually I will…just keep scrolling to the end. You’ll see a model of a response, Jeremiah.

I’ll put it this way. You are probably passionate skater Jeremiah, but you don’t know your roots.

As Donald would say “sad.” This is from 1995…and that bright yellow cover? That’s from 1981

It’s all skateboarding Jeremiah. You’re 11 years deep into this. Let’s see where you’re at in 2048.

And for the record…this:

The Truth & Real Truth Newsletter #1

The Truth & Real Truth Newsletter #1

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.

 

 

 

 

Be aware. There are scams out there!

Be aware. There are scams out there!

Holy freakin crap! SCAMS AND MORE SCAMS!

I am getting inundated with emails from people who want me to spend thousands of dollars registering my concrete wave magazine in China.

Here’s the thing – it is a TOTAL SCAM. And here’s another – f**k those guys!

Web domains? It’s probably a scam!

As for these robo calls saying I am under arrest from Revenue Canada? Scam!

It’s a total scam – honest!

Yes..just another scam

As for skateboarding. Well, this is a scam…don’t be fooled. These folks DO NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTEREST at heart. There’s a place for beginner skateboards – visit your local independent skateshop to learn more. Don’t know who to contact? Email me. mbrooke@interlog.com.

Scams hurt. Scams are cruel. Scams should be taken out to the shed and shot.

If you spot a scam, let us know.

Calleigh Little Keeps on Pushing

Calleigh Little Keeps on Pushing

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.

Adrenalina Marathon

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

50 Miles on a Single Charge!

50 Miles on a Single Charge!

 Squishy 654 just completed a 50 Mile Electric Skateboard Ride, on one charge. You can see his previous video for more details on the electric skateboard he used. (below)   Squishy is going for 100 miles next. And as Mr. Squishy writes: “If you have any beer to donate to the project email me at squishy654@gmail.com”   

Skateboarding and Politics Part One

Skateboarding and Politics Part One

Oh, this is going to be a touchy post. Somehow, someway, somebody is going to feel slighted. But I am not here to talk about political issues. I am here to talk what happens when politics and skateboarding collide. As this such a difficult subject, I want to hear from you. Email me your thoughts – if you dare. Believe it or not, chances are, if you are a skateboarder, you’re involved in some sort of politics. Let’s break it down like this: 1.  POLITICS WITH SKATEBOARDING PART 1There are SOME self-proclaimed “skate arbiters of cool” that have some extremely harsh words for those who don’t ride “the right type of skateboard.” Here’s a taste. A skate troll that shamefully hides his name, this guy (or gal, but I sense it’s a guy) wants to make skateboarding political. Or maybe it’s “satire.” For those of you who just want a brief glimpse, here are a few screen shots.                      Obviously, who ever wrote this is in severe need of an education on the history of skateboarding.   2. POLITICS AMONG SKATERS PART DEUX – SOCIAL MEDIAForget the extreme games…we’re talking extreme opinions. Without getting into who said what, take a meander over to Facebook and within just a few brief moments, you’ll be taken to the land of “extreme.” So much for skateboarding being a grounding force.  There are gun lovers on one side and those who want most guns banned. There are Trump supporters on one side and those who want him impeached. Then there are a whole bunch of people in the middle who are just trying to enjoy themselves without too much drama. This is why I cut my personal time spent with FB to 15 minutes per week. LIBERATING!  If you have racist friend…Thank you Special AKA   3. POLITICS FROM PEOPLE WHO YOU THINK WOULD KNOW BETTER Gee, thanks Vice Magazine For those of you who think Vice is coolest f**king place in the world and it’d be AWESOME to work there, head over to Glassdoor.  Of course, your experience might be different. But then again, if I read stuff like this, I’d question everything about what I thought Vice is/was/could be. Actual screen shots:                                 4. GEOGRAPHICAL/ECONOMIC POLITICSOh, this is a touchy one. Distribution can play a significant role in how skate products are perceived. If you find one of your favorite brands at a big box retailer, it can feel a little disconcerting. That’s because some people actually CARE where products are sold. And some skaters feel very protective of the mom and pop skate shops. Then again, shop or die. Adding to this is the internet which has allowed a marketers/manufacturers to communicate DIRECTLY with consumers. That’s you. For those skate shops who spend hours, weeks and years building their local scene and shop by providing excellent service and selection, the rewards can be deeply satisfying. The rewards can also include having your livelihood put at risk by companies wishing to cut out the middleman (ie: the retailer). Don’t even get me started about the LOCAL politics between some shops.  That’s enough politics for one post. Ready to read your political rants…email me.      

New Tom Sims Documentary – Pure Juice

New Tom Sims Documentary – Pure Juice

 

There’s a new Sims documentary coming out soon and we had a chance to chat with Scott Clum who has been working on it for some time. For more info on Tom, see this issue: 

 

 

 

 

Concrete Wave: You worked with Tom – what was your role and what was it like working for him?

Scott Clum: My role working with Tom was two things:, 
As design director I worked on Milpas St in Santa Barbara at the SIMS offices with Tom on a daily basis. We talked a lot about skateboarding and snowboarding and how we could engage with the current audience. This was in 1985. Tom was really concerned with keeping up with the times, as he didnt want to have people look at SIMS as not being involved in the scene. Tom never ran out of ideas, he was super creative. 

 

As a team rider, I was always skating ramps and banks with local guys and the team. You had to stay current on your style and tricks for the pipe and racing. SIMS was all about this progression and it was a priority for Tom.

SNOW VALLEY – VERMONT 1983{Left to right}  Keith Kimmel, Unknown, Unknown, Eric Moynier, Tom Sims, Scott Clum, Allen Arnbruster. Photo: George Potter

 

Of all the stories you have about Tom, what specific tale really shows what he was like?
Well, thats a hard one. This one has to be my fave for many reasons…

We were outside the SIMS offices in Santa Barbara and Tom said to me one afternoon, “Hey do you want to go skate? I was like yeah sure, where do you want to go…? He was all ” I know a place, We get into his BMW 2112 and drove up to the TEA BOWLS. We walked up to the edge and got our gear ready. I had never been, It was unbelievable. huge place. The initial roll down was crazy, a commitment for sure. Tom got set up and never even hesitated, not a second. I was blown away as he hauled ass down the huge wall and made these killer carves and turns in the other side. Tom had his longboard of course and I had my pool board. It was killer, I still remember the feeling and how big this place was and how fast you went. We skated for about an hour and then went back to the office.. It was unreal.

 

I have a lot of memories with Tom but for everything Tom stood for that session was straight to the core of who he was both in skateboarding and snowboarding. No hesitation, attacked with style. That was what Tom is all about. A great day for sure and a fond memory.
 

Tom at Tahoe in 1982. Photo: Jim Cassimus 

Describe some of the surprises you encountered in making the documentary?
I don’t know about surprises, but I will say our initial hurdle was to come together on the vision. My partners Eric Jeffcoat and Erich Lyttle had different views than I did. We all wanted the same thing, just different approaches. Its always tough creatively to create a team direction. We all put egos aside and came together on strategy and a common vision. Both of these guys are super talented so together we have a solid direction and a strong commitment to the film.

 

Most young snowboarders and skaters might not know about Sims contribution to action sports. Why do you feel his name is not as well known as other pioneers?
Right. The new riders link up with what  they know and what’s current. I dont think its intentional at all. It is really easy to distance yourself from initial history mainly because you focus on now. Its not until someone turns you on to new thing that you become aware of it. Everything is association and your personal circles. My circle grew up with the initial pioneers because it was actually happening in real time! I think there are riders who educate themselves and want to know about the history of snowboarding and skateboarding so they know from a certain distance. This story will be amazing both inspirationally and educationally, people will see where things started and why snowboarding and skateboarding are the way they are. Tom played a major part in where we all came from.

Scott Clum at Dreamland’s Donlad Bowl, Donlad, Oregon. Photo: Bud Fawcett

What do you want viewers to come away with after viewing this documentary?
I want viewers to appreciate Tom. Tom was super dedicated to all riders. He was dedicated to his company more than anyone could know. He loved skating and snowboarding so he would do whatever he could to help you either directly or with the equipment. If you ride, you have a responsibility to yourself to know what he did for you and what he did for the evolution of all riding. I guarantee,  after seeing this movie you will dig Tom and youll want to work on your riding.. [ ha ha.. ] really, after watching, youll want to watch it again. You will definitely have a better appropriation for your own riding and boarding overall. Thanks Tom…

What has been the one key challenge (other than financial) with respect to this project?
A key challenge is, as a group to get the story right and to give the viewer the best experience we can. For me directly, its memory [ and time, ha ha.. ]. There is so much to tell and so many people to involve to do it right. I really want to pay respects to as many people in the story as we can. A lot of these guys are legends both in snowboarding and skateboarding. Tom was an amazing pioneer and innovator, we want to show all that in the film so we can educate the perspective as well as honor the guys on this journey.
 

What would your life been like had you not worked for Tom?
I met Tom in 1981. I called him about the yellow skiboard deck and it took off from there. I was making my own boards at the time and I also had a yellow roundtail Winterstick. Tom was interested in my riding and immediately tried to convince me to ride a SIMS snowboard. He was super nice about it though. That was the beginning of it all. I still remember the call like it was yesterday.

If I hadn’t worked for Tom, I would probably be in Manhattan at an agency doing the creative thing. Id still be skating and snowboarding but on a different level I guess. I am an artist and designer at heart. I have had my own design studio since 1987. I have worked in agencies all over the world in design, graphics, directing and editing. Being creative is like riding. Its expression.

 

Skateboarding and snowboarding have always been a priority so I have worked in the industry from day one. I am grateful for having the opportunity to have worked together with Tom. We battled, we created and we rode together. I loved his competitiveness, It reminds me to go for it, to be prepared and do your best. I miss our conversations and our ideas for new projects. He’s there, whether its a backyarder or lines down the mountain, his spirit is always with me.

 

 

Check out their Kickstarter campaign here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Kannibal Skateboards Rises From the Crypt

Kannibal Skateboards Rises From the Crypt

The roots of this article go way back to the 1990’s. We’ll explain more in a moment. But if for some reason you think that longboarding is only about bombing hills or cruising – prepare to have your brain eaten by cannibals. Actually, make that Kannibal Skateboards. This company, hailing from some remote Florida swamp (a notorious breeding ground for Kannibals) has put together an insane team of rippers who destroy street spots on longboards. WARNING: This is not about throwing shakas and cruising. It’s about mayhem on four wheels.  The roots of Kannibal go back to a skate company called TVS. Terminal Velocity Streetboards were doing things in the early 2000’s that many skaters to this day can’t seem to get their heads around. Some of those legendary skaters have joined up with Kannibal to unleash their vision of skateboarding on a new crop of riders. To get a taste of what TVS was about have a peek below: Founder Jon Milstadio is originally from Virginia and as we mentioned, he has very different take on skateboarding.  “I tried the t-ball thing – tried the soccer thing. It lasted maybe a week” he says wryly. “I was interested in skating – I got my first board from my grandma. It was a Tony Hawk.” Jon moved down to Florida when he was eight.   “We didn’t have much to skate. There were no hills and maybe one backyard ramp.” Jon recalls seeing a new company called Zion Longboards. Jon tried out a board and found it addictive. “I always felt he needed a bigger board and the longboard fulfilled this need.Kannibal founder – Jon Milstadio Over the next few years, Jon would modify longboards and attempt kickflips on pintails. “There was a set of stairs nearby and we’d take our 46″ boards and ride. It was fun and no one else was doing this in our area.”Jon Milstadio launches on his Envy Longboard in 1999. Keith was interested in starting his own company. He created a shape very reminiscent of snowboards – they were flat and they’d break pretty quickly. Eventually they went back to Zion to get some boards made. “We called it the Scooby Snack” recalls Jon.  Jon recalls that Keith spotted a local on a Bareback board with the same shape as the Scooby Snack. It was from a company called Bareback. They were amazed that the kid could do 180 backside ollies with it. “We wound up getting boards from Grant at Bareback” recalls Jon.Teamrider Jarpy  “I went down to Surf Expo in the late 90’s and went up to the folks from Envy Longboards. I thought it was a cool board. They were stunned that I wanted to drop in the on the ramp.” Jon dropped in and the crowd was amazed. He wound up skating for Envy and eventually he made his way to the Kona Nationals in 2000. “That event blew my mind” recalls Jon. “I broke three toes but to be there and see so many longboarders was amazing.” He had his toes iced the night before the contest and wound up getting third place in the AM division. Tibs Parise strikes a pose. Jon would eventually wind up riding with a number of longboard rippers including Jeff Budro, Brad Edwards (RIP), Jimmy Riha, Yancey Meyer and Jesse Parker. “I thought I was on one level and I thought I’d dominate as a pro at the next Kona contest” says Jon. “But these guys were just so far advanced. It was still amazing to be with all these guys.” When TVS released their video Unleashed in the Middle East, featuring Yancey and Jesse it took longboarding to a whole new level. “The video was so inspiring and I tried to duplicate the tricks I saw in it.” Jon eventually realized that riding on larger boards was all that he wanted to do within skateboarding. He wound up getting sponsored by Flexdex but things didn’t really mushroom the way he thought they would.  Jon witnessed firsthand how TVS just completely blew up. The story of TVS is one that very few folks know about but one day I am sure they’ll do a movie. To keep this article within digestible size, let’s just say that TVS was way ahead of its time and it definitely inspired a totally different way to view longboarding. That spirit is infused within Kannibal. I can feel it.  Jesse Parker with his pro model. Over the last decade or so, Jon’s path in skateboarding took some twists and turns. He never lost touch with Jesse and over time, he began plotting a way to return to the roots of a more hardcore approach to boards over 36″. “I never lost touch with Jesse and he thought my idea about starting up a new company would be cool.” This is how Kannibal Skateboards was unleashed. Joining Jon are Yancey, Jesse and Tibs Parise. It is truly an unbelievable talented team. Yancey Meyer with appropriate attire for the season. “It is not just about downhill” explains Jon. “There’s a whole f**king side to this that no one knows about. This thing can be way bigger than any of us.” Jon sees the fusion of longboarding and street skating as the future. “Nobody wants to take that chance – but we’ve already proven that it works – it was sick!” Vert, bowl, street, park – Kannibal aims to destroy it all on longboards.    MINI INTERVIEW with Jon Milstadio CW Mag: What would you say to the current crop of street skaters who still have prejudice towards longboarding?Jon: Hate all you want, but longboarding isn’t going away. It is only going to get bigger. You guys are doing things that are radically different. Has any other media picked up on this?Nobody. Where would you like to be in a year from now?We would like to be touring the east and west coast, having our boards in most core skateboard shops across the globe. We would also like to have a rad AM team. Shout outs to:Shout out to the Kannibal Skateboards team, Brian at Barefoot Designs for the art and printing, Brian Davis and Jeff King for taking killer shots, and my grandma for buying me my first Powell skateboard deck!  For more info visit: kannibalskateboards.com

Rock Island Rip – Lincoln, Nebraska

Rock Island Rip – Lincoln, Nebraska

We are super stoked to announce the first known Longboard/Skateboard push race in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Oct. 29th! After a pair of stoke-filled-downhill-longboard races (the Pioneer Premiere and Pioneer Smear), the Midwest is answering the call and hosting a push race, The Rock Island Rip. The best part, besides a trail that offers a bit of downhill and plenty of terrain to pump, is free registration and $200.00 in cash prizes up for grabs! The event will be held at 10 a.m. on the Rock Island Trail behind Arbys on south 27th street. The open division will race up and back on the trail for a grand total of 8 miles. Our grom division (ages 15 and under) will push four miles. Cash will be divided amongst podium winners.  While it will be a competitive race in both divisions, the host Eric Rineer emphasizes that the primary goal of the event is to “form a community and bring awareness of a new type of boarding to this part of the country.”  And Lincoln is doing just that with riders flocking from surrounding areas like Missouri and Kansas to compete in prior events. More information can be found by searching for the event “Rock Island Rip” on Facebook. Ages 18 and under are asked to bring a parental-consent form before participating.  Come out, bring your board, bring a friend, and have some fun while competing in a free-entry-cash-prize game.   

Guns and Skateboards

Guns and Skateboards

Like all of you, I am deeply shocked and saddened by the events that unfolded on Sunday night in Las Vegas. I was actually in Las Vegas on August 11th with my family and of course, we were right on the strip.  After the Sandy Hook massacre (2012), Neil Carver of Carver Skateboards was called to take action. His idea was simple. Let’s trade guns in that no one wants in their house for skateboards. He worked with the San Pedro police department and spawned four additional gun buy backs in San Diego. Collectively, the “Guns for Skateboards” initiative has traded hundreds of guns. In case you are wondering, the guns are taken with no questions asked and are promptly destroyed by law enforcement. We get fully automatic weapons like Uzi’s and M16’s. We also get an assortment of guns from the 1800’s, mini guns and hollow point bullets.Gun buy back in San Pedro – 2013 Please note that NO ONE is forcing these folks to trade in their guns. In fact, we even have gun shops stand outside with signs saying they’ll offer more than what a skateboard is worth. I know what you’re thinking. A few thousand guns is nothing compared to the 300+ million guns that are in the USA. My answer is this: replacing a skateboard with an unwanted gun does more than what you think it does. You see, in San Diego (according to the Police Chief I spoke with) a number of guns are stolen from homes and used to commit violent crimes. Unfortunately, these guns are not under lock and key. They are not fully secured and they get taken in home robberies/invasions. These guns are then used in armed robbery or other gun related crimes.   All sensible gun owners will tell you that it is imperative that guns are stored safely. When guns are not stored safely, you can run into some big trouble.  Rather than argue about gun rights or gun bans, this gun buyback program does one thing – it removes an unwanted gun and replaces it with something else entirely. Right now, the USA is reeling and both sides – those who want to ban guns and those who say it is their right to have firearms are screaming at at each other. You either go in circles, or you step up and take a different approach. The gun buy back can be supported by both sides. You can read more about it here (thank you Huck Magazine) I firmly believe you need to build bridges on the issue of gun violence. The only way to do this to address the millions of gun owners who believe a safely secured firearm is of paramount concern. Anything else is recklessness. But for those folks who for whatever reason are not able to secure their gun safely, a gun buy back is a start. From here, you can begin a dialogue about what to do next. If you are interested in getting involved in our next gun buy back in San Diego, please email me. It’s happening in December.    

Morro Bay Skateboard Museum

Morro Bay Skateboard Museum

   The story of how I discovered the Morro Bay Skateboarding Museum may be one of the most odd coincidences I’ve experienced in my skateboarding career, so far. Picture this: You’re on a family vacation in California for first time, up in Vacaville. Your mom decides to go to the hotel pool for the night, and ends up meeting some new friends. They get to talking about their sons and about their shared interests in skateboarding. Lo and behold, the  new friend says “If you’re headed down the coast, you gotta check out the skate museum in Morro Bay!” Jackpot. Thanks mom. As I came further down the coast, I reached out to Concrete Wave and arranged a visit to the museum with Owner and 1978 Skate Car World Champion, Jack Smith. Before long, I found myself inside the walls of the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum as co-curator Eric Torhorst showed off a Hobie Fiber Flex from the 70’s, to a father who beamed with memories of that same setup he once owned. Eric Torhorst Over the next hour or so, Torhorst walked me through a visual representation of skateboarding’s history from both Smith’s personal collection, started in the 1980s, and beyond. In fact, the beginnings of Terhorst’s tour discussed how the most primitive boards stemmed from the Great Depression and WWII era mindsets of conserving and doing the most with whatever was available at the time. This would explain the museums earliest, metal wheeled contraptions, slapped together with any roller skate pieces that made sense at the time. And as our conversation moved from floor-scuffing clay wheels to urethane wheels that were originally labeled as rejects in a factory, I found out about more minute details in skateboarding’ history than I knew existed.Owner of the museum and skate legend – Jack Smith We then looked into sets of original color-coded Cadillac Wheels of the 1970s according to their durometers and learned how original ball bearings were taken from an office copy machine. With each piece of the more modern skateboard coming together, Terhorst’s claim that skateboarding’s early racing collectives and the drive to go as fast as humanly possible is skateboarding’s true backbone. From the echoes of the trophies and medals in surrounding display cases and the boards developed to win them, he makes an undeniably valid point. While I will not give away all of the museum’s nooks and crannies, it is important to note what Smith and Terhorst had to say about the role of the museum and skateboard history as a whole in today’s times. To touch on this, I asked the pair each what they thought of a passage in my current read, Iain Borden’s Skateboarding, Space and the City. In the book, Borden says “In particular, as with many young adults, skateboarders have little sense of history, and indeed see ignorance of the past as something to be proud of in their celebration of themselves as a ‘pure beginning.” In Smith’s eyes, this “has to do with the fact that everything happens and changes so quickly in today’s internet driven world. It seems as if there is no time for self-introspection or to study the history of the sport/lifestyle that you are pursuing. It’s all about what is the newest trick, the newest spot, who is riding for who or what the next event is.” In turn, Terhorst responded by stating that kids today want to make things their own to foster sense of entitlement. Citing examples of how the names of old 360 Kickflips and one foot ollies have been hijacked and forgotten in the faces of tre flips and ollie norths, he makes another solid point. A point that has even been echoed by the likes of Steve Caballero.Trophies from skate events  “So many skateboarders think skateboarding started five years before they began riding. We see it all the time in the museum. Young skaters will look at steel and clay-wheeled boards from the 1960s and comment ‘I wouldn’t have ridden that.’ We explain to them that’s all there was and share the type of riding that skaters were capable of back then” added Smith. And while the pair of historians try to find new ways to introduce skateboarders to different disciplines, different ways to have fun on the board, and even to get skateboarders interested in learning skate history general, it is clear that the challenge is formidable. However, equally as clear is the exceptional manner in which the Morro Bay Skateboarding Museum wages this war to those who pass by it on the street. For a small part of their day, the people I saw walk in during my time there seemed mystified at the sprawling display before them. Who would have thought there was so much history behind that guy who looks too old to be riding that noisy old board down the street anyway? Perhaps not enough of us. This is why I encourage those crammed in their cars for trips down the Pacific Coast to stretch their legs out and make a detour through Morro Bay. If you’re not going on a trip anytime soon, take a peek at their Instagram and get a taste from there. Odds are, you could learn something that may shift your perception on modern day skateboarding. For more info, click here PS: Thanks again for this one, Mom.  

Brad Edwards – 1969 – 2017

Brad Edwards – 1969 – 2017

 Brad Edwards was a longboard pioneer, artist and a most excellent human being. His smile, grace and total stoke for skateboarding is something that I will never forget. Over the past 2 decades or so, I’ve met up with Brad on a dozen occasions. His family and friends who spent more time with him (than I ever could) know that Brad had a large heart. Ten years ago, Gravity Skateboards released FLOW – it’s still one of the best videos out there and way ahead of its time.  A video from 2013 where Brad shares a little bit of his skate philosophy.  Concrete Wave was proud to give Brad not one, but FOUR covers.    With Mr. Tibbs – just over a year ago.  Some thoughts from Facebook:FROM BILL BILLINGDevastated.
Brad was one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met.
At the beginning of the year when we did a gofundme to get the Old Bro ramp back in shape, all that money went to materials and Brad. He did all the labor. He was completely professional and showed up for work on time every day as if he was punching a clock. He cleaned up every day and when the money ran out, I had to turn him away. He insisted on doing more saying I paid him too much. I didn’t.

 
I’ve only known a few people who loved to skate as much as Brad, and he did it with more style than most of us could ever dream of.
A few weeks ago he had agreed to go to Egypt with me next month, to ride his skateboard. He was totally stoked on it and I knew we were going to have an amazing time. There is a big hole in skateboarding today and there is a hole in my heart. RIP my friend, you will be so missed.
 FROM ROBBIE LYONS

Not only did the skateboarding world lose a legend today, but the world lost an amazing person. Brad Edwards, it was an honor to work and skate with you for so many years, and to call you a good friend. I will never forget the fun times and great memories we shared.

 

You will surely be missed by people all over the world, and your legacy will continue to inspire so many. You were more than an inspiration to me, you taught me so much about skateboarding and about life at such a critical part in my existence and my gratitude for you will forever be owed.

RIP to one of the coolest, most humble, down to earth people I will ever know. He’s up there with Shane now, shredding all that heaven has to offer. Until we meet again one day, thank you Brad, for everything.

  

Geoff Edwards – Brad’s brother

 

Thank you all for your prayers and kind thoughts over past few days.

As many of you know Brad recently suffered a significant brain hemorrhage and stroke, and while he initially made a miraculous recovery and we thought he was well in his way to a full recovery, however, his condition rapidly deteriorated and he was unable to overcome the damage to his brain. It is with profound sorrow and broken hearts that we that we have to tell you all we had to say goodbye to Brad…

 

We know this news comes as a shock to all of you and be devastating to many of you that he called his family and friends, as it has been for us. Brad will obviously be missed by his extended family and freinds he has made all around the world, we all wish he was still with us ready to skate that next pool, bowl, and ditch…

For those that aren’t familiar with Brad’s entire story or least an abbreviated version, Brad was born in 1969 in Framingham, Massachusetts, and lived in Holliston, MA until our family moved to California the day after Christmas in 1972, which Brad thought was great because we had two Christmases that year (one on each coast). Brad grew up in the sleepy little town of Agoura, CA, and started skateboarding at the age four. Brad was always extremely active and involved in outdoor activities like soccer, cross country running, surfing and of course skateboarding. Brad graduated from Agoura High in 1987 and attended Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.

 

Brad literally traveled the world skateboarding, surfing, and working for Gravity Skateboards for many years. Recently he has been involved a building skatepark in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Brad is survived by his brother Geoff and his wife Teri, sister Alison and her husband Tom and his five nieces and nephews (Zach, Jeremy, Peri, Wes and Tess), who affectionally called him “Uncle Rad”.

Details on memorial services will shared with all at a later date. We ask that in lieu of flowers or cards, if you would like to honor Brad’s memory you make a donation in his name to Saint Francis Hospital who provided world class medical care to Brad during his brief battle (details to follow).

 

As many of you know Brad was always a giver and as his final gift to the world was that he donated his organs that will potentially save the lives of 8 people, and tissue that will benefit as many as 75 additional people.

If Brad were still with us, we are sure he would want the lesson of his life to be, “Be good to each other, and make someone smile today through some small act of kindness, or even a smile”. And he would say the lesson from his death is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis and take care of yourselves and each other.

 

Brad is off on the next leg of his journey to join his parents (Nancy and Paul), and all his friends and family that preceded him, and I’m sure looking forward to the endless perfect wave, and the ultimate skatepark!

We already miss you immensely, but until we meet again skate on little brother, skate on!

    

Mellow Ditch Session

Mellow Ditch Session

The Mellow team that makes the e-drive that turns any longboard into an electric skateboard headed to the infamous local ditch.  They brought a BBQ to relax with friends and see if they could ride an old spot in new ways.
 The crew met on an unusually sunny Sunday in Hamburg, Germany to go Mellowboarding. The ditch can be a little wet and a somewhat smelly place. They had played around in it early on with their Kickstarter prototypes but this was the first time they were back with so many of the final versions and the whole crew to ride their creation!
They had attempted sections of the spot in the past, but this time the ditch was dry enough to ride the whole zone. There is a metal sheet that serves as a bridge over the center stream that never really dries up due to the systematic water evacuation. The boards eventually got wet but that is of little worry to the water-resistant (IP65) Mellow. Suddenly, they were seeing lines that had only been joked about during the last visits. The crew turned up the speed and the style with every try. Flying up the banked walls and cutting a turn felt like a snowboard slash on a mountain or corning the banks gave you the sensation of catching a massive wave. The ride was endless. They covered the boards in mud that smelt a little like dead fish. 

After cleaning the decks back at headquarters with that feeling of a first descent or discovering a new surf spot, they knew this was the beginning of something awesome. Visit mellowboards.com

Pathways To Peace …

Pathways To Peace …

Seven years ago if you asked me what was celebrated on September 21st I would have given you a blank stare and the following answer: “How the hell do I know what happens on September 21st? – I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday!” So what is happening tomorrow? Well, read on and I’ll give you the scoop. A great many things have changed since 2010 but looking back through that year, Concrete Wave was doing things that NO other skate magazine would touch. Here’s a sample:  Here’s another example – do any of these folks look familiar? Damn you guys look so YOUNG!The fact is the IDEA of DOCUMENTING skateboarding from different perspectives is what makes it such a phenomenal sport/pastime/lifestyle or whatever noun you want to put in there. Before International Longboarder/Concrete Wave, pretty much all skateboard magazines in North America ignored much of what was happening in skateboarding during the mid to late 90’s. The exception of course is Juice Magazine who have done an incredible job blazing their own independent path for 75 freakin’ issues.  Seven years ago, if someone were to tell you that Donald Trump was going to be giving a speech to UN as President of the USA, you’d probably think they were out of their mind. Seven years ago, I predicted a great many things within skateboarding. Here’s just one:  In case you can’t read that…here’s the most significant part: A lot of folks thought I was out of my mind – but the time from 2010 to 2013 was clearly the “golden age” with demand far outstripping supply. Now, as the industry wonders about demand, participants, contests, media and the latest Facebook shenanigans, I am here to tell you that Concrete Wave is about to change ONCE AGAIN. Things change within skateboarding – that’s in its DNA. But sometimes you get so bogged down you can’t see the forest through the trees. I’d be the first to admit, there are times when I get bogged down as a publisher of CW. But after some serious soul searching, I can tell you, I am on a very different path than I was one year ago – and it feels great. I got my skate mojo back and I fully intend to utilize it. As a magazine, we’ve pivoted a few times. That’s what happens when you buy ink by the gallon and pixels by the terabyte. But one thing I’ve never waivered from: I promote the joy of skateboarding through all kinds of media – not just print. We did videos (CW TV) 17 years ago and we did DVD’s way before YouTube. And for the record, this site still stands – and it just celebrated 21 years on the web! We’re about to unleash some pretty cool things in the next few weeks. My mind has been restless to determine a path for the future. Oddly enough the answers were right there in front of me. A lot of folks will tell you it’s all about going with the flow. For me , it’s all about FLOW state. That’s what skateboarding gives me – I enter flow state. Not sure exactly what that is? Click on the link above! So, to bring this full circle, let me break it down like this: 1.  The world is going through quite a bit of trauma/drama/issues right now  (just like some parts of skateboarding) 2.  Within the world of politics , extreme right and extreme right are severely testing the MODERATE middle. Extreme left and right just creates a circle of mistrust, instability and chaos(skateboarders know how to turn both LEFT and RIGHT in order to move forward) 3.  The future is unwritten – Joe Strummer(so what are you going to do about it?) Seven years ago I did not know that September 21st is the International Day of Peace. If you dream of peace in this world, you can do several things: 1. you can skate for peace (or longboard for peace)2. you can roll for peace (thank you to all who did just that on September 16th) to celebrate the 21st3. you can have a role IN peace. The third one is tricky. Our actions define who we are. If you want to roll for peace, that’s awesome Kudos to you. If you want a role IN peace, that is a little more complex because you might face some headwinds from those who don’t quite get what you’re up to. In truth, five years ago, a few people thought that Longboarding for Peace was weird. They thought “search spark stoke” was kinda lame.  Have a peek at an online at interview from Wheelbase Mag with James Kelly: Note: I have the greatest admiration for the work that Marcus has done with Wheelbase and I am glad he asked James about his thoughts on winning “Speedboarder of the Year.” But fast forward four years and James Kelly (along with Liam Morgan) has a 12 page story in Skate Slate. Have a look at Jon Huey’s final question:  Like James, I view my role in peace as an integral part of who I am as a skater. I am mixing skateboarding with my desire to foster peace, balance and justice. Have a peek at the past five years worth of our work:  I am proud of the work that James is doing. I am also very proud of Valerian Kechichian of the Longboard Girls Crew who is also doing great things for skateboarding AND peace!  Here is Valeria in her own words: 

Through all these years we’ve received thousand of emails of women and men around the world telling us how they started skating after seeing one of our photos or videos and how their lives have changed thanks to longboarding. How empowered they now feel. And even though not everyone became an avid rider, this feeling stuck in them and affected their lives in the most positive way. THAT feeling is exactly what we want to bring to people who need it the most. Work on how we feel about our Selves and hopefully help see more of the magic inside us. We’ve been empowering people through longboarding all these years. Now we want to take it to the next level.

 

Us humans have basic external needs like food and shelter and we have others just as important: Love, Self-esteem, respect, education, support… We want to work on these aspects and if possible, bring them to people in need.

 

So how are we doing this? We’re creating new social projects all around the world and we’re also partnering-up with existing ones actively supporting their initiatives through financial and material support, media coverage, creating mutual actions and directing our audience through personal involvement and/or donations.

 What does this mean? It means watch how skaters worldwide find their role in peace. Watch how Concrete Wave changes over the next few weeks. Watch how we completely pivot and create something vastly different. And watch as others in the skate community define and act on their role in peace. Tomorrow is the International Day of Peace. Now that you know this, what will be YOUR roll/role? Twenty years ago, my pathway to publishing was through the act of skateboarding. Five years ago, my pathway to peace was through the creation of Longboarding for Peace. One month ago, I created Roll for Peace. I am about to combine all three elements and you’re invited on my journey. Yours in peace, balance and justice,Michael Brooke Yoni Ettinger helps a student at the Shuafat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem.  Ps – High fives and positive vibes  

Longboarding for Peace Hits Cornwall

Longboarding for Peace Hits Cornwall

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

What are you doing SEPTEMBER 16th?

What are you doing SEPTEMBER 16th?

Chances are you probably missed out on September 21 last year. In fact, I am willing to bet that the VAST majority of people reading this missed out on that date for the past decade or more. Well, I am here to tell you that things change THIS year. You see, September 21 is the International Day of Peace. And I am sure you’d agree, the world is in need of a bit more PEACE. Sadly, the 21st falls on a Thursday. Not really the best day when it comes to gathering a crowd. But as a skater, I am always willing to get creative. I have decided that September 16 will celebrate the ROOTS of Peace – kind of a pre-party for the 21st.Skaters are going to get together and roll for peace…bring a friend who skates a different type of board…bring a cyclist…bring a scooter kid. It’s about peace…not exclusion. in order to participate, find a place to roll and meet up at a specific time. That’s it. Nothing fancy…and remember not to forget September 21st. Be sure to let me know if your city is going to ROLL FOR PEACE!    Yours in peace, Michael  

Burlington, Hamilton and The Real Gold in the Golden Horseshoe

Burlington, Hamilton and The Real Gold in the Golden Horseshoe

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

Carving Out a Better Future

Carving Out a Better Future

 

 

 

 

Rob Strand enjoys a moment of peace.

 

Two years ago I was lost. I had left my career track with a breakup-induced broken heart and the realization that I was working my life away for a cause that was not my own. I fell into depression. There was so much noise inside my mind. I knew something was wrong. The distractions of weed, alcohol and Tinder “dating” provided some instant gratification, but could not  begin  to  heal  the  fundamental  wound  inside  me.  I  found  sanctuary  in  surfing  and longboarding. During that period of cloudy confusion, a year of entire days carving down the hills  and  alleys  of  El  Segundo,  California,  longboarding  kept  me  going  and  became  a fundamental part of my identity. Later on, after moving back home to Minnesota for some familial care, I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. A huge part of what brought me back to health is the practice of skating. 

 

I first started skateboarding in rural Minnesota with two friends after elementary school let out. It  was more for companionship  between the three of us, less because I felt driven to do it alone. We would compete with each other. We pushed each other to see who could do an ollie first,  then a pop  shove-it,  and a kick  flip. It was about friendship, and finding  a sense of belonging.  Immersion in the skateboarding  culture  followed,  and soon I had the pages of Thrasher and Transworld Magazines plastered all over my bedroom walls. I was enthralled. I kept regularly skating throughout high school. Skateboarding gave me purpose, friendship and energy. 

 

As  a  son  of  an  engineer and  a  school-teacher,  college  was  next.  Skating  dropped  off completely. Rugby and industrial engineering studies filled the days. I graduated and joined a large corporation as an operations manager in training. Thus continued a path that was set out for me but not my own. A good job, great salary, moving around the country from flour mill to flour mill became my way of life. Managing 24/7 operations was rigorous and exhausting. I realized, nearly four years into my career, that I wasn’t gaining any energy from what I was doing. I was failing to find motivation and enthusiasm for Life, as I had when I was a younger skater. 

Aerial carving.

 

The realization that I was following a career path that was draining the stoke from me, along with the collapse of a relationship, drove me out of work and into the greatest depression of my 27 years of life. I walked away from that path, and I was lost. Work had brought me to East Los Angeles, far from home in Minnesota. I was fortunate enough to have a cousin and her family in town,  and  they  offered me  a  place  to  find  refuge  and  a  table  topped  with  good  food, surrounded by two little kids and their loving parents. My cousin’s husband informally told me about a surfboard builder in town named Tyler Hatzikian. 

 

I went to Tyler’s shop, introduced  myself to his wonderful wife, Katherine, and soon began working retail, part-time for a craftsman I came to admire greatly. It was in that shop where I discovered Carver skateboards. There were a couple of demo boards. “Sure, take one out, have some fun!” When I hopped on that board and skated down the small alley behind the surf shop, I had no idea about the magnitude of the change that was beginning in my life. I became hooked on longboarding. Surfing the streets became my every-day dedication, a practice I was fully committed  to. I skated for hours in the morning, and hours in the afternoon. I skated at night, late, when the streets were so quiet I could have sworn I was back in rural Minnesota.

 

 

Rob says that skateboarding has led to a deep connection with himself.

 

I had never set foot on a longboard before that time. Sensations of snowboarding came to me when I was carving down hills of concrete. I could move like the surfers I loved to watch, the turns became my obsession. I grew to Love the point at which my wheels would break loose, a feeling that became so intimately known on each board and surface. It’s  like knowing  the friction  point  at which the clutch  of a car you’ve driven for years engages each gear. The sensation becomes part of your body, imbedded within the memory of the muscles used to activate  the  slide.  I  could  wax  poetic  about  a  single  turn  and  all  the  physiological  and psychological activity that occurs when I’m skating, but I would hopelessly digress. The point is, I’m obsessed.

 

Skating was my therapy. All the rage, all the anxiety and even old wounds of lost love could be put into the background just by walking up a hill and carving down it (over and over and over again). Surfing was there for me too, but as any surfer knows, you can’t really surf every single day in most locations. What started as a flat-day-only  activity became an everyday practice, and I committed  myself to riding faster, turning smoother, and learning how to navigate the lines that my mind would draw on any hill, alley and driveway. This gave me such a positive outlet, and I soon saw my life changing from the inside out. I learned about dedication, about sticking to something and watching your hard work develop into skill. I developed an immense passion for the streets and I could express that passion by riding, pouring sweat and blood into them. Most important of all though, I learned presence of mind. I could focus, find the moment and open it wide, expanding time as I perceived it.

 

Being a manic-depressive person, I live at the far ends of life’s spectrum. With a mind like mine, it’s difficult to find balance, and I’m often lost in fantastic dreams about the future and dark corners of the past. Skating brings me to the here and now. When I’m riding, I know exactly who I am. Funny thing is, I think there has been a direct translation between physically finding my steady balance on a skateboard, and finding that same capability in life’s varied situations. Every time I got into a sketchy spot on a hill, went too fast, lost control, and then pulled out of it unharmed by focusing my attention and listening to that instinctive survivalist voice in my head, I gained a measure of confidence. I can find that voice in life. The practice of skateboarding increases my ability to listen for it, and notice it when it’s  needed. Stressful situations can become less tense, I can breathe and think more critically and independently of external circumstance.

 

In California I dove deep into longboarding. It was an every day, all day practice. The dry, sunny environment fully supported it. The scars I’ve got from learning to ride are inexorably tied to the growing pains I’ve had while learning to deal with depression, my hypo-manic moods, and life’s situations in general. I know pain, and I know bliss. I’ve found plenty of both on a longboard, and  have developed an intimate understanding of how in skating there is so much Life, and in my Life there is always skating.

 

I would like to tell you that I’ve got it all figured out now. I’ve found a career that gives me energy, paid off all my debts, enjoy every-day balance and total control of my moods, and live free of depression and any symptoms  of mental illness. However, such nonsense is utterly untrue. What I am able to say honestly and whole-heartedly is that my life situation is better. Six months of sobriety have brought me a more focused mind with fewer distractions, and sharper skating. Dietary discretion and wholesome cooking has brought me a cleaner body, healthier gut and happier disposition. No more Tinder “dating”,  I’ve found my partner and best friend.  She understands  me. She knows  how  important  skating  is to  my  well-being,  and encourages me to go out on the days I appear to be lacking the energy.

 

I started skateboarding as a way to connect with my close friends in elementary school. Over time, it became a way for me to connect with myself and find out who I am. It became an integral part of my treatment plan to restore and maintain mental health and general well-being.