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.




Back in the 1970’s during skateboarding’s second boom, the push to hit 60 mph was a big deal. John Hutson, Guy Gundry and a number of legendary skaters gave it their all at places like Signal Hill. Most folks were amazed to see skaters hitting 50 something mph. When Gary Hardwick (RIP) hit 63 mph in 1998, it started a domino affect.

 Gary Hardwick hit 63 mph in 1998. That’s Mark Golter in the yellow leathers.


Gary’s timing was excellent as longboarding began its ascent. The truth is that it’s taken almost two decades to bring the technology to where racers are comfortably hitting speeds once thought inconceivable. Drop thru decks, precision reverse king pin trucks and lightening fast urethane have all done their part to increase speeds.


2016 will go down as quite an astonishing year politically. But there was another astonishing thing that happened in skateboarding. When Erik Lundberg edged out Mischo Erban’s fastest speed on a skateboard, people were pretty thrilled. It was less than .5 of a kilometre faster and yet the feat was overshadowed only a few months later by Kyle Wester. Kyle laid down a blistering 144 KPH (89.41 mph and blew Erik’s and Mischo’s records right off map. You can see a video of this incredible feat.

Will Kyle Wester hit 90 mph in 2017? Don’t bet against it!


As we enter 2017, the question that is on many people’s minds is just how fast can the next record holder go? But it’s not just skaters who are intrigued by the prospects of speed. The bar has been set very high and it will take an extraordinary effort to push things forward but there is no doubt in my mind that we will see someone hit over 90 mph. It’s only just a matter of time…and pure guts!

Minds: Michael Brooke of Longboarding For Peace

Minds: Michael Brooke of Longboarding For Peace

  “Longboarding for Peace is a movement forward. We embody the spirit of all that is good and pure about Longboarding. We empower people to step on, step up, and make great things happen in their communities. We strive to increase joy and happiness, and decrease pain and suffering.”
Michael Brooke
Founder, Longboarding for Peace
 “I’ve been trying to get Mikey on record about what ‘Longboarding For Peace’ is all about for quite a while, but no luck. I tried ass kicking, browbeating, and badgering; none of it seemed to work. Exasperated, and out of options, I finally decided to put Fatty on the case. He’s from Jersey, so he knows how to  get stuff done. The brass knuckes and the kilt really work wonders sometimes.” Bud StratfordExecutive Director, Concrete Wave Magazine Michael Brooke and I go way back. My old company, Longboards by Fatboy, Inc., used to advertise in Concrete Wave, and International Longboarder long before that. We have been what I would consider to be good friends for all those years. We have seen each other sporadically, sometimes skating together, other times just hanging or maybe having a meal; I’m fat, it’s what I do. We talk about the business, both manufacturing and media. Sometimes we fanboy out on skaters from our youth – he knows WAY more of them than I do. Maybe we’ll chat aboot music; we’re similar in age, so we like a lot of the same stuff. Or maybe we’ll just get together and make fun of Bud. Whatever. It’s always time well spent. I’d heard about this new venture he’s been working on, “Longboarding for Peace”. Peace, people, not piece; he’s not trying to pick up chicks with skateboards. He doesn’t have a white van with “Free Longboards!” written on the side. Interested in what he’s up to these days, I took some time to investigate some of the stories surrounding this movement. Obviously, being a fat douche, I don’t have time to read them all, what with the constant flow of sandwiches that needs to happen just to keep me upright and typing. But I liked what I read, and proposed an interview with Mikey where I could ask those pressing questions like, “Starbucks, or Tim Hortons?” or “boxers, or briefs?” Y’know, crap like that. So enjoy my teasing of a real swell guy, with a really swell cause.  -Fatboy  Mike in Jamaica, April 9th, 2017  Soooooo……….you just roll up at some place with a bunch of skateboards in your car, and ask people to ride around on them regardless of their athletic ability or age or gang affiliation, and they just drop their Glocks and hop on, and that puts a stop to decades of persecution and hatred? If only it were so simple. Actually, it takes a bit of planning and an ability to think creatively. Yes, that was a very general yet douchey synapsis of what you do. But seriously, do you hafta get permits to do this? Is there some kind of security present? Sure, you’re a burly dude and know how to throw knuckles on the mean streets of Toronto and whatnot, but I’m guessing riots are out of your current defense wheelhouse.Not really burly, but I know people who know people. Here’s how we started: probably six ago or so, I learned about this skateboarding non-profit called Skatistan. I was both impressed, and inspired with what they were doing.  In January of 2012 at the Surf Expo tradeshow, Abraham Paskowitz of Carver Skateboards told me about his work with Surfing for Peace. A few weeks later, I decided to start my own initiative and I called it Longboarding for Peace. I got in contact with a guy called Matthew Olson, who had done work with the Peres Center for Peace. Once we contacted them, the process of sending longboards and helmets to the middle east began. The Peres Center also coordinated our tours throughout Israel and the Palestinian Territories. You can’t just roll up to the West Bank and start skating with kids. There are formal procedures that are in place and when you work with locals, it all comes together.  Longboarding For Peace at work in Israel. Photos by Efrat Sa’ar.   Do the cops show up and hassle you like any other event involving skateboards?No issues whatsoever. The kids are happy. The adults are happy that the kids are happy. With each new initiative we do, I see smiles and joy. It is the embodiment of what it truly means to spread the stoke.  How do you approach these folks? Yes, you’re a delightfully charming and classically handsome man that reeks of success and personality, but how do you engage them if they don’t even speak Canadian? Are you multi-lingual? Or do you bring interpreters? I’m assuming you have SOME sort of connection with a local or two. It’s about connecting the dots. I know a lot of people. And once I meet someone and they are intrigued about LFP, I bring them in. Once they are in, it’s simply a matter of bringing in the volunteer. This just happened with our Spanish operation. Julie Quenneville  is based in Quebec, and does a lot of travelling. She contacted me last summer before she went to Brazil. We loaded her up with stuff, and let her do her thing in Brazil. Now she is off to Spain, and I put her in touch with Jacobo Ramírez Barroso of the Carving Social Club. It’s all about harnessing the energy that people have, and directing that energy into teaching others.  Where do the boards come from? Where do babies come from?Boards and various skate products are graciously donated from a wide variety of companies. This includes Kebbek, Carver, Bustin, Landyachtz, Loaded, Abec 11, Neversummer, Sector 9, Honey, Aluminati, Sunset Wheels, Rainskates, and Triple 8. There are so many people that have stepped up to help, it’s overwhelming! As for babies, you’re going to have to phone a friend.  Are there any sorts of snacks provided at these events? Your careful answer may sway my decision to support and/or attend one of these things?We had pizza in Jaffa, Israel, and magnificent patties in Jamaica just recently. I will have you come down for the next adventure there.   Michael in Jaffa, Israel.  Since you and I have both been in the skateboard business for decades, and we are of course subsequently thigh deep in hookers and blow, how can someone assist you in your philanthropic adventures? Is there a Kickstarter/GoFundMe thing? Can we bake and send cupcakes? Is there a need for volunteers for your skate sessions?All you need to do is email me at and I will endeavour to make something happen. Remember, we are NOT a charity or a non-profit. We are a movement. Whatever we do, it must impact on the areas of peace, balance or justice. I won’t get involved with things like drag racing or hot dog eating contests.  Is it a skateboarding thing, or a world peace thing for you? Is it your eternal quest for more and more wheelie plankers for your dynasty and inevitable world overthrow and domination, or would you just like to stop watching people fly planes into buildings on the news?You know it’s funny… I think about this quite a bit. The truth is that I became a skateboard magazine publisher because no one was writing about the kinds of skateboarding I was doing. The mags at the time had declared that rails and ledges were pretty much all that was necessary within skateboarding. Sure, there was vert here and there… but it was tunnel vision up the wazoo. So, I stepped up and did something. And in stepping up, it taught me something valuable. If you really want to know what skateboarding has taught me – it is simply this: just get out there and do it. This do-it-yourself, creative spirit has driven me for 40 years.  A lot of people look at the pursuit of peace, balance, and justice the same way they look at the weather. They talk about it, but don’t really do much about it. I decided, “I am going to do something”. The benefits of creating more interest in skateboarding is that we get more skaters. This helps the industry. The benefits of LFP far exceed anything I can even comprehend.  
I call this “The Butterclip Affect”. It marries “the butterfly affect”, and “the red paperclip story”. “The butterfly affect” is not the movie starring Aston Kushner; rather, it is the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane halfway around the world. Put another way: Small things lead to dramatic consequences.
 (Editor’s note: this analogy is the most simplistic, and possibly the most famous, explanation of Chaos Theory)As for the red paper clip… well, through the course of 14 trades, Kyle MacDonald wound up with a house. And he started with something that most would see as practically worthless.  (Editor’s note, from Wikipedia: “The website One Red Paperclip was created by Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald, who bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of fourteen online trades over the course of a year.”)Visionaries might not always know what is at the end of 14 moves, but they know the process. And process starts with something small. That, in a nutshell, is what I am doing.    How do you handle the logistics of these events, especially in foreign countries? Like, how do you get dozens of skateboards and gear into third world places without throwing up red flags all over the place? I was once detained by, of all people, Canadian Customs for having like 10 skateboards in my car for a skatepark safari.We work with locals and we know the ropes. Enough said.  What’s the big picture for LBFP? Is it more events like you’ve been doing? Or are you looking to not only expand globally, but in attendance as well? Will there be factions of your concept featuring hosts other than yourself?We want the movement to grow organically. I am putting it out there that a visionary philanthropist will say, “Okay, Michael, what do you need to make it happen?” The truth is that pump tracks combined with skateparks are the final goal. We come in, we stoke the crap out of everyone, we get funding, we build the parks, and everyone is super happy. I just keep repeating until they pry the skateboard from my cold dead hands (albeit with a smile on my face) Is it embarrassing when fans recognize you in foreign countries, and experiencing them throwing bras and panties at you?  I’m sure it confuses the locals. I gotta tell you, it was unquestionably treacherous skating near you at The Board Meeting, dodging all the undergarments. Panties and bras dodged? Zero. Bullets dodged? Also zero.    

Rider Profile: Diego Polito

Rider Profile: Diego Polito

Diego Polito is 27 and hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He’s been longboarding for 15 years and he combines the best of freeriding and street skating.


“I decided to live in California one year ago to ride the hills and to be near the best skateparks” says Diego. “I wanted to raise my skateboard level and learn to speak English.” Today Diego is part of the Abec 11 Wheels, Liquid Trucks and Jet Skateboards team. He developed his 41″pro model with Jet.


Backside noseblunt at Ocean Beach

Photo: Raphael Azevedo


Currently, Diego lives close to the Ocean Beach “Robb Field Skatepark.”  It is here where he usually shares sessions with his friends every morning.


“I started Longboarding in the hills and over time I’ve adapted to skateparks and streets where today I feel more at ease. Longboarding for me is more than a sport, it’s my lifestyle, where I can find my peace and fun.”


Diego says living in California is a dream, because here is where the big brands are, the best skateparks are located. “I also find many skaters that truly inspire me.”


He would like to thank God for all the blessings, his friends who share the sessions with me, his girlfriend and his family, Abec 11 Wheels, Liquid Trucks, Jet Skates, US Boards, Starhaze, and Wonk Clothing. “I truly appreciate all their support!” says Diego. “I can’t forget my family at Priority Longboard because they give me strength to be able to move on.”




Attack of Danger Bay 2017

Attack of Danger Bay 2017

It was almost 20 years ago when I received a call from a young Bricin Lyons. He called to tell me about some of the goings on in a magical place called the Sunshine Coast. Bricin has been organizing things for years now and stoking out skate communities around the world. As someone who was born and raised in Pender Harbor, Bricin has been an incredible ambassador for the Sunshine Coast. If you have never been to this part of the world, I urge to consider a trip out there. 

Bricin is fond of capital letters, so I’ll let him take it from here:









$8000.00 TO THE RACERS!!!

Thanks for your support everyone!!! 




Ithica Skate Jam

Ithica Skate Jam

Real Action Sports and Comet Skateboards would like to invite the entire community to the 6th Annual Ithaca Skate Jam on May 6th and 7th, 2017. There is now a second day with a new element – a regional Amateur Skateboard Contest at the Ithaca Skate Park. 


Day One Saturday – Buffalo Street:
For the past five years Buffalo Street has been the downhill playground everyone has enjoyed. Last year, over 300 skaters from all over the western hemisphere showed off their skills. This year they are doing it again at the same spot – the top of East Buffalo Street between Eddy and Stewart Ave. With fresh pavement at a consistent 15% grade and skate park terrain on Quarry Street (running perpendicular to Buffalo street). The hill starts at Eddy Street and is a 15% downhill to Stewart Ave. There will be some ramps on Buffalo Street to hit as you go down or you can just bomb away. Quarry Street will have several skatepark features and the vendor and food truck area.


The format is a “nontest” style jam. Skate hard all day and the Comet team will be handing out prizes as they see fit. There are no specific contests or divisions. There will be a session for younger and beginner adult skaters from 1-2PM. They are sponsoring 20 young people ages 14 and under to skate at this time with the generous support of a local foundation -TBJ.


Day Two Sunday – Ithica Skatepark:
All Ages are welcome to compete. Divisions will be broken down as follows. 8 and under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-15 and 16 & over unsponsored, Sponsored Team Riders, Womens and Masters 30 and over. The park contest will be run with a Jam format, skate till you bail with a first trick rebate. Heats will run in groups of 15 with a 20 minute practice heat and then a 20 minute judged jam session. Judges will be looking for style, use of park, consistency and difficulty of tricks.


Title Sponsors this year are Comet Skateboards, Vans Shoes, Element Skateboards, Klean Kanteen, Clif Bar, Guayaki Beverages, Greenstar Co-op and Media Sponsor Wheelbase Magazine.


Date: May 6th and 7th, 2017


Time: Registration 9am, Skating 10-5pm


Registration Fee includes an Event T-shirt, Sponsor Swag Bag, a Healthy Lunch, and Beverages.


Day One Online Pre-Reg: $30 (discounted fee expires 4/3), Onsite Reg $40


Day Two Online Pre-Reg: $15 (discounted fee expires 4/3), Onsite Reg $25



Ithaca Skate Jam and The Philadelphia Skateboard Academy bring you Pro/Am Freestyle Demo and Clinics . A select group of Professional and Amateur Freestyle skaters will be on the scene. Ithaca Skate Jam is creating a place for them to have a Warm-Up for the World Freestyle Round Up Championships taking place in BC Canada 2 weeks after Ithaca Skate Jam.



The Good Truck and NYS Fair’s Best Food Truck Winner The SIlo Truck will be on the scene serving up the goodness.Crucial Reggae Social Club featuring members of John Brown’s Body, Roadman, Mosaic Foundation, Sim Redmond Band, Big Mean Sound Machine, Fall Creek Brass Band, Jimkata , and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad are finishing off the day with a Sunset Set.

Register at



Comet Skateboards, Vans Shoes, Vans Warped Tour, Element Skateboards, Powerflex Skateboards, Bones Swiss Bearings, Powell Peralta, Original Skateboards, Levi’s Skateboarding, Dickies Skateboarding, Volante Wheels, Salt Rags Skateboarding, Clif Bar, Guayaki Beverages, Gimme! Coffee, Greenstar Co-op, Emmy’s Organics, Viva Taqueria, Silky Jones, Luna inspired Street Food, and Media Sponsor WVBR, Wheelbase Magazine.

Please, steal this idea

Please, steal this idea

It’s been over a month since I was at ISPO. Something has been weighing on my conscious, but I wasn’t quite able to connect the dots. While at ISPO in Germany, I met a number of interesting folks and ran into a few unusual situations. Without naming names, there are a number of people who have borrowed heavily from the Carver Truck. Some have done tributes to Neil Carver’s revolutionary designed truck, others have pretty much copied the design.Behold the CX Surfskate Truck! If copying someone’s idea is the sincerest form of flattery, you could say Carver has been overwhelmed by flattery. The truth is that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to create something new. The entire crew over at Carver spent years working and promoting a new way to ride. Seems like folks like the feeling of sharp turning…gives them a great work out. But what is sad is that most of these companies that borrowed heavily or were inspired by Carver didn’t once pick up the phone and try and work out something. Some just copied, with no remorse. Well, in the spirit of ripping people off, I ripped off the PEACE SIGN five years ago.  From this…thank you Gerald Halton!    to this…  Four years ago, my good friend John Krieger took the logo and tweaked it.  Feel free to steal my idea too.Because I just stole John’s idea…or is more of a tribute?     I figure it is for a great cause. Please don’t sue me John!   

Women's Longboard Camp

Women's Longboard Camp

Where: “Bonfire” Camp in Großerlach, near Stuttgart (SW Germany)
When: June 1st to 6th

More details here:


From complete newbies to advanced – this camp has got you covered.  A perfect playground for all types of skating. Campfires, swimming pond, resident miniramp, a bunch of rad likeminded ladies – we heartily encourage all female skaters to attend.

Contact them at


Kodiak Boards Carves Out a Unique Niche

Kodiak Boards Carves Out a Unique Niche

Bear Walker claims that his inherent manual labor skills originate from a background of working his way up from hauling debris to completing framing and finishing work for his father’s construction company. Before long,


Bear Walker, founder of Kodiak Boards.


Walker began to pursue his skill set down a more artistic path. In attaining a degree in Graphics from Clemson, his capstone project of a metallic ink skateboard sparked his interest in skateboard design that would eventually manifest itself to become Kodiak Boards.


From there, Walker embarked on a painstaking journey of trial and error to select the best wood, plies and configurations for developing his own line of longboards and cruisers. As he described the process of ups and downs, “Some snapped, some looked strange, some were too stiff, too flexible, too hard to carve into, too soft to withstand the wear and tear of being a longboard.”


Bear ensures that the boards are produced flawlessly.


Above all, finding the balance between functionality as grip and maintenance of the boards integrity posed the largest problem in designing Kodiak Boards’ iconically carved top layers. As someone who rides the boards every day looking for potential flaws, Walker is confident that the top carving pattern actually improves grip, in the absence of grip tape.

The CNC design on the top of the deck means you can go griptape free.


To achieve the intricately cut patterns, Walker designs each individual line and uses a tabletop CNC to etch the designs out. Typically, after up to 10 attempts to perfect each of Kodiak Boards’ models, Walker is ready to move on to what he cites is the real work of the process. Once off the machine, each board goes through a sanding process that provides a hand filed finish to every edge of the board. From there, the bottoms of each deck are routed, sanded and branded en route to receiving the secret Kodiak Boards touch. In the end, the polished look is set to withstand all sorts of weather, routing abuse and plenty of good times.


In sum, six years after the foremost design, Kodiak Boards recently came back from the shores of a photoshoot in Costa Rica for the launch of their new line of 23” Surfers. You can check up on the process of this drop on their Instagram here

Jamaica Skate Trip

Jamaica Skate Trip

Longboarding for Peace is setting off early next month for a weeklong expedition to Jamaica. I have been wanting to visit the island for many years. However, I always wanted to go with a local. I felt that if I was going to visit, I would teach skateboarding and really give something back. I am delighted to be traveling with Brady Brown (who now lives in Toronto and has deep family ties to Jamaica) and Luis Bustamante who originally hails from the Philippines. Together we will be creating a mini-documentary of our exploits. We have reached out to several Jamaican organizations and plans are underway to really engage with local skaters and schools. We’ll have a few announcements as things get firmed up. The bottom line, we are truly excited to spread the high fives and positive vibes. If you have any contacts in Jamaica that you think would benefit from Longboarding for Peace, just email.  Artist: Chris Dyer

Lectric Longboards

Lectric Longboards

While Concrete Wave was at the Freestyle Roundup Contest in Vancouver we had a chance to meet up with Levi Conlow. His company, Lectric Longboards is starting to gain quite a following.Their new Lectric LS, has a top speed of 26 mph and a range of 15 miles. The top speed makes it the fastest manufactured board in the market. Levi has also kept the price extra-ordinary low. Lectric started in a college dorm room and sold boards right from the comfort of their confined space. The company brought in over $130,000 in revenue in their first 7 weeks of selling and quickly realized they had something special. Their school in Phoenix took notice and sponsored a facility to build their boards on campus. In the electric skateboard market, the majority of the boards come from China.  Lectric are producing and making their boards at the same place they began – Phoenix. They are now hiring fellow college students to help with production, design, and service – allowing them to gain the same great knowledge and experience the founders have gained through working on Lectric Longboards.  Here are few more points about Lectric:o  the board has regenerative braking (charging the battery when the brakes are engaged)o  there are two motors, both being placed inside the wheels thus eliminating user maintenance. o  on the controller you can switch between two riding modes; eco mode and ludicrous mode. Also on the controller you can choose to go forward or reverse.o Lightweight (13 lbs) As the electric skateboard explodes, Concrete Wave will be here to showcase a wide variety of product that is hitting the market.     

Freebord – Blazing New Trails

Freebord – Blazing New Trails

As I was scrolling through Facebook one day, I caught a glimpse of a pleasant surprise amidst the barrage of cat videos, politically-charged upheavals and “New Year, New Me” status updates. In the depths of all the other virtual noise, I found a rider blazing downhill with a different stance and with more control than any other downhill footage I have seen.Evolution of the product.Call it effective social media marketing or call it fate but I knew I had to reach out to President and CEO of Freebord Mfg. Steven Bianco to find out more about their San Francisco roots, their worldwide expansion and the individualistic niche they have quite literally carved out of the board sports world.Freebord is about “snowboarding the streets.”As mentioned, the movement started in creator Steen Strand’s SF garage under mountains of credit card debt and prototypes. Introducing Freebord to the world was, “the hardest thing I’ve ever done” Strand summed up bluntly.Steen Strand (circa 1997) sweated blood and tears making Freebord a reality. With the production help from some friends and the same humanizing word of mouth promotion, the Freebord community began to grow. Then, by aligning themselves with the snowboarding community, the brand thrived in Summer months as wholesalers sought out new products to sell.In demand and out the door! Bianco notes that this early success came at the point where digital video production was improving in quality and encouraging riders to go out and document their runs. By connecting through online forums, dedicated Freebord riders turned 8 hour trips to meet up and ride into a casual routine. The influx of footage that derived from these trips culminated in a series of Best User Submitted Video contests in 2005. To date, hundreds of amateur and professional film makes have took to the streets and shown the world what Freebord riders are capable of. To this end, riders like Caleb Casey have taken on snowboard-inspired pillow lines, while riders like Jordi Puig keep their sights on conquering mind-numbing lines down the Alps and stomping perfect frontside 360s for enders. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, those like Mike Hoppe, stick to the San Fransisco terrain where he helped Freebord rise to fruition in its early days. Here in street skateboarding’s capital of hill bombs, Hoppe makes snaking down “the most crooked street in the world” look trivial with effortless frontside to backside transitions. Also here in the Bay Area, the the many members of the prominent local community have transformed the city into their own personal resort. As Bianco puts it, “Freebording has created it’s own irreverent sub-culture that resembles other board sports but is also not like other board sports.”Skyhooks meet Freebords and this allows Caleb Casey to take flight.The difference between the Freebords and cruisers, downhill boards or any fusion of the two is in the fundamental design and performance. From the bottom up, the Freebord was designed to simulate snowboarding on pavement, not to take the skill out of the longboarding or skateboarding. By designing the center castor wheels to act as a similar base to snow, the wide trucks were subsequently designed to keep riders flowing from heelside to toeside edge, like snowboarders would on the slopes. From there, the bindings allow riders more torque as would snowboard bindings, only they allow riders to easily hook in and out to add the ability to push and to step out. This completely reimagined way of taking the sensation of bringing snowboarding to the streets influences riding styles in a way that allows Freebord riders to size up a hill unlike the way any other boarder would approach one.  Visit freeboard here. 

Why Longboarding for Peace?

Why Longboarding for Peace?

 Dear family, friends, fellow skaters and supporters.. I write this message for all those who love the internet and for all those who hate it and those of you who both LOVE and HATE the web at the same time. I write this message for all those who love facebook, all those who hate it and all of you who both LOVE and HATE facebook at the same time. I write this message for you and to those on the left, those on the right and those who see merits in both sides of the political spectrum. I write this message for people who believe in God/higher power, for those who do not, for those who are spiritual but not religious and for those who have no spiritual or religious beliefs. I write this message in the name of peace, balance and justice. Longboarding for Peace was founded 2012. It is a global movement to foster peace, balance and justice powered by skateboarders. No matter what your beliefs, we can all agree that much has happened in these past five years. Heck, much has happened in the past week!   My message to you is as follows: If you jump on a skateboard/longboard/snowboard or even a bicycle and go only left, you will wind up in a circle. The same can be said if you only go right. In fact, the more extreme right or left you go, the more in a circle you will go. Whether you consider yourself right wing or left wing, most agree that fascism and communism are both extremely harmful to democracy. This message is particularly important right now. Many on the right who either publicly or privately are satisfied and pleased with the way the world is turning are running up against those who disagree with them. Many on the left who either publicly or privately are shocked and dismayed with way the world is turning are running up against those who disagree with them. In both cases, the extremism is leading to violence – violence with words and fists. They say that history repeats. It also rhymes. There are so many parallels with the past right now. Google “the fourth turning” and understand the terms like “crisis, high, awakening and unravelling.”    In 2012 I asked myself what I was doing to promote peace, balance and justice? Five years later, I can state that the movement is needed more than ever. Longboarding for Peace is not a charity or non-profit. It is a movement forward that measures all ideas and acts through the lens of peace, balance and justice. Over the past several years LFP gave away close to 40,000 pins, 100,000 stickers. Look for them…or better yet, take the logo and spread the message. We have been involved with over 150 initiatives to promote peace, balance and justice in over 30 countries world wide. You can read about some of them here (78 pages worth – thanks to some incredible people) You’ve taken the first crucial step – you ride! You stepped on, now it is time to step up. You want to promote peace, balance and justice? Longboarding for Peace needs your energy. Email me at

First Ever CW Photo Contest

First Ever CW Photo Contest


Concrete Wave is proud to announce our Amateur Photo Contest 2017. This will be the contest of the year for all you amateur skate photographers out there, so listen up and pay attention.


If you are selected as one of our finalists, you will have the opportunity to see your photo, in print, in the magazine. We have slated the entirety of the November Issue (deadline, September 1st) to showcasing your work. The contest is open to any and all amateur photographers.



The rules are simple: send in your photo; your name; where the photo was shot; and the subject… and, that’s it! Photo requirements are 300 dpi or better, submitted via e-mail, to Michael Brooke. We’ll handle it from there.


Photo submissions must be original works that have never been published before. That includes photos that have been previously “published” on the internet. Do not send us your Instagram portfolio. Do not send us your Facebook Files. Only original, unpublished works will be considered for publication in the magazine.


Consider yourselves advised.


We encourage all types of skaters from all over the world to submit work. We love all y’all, and we love all kinds of skateboarding.


Besides the opportunity to be immortalized on the pages of the magazine, the 1st place winner will win a cool $750 second place will fetch $375 and third will score $150. Finalists and winners will be announced in the November issue.


Deadline for photo submissions is September 1st.


Don’t be late…!


Remember, send photos to


Back to the XXX Future?

Back to the XXX Future?

 It was reported yesterday that XXX – The Return of Xander Cage is the the number one film in the world at the moment. If you haven’t seen it yet, chances are you’ve probably seen the trailer. A new trailer featuring the downhill stunts just came out.  I for one am glad Vin Diesel is back to save the world and possibly the skate world! One of the stunt doubles Brandon Desjarlais of Moonshine and Abec 11 is a personal friend. On behalf of skaters everywhere Brandon, we are stoked for you.These days, films last about 10 days at most theaters. Unlike back in the 1980’s when Back to the Future played for months and helped propel skateboarding forward into 1985 and beyond! Time will tell if Xander Cage was able to help save skateboarding but at this point, anything is possible.  Who could forget the scene in Part 2 of Back to the Future? Sales of hoverboards exploded after this!  The truth is that no one really knows what will capture the imaginations of the public. Perhaps the millions who have seen XXX clip online or on their phones might be interested in riding down a hill at speed (along with ollieing onto buses). At this point in skateboarding, anything is possible. Just for the record, Mr. Diesel took home over 45 million dollars in 2015 and didn’t do too badly in 2016. 





The 14th Annual Toronto Board Meeting took place last Saturday.

Rain had threatened the event, but by late afternoon, things were in full swing.

Over 800 skaters took to the streets and the mood, as always, was indeed festive.


The photos don’t fully capture the experience – but they give you a taste. The range of participants is from 1 year up to 50-something.

The initial rush starts with a quick push to the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair.


A ten minute sit-down in the intersection boggles most on-lookers minds and allows everyone to gather.

Cries of “BOOARRRDDD MEETING” can be heard every few moments.


Sit-down at Yonge and St. Clair.

The second part of Board Meeting is a quick skate down a moderate hill on Canada’s most well known street – Yonge Street.


Despite the fact that the meeting has been going on for almost a decade and a half, most spectators don’t really know what they are seeing.


Many stand there in disbelief while others, enjoying the spirit of the moment, take photos or give high fives.

A number of taxi cab drivers are stunned and regular motorists generally go with the flow.

 City TV came out to cover the festivities.

A quick fifteen to twenty minute skate to Queen’s Park marks roughly the half way point and allows the group to enjoy the moment.


It’s then on to City Hall for an impromptu slide jam. 


This year Board Meeting happened to have the good fortune of coinciding with a walk to raise money for cancer.

The music blaring from the speakers blended perfectly with the day. Towards the end of the event, thirsty skaters were generously given free soft drinks courtesy of the sponsors of the walk.


As the first part of Board Meeting ended, the rain started to come. The timing was almost too perfect!


Huge thanks to all the sponsors who make this event such a blast.


Nothing is Impossible: Longboarding in Morocco

Nothing is Impossible: Longboarding in Morocco

I’m Yassine Boundouq and I have been riding a longboard for 3 years. I am now the ambassador of Loaded boards and Orangatang wheels here in Morocco.

The red background on the Moroccan flag represents hardiness, bravery, strength and valour, while the green represents love, joy, and hope. Definitely the kinds of things that skateboarding represents too!

When I started longboarding I searched on riders I found small community most of them are surfers so they ride just for fun, the Summer of 2015 I did a longboard tour from the north to the south of Morocco I crossed 3000km pushing on my longboard.


One of my goals was to spreading the longboard culture in my country. So I took this challenge and I organized 7 longboard events and cleanliness campaigns across the big cities. It was a successful trip because the longboard community grew up and I got the invitation to be the ambassador of Docksession in Morocco. Before that I was doing free longboard sessions in my town with my longboards. I called them LongB session. The success of those sessions led Docksession to invite me to work with them. As a result 4 cities in morocco now hold weekly sessions.


It’s really hard to grow  longboarding in Morocco because we don’t have longboard shops, but I’m doing my best. Hopefully I can see more people in the streets. Nothing is impossible. Below is my video about longboarding in Morocco. Enjoy!



Rolling Into the New Year

Rolling Into the New Year

This year went by fast. Incredibly fast. It seems inconceivable that I was preparing to meet up with folks at our annual bbq at the Agenda Trade Show 12 months ago. Next week, Agenda 2017 in Long Beach hits once again. It’s always a very special event. The annual gathering brings a variety of people together but this year we have a truly remarkable guest of honor. Our guest does not own a big skate brand. He also doesn’t place in the top 10 of various skate events. Rather, he is leaving a mark on skateboarding that is unique and jaw-dropping Our guest is Chris Koch and he is one of the most incredible skaters I’ve ever had the privilege to know. We featured his story in our September issue.  You can learn more about his skating in marathons in the video below:Chris is a motivational speaker and you find out more about him here. I am so delighted Chris will be joining us for the BBQ. As we roll into 2017, take the time to ride and enjoy the freedom that skateboarding offers. 

Wait, They Longboard?!

Wait, They Longboard?!

Like many of you, I am staring down 2017 with a mix of trepidation and excitement. I dread to see another world war but at the same time, I am excited for the future.  This upcoming year is going to be filled with an enormous amount of great things in skateboarding…I can feel it.  You want proof? Ok, Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage the SAME DAY Trump is sworn in!    Without sounding too cliche, I have admit, change is difficult, but it’s worth embracing. Recently, my family and I changed our lifestyle. Nothing too radical but definitely different. We downsized from quite a large house to an apartment. On the plus side, no more worry about squirrels eating parts of my windowsill and no more driveway to shovel. At the same time, when you downsize, space becomes a premium. There wasn’t room for the boxes of magazines I had published over the years. My extensive skate quiver was also going to be a challenge to fit into our new place.  I spent most of November giving away most of what I had collected, bought, produced and/or hoarded in the past four decades. The joy of downsizing was matched only by the pain I thought I was going to experience through eliminating 90% of my stuff. It’s hard to say good bye to something you have truly given your heart and soul to. But, as Yogi Berra famously said: “nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.” Curiously enough, as I was going through my journey of minimizing, I spotted a documentary on this very subject on Netflix. Here’s the trailer: Minimalism is now playing on Netflix.The film resonated with me on a profound level. Minimalism isn’t about giving up stuff. It’s about embracing the things that really count. You don’t give up technology or clothing…you simply have less things. The old saying “less is more” is at the heart of a minimalist philosophy. At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, “what the hell does this have to do with skateboarding?” Well, it turns out that one of the key people featured in the documentary is a skater. Ryan Nicodemus owns a Santa Cruz complete. His partner in the minimalist adventure is Joshua Fields Milburn. I am not sure if he skates, but his story is just as compelling as Ryan’s. I was so taken with the film that I wrote to the Minimalists (as they are known by). I explained that I ran a skate magazine and that I was intrigued to know more about Ryan’s skate background.  Pushing around Montana, Ryan’s hometown. The publicist got back to me pretty damn quickly and I had an opportunity to ask Ryan some questions. You’ll have to wait until our March issue to read them. Meanwhile, I encourage you to open up to the ideas of minimalism. You might be very surprised at what it can do for you.    Ryan only owns ONE longboard…but it does the job!   Learn more about a less is more lifestyle here.   

Wait, They Longboard?!

Wait, They Longboard?!

Welcome to the on-line edition of a popular column we brought out earlier this year. If you would like to help break the stereotypes that many people have about skateboarders, please submit story along with a photo or two. No jacket required.


Steve Mark

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Coordinator

Integrated Cadastral Information Society


After completing a Geography Degree from the University of Victoria I went on to completing an Advanced Diploma in GIS.   I have been working in the GIS Industry for over 15 years.  I have worked for both Provincial Ministries and for a variety of consultant companies.  I am currently working with a non-profit society the exchanges geospatial data between local & provincial governments, utility companies and First Nations in BC.   I am an avid skater, father of two and an ambassador for Longboarder Labs in Victoria.   I am also the organizer for the Victoria Greenskate Longboard Cruise.



Do you recall your first skateboards as a kid?

My first longboard was a “Reject” board from PD’s Hotshop back when It was located on Oak St. in Vancouver.  I was in grade 3.  My parents used to take us into PD’s to buy skateboard gear.  I still remember the 99 cents paper hats with the shop logo on them.   Skullskates is an institution.



How did you get into Longboarding?

I grew up in the 80’s and was fully immersed in street skating.  In White Rock where I grew up skateboarding was a huge scene.  I guess I never loss the stoke.   While attending the University of Victoria in the 90’s I picked up my first longboard.  It was an old Powell Peralta deck with a hula girl on the bottom.  It was basically just a big skateboard, but it acted as my “gateway” longboard.  Since then I have been collecting boards.  I think my quiver is up to around 15 right now.



What are some of the comments you’ve received over the years?

With my work I have the opportunity to travel to both large urban centers and smaller rural municipalities.  If possible I will always bring a longboard with me.   It’s such a great way to explore a new town.  Colleagues are often surprised when I tell them that I was out exploring their town via longboard.


I also do a lot of online training webinars and site visits and I have a screen saver of my son and I longboarding and it always gets a few remarks. 


When checking in to hotels in Vancouver it’s always funny to see the reaction of hotel staff when I check in wearing business attire and a few minutes later I leave to go longboarding.


I often get comments from colleagues that they used to skateboard growing up.  I have actually got a few of them into longboarding after taking a 20-30 year hiatus from standing on a board.



It looks like your kids is are also into skateboarding.

Yes, I encourage both my kids to get out on my longboards.  We have such a great variety of longboards we are always switching trucks and wheels around and dialing in set ups.   We live less than a kilometer away from their school so they often longboard to school.   As well a lot of the neighborhood kids come by and use the longboards.  It make for a super fun and sometimes terrifying session.




United Nations of Longboarding

United Nations of Longboarding

Great times at the gathering.

Photo: Miguel Cervantes


Just before thanksgiving, I was viewing some of the longboard meet up sites and came upon a longboard rental request from a German longboarder visiting NYC for the week. I’ve been there before; visiting a foreign place and wishing I had my board, so I couldn’t just scroll by and forget it. Not much later that night I reached out to Armin Beck from Stuttgart Germany who was looking to do what we all love and do: skate. After some exchange I offered him one of my boards, no charge, no problem. Simultaneously, Kenzo Shimzu (Japanese/American), was corresponding with Miguel Cervantes (Mexican/American) on where to tear up some local hills. I reached out to them as well and realized this was quickly becoming something like a United Nations longboard summit but it was missing something or someone. After some thought, I reached out to Gustavo Santiago, a world traveler from Brazil currently visiting NYC.


So here we were, five guys from five countries spanning four continents, messaging one another to unite and spend the day on one hill, was this really happening? Little did i know that this would set into motion one of the most rewarding days of longboarding for all of us.  After some more IM we decided on a meeting place and chose  the Manhattan side of the George Washington Bridge at 11:00 AM… IT WAS ON!


As I got off the 175th st exit over the GWB and approached Broadway, there they were. After some introductions to new faces and brief exchanges, we were on our way about an hour and a half northwest where New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania converge. There was a certain symmetry to the choice of this location that joined three different states. It just seemed to fit given the variety of our backgrounds. Our journey there was fraught with non-stop laughter, comedy, some seriousness, one pit stop and, of course, more laughter. When we arrived we were all awestruck with the majestic and panoramic view. The mountain was perfect and offered up two switchbacks and a 12 degree variable grade… So nice!


It was truly an international group: an American, a German, a Brazilian, a Mexican/American and a Japanese/American atop a mile and a half, rarely travelled, double lane road with those two amazing switchbacks… The longboard gods are definitely good.


We all took to that hill like ducks to water and took each run with more vigor than the last. Each one of us was heelsiding, toesiding, occasionally bricking but most importantly, living life to the fullest. 


The sun would prove to be our nemesis eventually declaring an end to the day. After some final runs we all packed our gear and began our trek home which proved more fun than the ride up.


It wasn’t until later in the night when I got home that the gravity of the events of the day began to settle in. It was really something spectacular… Perhaps the United Nations could take a page from the book of our gathering, “Through our mutual love for longboarding we embraced our diversity”… Five guys from five countries spanning four continents spending the day longboarding on one hill… YEAH, the longboard Gods smiled on all of us that day. I will NEVER forget it. The laughter, the sharing, the progression and the friendships forged. These are the memories that will stay with us forever. It was incredible.     

Carver Announces Ecothane Mag Wheel

Carver Announces Ecothane Mag Wheel

A few months ago Carver launched ‘The Ahi’, a performance skateboard constructed from over 50 square feet of recycled fishing nets, bringing plastic waste from the sea to the streets.


The Ahi, proudly made in California by Bureo, features their CX mini truck, made locally in El Segundo, CA.


Carver are stoked to announce the launch of Carver’s Roundhouse Ecothane Mag wheel (65mm 81a), made in collaboration with Bureo for The Ahi board. Ecothane is made from a unique formula that incorporates soybeans to offset the reliance on petroleum-based urethane.

As a consumable, skate wheels have shorter lives than the durable Ahi skate deck, which is designed for a lifetime of skating. In an effort to offset the reliance on fossil fuels within the wheel production process, the incorporation of soybeans in the Ecothane formula lowers the wheel’s carbon footprint.


Offering an incredibly smooth ride, the new Roundhouse Ecothane Mag wheel profile and formula brings additional grip to keep your wheels engaged with the pavement as you flow from turn to turn and has been well-received by our team riders.


President Greg Falk, on the Ecothane formula:

“We never compromise quality in selecting our materials, but it’s a true win-win when we can limit our carbon footprint and show an improvement in the board’s performance. We are pleased with the new Ecothane formula, and happy to support the movement towards a more environmentally friendly rider experience.”

The New Loaded Tan Tien

The New Loaded Tan Tien


Introducing the new Loaded Tan Tien.

The Tan Tien blends carve-oriented longboarding with advanced trick riding. A flexible deck, drop-through truck mounts, and usable kicks allow the Tan Tien to pack a lot into a relatively small package. The complex contours create a super responsive board that allows for increased confidence when leaning into turns, popping tricks, and powering through slides.

The updated grip design and bottom veneer reference the history of the Tan Tien and its conceptual underpinnings. It’ll also make your home smell of many leather-bound books.