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.