So.. You Think You Can Longboard Dance?

So.. You Think You Can Longboard Dance?

So.. You Can Longboard Dance? 2018 Worldcup Longboard Freestyle and Dance (flatland disciplines) 6th edition APRIL 21st and 22nd 2018 Klokgebouw Eindhoven The Netherlands competitions. Entry is free for spectators. 
Bianca Kersten heads up Flow Provider and she is in charge of the event. We contacted her from her home in Spain.
For those who are new to the party, what is it about longboard dancing?
Longboard dancing is riding a longboard in your own style, with flow (speed, consistency, combos) and creativity (innovation is important in competitions). It includes dancing that is accompanied by a variety of technical tricks.
How did Flow Provider become part of this movement – and what was the impetus to start the SYCLD
Already since 2003 does Flow Provider organise projects within street culture and street sports. Mainly events and programs in school. We believe in making a circle: pro’s inspiring people to start who are taught bij <retired or not> pro’s who can make a living out of their passion this way. These new inspired people who are taught form the new generation of pro’s and so the story continues. I believe in taking care of the whole circle to maintain a healthy scene. I use to manage a building on the opposite side of the Klokgebouw. Jan, the owner told me that I should just ask whenever I wanted to do something. It was bad weather and we wanted to skate. And so we did.. and the whole world came. Things lined up.. I had the time and knowledge to make an event out of it (which was necessary because of the huge amounts of people that wanted to come), I have the love of longboarding and knew the people in the scene and the owner of the Klokgebouw supports us in an unbelievable way. So.. it became ‘So.. You (think you can <- the first edition this was added) Can Longboard Dance?’ as a joke because the event that was her big sister, in Zwolle NL, was called ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Nobody knew it would lead to this. And I think the secret of the succes and growth is that there is no ulteriar motive. As long as a bunch of people have fun skating and inspire others, SYCLD is a succes.
What are some of the goals of Flow Provider?
The goals of Flow Provider is inspire, connect, educate and spread the stoke. Get people to feel what we all know about. The feeling of motion on a board and the butterflies and joy that gives. What it means if you can live your passion. I guess that is also the strength of organising SYCLD. I love every moment I can spend on the beach and in the ocean, so I only want to spend time behind the computer doing what I love, my time is too precious to me. SYCLD is an event I love to organise because it’s all about positivity. Everyone wants the best for it and each other. Even the sponsoring brands don’t want to dominate each other. Everyone supports it and loves doing so because it’s nice! Teaching longboard is also so nice! I was teaching thousands of kids and the smiles are the best! So inspire and get those who are inspired to inspire others. The pebble in the water..
For SYCLD I would like to have one event on every continent or in every region. The winner wins a trip to Eindhoven to have a shot at the title of World Champion. I think everyone should have the chance to attend and that a plane ticket to Eindhoven should not be the reason that maybe the biggest hidden talent somewhere can’t come. I think Brenno’s story is so inspirational. Did a crowdfunding campaign to get money for a ticket from Brazil to Holland and luckily he made it because he became world champion that year! And this changed his life!
For those who’ve never attended a SYCLD, what should they expect?
A huge venue of 5000m2 where you can skate, watch and enjoy yourself! With the nicest people on the planet doing things on a board that seem impossible. Just enjoy, skate and relax. The event is both days (21st and 22nd of April) from 13.00-22.00 and on Saturday there is a party nearby. Many competitions and much space to skate with obstacles. Eindhoven is also an awesome city. Most innovations and new developments in design are coming from Eindhoven. For those who can’t make it there will be a live broadcast!
Need more info? Visit sycld.nl
An Interview with a Pusher… A Long Distance Pusher!

An Interview with a Pusher… A Long Distance Pusher!

Saskia Tromp – one of the world’s best long distance pushers.

I had an opportunity to meet up with Saskia at Shred Expo in February. At 21, she’s on her way to making a serious name in long distance. We wanted to share her insights.

What is your skate background?

My skating started when I was about 5 years old. I was always on rollerskates and got into ice skating when I was 7. I participated in marathons and the normal speed-skating distances like 500, 1000, 1500 and 3000 meters. I also did a lot of in-line skating, cycling, swimming and running.

When I stopped ice skating in 2012, I got into longboarding. My first board was a pretty cheap one from a local store, but a week later I knew I loved it and got a better board. I started pushing around town, commuting a bit and then I bought a downhill deck after meeting the Dutch Downhill Division community. Done that for two seasons, but due to some injuries on my ankle I couldn’t skate so much.

Then I thought to strengthen my ankle by doing long distance training. I got my first LDP setup and then I fell in love with long distance skating itself. A video of the 24- hour Ultraskate made me want to try and I trained hard to get there. The first time I skated more than 10 kilometers I was truly done. But by increasing mileage gradually I could skate much farther than I ever imagined

Where have you competed and what races have you won?

I have competed in races in the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. My first race was the Dutch Pyramid Uphill Push Race (DPUPC) in 2016. It’s a short sprint around a lake and then up a pyramid shaped hill. That was the first competition I ever did on a board and I loved it. After that I went to the quarter ultraskate (6 hours) in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It was my first bigger race and I was super nervous, but it was also the first time I met skaters from another country and I ended up second! I was training to do my first 24- hour Ultraskate in Miami.

Getting the money together to go to Florida was a thing, but it worked out eventually. It was my first time out of Europe and it felt super awesome. The race started quite well and I held a high pace. Unfortunately I had two bad crashed at night. So I accidentally stood on my front wheel, crashed and hit my knee and shin. I was almost on the point to give up, but seeing everyone passing by inspired me to keep going and I hit my goal of at least 150 miles and I got 5th in the ranking there.

I was super stoked after that one and trained hard for the next race, a quarter Ultraskate in Kienbaum, Germany. I won that one and beat my own personal best. After that race I was in good shape and there were a few weeks between the Dutch Ultraskate, so I was just maintaining form. The Dutch Ultra is super special to me, since I skated my world record there at 422.10 km/ 262 miles. It was a tough race, especially at night when the track seems like it’s just you and your board on a road. I know the track really well because I used to cycle there in my childhood. I never thought hitting a WR and going to 262 miles would be possible, but due to some luck and an awesome support team it happened. After the ultra in 2017 there was a marathon organized by the Misfits skatecrew, and another quarter Ultra in the Netherlands in November. Now we’re in off season, but spring 2018 is coming!

What is is that makes LDP so interesting for you?

To me LDP means exploration, love, family and freedom. On a board you can go wherever you want and see the world. It has brought me so much and I can’t imagine a life without it anymore. The whole scene is supportive and it’s easy to reach everyone.

LDP is also my general way of getting around to nearly all my appointments. It’s pretty much glued to me and people are already asking what happened if I don’t have my board with me.

What are some of the physical and mental challenges of pushing for 24 hours straight?

On the physical side: It is important to listen to your body, it’s easy to overuse something. Of course you have to be very strong in general, and you need to have a good technique while pushing or pumping to save energy. The challenge is to keep going and not take too many (long) rests, since that cools you down and then you’ll have a hard time to get into the rhythm again. The longer you’re into the race, the more often you’ll see others get into their chairs or tents to have a break. The track gets less crowded and you might end up on your own.

This is where the mental part comes in: if you think about giving up, you will. Keep your thoughts on the positive side and you can break any limit. I think the mental side is equally – if not more – important than the physical side, since you can be super strong, but if you give up you’re not going to hit your goal!

What is the future for LDP?

To me, the future of LDP lies in organizing more events and getting new people into the scene. Races, clubs, gatherings, fun days, touring, there’s so much to think about. I feel like a lot of people are seriously interested in it, but just never got in contact with it. I hope to gather some more people by doing projects with (young) students about longboarding, as they are the future for the scene.

Hitting the finish line!

How do you feel about the Olympics… could LDP be a part of it?

I my opinion LDP can be a part of the Olympics, and I’m hoping that we could get an Olympic marathon for distance longboarding. There’s not that much needed (just a closed track or the course for the Olympic runner’s marathon) and everyone knows what a marathon is. I think a lot of people will love it and would want to try skating when they see it on the tv.

However the Ultraskate should remain the same in my opinion, and the community shouldn’t be divided in “I’m from this country and you’re from that country so we can’t work together”. The family is more important than the racing, but I think the Olympics are a cool way to gather more people and spread the stoke.

Tell us about your set up!

My current setup consists of:

  • Rocket Exodus platform
  • G|Bomb S-fork proto
  • G|Bomb TT-s
  • G|Bomb Infinity bolts
  • G|Bomb Ceramic bearings
  • Don’t Trip Poppy SP
  • Riptide 80a fatcone/ 80a barrel
  • Riptide 80a cone/ 80a cube
  • Riptide In-Side Footstop
  • MOB Griptape
  • Orangatang Kegels 80 mm 80a
  • Proto rear wheels

What’s life like for you in the Netherlands? What do you study and why?

Life in the Netherlands as a student is pretty busy, haha! I study Landscape and Environment Management in Delft. I learn a lot about water management, climate adaptation, ecology, laws, doing research, nature management and computer programs like GIS. Also we have a lot of excursions. I commute a lot by board, bus and train due to the fact that I moved to the east side of the country for my internships. I like this study because it’s future-oriented and we’re outside a lot. I’m in my last year and will finish this summer. So this year I will (hopefully) graduate and the plan is to do a premaster next year, followed by a double master at the University of Wageningen.

Any final comments?

If you don’t have a decent LDP board yet, get one and enjoy the ride!

PS Saskia rides for Rocket Longboards and G Bomb

Rocket Longboard’s EXODUS Model

 

Torsion Tail Bracket from G Bomb

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Gun Buy Back

The Gun Buy Back

 Former pro skater Harvey Hawks spent 27 years in jail for 2nd degree murder. As he states – “the best atonement is a life well served.” This child has gone from non-skater to skater in one small trade. It was Neil Carver, of Carver Skateboards who first approached Longboarding for Peace about the idea of trading guns in for skateboards. That was 4 years ago and since that time, there have been a number of gun buy backs. Carver has stepped up big time with this program and has donated tens of thousands worth of product over the years. A number of other companies have also been involved. These include Loaded, Orangatang, Abec 11, Landyachz, Bustin and Rainskates. Just this year, Kebbek sent 89 completes which is an incredible gift. To all the companies who have provided gear – THANK YOU! We are so appreciative of your generosity.Guns are tagged, bagged and eventually melted down. Although the first gun buy back was held in San Pedro, the gun buyback now take places in San Diego. We work with former pro Dennis Martinez and his Off the Streets volunteers. One particular volunteer who has been essential in making the program work is Harvey Hawks. Harvey also works with CW and we are proud to have him as part of the team. Below is a video of part of his remarkable story. My sincere thanks to Carver for making this video and to you for taking the time to watch it. The 9th Annual Gun Buyback in association with Longboarding for Peace and the San Diego Police Department on December 16, 2017 from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM at 6020 Akins Ave, San Diego, CA 92114. 

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

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

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  

Bethlehem Longboard Jam 4

Bethlehem Longboard Jam 4

 The event was a success, everyone that attended had a great time and we expect to see them at future events this year.  Below is the recap for the event with video links and pictures attached… BoarderX Race:This year’s BoarderX Race was one of the most challenging courses we have ever built with only 7 out of 15 completed runs by the competitors.  Riders were stoked on starting inside the moving truck and using the loading ramp to gain speed early in their run.  To make it to the finish, they had to navigate over 3 kickers, a hip ramp, 2 sidewalk transitions and a tricky slalom section.  NJ rider Tim Brookes was the only rider to complete all 3 runs (32.88/33.58/32.18 seconds).  Aaron Gordy charged the course and set the tone on his first run the fastest time of the day.1st- Aaron Grody 31.7 sec2nd- Tim Brookes 32.18 sec3rd- Cam Roundtree 32.75 secPhoto: Austin Bouthillet  Slide Jam Open/Pro:The Open/Pro Slide Jam was a small but talented group of skaters from CO, VA, MD, NJ, PA & DE.  Local shredder Steve Fitz stole the show with 3 killer final runs mixing up technical lines, big airs and smooth slides.  New to the scene, Tim Brookes wowed the crowd with his blunt slides, technical freestyle riding and tricks off the ramps.  Neena Schuller from Original Skateboards held her own with the boys and showed them her silky smooth slides which earned her a 5th place finish.  Our oldest competitor, Bob Kistiner battled it out in the Semi-Finals and impressed the judges enough to make it into the Finals.1st- Steve Fitz2nd- Tim Brookes3rd- Aaron Grody4th- Zach Longacre5th- Neena Schueller & Ventus KisariPhoto: Heather Hilse Slide Jam Juniors:Our Junior division was even smaller than the Open division but that did not stop them from putting on a good show of freestyle & freeride longboarding.  Nate Yager stood out in the finals with high risk freestyle maneuvers and high speed slides.  Last year’s Faceplant Freestle Cup Winner Benny Clark looked laser sharp with his seamless frontside 360 slides and combination of tricks.1st- Nate Yager2nd- Benny Clark3rd- Luke Landis4th- Will MacLeod Hippy Jump:Aaron Gordy stole the show with his WORLD RECORD Hippy Jump of 58”!  It was such an amazing feat, everyone at the event was going crazy as he landed the 4’ 10” high jump three times. Photo: Heather Hilse Longest Slide:Austin Bouthillet – Longest HeelsideZach Longacre – Longest Toeside Honorable Shredders of the Day(thanks to Muirskate):Bob Kistiner for being the oldest competitior and still laying down slides & tricks rad enough to make into a Slide Jam FinalPhoto: Patricia Martin Aaron Gordy for being MVP of the event, 1st in BoarderX, World Record Hippy Jump 58” and 3rd in the Slide Jam. 

Kebbek's Better Weather Tour

Kebbek's Better Weather Tour

Enjoy some optical euphoria as the Kebbek team hunts for steep roads, sunshine, bright starts and cold rivers in Austria. Featuring pro riders Emma Daigle, Juergen Gritzner, Isac Printz and flow rider Benjamin Sabol.     

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.

Faceplant Boardriders Plans for 2017

Faceplant Boardriders Plans for 2017


Faceplant Boardriders will be hosting four longboarding events this year with competitions like downhill racing, freestyle aka slide jam, slalom racing, push racing, boardercross racing, highest hippy jump and big air.  Event organizer Rob Wheeler has been hosting longboarding competitions in the Mid-Atlantic States since 2012.  “Going to Slide Jams got me into the sport and community” says Rob, “I try to mimic that laid back but competitive vibe I felt at those events.”  All of Faceplant’s events are in there 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th generation!  Ricky Wheeler, co-owner of Faceplant Boardrider’s says “Our events are safe, fun and organized so that we get invited back to each venue every year and continue to grow our longboarding community in size and skill.”
 The first event of the year is the 4th annual Bethlehem Jam on Saturday, July 8th.  This event is held in Faceplant’s hometown headquarters so they go all out.  This event starts out with the intense Boardercross time trial race where riders charge down the coned course going off ramps, on and off sidewalks, slalom sections and technical high speed turns.  The rest of the day is dedicated to a classic slide jam where some of the best longboarding tricks and slides of the year go down here!  Each year we have to ask permission from the residents on the hill and they are stoked to have us back again this year in the middle of Summer! King of Kings Gap on Saturday, August 12th is the next Faceplant event and is fairly new.  Rob helped organize the very first event here in 2014 and he has stepped up to be main event organizer this year.  The event grew in 2015 but last year they could not secure enough pre-registered riders to have permission from the venue so it will be in its 3rd generation.  This event features a 5-6 minute downhill race where riders in heats of six reach speeds of 30-35mph as they navigate down the long smooth scenic course.  After downhill racing finishes, riders start at the bottom and see who can endure the 2+ mile uphill push race!  All proceeds from the push race are going towards Carve 4 Cancer foundation!Next is the 5th Annual Rip the Elwood on Saturday, September 9th.  Held at the beautiful Elwood L. Crossan State Park which looks like it was made for longboarders.  They start the day with the technical Downhill Time Trial Race on the skinny path that weaves down the face of an open field hill.  Right next to it is the long, straight Slide Jam hill that gets loaded with features.  This event also features Boardercross Racing, Hippy Jump Contest and Longest Slide competition.The grand finale is the 6th annual Skate the Cape Shred Festival on November 4-5th.  This event takes place in a picturesque and historic state park in Southern Delaware that has miles of paved bike paths. Riders come from all over the East Coast to have a skate getaway where they meet other riders, have a great time camping out around the bonfires, and having some fun competition among each other for 2 days full of events.  Day one features Downhill Racing, Small Wheelbase Racing, Slalom Racing and an Enduro Push Race.  Day two starts with the Boardercross Race, Hippy Jump Contest and ends with the Slide Jam.  This is also the last stop of the Faceplant Freestyle CupLongboarding Series where the top riders in Open and Junior division take home cash! For more info visit their website.
 

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.”

 

 

LONGBOARD ALWAYS!

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!   

Longboarding for PeaceVaradero, Cuba

Longboarding for PeaceVaradero, Cuba

 

This past January, I went to Cuba for my dad’s birthday. It was my first time there and I was so surprised about Cuba’s history that I’ve learned from the locals. Firstly, I did not expect to get a chance to meet some riders. Cuba is a small country and it can get very expensive for locals to buy skate gear. Actually in Varadero and around there’s no skateshop.

 

 Varadero has an attractive park with a little river surrounding it. I was out skating and by chance, I met up with a 15 year old skater. He was wearing an Amigo Skate Cuba t-shirt. This is a group base in La Habana in order to help the skate community all over the country. It’s aim is to initiate kids and adults in our world. 

 

Turns out his name was Christian and he invited me for a session with some of his skater friends. A few days later, I tried to reach them by FB Messenger. It turns out it, this was impossible. My “super wi-fi” connection was poor in my resort. I was feeling disappointed because I had lots of gifts that I brought from Canada. I had stickers, t-shirts from one of our skateshops in Montréal, (Boutique Rollin).

 

Two days before I was to return, I was longboarding again in the center of Varadero at sunset. I heard someone screaming my name very loud. It was Cristian with his friend. They were barefoot with their boards and we went riding around the city together. They were planning to to  Judo training but when they saw me they decided to skateboard – even without shoes. It was a very funny unexpected session at sunset.

 

We then decided that for my last day in this small paradise, to meet up after their school class. A group of about 5 riders and skateboarding in that small park. Cristian told me that they were so stoked to see a 31 years old women, gringa, longboarding. It was great to have to have a chance to share my passion with all those amazing skaters. Each of us are unique and have a story to tell. It’s important to listen people that we find on our travels.

 

At the end of my travels, I finally got the chance to give away my gifts. I didn’t have a lot, but for them it was huge to have small pieces like bearings which you cannot easily find in Cuba. I learned a lot with those Cuban’s teenagers. In fact they have almost nothing when it comes to material possessions,  but they still enjoying their life on that small island everyday. 

 

We are not conscious about the things that we are missing if we don’t know they exist . One of keys of happiness, I think. Cristian is currently working hard to create a bigger group of Cubanos and bring them in that sport. Unfortunately he told me that the government don’t want to put a skatepark in Varadero, because they have one in an another city – in Cardenas This is about half  an hour from Varadero. I think a park in Cardenas would be a great idea.

Definitely, I would like to contribute more to Cuba. It truly is a  beautiful country. I want to help the skateboard industry to grow more there. Cristian told me that recently there were two guys from Puerto Rico who came to his city and gave him some skateboards as a gift. So if you’re planning to visit Cuba, think about brining something for the locals. For sure they will appreciate it!

       

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

Longboard Jesus

Longboard Jesus

What would Jesus do? It seems Jesus would ride a longboard. And it seems Joe Gerin has found his groove. My guess it’s a pretty slow news day over there in Akron Come to think of it, if we’re featuring this story, it must be because we’re going out skating! Joe Gerin, a student at the University of Akron decided to take his $9 costume and get out there and ride  Joe rides a Neversummer longboard. He’s taking time off from his studies in mechanical engineering to skate.    

Moroccan Longboarding Part 2

Moroccan Longboarding Part 2

Loaded has just releases a new video that features Yassine Boundouq. What is unusual about the piece is that it delightfully mixes up longboarding and the local culture of Morocco. It’s not a typical video and kudos to the Loaded Team for really coming up with such a creative piece.We’ve already done a small feature on Yassine on this blog and we’ve got plans to do a full story in our June issue. Folks like Yassine aren’t just ambassadors for a skate company…they are truly ambassadors for peace and understanding. Like many of you, I’ve never visited Morocco and yet, this alluring video pulls me in both as a skater and a traveller. In times like this with so much xenophobia spreading,  we need all the bridges we can find. Take a few minutes and enjoy this brief glimpse into a world you know (skateboarding) and one that you probably have never encountered.  

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!

 

  

IDF  – Interviews With the Candidates

IDF – Interviews With the Candidates

Candidates for the IDF Board Tell AllNote: Zak Maytum, Max Capps, and Tamara Prader were unable to provide their answers The International Downhill Federation (IDF) is the governing body for the World Cup Tour in downhill skateboard and luge racing. To a skateboard or luge racer, winning the World Tour is the highest achievement one can reach. The IDF Board Members are the most influential people to this tour. They have the ability to grow participation, funding, and events. On a global level, their work can make or break the experience of skateboard and luge racers, as well as the experience of their fans. Here’s where you come in; The IDF Board Member elections are upon us! There are 13* candidates running for 7 positions on the board, and elections are this weekend (Friday, Jan.13 – Sunday, Jan.15).  All IDF members are eligible to vote through internationaldownhillfederation.com. Please actively participate in the future of skateboard and luge racing by voting for the most qualified candidates. We’ve made it easy for you by asking each candidate to share their platforms on some of the most telling topics. Below are our questions and their responses. MEMBERS: Vote here now! What are your top accomplishments that qualify you for the IDF Board? Maga McWhinnie: Current IDF Board Member and one of only two candidates with previous experience on the IDF Board. 

  1. Learning to solo run an IDF WQS event and work the Timing System at Laguna Downhill. This is extremely important as no other IDF Board candidate has experience working the Timing System.
  2. Helped with communication and organization of South America and Asia IDF events (including NZ and Australia). Focus on broadcasting up-to-date race info at these events to help grow our sports, media, and sponsorships.
  3. Focused on creating media exposure and networking for the female racing community that didn’t previously exist. Women should be equally promoted and recognized because women are inspired by more women, and IDF needs to support this. Would also love to work in projects that financially supported skilled riders from poor countries.
  4. Contributed to the creation of the ‘Masters’ Category in IDF racing, which is a huge achievement that needed to happen.

 Carl Sambrano:  Earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce with a major in Marketing and Advertising. Creator of Luzon Skateboard Racing; includes 18 races in two years with a minimum of four divisions per race. Organized the first IDF race to be held in the Philippines; Karena Sa Lumban, 2016 WQS. Travis Davenport: Organized the 2014 Push Culture Cup by combining 7 US races into one points’ series tour. Co-organized a few of the PC Cup races from the ground up. Produced Push Culture News for several years and developed relationships with most NorAm event organizers; also has experience working and participating in many NorAm races. Marco Vidales:  Worked with IDF the past three years as an IDF representative in several races and attended board meetings. World Cup organizer, Festival de la Bajada. Created the Colombian Longboarding Cup with five Colombian races in a year. Has a Business Management degree and a Master’s in Risk Management. Max Vickers: Interned for IDF in 2016; attending weekly meetings and gaining understanding of the organization and managing the World Cup circuit. Raced IDF in eight different countries; gaining understanding of what comprises a well run event both for the racer and organizer. Currently Studying Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation with a co-major in Technology Management; gaining understanding of how to strategically grow an organization and utilize it’s technology. Billy Meiners:  Downhill racer for over 10 years. Organized two sanctioned skateboard events spanning seven years. Currently working in the longboard industry for Landyachtz longboards. Mike Girard:  Founded, organized, and funded Central Mass Skate Festival for seven years; included 4 venues, 400 competitors, 20 sponsors, and 35 staff members in 2017. Founded and organized the Burke Mountain Freeride; 100% funded through registration and crowdfunding, where riders safely ran 37 runs in two days on one of the most challenging tracks. Only 2017 NorAm IDF World Cup event organizer, with the 2017 Killington WC; previously spent multiple years co-producing Killington Downhill Throwdown. Federico Barboni: Federazione Italiana Sport Rotellisti (FISR) Italian Championship Coordinator and National Representative for Downhill Skateboarding since 2012. Race organizer since 2007; organized Verdicchio WQS, Poggio-Q, and Marche on Speed. Streetluger since 2000, downhill skateboarder since 2007, 2012 Italian Downhill Skateboard Champion. Matheus Felicio: Race organizer for seven years; Organized Mega Grand Prix WC spanning four years. Four years experience running businesses in the skateboard industry. Has a large team of employees, consultants, mentors, and partners who will be advising and helping if elected to the IDF Board. Rachel Bruskoff: Downhill Skateboard racer for three years; earning a top ranking the past two years. Gained a giant network of contacts from all over the globe; that network will forever expand with my travels, stoke, and perseverance. Gained insight on the many ways events have been run and what works and what needs improvement through travels. What will you do to grow IDF racer participation in both in open and subcategories: Travis Davenport: Well that’s a catch 22 because what we need is outside industry sponsorships. In order to get that, we need big numbers of spectators, participants, and following; and in order to get that, we need big outside industry sponsorships. At the moment, and for the most part, the burden of financing events falls on the racers via entry fees. The main barrier for IDF participation is money for travel, gear, and entry fees. The best thing that could be done to increase participation is to alleviate this through gaining corporate sponsorships. It’s a slow process, but we are honestly still a very young sport and an even younger organization – but we’re growing, and we have strong leadership and will get there. I believe we will figure this out and have generation after generation of new downhill racers with access to safe, closed-road races. Marco Vidales:

  1. Dividing riders in Professional Class and Amateur Class. We had this experience in Colombia when we divided the riders in Professional and Amateur Class: many riders don’t have the expertise to level up to professional riders and are demotivated by this because their advancement in the race is practically null. Professional riders will race against true competitors and the risk if[1]  getting taken out by a rider without the best skills will be reduced.
  2. Freeriding in events is also a way, not everyone wants to compete, some people just want to skate and we must provide that too.

 Max Vickers: I believe there are two primary parts to growing the racer participation for IDF sanctioned events. Having better promotion of the events across our channels and working with organizers to better the promotion across their own networks are both important in spreading the word on these events and increasing attendance. Billy Meiners: Accessibility (I think) is the main thing to focus on if we want to keep participation high. There is a pretty awesome World Tour lined up for this year, but many people can’t afford to travel to all those destinations. Having smaller race circuits (North America, Europe, Asia, etc…) will give people more motivation to travel within their region to participate in events. I think it’d be good to focus on developing those smaller circuits to help bolster the World Tour. Mike Girard: I believe the key to growing participation is to offer a higher quality, better value event. For a few years, organizers have charged excessively high entry fees while offering little additional value to their cookie-cutter formats at events that were often run slowly, with insufficient staff, and roughshod organization. I think the IDF is in a position to encourage more accessible entry fees with more robust, enjoyable, tightly- and safely-organized events that leave all racers satisfied. Although they are not “organizers,” the IDF can predicate certain expectations from every World Cup event. This would also involve a commitment to running reliable timing equipment. Over 7 years running and growing Central Mass Skate Festival, I’ve learned a lot of methods and networks to reach out to as many people as possible, all ages, talent levels, and genders, and I have managed to pull attendees from 25 different U.S. states, 4 different Canadian provinces and countries around the world. I would use these same marketing skills to reach as many potential racers as possible. Federico Barboni: I would like the races to become more fair for the different kinds of riders that attend IDF events; as we still don’t have proper structure in each nation that could filter the top athletes by national leagues. The problem of having an “all-together-solution” includes two sides:1. Pro riders2. Riders not completely or not at all supported by sponsorsFrom this scenario comes the idea of grouping the riders by rankings to make the competition more fair throughout the different levels. The growth of a proper structure on each nation would do this grouping even before the race, but as we still are not organized enough in each nation it’s nearly impossible to make it happen right now. Adding to this topic, I see that there’s still a lot of work to do in each nation for the recognition of downhill skateboarding, and I hope that other people around (old) like me will “wake up,” and understand that there’s the need of doing something on their own nation too grow the scene; Just like someone did in the past to let us grow worldwide. It’s a “give something back” in which I always trust. Matheus Felicio: Every business, profit or nonprofit, has to be aligned with the customer; in our case the riders. One of my main goals is to bring the riders closer to IDF through communication. I want to talk to each and every one of them and get to know their opinion about everything. When the customer is heard, he will be much more involved with the organization. After that’s done I’ll get all their answers organized and check what is relevant. Once that work is done, IDF will have riders that really stand for the organization. That way, the number of riders in our rankings will grow organically. Rachel Bruskoff: I feel strongly that the IDF needs to step up their reach with media and sponsors. We need to expand to a more vast audience and encourage them to come out to events. We can do this through videos, live feeds, social media, and word of mouth. There is also a chance to grow participation by offering more options for riding; including freerides and clinics. These kinds of events can become apart of the scene to help get newer people on the hills and feeling confident to race down them. Maga McWhinnie: That would happen with more exposure from events (live broadcast, constant media), making events with no issues (organization, safety, and technical), better prices and more recognition to racers who are putting their lives on the line for these races, and that could only happen with bigger sponsors. Skateboard companies are not enough. To chase bigger sponsorships, you need to reach bigger masses. Racing needs to develop into a more exciting spectator sport; not just one day or a half day of excitement for spectators online and on-site. It needs to be at least two… so, how do we create that? Something needs to evolve in our old racing system…. Maybe a different format? pro/amateur categories? Also, we need to keep on focusing on the Continental circuits; the best timing, the best events, the best order, searching for more venues and events, and hopefully reaching a point where each continental champion can also receive a prize and/or more recognition. Carl Sambrano: One of the hype that surrounds a race, both for riders and supporters, is knowing who will be racing. With the current scenario, majority of the races have riders registering during the event. Some form of incentive should be given to those registering before a given date. This will be the additional hype that will move riders to register early. It also helps the organizers have a good idea of the number of riders. Also for registration rates, a group registration of five racers should be given an incentive. What will you do to grow IDF public awareness and increase the number of race spectators? Mike Girard: I would take advantage of my social media and general marketing experience to expand the IDF’s voice and maximize the audience of any IDF-sanctioned event. As a 6-year Ambassador for Loaded Boards & Orangatang Wheels, I have substantial experience producing and sharing media to increase public awareness; I think the IDF would benefit from a dedicated social media campaign. This would include a grassroots strategy for local outreach (to community centers, local businesses, universities, etc.) to increase spectatorship. Billy Meiners: There’s numerous ways to accomplish this and my guess is that the current IDF board is probably brainstorming a few different ideas. I’d be curious to see what they are working on. Media is a pretty easy way to increase public awareness. If the IDF had a plan of action for creating/promoting consistently throughout the year, then I think that would help the public awareness a lot. For increasing the number of spectators, this goes back to accessibility. If people have to drive three hours into the mountains to watch a race, then you can’t expect a lot of people showing up to watch the event. Frederico Barbezio: Since we have different kinds of spectators, we have to market to both the people at the event and on the internet. Because we live in a “social media” age, with a focus on online spectators, there’s many scenarios that can increase viewership. Obviously, the tools are out there and need to be both used, and used properly, but I’m sure some surprises will come out in the next few years with the new team. It’s one of the goals on the wish list. Concerning awareness, I think IDF did a good job in being recognized as the body that sanctions gravity games worldwide, and I hope we will be able to keep and spread more of this status every day. Matheus Felicio: I will continue to work with Mega Grand Prix, aiming for the main television network in Brazil; We made some pretty good advances in 2015 and 2016… Hopefully this year we’ll have many thousands of people watching our race. Rachel Bruskoff: One of my goals is to extend the reach of our exposure. We need to publicize more to local communities where races are being held. We need to get the support of the local communities as well. Some of the largest turnouts I have seen at events, were in the smallest towns, but the event was locally advertised and became an event the locals could not miss. We need to extend our events to more than just skaters. Some places in the world this is easier than others, but I think we need to look into the neighboring communities to help boost the events and spread the word. Also through social media; more race videos, more rider videos, more sharing of media! The more something is out there, the more people have the chance to see it. Maga McWhinnie: See my answer to question number two Carl Sambrano: We should include an IDF guide on how to create hype before a race like placing posters in local establishments, as well as public spaces or community boards. We should also include a letter from the IDF addressed to the local media endorsing the WQS or WC. Once we get new people as spectators, we should service them with stoke. I strongly feel we need a finish line announcer who will let spectators know what’s going on and create hype for the race heats all the way to the finals. It would also be beneficial to spectators if spectator area is suitable for a day of racing and is safe; Maintain hype maximizing potential of the IDF website. Travis Davenport: At all the races I have been a part of, the main thing that can help create an audience is to congregate them in one place. This naturally happens at each hill as the weekends progress. Having foresight to pick that location and install grandstands is key; it keeps people off hay, gives a sense of community, and creates better points of view. You may also think that you need streams and big screens; I’ve produced live streams with multiple camera crews and big screens on courses and while these do obviously do the most for spectator’s experience, and an at home audience, they are so expensive that they are not an option for the most part; certainly not if the event is financed strictly by entree fees. However, That is the goal; Once we get out of that catch 22 I’ve mentioned. For now it’s important to have flyers up in local markets and schools and civic places to simply spread the word. Most people in a town don’t even know that a race is happening. So canvasing is important and simply takes weeks of advanced planning, a printer, and boots on the ground.  I’ve always been surprised at how enthusiastic parents of young kids are to come spectate, not involved in racing at all, just excited to have something new in town to take their kids to on the weekend. That demographic is key. We are not going to increase participation by preaching to the choir, so to speak, we need the people who don’t know us, the citizens of the communities that don’t follow our sport. Our best spectator at this point is the first time spectator! Marco Vidales: IDF is a huge content generator and we have only been generating content through the IDF representatives, like me, that travel and report on each race – in a very personal manner with no professional visual support, basically just asking local photographers to share their photos with us, with only giving credit for the photo as a retribution. A whole plan is being actually set up to do this professionally by one person with a clear goal in mind, to grow our awareness and increase or number of riders and spectators. Max Vickers: Through my current volunteer work with the IDF, I have been primarily focusing on establishing a communication plan and working with outside contributors that have knowledgeable communication backgrounds to better define this. Currently, we have a well established strategic plan that will help promote the IDF through various types of networks and media sharing. In addition, we plan to work with organizers to do local press releases with media sources in their area, prior to events, in order to grow downhill skating profile in those areas and hopefully draw more of the public to spectating races when suitable. What will you do to increase the value of IDF and help gain sponsors for IDF races?
Billy Meiners: Hard to say. Until we get participation and viewership up, I think it’ll be difficult to approach large companies (Red Bull, GoPro, etc…) for sponsorship. Best thing we can do is work within the industry and also help event organizers seek out local sponsors.
 
Matheus Felicio: My marketing team is already working on a project to gain global IDF sponsorships year round. Once we have it all organized and ready to present, I’ll knock from door to door in the multinationals companies and try to sell it. Meanwhile my team will be aiming for the skateboarding companies around the world. Right now we have people to support us in this matter in Brazil, Canada, USA, Austrália, Italy, France, Japan, and Colombia. Rachel Bruskoff: The goal is to think big and to go outside the general sport. We need to contact companies that can properly support the IDF and get more stoke for the communities, local and worldwide. We need to put out positivity and a good image so that anyone we contact will be nothing but excited to join forces. We need hype, and we can do this by spreading the word about what we do and about each event. This can create a backing that will get more sponsors on board and stoked to support us and continue to provide support. Marco Vidales: My job in Festival de la Bajada was mainly this, for example despite out efforts it was impossible for us to obtain sponsorship from the longboard industry and we had to go to mass consumption brands for support; every country will have its own particular challenges because they are different markets. I think this is a job for the event organizers and not the IDF, I think IDF’s only source of funds has to remain membership fees and race fees, they are the only ones that we have to be accountable to; anything else will compromise our independence and might give way to controversy, corruption and forced decisions like in other international federations like FIFA and FIA.

Maga McWhinnie: It’s not up to us to increase event sponsors, it’s up to the organizers to do it, but we can advise them on how to chase them. I would not just chase Skateboard companies; I would also chase other companies that can benefit from the location, crowd, or anything else related from the event. Enough media before, during, and after the events, creating ways to attract more spectators, and organizing all these with a lot of time ahead.
Max Vickers: Gaining event sponsors falls towards the organizers, as the organizers of the events are responsible for gaining the proper funding (often driven from sponsors) in order to support the event. However, I hope to focus on better promoting the event from when the event is announced, during the event, then after the event through the IDF’s social media platforms in order to better promote the events. This will better publicize the event and in turn hopefully allow the organizers to receive a better response from industry sponsors.
 
Carl Sambrano: I would discuss adding more spots for the sponsors with the board. A top 10 interview during qualifier is one spot, and an interview with the Champion is another. A weekly or twice a month online show will create additional spots as well as have a stage to do product highlights. The focus would be capitalizing on the wide reach the IDF has; our events happen in a lot of countries, but (at the same time) on the online platform we’ll remain worldwide.

Frederico Barbezio: I would focus on giving the public an image of a solid and populated structure of racer’s categories, with stable and remarkable competitions around the world. I think without it, IDF could hardly become very desirable for a long term relationship with sponsors. But I feel positive about, it’s just a matter of working more on it. Travis Davenport: We have to continue developing this package of racing, the concept or our sport, into an asset that a company values and wants as a vehicle for their advertising and community involvement. Skateboard brands do not need events for advertisement; there is very little return on investment there. If we expect to grow exponentially, we cannot expect it to happen through the checkbooks of our own hard good brands. It will take time and leadership, both of which we have plenty of, and there will be speed bumps. The last two years we have seen a lull all across the board, but these are just growing pains; we are learning, and our sport has a bright future! It is also my intention to use my company, Push Culture, in a way that will help us achieve the traction we need to grow. My experience building this brand has taught me a lot and aligns with the same goals we have as the IDF. A lifestyle brand growing out of our sport will be key in spreading the word and idea to the masses, generating more awareness, excitement, spectatorship and participation, which will create the numbers to attract something like, KIA, Trojan, Spy, Red Bull, a local bank branch, ski mountain, or grocery chain to sponsor our events, because to them our budgets are chump change. Mike Girard:  I would leverage my substantial network within the action sports industry, from existing Central Mass Skate Festival sponsors to all of the brands and representatives that I have gotten to know as a snowboard sales rep. I would also be able to share the methods that I have used successfully to attain and retain sponsorship by providing high-value marketing to companies with a nose for the action sports demographic.   In the event of a surplus, where would you allocate the extra funds: Rachel Bruskoff: I think the extra funds can be spread out in multiple ways. Of course, I think it should be brought down to a general and shared thought, over simply my own; as in a vote among the board and/ or within the members. I think funds can be utilized to make sure that event organizers host races up to high standards; safety, sponsorships, media, and proper administration. The funds can also be used to make sure that each event has at least 2 representatives from the IDF to oversee it and make sure that everything runs smoothly; the timing system works, the organization stays strong, and that media is covered well and in the most up-to-date timing. The funds could go towards making the media stronger, offering more coverage on social media outlets, as well as live feeds and making sure every event has coverage of some sort.  Maga McWhinnie: More media for all IDF events and/or hiring someone dedicated to it with professional experience. If there was more, I would also invest it on improving/upgrading our hardware and software for our website and events: Timing system, cameras, web developers… If there was still more, I would search for one event to make The Event and use multiple resources to create a massive exposure around the world.. These are just my ideas. but I would debate and search for more ideas and ask the riders and the board to make the best decision. Carl Sambrano: Promotion seems to be the strongest contender – or is the beast that is most hungry. Portable speakers that are loud enough for the starting line gun, and satellite internet connection so the IDF can go live on social media on any given race day. Marco Vidales: The word of the people is law, this question was raised to the members and they decided it should be invested in marketing and communications and it is what has to be done.

Federico Barboni I think, like what happened last year, the inclusion of the members in this decision with a poll will help us understand everybody better, and where to allocate an eventual surplus, because the poll can give us great feedback from the season experiences of the racers.Where I would allocate it: I think it will depend first on the amount of the surplus itself, but I would definitely put it on something that could improve the experience of the riders at the competitions and the sport visibility. Billy Meiners: I think that it should go back to the race organizers to help fund future events. Without races, there’s no race circuit. Mike Girard: The aforementioned marketing and media initiatives would take a moderate budget to execute successfully and push to a broad audience. A surplus would help fund this type of marketing effort and promotion. I think a substantial budget surplus could also be spread to event organizers to help reduce entry fees, as well as providing a fair (but not excessive) season podium purse for the overall top performers. Matheus Felicio:

  1. Extra equipment for the IDF, so we have zero chance to get caught by a bad surprise in a race
  2. Training for the race organizers
  3. A better website
  4. Social programs
  5. Champions

 Max Vickers: With the IDF being a democratic organization that is run by its members, it is up to the membership base to vote on where the allocated funds should go. As stated, I hope to focus on the long-term growth of the IDF, and if at the end of the year we find that more support is needed towards event organizers, marketing, prize support, etc. It will be a collaboration between board members to come up with a few viable options, but members will also have the option of choosing their own vote.
 
Travis Davenport: Marketing for the IDF as a whole. As with any business, a surplus has to go back into building the brand. Unforeseen opportunities or setbacks should have a rainy day fund if needed, but we haven’t and won’t see any significant amount of surplus beyond what could be allocated to promotion of the organization itself. We can take out adds in local magazines or newspapers to raise awareness for a race that has great audience potential, and maybe financing media coverage at a race that has infrastructure to broadcast successfully. IDF is about more than individual races, but its backbone is those races. I would like to see some support of certain events when they pose exceptional opportunities for the pursuit of the goals we share as a whole. There are many ideas for where to spend money, and there will be disagreements, but I think if we have goals that see well past a single year, then the ideas of surplus isn’t quite so controversial because budgets aren’t just for single year operations – they have to be for the long term.